A kitchen remodel is a great opportunity to not only update the look of your home, but also to make it more functional and express a bit of your own personality. It’s an exciting venture, but the process of deciding what to do, and figuring out how to go about it can be daunting. Here are our best tips to help make the job easier and assure that you get results that will make you happy for years to come.
Define Your Needs
Every person and every family differ, so it only makes sense that the way you use your kitchen will be different from the way your neighbors use theirs—and even from the way home designers think people use them. Here are a few questions to answer as you begin to make plans:
- How do you use your kitchen? Consider how often you cook, and for how many people. Do you eat in the kitchen? Entertain there?
- Who Uses the kitchen? How many people are in the kitchen at one time? Do children use the kitchen? Aging adults?
- What do you want most from your new kitchen? Are you looking for simplicity or would you prefer a gourmet kitchen? How about matching the style of your home?
Consider Your Wants
In addition to functionality, when you plan a kitchen remodel, you also get to include your personal tastes and preferences. We encourage all our customers to come into the showroom and get a tour of the latest in kitchen materials and design.
Unless you are a design professional, it may be difficult to picture what difference the various cabinet and counter styles make, but when you can see them in an actual kitchen arrangement, and compare them side by side, it becomes much easier to decide if you want something traditional or more modern. Likewise, if you’ve only seen your kitchen with brown wood cabinets, it may be hard for you to envision white, black or gray cabinets, but all are popular this year, and seeing a model kitchen is much better than just seeing a picture online or in a magazine.
If you are at retirement age, then aging in place is something to consider. If you want to stay in your home instead of moving to assisted living in the coming years, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and include universal design in your kitchen remodel plans to accommodate future needs.
Set a Budget
The amount you can spend on a kitchen remodel depends on your finances, but there are other factors to consider as well. How long you intend to stay in your home is a major one. If you are going to be there for another ten years, and especially if you are in your permanent home, where aging in place will be important, then you don’t need to be concerned with how your home remodeling will affect the selling price. In that case, you should budget as much as you can afford to make your home comfortable and efficient for you.
On the other hand, if you plan to sell in the next few years, and expect to make money off the sale, then you need to plan and budget your kitchen remodel according to the housing market in your area. Remodeling rarely gets a 100% return on investment, but the updating the kitchen is one of the best projects for ensuring your home sells—and depending on where you live, it may yield a very high return.
Decide on a Scope of Work
This is something you can outline on your own and then your remodeling contractor can help you fill in the details. The scope defines the job and lets you narrow down how much you will spend on each aspect. For example, if you have a budget of $25,000 and know that your electric wiring is outdated, you will need to get an estimate for the electrical work, and commit that amount of your budget because you certainly don’t want to cut corners on anything that affects your safety. It may mean fewer bells and whistles on the appliances, but working through the details ahead of time lets you make appropriate choices. Once you determine the “must” expenses, you can then make decisions about the preferences.
Choose a Remodeling Contractor
Another thing a clear scope does is it allows you to get fair estimates from remodeling contractors. If you just ask “How much will it cost me to add an island and new flooring?” You may get a very tempting low bid, but a responsible contractor will have a lot of questions to clarify the scope.
The price will end up being higher than the “bargain” contractor, but you will know what you are paying for up front. The low-baller will end up installing the island cabinets and then telling you the countertop you want is $2,000 extra, or that the flooring price was for linoleum and if you want laminate, that’s another $3,000. Even the smaller details should be included in the scope.
One reason TWD has been a successful remodeling contractor for over 20 years is that we have the experience to foresee issues that may arise. We also know what permits are required in Peoria (and the other cities in the area) and take care of assuring that all requirements are met.
We know the ins and outs of home remodeling, and our certified design professionals make sure the scope of work is complete before we sign any contracts. We understand that you are likely to get a lower bid somewhere else, but we want to be sure that our bid is as realistic as possible so that you get what you want without any unpleasant surprises on the final bill.
In addition to comparing cost estimates, you should make sure the contractor is someone you will be comfortable working with. This is someone who will be in and out of your home, so you should feel safe about dealing with them, and know that you can discuss any concerns that arise during the job. Ask who will be doing the work, and whether subcontractors will be supervised. It’s not uncommon for a contractor to sub out work and not have their own representative on the site, so this is something you should be aware of.
We are sensitive to our customers’ privacy concerns, so never ask them to be available for phone calls from prospective customers to give referrals. Instead, we recommend you look at online review sites. If you see that a remodeling contractor gets great reviews, you can feel confident about working with them. On the other hand, if several people say that their kitchen remodel went way over budget, or took longer than promised, you have a real red flag to warn you of a likely problem.
Of course, some people just like to complain, and sometimes things do go wrong, so a negative review here and there isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but look for trends and repeated problems being reported.
If you would like to discuss your kitchen remodel with one of our certified design professionals, give us a call at 623-544-1211. They would be happy to discuss your plans, share more information on universal design, and show you the latest trends in Peoria kitchen remodels.