Okay you guys,
You don’t need me to tell you how expensive a kitchen renovation can be! And you surely don’t need me to explain how important a kitchen remodeling can be!
But we often fall into two traps.
Consider these possible two case scenarios:
Scenario number 1:
Your kitchen sink is old and looks worn. So you decide to get a new one and along buy a faucet. Before the tech arrives to install them, you stare at them and think that a new counter would look lovely too. After all, you already have made the appointment with the tech and it’s so hard to find them these days. So you pop to Home Depot and get yourself a new counter too. Once everything is installed and you have already spent a small fortune out of the blue, you realize how bad the cabinets under the countertop look in comparison. Before you know it, your debt load is increased due to the kitchen’s renovation.
What happens here is that you are drawn in the swirl of a chain of reactions or else the domino effect. One need creates another and so forth. Before you know it, the whole kitchen is remodeled, your credit card has hit the roof, and you are wondering whether or not it was worth it.
Scenario number 2:
You are tired of the kitchen walls, cabinets, countertop, and old style light fixtures. And so you decide to bring down walls along with the entire kitchen. You design and remodel from scratch spending literally thousands of dollars. The results are more than satisfactory but once the first excitement goes away, you are wondering whether or not it was worth renovating the entire kitchen! Did you have to toss all appliances and get new ones? Were all cabinets worn?
Now, if you can afford a full kitchen renovation, go ahead. Knock yourself out and enjoy every minute of it! But how about if you can’t?
Both of these scenarios are plausible. We can easily get carried away by our need to make our kitchens more modern and spacious that we forget to weigh our needs. And ‘need’ is the keyword here.
When do we really need a full kitchen remodeling?
- When it is old enough to belong to the museum
- When calamities, like fire or water damage, have destroyed most parts of the kitchen and there is a lingering odor
- When our kitchen is the main family room, where we spend half our day in there cooking
- When we have the money and feel like renovating
In a different case, we just let a simple fix cost us a few thousand dollars (ouch!!!)
Yes, but is settling for less a good idea, you ask?
When you choose to remodel the kitchen, you must have a good reason or a deep pocket! Changing a few things in the kitchen and choosing to do only limited kitchen improvements is not settling for less. It’s the rational way or the frugal way (if you will) to take care of home related problems.
Do you know what will help? Sleeping on it!
Kitchen remodeling projects cost a lot, make a mess, need good planning, and take some time! So, discussing the prospect with your family and balancing your needs and wants are both important. Don’t rush into making a decision. At the end, you might decide to go for a full renovation for your own reasons but the decision must be made after you think about it over and over again.
Just keep in mind that:
- A kitchen renovation is certainly one way to increase the resale value – if you plan to sell the house soon. If you will put the house on the market six years from today, the renovation won’t be new anymore. And then, ask yourself how much more you can get for the house! Will it compensate for the kitchen remodeling expense?
- Remodeling a kitchen you never step foot in is not actually worth it. If you never cook or eat at home and don’t even know how to turn on the stove, why spend money?
And while we are at it, here some food for thought:
- Balance your needs and wants. I mean do you really need kitchen improvements or fell in love with a kitchen at Lowe’s? It’s one thing needing to remodel the kitchen to make it more functional and another thing caring just for the aesthetical Even if you decide in favor of the latter, it’s best to be a conscious decision so that you won’t regret it later.
- Count your dollars. Do you have enough money to remodel or the debt load will get higher?
- Are you going to live in this house for a long time? If yes, is the rest of the house in a good condition? Although kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects are the most important ones, you must consider which other improvements you want to make the house more livable and impressive. This will help you make better choices in relation to your finances too.
- Think of how much the home would sell in this particular neighborhood. It’s not worth spending $50,000 for a kitchen remodeling alone when the house value won’t exceed $150,000.
- Ask for quotes. Since each kitchen is different, it’s good to have an approximate estimate of what it will cost you to remodel. But keep in mind that it always costs more by the end of the project (somehow, something always comes up to increase the initial budget).
Once your thoughts are organized, here’s what to do:
- Focus on what you need: lights/plumbing/furniture/floors/walls – you name it. Which parts of the kitchen would really need replacement? Can you replace one without creating a ‘chain of reaction’ which will lead you to replace other parts too?
- Decide on how much space you need. Don’t forget that if this is a regular family kitchen, you need space to move. Since kitchens are busy on their own; try not to overload it with furniture you don’t really need. You need to move around with ease even if somebody is standing beside you helping you with the dishes.
- Don’t forget that the trio: sink, fridge, range must form a triangle for your convenience.
- Focus on storage room. I have heard people saying that we often overdo it with storage space in the kitchen. I simply disagree. There are way too many things to fit in one kitchen. And the task of finding smart ways to keep everything neat and within easy reach without overcrowding the counter is really hard – especially in small kitchens.
And then, there are a few more major issues:
- YOUR Lifestyle
- Is this a family kitchen, where the kids gather to study, parents cook, and everyone eats on the table? You should focus on task areas and thus task lights and make sure there is plenty of counter space.
Check out some fabulous lighting options here
- Is this a bachelor’s kitchen hardly used and only for entertaining friends here and there? In this case, you need to keep it minimal. If you like gourmet style kitchens, you won’t need to focus on storage space so much as on wine coolers, some counter space for food prep, and good appliances.
- Is the kitchen connected to other rooms?
If this is an open plan kitchen or plan to bring down a wall to make it an open plan kitchen, it’s worth remodeling. It’s not just about making a good impression to guests although this is significant too. It’s mostly about you feeling the house neat. And it helps when there is space in the kitchen to store everything and keep it tidy.
- Do you need repairs or aesthetic improvements
Sometimes, the looks of the kitchen change completely with a few repairs. More often than not, changing a faucet, getting a new pendant, painting the walls, or replacing the cabinet hardware can do the trick. And they will definitely cost a lot less than remodeling the whole kitchen.
As an overall, you must gain from your kitchen remodeling project. What could you gain?
- Pleasure and comfort by cooking and preparing food in a lovely environment
- More room space
- More storage room
- More counter space
So, what do we have here? A kitchen renovation is mostly about space!
- Don’t get an island if you lack the space – at least not a big one
- Don’t overcrowd the kitchen with unnecessary furniture
- Never give up counter/task space
- Don’t lose the tree in the forest. Every little thing in the kitchen must have its place – from napkins to cutlery. So do pay attention to the big picture
- Do invest in more cabinets
- Pay attention to aesthetics (by all means) but never back away from functionality
- Enjoy every minute of it whatever you decide
And never forget that any home improvement project is done to make you feel more comfortable without making you worry about new debts! So, think, plan, and smile!