A Complete Guide To Renovating Your Kitchen
The kitchen is usually the heart of a home, and it can be a hub of activity within the family dynamic. It should be a room that you feel comfortable and excited to cook in.
If your current layout does not work for you and your family, you could consider renovating your kitchen.
Everybody has different needs and reasons to renovate their kitchen, which is why you should think about what would make the space more functional for you and your loved ones.
This should be the priority when you are planning to change the layout or key features of your kitchen, as there is no point creating a modern space that does not work to make your life easier and more seamless.
A modern, high quality kitchen can increase your quality of life as well as add value to your home. This is a complete guide to renovating your kitchen, with everything you should take into account ahead of time.
There are a number of ways that you can make safety a priority, from switching off the main water supply, to hiring contractors who are qualified for the job.
The most important thing with your kitchen renovation should be safety, and you should prevent injuries by making sure that the correct protective gear is worn at all times during the demolition.
It is essential that you are following the correct safety procedures and that you get the building surveyed beforehand. This can prevent structural walls or supports from being removed to create more space.
Plumbing and electric fittings should also be considered, as there is a higher risk of increased costs and additional complications emerging if you decide to completely relocate the kitchen to another room in your house.
Older homes are even more critical to get correctly surveyed and assessed ahead of time.
This is because their structure could be less reliable, so you should avoid making more substantial plans for your kitchen renovation if you live in a historic building.
For individuals that live in older homes that could be less structurally sound, it is worth saving more than you think you will need. This is because they are more likely to need additional work once the renovation project begins.
Another potential safety concern is the time spent living in a construction site. It could be worth temporarily relocating if the project is likely to take a longer time.
This is especially necessary if you or someone you live with suffers from respiratory issues. Avoid potentially making it worse by inhaling dust and debris.
Preventative measures are another necessary factor worth considering. Ensure that your newly renovated kitchen meets local building requirements, and that there is enough air flow through the space.
This can also be done by adding an extractor fan overhead or hidden within a counter. Prevent fires and other accidents from happening by integrating certain safety measures into your kitchen renovation.
Different Types Of Kitchen Layouts
Understanding that the layout of your kitchen can determine what you are able to do with it. Of course, more substantial renovations can give you more options when it comes to the layout of your kitchen.
However, it is important to acknowledge some of the most common types of kitchen layouts and using the following examples for inspiration.
It is worth considering how you will use a space, and what type of kitchen layout would work best for you and your family. Think about how much space is available, and whether your kitchen will be multifunctional.
Kitchen diner layouts, for example, need to work for different uses, and you could integrate similar textures, colors, or levels to make the whole room flow together a little more.
If you are having difficulty visualizing how the different layouts could work in your kitchen space, it could be worth speaking with an architect.
3D models and even drawings can help you see how you could make the most out of your space, and allow you to think about how you will be using the kitchen in the future.
Keeping essential cooking appliances close to each other, galley kitchen layouts are simple yet effective. The basic format mimics a production line, as the sink and food preparation areas usually lie along the same wall.
In terms of manual labor, plumbing and specialist help, galley kitchens are some of the easiest to install as the fittings run to roughly the same place in the room.
Galley kitchens maximize floor space because they are typically laid out with two parallel countertops. The name comes from the traditional design of galley kitchens that were seen in corridors and narrow walkthrough spaces.
For this reason, this layout could be a way to maximize space without compromising your kitchen’s design.
Another frequently used layout for your kitchen could be an L-shape. The name comes from the rough shape of the floor plan, and additional counter space is made by extending the side of the cabinets towards the center of the room.
This can provide additional storage as well as surfaces for food preparation.
An L-shaped kitchen is one of the more flexible designs because it can be as long or short as you like. Depending on the use of your kitchen, you could use this design to create a more open plan without compromising the counter space.
The leg of the L shape can be made into a seating area for your children to study while you cook, or you can adapt it into cabinets and storage space.
This concept is one of the most versatile, and it can be used to open up a room.
If you need a little more counter area, and you have more floor space, then you could create a U-shaped kitchen.
Smaller spaces or awkward shaped rooms benefit from units fitted against three adjacent walls because it can help maximize space while ensuring that there are plenty of storage areas.
