Your Kitchen Remodel: Cost Factors, Layout Ideas and How to Renovate


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Going into a kitchen remodel is a very intimidating task, especially if you are not very familiar with the process. In spite of this, there are a lot of people blindly diving into this large-scale project every year … including me!

How many? According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, over ten million Americans had their kitchens remodeled in 2015. And the numbers have only risen in the years since.

If you are one of those more than 10 million people tackling a kitchen remodel this year, this post is for you.

Everything To Expect When Remodeling A Kitchen

Kitchen Remodel

When I set out to get my kitchen remodeled, I honestly had no clue where to start. I had such a hard time finding info online that could map out the process for a rookie like me.

I vowed right then and there I would offer the internet everything I learned after I lived through that experience!

Take it from me, seeing the whole picture from the start is extremely helpful.

Most of the hard work (for anyone not physically putting together their kitchen infrastructure themselves) is at the front end of the process. Renovation is a lot like cooking: there’s a lot of prep.

Read over the complete process someone goes through before any work actually happens on a kitchen space:

  • Establish a budget
  • Find a designer to confirm new layout and provide accurate blueprints
  • Find and hire a contractor you trust and can afford
  • Identify where you want to buy cabinets and countertops
  • Research colors, textures, trends, materials, etc.
  • Order your cabinet and countertop and triple check to confirm your kitchen’s specs
  • Order anything else you may need (appliances, backsplash, light fixtures, faucets, sink, range hood, etc.)
  • Work with your contractor to establish a timeline
  • Keep track of all of all materials as they arrive
  • Clean out all of your old kitchen cabinets
  • Set up a temporary kitchen somewhere else in the house
  • Allow the contractors to do the heavy lifting, but be prepared to live in total chaos

Seems like a lot, huh? Don’t worry, here’s the step-by-step process.

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The first step is to create a layout, with or without a designer

Kitchen Remodel

If you plan on changing the layout your kitchen, the first thing you should do is hire a designer to work with you in identifying the best layout. Believe it or not, there’s a website for that. Head to ASID (the American Society of Interior Designers) to find one for hire near you!

From there, the designer will provide scaled blueprints that you will need to move onto the next steps. This step is technically optional, but it turned out to be the best thing I did during my remodel process!

Collect bids from contractorsKitchen Remodel

The next step in the process is collecting bids from contractors you are interested in hiring to complete your project.

Usually, bids come at no cost, so I encourage you to get several bids so you have a more accurate idea of what the project will cost you in the end. Before you decide on the contractor you wish to work with, be sure to check out this contract hiring guide and make sure you outline all of the details before you commit (and pay!).

What Specific Decisions Will I Have To Make?

To be perfectly honest, the amount of decisions you need to make as you prep for a kitchen renovation is overwhelming. But preparing for them in advance makes each task a lot more manageable.

Outside of the obvious questions regarding color and style, there are a lot of other things you will need to consider and purchase. Here is a list to keep handy:

  • Cabinet hardware
  • Cabinet door design
  • The material of the cabinet (which impacts cost)
  • The material of the countertop (which, again, impacts cost)
  • Box cabinets or special order cabinetry
  • Backsplash style, size, material
  • Appliances (style, brand, cost, color, “extras”)
  • Open shelving or closed cabinetry
  • Flooring materials and costs
  • Window treatments
  • Light fixtures
  • Extra organization (there are options built-into your cabinetry)
  • Installation of the cabinetry
  • Size of the cabinets (depth, width, and height)
  • Drawers vs. cabinets
  • Timeline
  • Can lights or fan
  • Material of sink
  • Plumping changes
  • Electrical changes

Be smart when shopping for materials

Kitchen Remodel

Once you hire the contractor, they will be a great resource for pointing you in the right directions for your materials, specifically for cabinets and countertops.

Sometimes contractors can get these products at a discounted rate if you shop at the retailers they recommend. Talk to them about this option before you decide on where you want to purchase your big-ticket items.

And if they don’t have any recommendations, you can always shop at big box hardware stores.

Protip: You will need to bring your exact measurements from your designer (or contractor) when you go out to physically shop, as well as have an idea of what design you want the kitchen to have. Of course, the salesperson can also help you make these decisions, but this is your kitchen, after all!

Finished buying? Your timeline begins now

Kitchen Remodel

After you make the cabinet and countertop order, your contractor will work with you to create a timeline of the projects that need to be done before the cabinets arrive, which will include:

  • Demolition
  • Electrical work
  • Plumbing work

Remember, cabinets can take up to eight weeks to arrive, and possibly longer if they are custom. Getting to work before the cabinets arrive will ensure they are ready to install quickly after they get to your front door.

Your contractor (or you) will get to work

Kitchen Remodel

It’s time to get to work! If you have contractors, they will work to demo your current kitchen, then work even harder to put the new and improved one back together. If you did get a contractor, this is the easy part for you because, at this point, the work is out of your hands. Most all of your hard work should have already occurred during the front end of this project.

Hope you don’t mind living without a proper kitchen for a while. Be patient and your new kitchen will be ready soon enough for you to enjoy!

How long will a kitchen renovation take?

Kitchen Remodel

Every kitchen renovation will vary in terms of timing, depending on the scope of work and the size of the space. But traditionally, a kitchen renovation can run on average 4-8 weeks. Living without a kitchen for that long can be a large inconvenience, but I am here to reassure you that if we can manage it, so can you!

Kitchen Remodel

My best advice to handle this chaos is to set up a temporary kitchen prior to demoing your current kitchen. We have our fridge, microwave, and crockpot working overtime! Plus, we meal prep at our parent’s house to make healthy food for the week (so you don’t have months and months of takeout).

Is It All Really Worth It?

