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Kitchen Remodeling: A Guide to Your Dream Kitchen

by | Sep 8, 2022 | Kitchen Remodeling | 0 comments

A Guide to Your Dream Kitchen

Out of every room in your house, there’s only a couple that you congregate in the most. One room that receives a lot of attention is your kitchen. The kitchen is arguably the heart of the home. Even if you’re not the best cook, the kitchen remains a space where your family and friends gather together. People need to like the look and feel of their kitchens to gather in this space and enjoy being there. Most homeowners do not currently have their “forever” or “dream” kitchen. How can you achieve this? Through kitchen remodeling, of course. 

Whether you plan to stay in your home for some time or eventually move, kitchen remodeling has many benefits. Though it’s a long journey of finding what you want while remaining within your budget, dealing with demolition, and ensuring the project goes smoothly, the end result is well worth it. 

This guide will prepare you for your kitchen remodeling project. In this guide, we will cover the following: 

  • Why homeowners across the country decide to remodel their kitchens and why you should, too
  • Questions you should ask yourself before you decide to remodel
  • The three main types or levels of kitchen remodeling
  • How to budget for your kitchen remodeling project and how to find the right contractor for you
  • The complete step-by-step process of a kitchen remodel and what you can expect as you create your dream kitchen

Why Remodel Your Kitchen

If you’re already considering a kitchen remodel, you likely have a reason. But even if you do, there are still many other reasons why you should that perhaps you hadn’t thought of. If you’re on the fence about a kitchen remodel, don’t worry. We’ll walk you through the various reasons homeowners across the U.S. decide to remodel their kitchens and why you should, too. 

Here are some of the top reasons homeowners decide to undergo a kitchen remodeling project:


Resale Value

Whether you’re preparing to sell your home or are looking ahead to the future when you might sell, resale value is an excellent reason to remodel your kitchen. Remodeling an outdated kitchen or one that doesn’t have space is a smart move before listing your house. Potential homebuyers are looking for a move-in-ready home and rarely want to perform their own remodeling projects. Furthermore, they’re looking for a beautiful, efficient, and up-to-date place. As the kitchen is the heart of the home, they will appreciate a remodeled kitchen. 

According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost Vs. Value Report 2022, the average return on investment (ROI) for a major midrange kitchen remodeling project was 53.4%. For scale, a minor midrange kitchen remodeling project recouped 71.2% of the cost after selling. These numbers alone demonstrate that kitchen remodeling is worth it for those considering selling their homes. 

Add Space

Cramped space is one of the most frustrating things about a kitchen. Adding space through a kitchen remodel remains one of the top reasons homeowners consider kitchen remodeling. This could be due to a lack of square footage, minimal countertop space, or more. For a kitchen to be functional and efficient, it needs wiggle room. This means room to walk around freely, especially when two or more people are using the space at once, and countertop space to work more easily. 

Add Storage

Adding storage is another big reason to remodel your kitchen. When you first moved into your home, perhaps you thought the storage you had in your kitchen was perfect. However, as families grow and expand, that space quickly disappears. As the need for more dishes, pots and pans, and storage containers grow, the storage to put it all shrinks. Furthermore, more and more homeowners want pantries. According to a 2022 survey by HomeAdvisor, the top feature homeowners wanted in their dream kitchen at 65.2% was a walk-in pantry. 


Outdated Kitchen

Every now and then, kitchens need a small touch-up, but if it’s been over a decade since a kitchen has been renovated or remodeled, it might be high time for a refresher. Old kitchens not only can be hazards aesthetically, but they can also be actual hazards. Outdated appliances, countertops, layouts, and wallpapers are all reasons to update and upgrade a kitchen. 

Style and Aesthetics

A change in style or aesthetics is a great reason to remodel a kitchen. Especially as new trends come and go, the look and feel of a kitchen can greatly change over time. One of the huge benefits of remodeling a kitchen for this reason is that it’s less expensive because the changes being made are only cosmetic. When you remodel your kitchen, make sure you do it with your style and aesthetics in mind. 

Improve Efficiency

The efficiency of a kitchen can mean many things. It can mean the navigability around the kitchen, the energy efficiency of updated appliances, or how well it functions as a place for more than one person to work in. Improving the layout through a large remodeling project, seeing savings on energy bills with new appliances, and ensuring there’s countertop space to cook with your family are all ways to improve your kitchen’s efficiency. 


