If you have ever had even one party you know: The kitchen is the most important room in your house. That is where all the guests congregate. The kitchen is also where the most homework is done, and where important family meetings are held. Also, as any Realtor will tell you, remodeling your kitchen is the quickest way to add value to your house. Remodeling your kitchen can be an extremely expensive and emotionally daunting task. But there are ways to make it easier.
Plan a budget
Remodeling an average 10-foot by 10-foot kitchen will cost anywhere from $6,000 to $10,000 or more. Cabinets will be the most expensive item, not including labor.
Check out the contractor
The most important thing in remodeling your kitchen is picking a reliable contractor. Everyone has heard horror stories about people who spent a fortune on a remodeling job and found the contractor fleeing to Aruba, usually after reducing a kitchen to rubble and swearing that he’d “be right back.”
There are many ways to verify reliability. Call the Better Business Bureau or any of the local remodeling associations. The main thing is to check.
And even more importantly, demand references, especially recent ones, and call the numbers. Almost all contractors will send much of the work to subcontractors. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as the company you are hiring provides insurance and workman’s comp for their subs. If they don’t don’t hire them.
Get three estimates
Some people want 10 or 12 estimates. But experts say they are wasting their time. Three is sufficient.
Design a friendly, functional kitchen
Most contractors will assist with the design process as part of the estimate. The goal is to design a kitchen that is attractive and functional. Put drawers where you need them, like next to the stove, so you don’t have to walk across the room when you are cooking.
Coordinate colors with the size of the room and the rest of the house.
Most importantly, work with the space you have.
Try to accept that the beautiful kitchen you saw in a full color layout in Better Homes and Gardens is probably not going to work in a 6-foot by 8-foot kitchen in a bungalow, no matter how much money you spend.
Do some work yourself
Save some money by picking out your appliances and fixtures yourself from any of the local discount appliance stores. You can save money and have a bigger selection to choose from, on your own. There is a huge range of appliances and counters and fixtures available. Get what you like based on your budget and design ideas. Make sure the colors work with your walls and countertops.
However, if you are willing to pay a bit more, you can save the trouble and get them all through the contractor. Decide whether cost or convenience is the most important item for your job.