The main drawback of U-shaped kitchens is that they can create too much space between appliances that are frequently used.
There are two main ways that the U-shape can be seen. The first is fitting appliances and cabinets against three adjacent walls, which can make the most out of slightly smaller areas.
On the other hand, you could consider introducing extra seating areas or eating space if your kitchen is in a larger room that you want to section off.
The middle section of the shape will be fitted to the back wall, and the two extensions coming from either side do not need to lie against a wall.
These are widely regarded as the most modern and versatile layouts within many kitchens. You can add more counter space, storage, eating areas, or another social space by creating an island out of cabinets and extra materials.
You can add a kitchen island to a busy kitchen, as it can be a pivot space for multiple people cooking at the same time.
For smaller spaces, you could also find an island that is on wheels or rollers. This can allow you to move it away when you need to use the floor space.
Kitchen islands can be as large or small as you like, and they can have a range of appliances installed into them.
For example, some kitchen sinks are on the island, whereas others use the space for food preparation.
Ovens, grills, and hobs can also be integrated, and you could add a drinks station or power outlet for ease of use.
Breaking Down Costs
It’s essential to save for your kitchen renovation ahead of time and ensure that you can cover the overall costs. This can help you avoid living with an unfinished kitchen or incomplete projects if you ran out of money midway through.
There are a range of financing options that can be negotiated to suit you and your budget. Depending on the desired finish and structural changes involved with the kitchen renovation project, your overall budget should account for this.
One of the best ways to make your budget stretch a little longer is to try and do more with what you have. This can be as simple as changing your kitchen layout based on the current fittings, or using up leftover materials and paints.
If you already have a relatively usable kitchen design that just needs updating, then you could think about giving everything a coat of paint rather than tearing it all out.
In terms of financing your kitchen renovation, there are plenty of loan options that can help you through the process. Depending on your credit rating and your current financial situation, it could be worth saving more than you think you will need.
Allow for hidden costs to arise during the project, and ensure that you have the means to cover these as much as possible with your savings or finance scheme. As a general rule, it is recommended that you add 10-20% to your total budget for unplanned expenses.
The processes that will consume a higher proportion of your budget include cabinets and hardware, installation costs, the cost of appliances, countertops, and flooring. While there is some natural variation with these, they tend to be the most expensive parts of any renovation project.
Another thing to consider is the energy rating of your appliances before purchasing.
This can ensure that you are not wasting money on your regular electricity bills, and that you have high quality appliances that will stand the test of time and regular use.
It is not worth cutting corners with the cost of these, as cheaper or second hand items are far more likely to break or become faulty within a shorter period of time.
Steps To Renovating A Kitchen
While every kitchen renovation project differs in terms of budget, overall design, and the size of the room used, these steps are essential for any kitchen renovation. It is recommended that you use the following steps as a guide to keep track of your progress, and ensure that you are as prepared as you can be.
1. Create A Plan
Think about what type of finish you want to achieve, and how a kitchen renovation will benefit you and your family’s daily routine. Try to be realistic and focus on creating a functional space that works for everyone in the household.
Do not underestimate the planning process, because a highly detailed plan can allow you to assign your budget to intended procedures and appliances.
Depending on what you want to change about your current kitchen layout, you could print an existing floor plan and draw over it using a different color. This allows you to have a better idea of what will go where, and how much space will be remaining.
A highly comprehensive plan can also cover details on professional services that you believe are needed.
This can then be shown to contractors, architects, and building surveyors who will provide another level of insight and accurate information that can show you how realistic and practical your ideas are.
Your plan can be used as a reference for timing as well, and it can be a useful predictor of how long the entire renovation is likely to take.
It is also a highly valuable resource for deciding what will need to be taken out, and what appliances or sections do not need to be touched.
It is this stage that you should seek the advice of an engineer or safety officer who can assess how structurally sound your home is.
This can help to make your plan more realistic, and ensure that you are not aiming to do something that will not be suitable for the type of building you live in.
2. Demo And Prep Your Kitchen
This is where things get exciting, and you will begin to see some progress. Once you have finalized your plans, and are absolutely certain that you have hired the correct people necessary, you can begin taking apart the pieces of your kitchen that you don’t want.