Questions to Ask Yourself Before Kitchen Remodeling

Now that you’ve decided it’s time to rejuvenate your kitchen, you should ask yourself a few pertinent questions. These questions will help you plan this project and ensure you stay on track and don’t end up with a design or plan that won’t work. Consider these questions to be as valuable as the budget for your kitchen remodeling project: 

What is my objective with this kitchen remodel?

Being clear and upfront with your goal for your kitchen remodel will help you throughout the remodeling process and help you or your contractor plan ahead. This question should help you answer what kind of remodel you’re looking for. For instance, a simple cosmetic remodel wouldn’t be useful if you’re fed up with the amount of space you currently have. Think back to the reasons for kitchen remodeling above. 

What is my kitchen remodeling budget? 

One of the biggest questions you’ll have to ask yourself before you contact a contractor or buy the materials for your kitchen remodel is what your budget is. This can seem like a daunting question, especially if you don’t know where to start, but luckily there are plenty of tools and resources available. Several tools are available online to help you calculate your dream kitchen’s cost, such as Remodeling Calculator’s calculator. Generally speaking, however, it’s a good idea not to spend more than 15% of your home’s value on any remodeling project. Part of answering this question will include how you will pay and what financing a contractor can provide if you plan to use one.

Will I live in my home during the remodel?

When it comes to the duration of a remodeling project, knowing whether or not you’ll be living at home is a huge consideration to make. If you’re looking for a speedy kitchen remodel, one of the best things you can do is live elsewhere during the remodeling period. While living at home is fine, it can mean the project takes longer, especially if workers have to work around you. If you are completing the kitchen remodeling project, living at home can lead to complacency in completing the project promptly. 

Furthermore, staying in your home can lead to issues with cleanliness and safety. If you have young children, living elsewhere or making arrangements for them to be out of the house may be in your best interest.

Can I perform the remodel myself, or will I need a contractor?

To do the job yourself or to hire a contractor–that is the question. Answering this question will help you understand your kitchen remodels objective. For example, if you plan only to replace countertops, add a backsplash, and replace appliances, you likely won’t need the help of a contractor. If you plan to change the layout of your kitchen, relocate appliances and rearrange electrical and plumbing lines, or start from the ground up with a new kitchen, you will benefit from the expertise of a contractor. Rely on the professional expertise of a contractor for heavier-duty remodeling.

The Three Types of Kitchen Remodeling

What kitchen remodeling category you want is helpful knowledge for any homeowner as they decide their budget, plan, and design options. Each type of kitchen remodel is based on square footage, kitchen size, the scope of the work being performed, and materials used. According to Bankrate, there are three categories, and these are: 

Knowing what each category entails can help you and your contractor or designer define what you want from your kitchen remodel and where the money should be spent appropriately.

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Small or Minor Remodel

Otherwise referred to as a cosmetic remodel, small or minor kitchen remodels are all about changing up the look of the kitchen. They are typically a less expensive remodel because they don’t involve much demolition. The current kitchen’s layout and size are kept the same, but various style changes are made. These might include the following: 

  • Painting 
  • Flooring
  • Backsplash
  • Light fixtures
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Cabinet refacing
  • Countertops
  • New appliances

Because small or minor kitchen remodels are primarily cosmetic, most homeowners decide to forego hiring a contractor and keep the project purely DIY. There is no shame in choosing a contractor, though, especially as some items on the aforementioned list require a bit more heavy lifting. Just be aware that hiring a contractor to help will increase the final cost of the kitchen remodel.

Midrange or Partial Remodel

Much more is involved with a midrange or partial remodel than a cosmetic one. Homeowners will choose a partial remodel when they are not happy with the current look and function of their kitchen. This kitchen remodel category aims to update the look, improve efficiency in the kitchen, and change the layout. Unlike a minor kitchen remodel, a partial one will likely require a contractor. 

A partial kitchen remodel might include the following: 

  • Custom cabinetry
  • High-end countertops
  • New kitchen layout
  • New flooring
  • Extra cabinetry
  • Island addition
  • New appliances
  • More space/storage
  • New electrical/plumbing 

Major or Upscale Remodel

A major or upscale remodel is the most complex and involved of the three kitchen remodel types. In this remodel, virtually everything is changed, so it is the most expensive kitchen remodel to undergo. The kitchen layout is changed, the space might be enlargened, and utilities change location. Keep in mind that this type of remodeling might involve building permits, depending entirely on the scale. You might even consider living elsewhere during this type of kitchen remodel due to the amount of demolition involved. 

