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Do the Job Right: 7 Vital Kitchen Remodel Tips

Joanna Gaines. Does that name bring visions of a farmhouse-chic, airy kitchen to mind? Are you dreaming of shiplap accent walls?

It’s understandable. HGTV can act like one heck of a drug when you’re thinking about remodeling. But you have to remember, those are TV shows, not real life.

You don’t have that budget (probably) or that level of professional help. We know that.

That’s why we chose these regular-people-friendly kitchen remodel tips.

1. Have a Vision in Mind

Before you so much as call a contractor, go to your local grocery store and find the magazine aisle. There are all sorts of choices there, from adult tips to kitchen tile catalogs to wedding planning guides.

Find two or three interior design magazines, hopefully kitchen related, and take them home. Go through them and see what you like in a kitchen.

Pinterest is great, but there’s nothing like cutting pictures out of magazines to take you back to your childhood. Get a poster board or the back of an Amazon box, and tape/glue aspects of the kitchen you love.

Or just lay them out. If it sounds silly, that’s okay. It’s the best way to see how all the elements you like to work together. You may find that the eggplant purple stove range you love (it’s a trend) makes those Ikea cabinets you love look grey instead of white.

You can skip this step if you’d like, but it’s a fun evening project to work on at the end of the day.

If you’re more of a technology person than scissors and glue person, there are online simulations you can try (see options here).

2. Set a Budget and Leave Wiggle Room

Anyone worth their HGTV knows when you set a budget on a home project, it always ends up going over.

On Property Brothers, they’re always calling the homeowners saying, “I have some bad news. The foundation is rotting.” Or something like that.

While your foundation shouldn’t come up as an issue in a kitchen remodel, you will run into extra costs—like drawer pulls. Did you budget in for those? Or you might come across broken glass or a cracked something or other you have to send back.

When you make a budget, leave at least two hundred dollars as wiggle room and don’t spend it. It can be hard to see that money sitting there unused, but it’ll be worth it when some small annoyance arises.

3. Work in Sections

If you’re like the average American homeowner, and you can’t throw $30,000 down on your kitchen in one swoop. You need to work in sections. You can work from the top down or bottom up. Whatever you have the budget for.

That means replacing your cabinets but living with the ugly linoleum tile for a few more months. Unless you’re selling your home soon, there’s really no timeline.

And if you do section by section, you can wait to see if those tiles you love randomly go on sale. Savings on savings on savings!

The same holds true for getting new appliances. Did you know you can spend three thousand or more on a fridge? Talk about pricy. Even if you’re financing, that’s a big chunk of cash.

Set about three or six months for your project, depending on your budget. Maybe you do one thing every month or two. It takes a lot of patience, but it’ll be worth the savings and the lower credit utilization in the future.

If you can’t wait and need a change right away, do something small that has a big impact. Like painting an accent wall and adding in lighting.

There are cool things you can do to plain old Formica countertops too with some paint and resin. You don’t have to spend big bucks to make it look like you did.

4. Keep the Home in Mind

While you might love the super-sleek look of all Ikea everything, does it fit with the rest of the house? If you have a historical, Victorian home, do those glass cabinets really do it justice?

You don’t have to go completely traditional, just keep the home’s color schemes in mind. For example, if there are wood floors and design aspects all around the house, wood-looking cabinets might be a better fit.

5. Don’t Move the Plumbing

We can’t emphasize this enough. Moving plumbing is expensive. It’s a pain, and it takes a long time.

While it might be nice to have the stove and the sink right next to each other, the cost of moving the sink is not worth it. Just walk the three feet and invest in these cool, scoopable cutting boards.

6. Get Consultations

Really wish you could work with an interior designer but don’t have the cash? Many designers will sit down for a free consultation and give you ideas for the space.

Even if it’s the person on staff at your local tile store, take advantage of free services, but don’t take advantage of the person. It’s okay to tell them you don’t have the budget to hire them right now, but don’t be rude and dismissive.

The least you can do to thank someone for their time is to take a few cards. If someone asks you if you know an interior designer, now you have a name to give them.

7. By All Means, Go Green!

When it’s time for you to buy new appliances, make sure they’re efficient. It’ll cost more up front but save you money on utilities later. Plus, it’s good for the earth, and it gives the house a better resale value.

The Eco-star is what you want to look for when it comes to green machines.

Kitchen Remodel Tips in Action

With some time, patience, and some elbow grease, you’ll get the kitchen of your dreams. Hopefully, we helped you get there with these kitchen remodel tips.

If you need more kitchen inspiration or just need someone to call and help with the big stuff, check our listings here