Old vinyl flooring or busy wallpaper patterns are a thing of the past, and it can be rewarding to tear away at these when the time is right. The main thing to be aware of is what you will be changing, and what the plan is.
Ensure that you are not breaking something apart that isn’t going to be replaced, as it is easy to create an empty shell of an area that you haven’t planned to work from.
For plans that are less structural or severe, you could prep the walls for painting using a primer, or remove the backsplash.
Whatever your intended project consists of, you should remove the things that will be changed or replaced. It is essential that you do not do this until you have a date for your new kitchen appliances, cabinets, and countertops to be installed.
You will not want to be without a functioning kitchen for several weeks for delivery or laborers to be available, so avoid starting the demo process until it is necessary.
3. Plumbing And Electricity
When your kitchen is mostly an empty shell of a room and all the cabinets are out of the way, you can schedule plumbers and electricians to deal with the wiring for your new kitchen.
If you plan on moving your sink or dishwasher, make sure that you contact a plumber to avoid rookie mistakes that can cause leaking.
This stage is seen as one of the most important to seek a skilled worker, because household voltages can be extremely harmful to the untrained eye.
Avoid saving costs or cutting corners during this process, as you will need to rely on the electric and plumbing regularly, and do not want to risk injury if you have less experience.
4. Hang Drywall
Unlike the plumbing and electric fittings, this is something that you can do yourself if you want to save money on laborers. The main thing to be aware of when fitting drywall is that you are using the correct tools for the job.
It is also highly important that you hire or borrow an industrial vacuum cleaner to deal with the high amount of dust that this process creates.
You should also wear a mask at all times and ensure that you have carefully measured the walls before purchasing the supplies.
5. Paint Walls
This is another thing that you can easily do yourself, and it can be highly rewarding to see your kitchen come together.
Painting the walls in a less porous brand of paint that is easier to wipe clean should be considered when you are adding color to an area where food is cooked and prepared.
Depending on the colors of the rest of your home, and how detailed your plan or mood board was, you can decide on a color scheme that complements the cabinets and units without clashing too much.
Another idea to gain inspiration is to collect paint samples and experiment with colors over time until you have chosen one that you like the most.
6. Cabinets And Flooring
These are typically installed around the same time in any renovation project, and it is up to you which should be done first. Ensure that you know when your cabinets are due to arrive, and that you have already ordered them in advance.
This can keep your project moving as much as possible and allow you to continue seeing results.
In terms of flooring, it is worth keeping the same finish in other areas of your home to establish a flow and consistency. There is an enormous selection of materials and designs to pick from that vary in overall price and texture.
Hardwood, vinyl, bamboo, concrete, ceramic tiles, and even cork can be considered depending on your intended finish, budget, and style choices.
7. Order And Install Countertops
The countertops are traditionally not ordered until the cabinets have been installed. This is because there is a high level of precision that is needed to get the perfect measurements.
It should be noted that the countertop needs to be cut to fit around the sink, so you will need to either have it installed or on site at the time.
Like flooring, there is a huge range of materials to choose from for your countertops when you are ordering them, that vary in overall finish, price, and required skill needed to install.
Granite, quartz, butcher block, stainless steel, engineered stone, and ceramic tile are some of the most popular choices for kitchen countertops.
If you are trying to save money on the installation costs, you could consider finding a countertop material that is easier to install yourself.
Heavier materials such as granite are naturally more challenging, and require a level of skill and experience. However, laminate is much easier to do yourself, and can be installed with ease.
8. Install Backsplash
This is highly important when it comes to finishing your kitchen, because it is functional when you are cooking and preparing food. Not only that, but the backsplash is essential for bringing everything together and adding to the overall look of the kitchen.
There is a rich selection of backsplash designs to choose from, each varying in their complexity and difficulty to install.
If you are unsure about what type of backsplash to go for, you could use plain white tiles as they are one of the most timeless materials you can add to your kitchen.
Grout can be seen in different colors, but the main focus here is to make something that is easy to wipe down and keep clean.
9. Install The Sink And Bring In The Appliances
This is the time when your kitchen will really begin to come to life, and you can ask a plumber to correctly install the sink if you want to keep things safe.