A major kitchen remodel might include the following: 

  • Gutting the previous kitchen
  • Knocking down walls 
  • Enlargening the space
  • Extending the square footage of the kitchen
  • Premium materials
  • Custom storage
  • Top-of-the-line appliances

How to Budget for a Kitchen Remodel

Once you’ve asked yourself the appropriate questions and determined what kind of kitchen remodel you’re ready for, it’s time to talk budget. Perhaps the most pertinent part of the process next to planning the design, finding the right budget for you is incredibly important. Not only because it’s the amount of money you’re ready to spend but also because it will remain a guideline for you as you plan out what you can afford. Have some design ideas in mind as you go into planning your budget. This will make your budget more accurate. 

Here are some things to think about that we’ll talk about in regards to budgeting for a kitchen remodel: 

If you’re looking to complete a kitchen remodel on a budget, check out this blog post on some ways you can save during your project. 

Average Kitchen Remodeling Cost

According to HomeAdvisor, a typical kitchen remodel costs between $13,388 and $38,268. Roughly speaking, the average price a homeowner spends on a kitchen remodel is $25,834, or $150 per square foot. This is a big range and may be hard to decipher what your remodel will cost, but luckily for most homeowners, this is the range their kitchen remodel will fall under. Several factors influence this price range, and we will cover those below. 

Factors That Affect Your Budget

Aside from the type of kitchen remodel you choose, other factors will affect the final price of your project. These include: 

  • Where you live
  • Features and appliances you want
  • Style
  • Materials
  • Structure or layout changes
  • Contractor’s price

As we mentioned above, many different online remodeling calculators are available to better understand what you can expect to spend. These calculators consider all the aforementioned factors when calculating your project’s cost. In addition to checking out these online calculators, reach out to several contractors in your area for quotes. This will also help you determine what you might spend and give you a better idea of what contractor you might choose for your project. 

Factors That Affect Your Budget

Aside from the type of kitchen remodel you choose, other factors will affect the final price of your project. These include: 

  • Where you live
  • Features and appliances you want
  • Style
  • Materials
  • Structure or layout changes
  • Contractor’s price

As we mentioned above, many different online remodeling calculators are available to better understand what you can expect to spend. These calculators consider all the aforementioned factors when calculating your project’s cost. In addition to checking out these online calculators, reach out to several contractors in your area for quotes. This will also help you determine what you might spend and give you a better idea of what contractor you might choose for your project. 

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Kitchen Remodeling Budget Breakdown

To further break things down, let’s talk about breaking down each individual aspect of your budget. Knowing what each part of your kitchen remodel costs can help you understand where your money is going during the remodel. Furthermore, it can help you know where you need to choose a different material or forego an aspect of your kitchen remodel entirely. 

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) has created an average kitchen remodeling budget breakdown to help homeowners understand what a complete breakdown looks like. Remember that these numbers might not apply to your kitchen remodeling project as you choose what type of kitchen remodel you want. 

  • Cabinetry: 29%
  • Installation: 17%
  • Appliances: 14%
  • Countertops: 10%
  • Flooring: 7%
  • Lighting: 5%
  • Walls and Ceilings: 5%
  • Design Fees: 4%
  • Windows and Doors: 4%
  • Plumbing: 4%
  • Miscellaneous: 1%

It is also highly recommended that you set aside 25% of your budget for any unforeseen expenses. This will help negate the surprise of any problems that could arise during the remodeling process. 

How to Pay for a Kitchen Remodel

When it comes to kitchen remodeling, you are not bound by one option to pay for your remodel. There are several ways to pay for a kitchen remodel, and so multiple ways can be used to pay for it. One situation might be more viable than another, so it depends entirely on what you can do. 

These are the methods homeowners can use to pay for a kitchen remodel:

  • Cash
  • Savings
  • Credit cards
  • Home remodeling loans
  • Home equity line of credit (HELOC)
  • Home equity loans
  • Cash-out refinance
  • Federal programs

Before you choose how you will pay, work out your budget. This will help you understand what kind of method you need to use to pay for your kitchen remodeling project with a good financial plan.


