Planning to remodel your kitchen or make your dream kitchen part of your custom home design? Kitchen remodeling can be tricky, and many homeowners worry about the cost and logistics. The good news is, the world of kitchen design now has many affordable and beautiful options, so you can get the kitchen you’ve always wanted — even on a budget.
Here’s your guide to planning your kitchen renovation or new construction. Follow these steps to achieve your perfect space for cooking, eating, gathering, and more!
Step 1: Determine Your Budget
While it can be tempting to design your custom kitchen then try to scrape together the money, you should always lead with your budget. Don’t assume that you can’t have your dream kitchen if you’re strapped for funds. Having those guidelines can point you toward cost-saving opportunities, so you can splurge on the elements that matter most to you.
As with any construction project, always include a buffer in your budget for unexpected costs. This helps you keep the project moving. If you end up not spending it, great! If you do go over your expected costs, you won’t be stressed about coming up short. Win-win.
Step 2: Choose Your Materials
There are nearly countless options for materials to build your cabinets, flooring, shelving, pantry, etc. Thankfully, some inexpensive materials can still look luxurious, so don’t be afraid to save money on those. For example, marble countertops are gorgeous, but if they’re a bit out of your budget, choose quartz, which looks just as nice and both less expensive and more durable.
For your cabinetry, you can often skip the expensive hardwood and opt for high-quality MDF or plywood, which are affordable yet sturdy. Consider our high-pressure laminates that feel like real wood but are much easier to maintain, with a high rate of durability.
In short, invest in the finishings; as long as the cabinets are sturdily built, you don’t have to splurge on the core materials.
Your custom kitchen’s floors can be tile, hardwood, concrete, vinyl, or good ol’ fashioned linoleum. The latter two are budget-conscious choices, and newer materials are built to last. Plus, they come in a wide variety of colors and finishes to suit any aesthetic. In short, this is not your father’s linoleum!
If you’d like to splurge, you can opt for tile or stone. From mosaic designs to sleek ceramic to natural granite or sandstone floors, there’s a choice for every taste. Just be sure to include a quality sealant in your budget if you choose natural materials.
Step 3: Plan Your Layout
We’ve all encountered incredibly cramped kitchens that make cooking and cleaning frustrating. Your kitchen should be a highly creative and functional space. To avoid these problems, map out your dream kitchen layout before you start building. Here are some key rules to keep in mind:
Appliances should never go in corners or any place where cabinet doors or other appliances would bump them.
Keep countertop space around appliances. Aim to have at least 15” of space on each side of an appliance. This is crucial for safety as you don’t want to have to carry a hot pot far when removing it from the burner.
If you’re incorporating an island or bar, be sure you have at least 36” clearance for people to walk past. For safety, you need at least 42” of space behind the active cooking areas (the stovetop, prep area, etc.)
Overall, it’s helpful to divide your custom kitchen into “zones.” Having a space for each type of activity can prevent “traffic jams” and help you cook and clean more efficiently. For example, you don’t want your pantry right next to the stovetop where little ones could get burned while they try to grab a snack. And any dish storage should be near the dishwasher for easy unloading.
Step 3: Set a Timeline
Once you’ve determined your budget and chosen your materials, develop your project timeline. If you’re renovating an existing kitchen, you’ll need to build in time to deconstruct your current one. Assess how much you’re keeping: will you be refinishing your old cabinet structure or doing away with it entirely? Do your floors need to be replaced? Are you changing all your appliances as well? (Tip: See if you can sell off any old materials or appliances to raise funds for the redesign.)
Then, discuss with your designer and contractor to see how long each step of the process will take. Be sure to include the time necessary for materials to be delivered. Once you have the basic schedule, set milestones for the project’s completion. This will help keep you and the construction team on the same page.
Key Kitchen Design Takeaways
Before embarking on your kitchen remodelling project, do your homework! Don’t be swayed by salespeople who push only the most expensive materials. Often, you can achieve your dream kitchen design with a combination of repurposing and strategic splurging. Remember, the overall layout and the details help make your kitchen functional and unique. Use your creativity to help spare your budget and still enjoy your favourite kitchen styles. For more tips on customizing your kitchen, read our ultimate guide.
Eager to start designing? We totally understand. Now we’ve provided some inspiration, use our kitchen planner tool to design your dream kitchen.