Another thing you can do is speak with an electrician and get them to check that you have correctly installed the extraction hood, or the electric hob.
Should You Call A Professional?
It is recommended that you seek the guidance and assistance of a professional or somebody with more experience with renovation projects. This can allow you to check that you are doing everything correctly, and that all appliances have been installed properly.
In order to set everything up safely, you should call a professional electrician and a plumber at least once during the renovation process.
If your home is old, or if you are planning to completely change the location of your kitchen, then it is definitely worth contacting an engineer, plumber, or electrician.
Older homes are more likely to become a little more problematic when renovating, especially if they have not been touched in decades.
For a second opinion or a better understanding of how a space would work, it could be worth speaking with an architect.
They can help you visualize the kitchen, and encourage you to think about how counters, appliances, and walkways interact and take up space.
Generally, the need for a professional or a contractor depends on the type of renovation that you have planned. Plumbers and electricians are recommended when it comes to removing and installing dishwashers, electric hobs, and sinks.
However, for smaller projects, a general handyman with more experience can be a great help and get most of the jobs done.
3 Things About Contractors/Professionals
It’s no secret that contractors can vary in terms of how reliable they are. It is highly important that you find someone, or even a team of people that you can trust, and who you feel will listen to your concerns and ideas.
You are the one who will have to live with a poorly done or incomplete kitchen if the contractor is less professional, so it is worth asking around locally for recommendations.
You can even shop around and compare your options to decide who would be the best person or team for the job.
Try to ask people in your neighborhood who have hired a particular contractor to carry out work on their homes about them. Discuss how close to the budget they were, and if the particular contractor followed instructions well.
Another great way to get a better idea about how well a contractor works is asking how they resolved issues that emerged along the way.
These are some things to remember when you are searching for a reliable, trustworthy contractor or professional service that can help with your kitchen renovation project.
They Are Only As Good As Their Last Job
Whether you are directly interacting with potential contractors, or if you have been speaking with a neighbor who has experience with a particular person, you should ask to take a closer look at the last job they completed.
This acts as a reference that can be a sign of their standards and when they are satisfied that they have done a good job.
For larger projects, it is generally recommended that you compare three potential candidates if possible. Carefully check their references, and how well they think they have completed a project.
You Get What You Pay For
Contractors are one of the few things where a higher price actually does equate to a higher quality of worker. It is likely that a more expensive contractor has more experience and skill, which can allow them to provide a service that is a higher quality.
The main reason why you may find yourself paying more for a contractor is because of the additional safety checks and knowledge that they could be providing.
It is also worth allowing the extra funds in the budget for a contractor that will listen to your ideas and provide useful feedback and suggestions on how something can be improved.
The Busiest Ones Are The Best
Because of the higher quality that more experienced and skilled contractors offer, they are usually in higher demand.
If you cannot schedule a meeting with them until several weeks’ time, that is completely normal and a sign that they are busy. Avoid using a contractor that is easier to reach, as there could be a reason why they are less busy.
It could be worth trying to reach out to a particular contractor during the planning process, and allow for a little time delay that can come from a busy schedule.
Avoid panicking if you do not hear from them immediately, because you may have to wait several weeks before a consultation.
There are so many things to consider when you are creating a plan for your kitchen renovation. This includes how well it will function for you and your family, making the most out of the space and resources provided, and how much work you want to do by yourself to save costs.
Depending on the extent of your kitchen renovation project, you could consider seeking the help of a professional, or a contractor who is more experienced at installing cabinets or other appliances.
Shop around and compare the references of contractors to determine how reliable and consistent they are.
It is also essential to follow the correct safety procedures when you are working on any home project. Kitchens need a little more attention because of the combination between electrical and plumbing setting up that is needed.
To stay safe, it is recommended that you seek the help from qualified professionals to install electrical appliances such as a hob.
Staying safe can also be seen through preventative measures. These include wearing hardhats during demolition, installing an extractor fan hood, and maintaining airflow throughout the kitchen.
Timing is another important factor to consider when planning your kitchen renovation. This is because you should try to avoid living in a construction site or without a kitchen for a long period of time.
For this reason, you should take the time to carefully plan each process and ensure that the project is kept moving at all times.