You hate your kitchen. Cooking, eating and washing dishes in it cause major aggravation, and no one wants to hang out there. If you’re considering a kitchen renovation but don’t know where to begin, these kitchen renovation tips will give you the confidence to get started.
Holy crap! All of this has got to go!
That was my first thought when stepped into our kitchen at the open house. The tiny 1960’s kitchen boasted worn-out plywood cabinets with drawers that bounced off magnetic closures, a cramped layout, and little counter space.
Every time I entered my kitchen – which was often since the front door opened right into it – my nose wrinkled in disgust.
I didn’t expect my kitchen to be as big and beautiful as those in the McMansions down the street, but I did want a space that functioned for our family.
After living in our home for a year, we bit the bullet and hired an architect to design a single-story addition to give us the kitchen, mudroom, and open concept we craved. Then, we teamed up with a kitchen designer at our local Home Depot to bring my dream kitchen ideas to life.
We learned a lot along the way, so if you want to renovate your kitchen – whether just a minor update or a major overhaul – here are nine kitchen renovation tips to consider before you throw a hammer at the wall.
9 Kitchen Renovation Tips to Jump-Start Your Project
Please note, this post contains affiliate links to products relevant to this article, at no cost to you. Read my disclosures for more information.
1. Live in it for a while.
Step away from the sledge hammer! You may want to start demolition right away, but first take a step back and some time to think about what really bothers you about the space:
- Are the cabinets an ugly color, but good quality? Painting the cabinets could solve your problem.
- Is the cabinet door style outdated, but the frames are sturdy? You can replace the doors and hardware.
- Do the counters suffer from 1970’s yellow laminate syndrome? Consider painting them, applying a concrete finish, or replacing them with a new solid surface like quartz or granite.
2. Do a major clean-out.
Do you ever use that lemon zester? Go all Kon Mari on the kitchen and only keep the tools you actually use and make you happy.
After you trash or donate unwanted items, you may find that you have enough storage space after all. If you pursue a major renovation, you’ll know how much storage space to plan for.
3. Test the traffic flow.
Consider your family’s natural path when using and walking through the kitchen. Our kitchen didn’t have a sensible “work triangle” so we constantly bumped into each other near the dishwasher and stove.
If you lack counter space and want to see if an island would fit, or if you want an eating area, mock-up space on the floor with painter’s tape and walk around it for a week to see if that new traffic pattern feels comfortable.
4. Consider your feelings.
How do you feel when you are in your kitchen right now? How do you want to feel?
Our dark and dysfunctional kitchen was closed off from the rest of our house, which made me feel anxious and resentful that I couldn’t interact with my family while washing dishes. White cabinets with warm brass hardware and rich wood floors
White cabinets, warm brass hardware, rich wood floors, and open concept combined with huge new windows now provide a bright place to gather and cook.
Perhaps you gravitate to sleek and modern sushi bars or rustic Mediterranean restaurants. What positive feelings do those spaces evoke, and how can you incorporate them into your kitchen design?
5. Keep track of your kitchen inspiration.
Whether you start a “dream kitchen” board on Pinterest (you can check out mine here), keep a binder of magazine clippings, or snap photos of your friends’ kitchens, make notes about the kitchens that attract your eye.
What do you like about those inspiring kitchens? Perhaps there’s a huge island, unique tile, gorgeous granite, seeded glass cabinet doors, or plenty of space for eating. Maybe you love the cabinet color or lighting style.
6. Make a list with your partner.
My husband generally leaves the design decisions to me, but was very opinionated about layout, appliances, and that there be a place for breakfast cereal immediately next to the refrigerator (huh?).
Evernote is a great tool to organize your renovation ideas and create a list of must-haves and helped us to agree on major decisions before we met with the architect and kitchen designer. There were a few “discussions” in Home Depot when we had differing opinions on some kitchen design elements, but we avoided arguments by talking everything through in advance.
7. Do your research.
There are great articles online with suggestions for kitchen layouts, how to mix metal finishes for an eclectic look, and what you should look for in a contractor. You can never have too much information!
8. Don’t get carried away by trends.
Kitchen renovations are expensive, so it’s best to avoid spending a lot of money on passing trends. You can always add unique art and accessories to customize your space as your tastes change. I experimented with brass hardware and lighting because they are easy to replace.
Keep in mind that it’s tough to replace tile! Consider a classic backsplash or one that’s more easily replaced, such as beadboard, wallpaper, or tin tiles.
9. Go with your gut and get what you love.
I know, I know – I just said to stay away from trends. But that doesn’t mean you will end up with a boring kitchen.
Of all the kitchen renovation tips I’ve shared and those you’ll read elsewhere, the one that will make your new kitchen the place you’ll never want to leave is to get what you love.
For the past few years, I’ve loved the look of a white kitchen with a navy blue island. Blue is my favorite color, and practically, it just makes sense since it hides all the scuff marks from my kids’ shoes better than a white island.
But, both my husband and kitchen designer tried to talk me out of it, and I wavered for a moment. Ultimately I went with my gut, and I’m totally obsessed with my navy blue island.
Creating the kitchen of your dreams can be expensive and time-consuming, but I hope these kitchen renovation tips will help make the process much easier for you!