Finding the Right Kitchen Remodeling Contractor 

Now that you’ve got a general or perhaps a very distinct grasp on your budget and design for your kitchen remodeling project, it’s time to talk about contractors. While your project might not be as involved and require a contractor, knowing how to find a good contractor is still useful. You never know when you might require their assistance. 

As it stands, there are two excellent ways to find a kitchen remodeling contractor. These are reading online reviews and asking people you know for referrals. 

Many contractors have their businesses listed online, making it easy for homeowners to peruse contractors in their area and learn more about their services. Better yet, there are reviews online that are readily available for people to view to know which contractors are highly rated. Don’t pick the first contractor you see, however. Visit multiple sites and read many reviews. Most homeowners who choose the first contractor they’re recommended will find that the project cost much more than others and was not done as well as other contractors could’ve. 

You might consider just scouring Google for potential contractors, but word of mouth is the best way to find a qualified professional. Relatives, friends, and neighbors are all sources you can use to inform you who they had a good experience with. They might recommend someone who you didn’t find online or someone who you crossed off your list. Don’t hesitate to ask them what made their experience positive and what suggestions they would give you when working with that contractor. 

Aside from the price tag the contractor will give you, there are many other things you should ask for. These include: 

References and Reviews

A good contractor has a list of references of people they have worked for in the past. These references are not just tools for the contractor to use to display their work–they’re also tools for you to use to follow up on reviews. References that a contractor might give you will include an address and phone number, and some references will allow you to come to their home to see the work that was completed. This isn’t always the case. Some will simply take pictures and will send them to you. 

If you get to talk to a reference, there are several questions you should ask: 

  • What was the extent of the work the contractors did?
  • Did the contractors stay on budget?
  • Was the project completed within the allotted time frame? 
  • Were there any problems during the project? If so, how were they resolved?
  • What was the experience like with the subcontractors and crew members? 
  • Was the job site clean and organized?
  • How did the contractor communicate with you throughout the project?
  • Is there any advice you would offer for working with this contractor?

After talking with the reference, feel free to head back online and read online reviews. You can find reviews on several platforms, including Google, Yelp, HomeAdvisor, Angi’s List, Houzz, and Thumbtack. Read both positive and negative reviews. The negative and positive reviews that will be most beneficial to you are those that discuss a similar project as yours. 


Most contractors will have galleries or portfolios of their past work on their website for you to view, but during contractor interviews, you can ask for images they have of their past work. If a contractor is hesitant to show you any of their past work, that is a major red flag. Looking at past work is critical for choosing a contractor as it will show you what the contractor is capable of. 


For your safety and the quality of your work, it’s important to choose a contractor with all the proper credentials. This means ensuring your contractor is bonded, licensed, and insured. In some states and areas, certain contractors’ licenses are even required. When looking for a contractor’s license number, some will have this information readily displayed on their website. If they don’t have a website or it’s not there, ask for it. Ask for copies of their license, insurance, and bonds. Just like a contractor who refuses to show you their portfolio, a contractor who refuses to show you their license number is another red flag, and it’s for the best you don’t choose this contractor. 

Years of Experience

A contractor’s years of experience are a helpful hint that can tell you how long a contractor has been in the industry and, thus, how well they will complete your kitchen remodeling project. You can find this information on their website or ask in person through a consultation. It’s important to remember that while the business might not have years of experience, the contractor or manager overseeing your remodel might. 


Traits of a Good Contractor

In today’s day and age, transparency is key. When people pay for a service or product, they want to know everything upfront. Especially in the case of a kitchen remodel, it’s pertinent that customer-contractor understanding is met. Transparency isn’t the only good trait in a contractor, however. Here is a list of several others:

  • Availability throughout the project
  • Upfront about price
  • Provides itemized list of costs
  • Provides bid in 24-48 hours
  • Prompt arrival time
  • Direct and upfront about any problems
  • Mention ways to contact them and when is the best time to do so
  • Encourages questions, comments, and concerns

Other Questions to Ask

By following this guide, you will be capable of making the best possible choice for your kitchen remodeling contractor. To further help, here is a list of other questions you might consider asking contractors in your search for the best one, recommended by the National Association of The Remodeling Industry (NARI)

  • Who will be assigned as project supervisor for my kitchen remodel?
  • Will employees or subcontractors be working on my project?
  • Does your company carry workers compensation and liability insurance?
  • What is your approach to a project like mine?
  • How many projects like mine have you completed in the last year?

