- 1) Set your budget
As with all projects, there is a wide range in how much you could spend so it’s important to start with how much you can afford. Note: If you have equity in your home, you can consider financing your project using a home equity loan or line of credit.
Map out your costs for materials and labor and decide if you want to hire a contractor. If you want help mapping out categorical pricing for the things you’ll need like finishes, wood and plastics, electrical, installation, or design, check out our Project Planner report.
2) Pick your style
Modern, traditional, farmhouse, or something else? If you’re not sure, Pinterest and Houzz are both great places to get ideas. Or, check out a few of our favorite Instagram accounts:
3) Decide on size
What is the size and shape of your kitchen? Consider spaces L-shape, Galley, U-shaped, and more before deciding if you’d like to tear down a wall to make your space more open. We like this guide from Better Home & Garden. Making changes to the size will drive the cost of the project up, but can also improve livability and home value.
4) Outline your kitchen triangle
The kitchen triangle is a tried-and-true design principle for kitchen layouts. It is the point between the three items you use most: your work space, sink and dishwasher, and your cabinet space.
Hone in on how you’ll bring this principle to life in your layout first before diving into all of the other details. Keep in mind that moving appliances around will be more expensive as it will require changes to plumbing.
5) Plan your layout
With the kitchen triangle in place, think through the other details of the layout. Some questions to get you started:
- Do you want open shelving or all cupboards?
- Do you want an island?
- How much storage do you need?
- Do you want a pantry in the kitchen?
- What items do you want on the counter vs in a cabinet? Consider commonly used items like your coffee machine, toaster or toaster oven, microwave, and stand-up mixer.
- How do you envision your stove? With a range, a hood, a window nearby?
- Do you want a seating area or bar stools against a counter?
6) Prioritize your expenses
With your draft layout in mind, now it’s time to go back to that original budget and start prioritizing what is most important. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Cabinets – These are usually the biggest change and give you the most ROI. To cut down on costs, consider painting your current cabinets or using less expensive cabinet fronts. Remember to think about open shelving (cheaper) vs closed cabinets (more expensive).
- Countertops – Decide on material and price it out. Keep in mind that labor is more expensive than you might think. And if marble is what you want — be wary of maintenance.
- Appliances – If you can’t afford to go all out with appliances, think about picking one that will be your focal point, for example a sink or a range hood, and go big on that one piece.
- Tile – If you’re thinking of doing a tile backsplash, know that labor is the most expensive part.
- Lighting – You’ll need to plan for more lighting if you have less natural lighting. You have a lot of options when it comes to this: under cabinet, over cabinet, pendants over an island, lighting over a table.
If you’re on a tight budget, check out our 7 ideas for cutting costs without sacrificing quality.
7) Hire your vendors!
First, decide if you need a General Contractor for your project (see our notes in our kitchen guide on cost vs. benefit tradeoffs). Contractors are good with demo, plumbing, electricity, tile, install, and paint. Then, determine if you need specialist vendors — those will be required if you’re implementing any high-end or unique features in your kitchen such as new hardwood floors or cutting custom countertops.
If you’re in Southern California, let us help you find your vendors to ensure you’re getting the best price and high quality work. Set up a complementary property review with one of our Advisors to get started.
If you’re in other parts of the country, the best way to find vendors is to talk to your neighbors for recommendations. Make sure to verify reviews for recommended contractors with the Better Business Bureau, and ask for references. Always check their references and ask if you can visit or drive by previous projects to determine their work quality.
Get started by visiting your Realm dashboard to look up how much renovating your kitchen will improve home value and what your project is estimated to cost.