For my husband and I, it was something small as we planned and hoped for something bigger.
When we moved into our first home, we renovated everything. We had a vision that first involved removing far too much of the most heinous blue carpet you’ve ever seen in your life throughout the home.
That happened on day one.
Day two, we tackled what has ended up being among one of the most rewarding home improvement projects in my life thus far: the kitchen. It was nothing much in our case: removing wallpaper trim, tearing down wood walls, adding a do-it-yourself island and updating the cabinet knobs. But it got us to a place every homeowner gets to at least once in their lives. It got us thinking about what our dream kitchen would look like.
What appliances would we choose? How would it be laid out? And, most importantly, how could we make our dream into a reality?
A dog and two children later, we are still dreaming.
Yet regardless of where you are in your life, a single dream unites us all. Realty and home renovation specialists will tell you ten times over that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. And it’s true. Because we all have a dream kitchen or bathroom mapped out in our minds in some fashion, be it finely detailed or simply conceptual.
Here are a few things to think about, despite where you’re at in the kitchen renovation process:
1.) Consider your budget. Do your research, allow a contingency for things gone awry and plan around sales, especially if you’re on a tight budget. From appliances to cabinetry, kitchen remodeling can become a pricey endeavor for even the most gifted budget shoppers. It’s important to set a strict budget from the start, and use resources like HGTV’s budgeting worksheet to stay on target with costs. The worksheet helps identify major costs so that when you take your ideas to an experienced kitchen design team, they are able to help you get the best kitchen for your budget.
2.) Consider your layout. Resources abound online with tips and ways to plan ahead as you work toward crafting your ideal kitchen space. Yet the perfect fit for you is not necessarily the perfect fit for your neighbor or your best friend who lives thirty minutes away. Only you know what’s best for you in terms of practicality and function, and only you can determine what is most important in your kitchen remodeling process. HGTV developed a questionnaire you might find helpful that helps you better understand how your dream kitchen aligns with how you actually use the space. Whether you’re constructing an addition to your home or working within existing space, it’s crucial to keep the details (like the impact of improvements on existing gas, electric and plumbing) in mind. That way, when you involve the kitchen design professionals, they have some idea of what they’re working with before they come into your home and see the space. Based on their experience, the professionals can help offer the best solutions because they will have an understanding of all of the elements involved prior to putting together a three-dimensional image of what the end result would look like.
3.) Consider your goals. Once you understand how your priorities for use of the space coordinate with your budget, put that knowledge to work by focusing on a style that best fits your needs. Kitchens are a personal space that everyone uses differently. While home cooks and foodies may prefer a gourmet kitchen with a double oven and plenty of room for kitchen gadgets, a family of four may prioritize having space in the kitchen to cook and eat together.
4.) Consider the numbers. In addition to budgets and goals, About.com suggests keeping in mind simple comforts that can be illustrated succinctly by numbers. For example, it’s a good idea to make sure you allot at least three feet of counter space for food prep, with at least two feet on one side of the sink and 18 inches on the other. Depending on your price range, larger appliances take up more space, not just against the wall, but with swinging or opening doors. In addition to making sure you allow enough space to walk comfortably around appliances that are opened, keep traffic flow in mind as well.
5.) Consider your neighborhood. Before starting any potentially expensive home improvement endeavor, it’s a good idea to talk to a realtor or someone who can advise you what your investment might be worth in terms of added value to your home. If you’re considering moving gas lines or adding plumbing, local municipal codes may also come into play.
6.) Consider consulting the professionals. There is a lot to be gained from working with those in the know when it comes to kitchen design. An idea that might seem perfectly doable to you may not be plausible in your space. Industry professionals have valuable insight that can break down many of these considerations for you without you having to do as much research on the front end.
Whether you’re still dreaming or you’re about to launch your kitchen remodeling project tomorrow, there is a simple truth that will eventually come to fruition. Careful and thoughtful planning is necessary to carry out all of those good intentions.
Dreams are meant to be achieved. Your dream kitchen is within your grasp, but it’s crucial not to lose sight of your budget, the layout, your goals, ideal spacing numbers and environmental factors as you move forward with executing your plan.
In the meantime, happy dreaming, happy cooking and bon appetite!