The Complete Kitchen Remodeling Process

Kitchen remodeling day has finally arrived. You’ve chosen your contractor, finalized the design, and have the finances planned out for your project. Now it’s just time to get started. Below is a complete, general kitchen remodeling process. Some steps might not apply to your remodel, but this is generally what you can expect. If you have hired a contractor, check in with them on what you can expect your kitchen remodeling process to look like. 

Planning and Design

Depending on the contractor you choose, they may have an in-house designer who will work with you or a design studio they’ve partnered with. If you haven’t chosen a contractor, then the design portion of the job will fall to you. The design phase can take several weeks as you go through various drafts. Working with a designer has the additional benefit of being able to see 2D and 3D models of what your space will look like. 

This stage will also be all about materials. You’ll be able to choose which materials you’d like to use, and a designer and contractor will give you feedback on your choices. Furthermore, designers and contractors will offer their creative input to help you choose the best materials.

Once the design is approved, it’s time for preparations for the remodel. The contractor will ensure the proper materials are ordered, apply for permits if not already done, and schedule the start date with you. The kitchen remodel will be underway as soon as the materials arrive. 



If you recall the three main types of kitchen remodeling, this stage will depend on the scale of your project. A cosmetic remodel will not require nearly as much demolition as a major kitchen remodel. A higher-tier remodel will involve gutting the kitchen and removing old materials. If any walls need to be demolished, this will happen during this stage. 

Plumbing and Electrical

Once the kitchen has been ripped up and the walls are where they need to be for your new kitchen, the plumbing and electrical framework will need to be replaced. All of the significant connections will occur later, but plumbing and electrical will be installed during this stage. An inspection will be needed once it is in place. A contractor will ensure inspections are scheduled accordingly. 

Drywall, Paint, and Flooring

Now your kitchen will start to look like a kitchen again. Walls and flooring will be installed during this stage. The drywall will take a couple of days to complete, and the flooring will vary depending on what material you chose. Painting will also occur during this stage after the drywall has settled. 

Cabinets and Countertops

Everything is starting to come together. New cabinets and countertops will be installed once the room is ready. Depending on the cabinets, this can take up to three days, but this step is typically done quickly. Once the cabinets are secured, the countertops will be secured on top.

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Backsplash and Appliances

Once the backsplash and appliances are ready to go in, the end is in sight. Appliances will be installed into their proper spaces in the kitchen. Plumbing and electrical will be finalized at this time as well. If you have chosen a backsplash, it will finally be time for that to go in. Most people choose tile, but a beautiful stone or brick is also common. No matter what you choose, your dream kitchen will finally come together in this stage.

Finalizing the Kitchen Remodel

During this step, the contractor will finally reveal the space to you in its completion. The contractor will sort the last few details, and you can ensure the remodel is to your satisfaction. Before you can use your dream kitchen, however, an inspection will need to be scheduled. Once the inspection has been given the green light, the kitchen remodel is complete. All that’s left to do is enjoy your dream kitchen.


Frequently Asked Questions

How long does kitchen remodeling take? 

A kitchen remodel can take three to four months to complete, but this depends on the project’s extent. This timeframe can be elongated or shortened depending on a number of factors, such as the type of kitchen remodel, the size of the kitchen, any failed inspections, and backorders with materials. 

How much does it cost to remodel a kitchen?

As mentioned above, the cost of your kitchen remodel will depend on a number of factors. This will include where you live, materials you choose, labor costs, and what type of kitchen remodel you’re looking for. According to HomeAdvisor, a typical kitchen remodel costs between $13,388 and $38,268.

How do I know what building permits are required for my kitchen remodel?

Generally speaking, cosmetic remodels should not require any permits. Cosmetic remodeling involves refacing cabinets, painting, changing light fixtures, and so on. 

Building codes will be set by your city, town, or country and vary greatly. A contractor will know what building codes they need to follow. 

A building permit is typically only required when structural changes are being made to the space, such as building an extension or replacing walls. This will also include electrical and plumbing changes. 

You should work closely with your contractor to understand what permits need to be allowed for. As for building codes, consult local legislation to ensure your kitchen remodel is done properly.