Kitchen Remodel

Now being on the other side of it, it was absolutely worth it!

According to HGTV, a kitchen remodel is projected to give you a 70% return on your investment, while statistics from Today’s Homeowner reports that this number could be as high as 91% of a return on this investment! So as much as this intimidating task may seem overwhelming at first and chaotic to live through, coming out the other side will be worth it in the long run. You are adding significant value to your home by making these updates now and getting a gorgeous kitchen to enjoy at the same time.

Of course, there is a lot more information you can devour as you prepare for your upcoming kitchen remodel, but I hope this beginner’s guide gave you an overview of what to expect. Seeing the bigger picture from the start will provide you peace of mind to tackle each step with confidence, and maybe even a little bit of excitement!

How Do I Decorate My New Kitchen on a Dime?


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Hey there thrifty-minded friends! I moved into my apartment a little over a year ago but am STILL trying to decorate each room. It just takes time to unpack, adjust and get a picture of what you want your new place to look like. I recently finished my living room am moving on to the kitchen area. Progress!

At the moment I have three core things I consider as I plot my decorating plan of attack. First, I have to consider cost because I’m broke! Second, I consider the fact that I live in a tiny apartment with very little space. I can’t be building and moving in new pieces of furniture or anything. Utilizing space is a must. And third, I want it to look good. I won’t just pick something out just because I can afford it. I err on the side of simple rather than quantity.

With those three things in mind, I’ve come up with FIVE simple ideas to use when decorating a new kitchen area (or re-decorating your old kitchen!).


(1) Make Tiny Changes

You know how buying a new shower curtain can completely change the look of your bathroom? The same thing goes for new towels and potholders in the kitchen. If you’ve just moved and are unpacking some of your old stuff, it’s likely that you’ve used the same things for years. If you can afford it, use those old things as cleaning rags and pick up a few new things!  It makes more of a difference than I ever thought it could.

If you have a sewing machine, you can use old jeans or cheap material from Walmart to make your own potholders. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to do this… if I can make them, so can you!

Another fun thing, now that it’s garage sale season, is to look around for a new-to-you fun and fancy dish. Use it to display your fresh fruit. Making stops at local garage sales is also a great way to get to know the different neighborhoods and people in your new city!

Food Jars

(2) Get Creative & Use What You’ve Got

Something I’ve been trying to do is to make use of my food, utensils, and spices to decorate. I mean, you’re going to have all those things in your kitchen anyway, you might as well make them look cool, right? For example, you may have bags of sugar, flour and popcorn in a cupboard. Instead of packing those away, put them into individual glass jars and display them!

Another thing that looks cool sitting out are spices and olive oil jars. Line them up above a cupboard or counter or find a sweet spice rack. If you’re feeling really crafty and have the room, you can even create individual spice jars with labels.

terra cotta

(3) Grow Your Own Fresh Herbs

Okay, don’t freak out. If you’re anything like me, attempting to keep a plant alive doesn’t have a great outlook for ya. However, herbs are the one thing I have actually been successful at keeping alive and well. I believe in you! They also take up very little space, which is a plus if you live in a shoebox of an apartment. The only thing you need besides a pot/jars and soil is a bit of sunlight. This is honestly one of the most rewarding projects for your kitchen. You can buy terra cotta pots for like a quarter each, seeds are only a buck or two and you don’t need much potting soil.  And in a week or so, you’ve got fresh herbs! Your kitchen has a nice smell, looks fresh and you’ve got homegrown ingredients for some delicious recipes. I’ve already scouted a recipe for pesto because my basil is starting to come up.

tea towel

(4) Bring Back the Lost Arts!

After working out how to make my own potholders, I have slowly been learning a few other “lost arts” like embroidery and canning. The thing is, these types of things are seriously in vogue at the moment and places like Terrain charge an arm and a leg for them! You can make them yourself, for a tiny fraction of purchasing them. I bought my plain, white flour sack towels at Bomgaars for $2 a piece. If you don’t have Bomgaars, Amazon has them from several places and your local craft store will have embroidery floss and the other necessary supplies.

Another of these “lost arts” is canning. This is actually more involved, so if you skip to the next paragraph I don’t blame you! But even if you can’t muster the energy or desire to can for yourself, see if you can find a friend who does. They just look colorful and trendy!

ladder shelf

(5) Repurpose

For this last thing, you can make it as simple or complex as you want. You can make something simple like a chalkboard to write your grocery list on or something more involved like making a pots and pans rack out of an old ladder.

If you want to make a chalkboard, all you need is a flat surface (i.e. anything glass, metal, plastic or even wood) and chalkboard spray paint in a can.  Yeah, it’s that simple! Or if you want to go even more simple, you can make a dry erase board out of an old window by using the glass to write on.  It looks rustic and shabby chic in a kitchen! All you need are the markers.

Another fun and easy thing, if you have wall space, is using a burlap coffee sack with an old bulletin board. I got several sweet burlap coffee sacks from a local coffee roaster for free. They have so many that they’re usually happy to give them away.  Then just stretch the bag around the edges of the bulletin board and staple the bag on the backside. Boom. You can use it as art AND a bulletin board.

Shown above is a ladder shelf that my lovely cousins made for me. They literally used scrap wood and leftover paint from another project!  I wish I still had room in my current kitchen for it but for now it will have to live at my parents’. I just wanted to share it because I love it so much!

Hopefully these ideas will get you started.  What ideas can you share with me as I continue to transform my own kitchen?

About the Author: Victoria is a grad student in Nebraska and was once a champion mutton buster at the Days of 56 Rodeo. Yee haw! She currently works for HireAHelper.

Photo courtesy of Ross Catrow, Tyler Burrus, Grannies Kitchen, and Lori L. Stalteri.


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