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7 Things to Consider Before Starting a Kitchen Remodel

7 Things to Consider Before Starting a Kitchen Remodel

For almost every homeowner, there comes a time when your outdated, run-down kitchen needs a completely fresh start. That doesn’t mean you get out a hammer and start smashing your cabinets like on a home makeover show. Planning a kitchen remodeling Chicago project requires a great team and lots of planning. To best prepare yourself for a successful kitchen renovation, consider your thoughts on these key items.

  • Set Your Budget

First and foremost, and especially before choosing backsplash patterns, you will need to determine your budget. Setting a realistic budget for your project ensures you are adequately covered and will not have to make compromises on quality or design. Additionally, kitchen upgrades have a significant return-on-investment when you go to sell your home (more on that later) so it pays in the long-term to have a proper budget.

How Much Does a Kitchen Remodel Cost?

According to HomeAdvisor, the national average cost to remodel a kitchen is around $25,000 with the typical range starting at $13,000 and going up to $38,000. The actual cost of a kitchen remodel will vary significantly from region-to-region. Also, keep in mind factors such as inflation, material backorders, and labor shortages that can creep the cost up even higher for your ideal architectural design.

Talk to local design build contractors to see what a realistic budget would be for your project. This will help you determine the exact scope and whether you can include that deluxe 8-burner range or not. If you are concerned about funding your project, there are many different ways to pay for a home renovation. These options include leveraging your home’s equity or taking out a home improvement loan.

  • Evaluate Your Layout

Over the past decade or two, kitchens have become the heart of the home. Not only do you need a functional space for cooking; ideally you can also socialize, host friends, play games, do homework, etc. in this mission control space. There is a good chance your existing layout just isn’t cutting it for all of these functions.

If you choose to work with design build contractors to complete your kitchen remodeling Chicago project, a trained designer will walk you through your layout options. Your home’s optimal kitchen layout should be highly functional and actually ease your day-to-day needs. Here are a few key layout components to think about:

Kitchen Working Triangle

You may have heard of this concept before when it comes to kitchen design. The kitchen working triangle is a recommendation that the location of your sink, stove, and fridge connect in a triangular shape and at a certain distance. In doing so, your kitchen is optimized for efficiently moving between the appliances as you cook. Not all kitchen layouts can accommodate this “rule,” but it is something you and your designer should consider.

Island vs. Peninsula (vs. Neither vs. Both)

Everyone’s dream is to have a big, beautiful island smack dab in the center of their kitchen. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. If you have the floor space, a detached island is a great choice to create a gathering zone in your kitchen. Where floor space is limited, a peninsula, with one side attached to other cabinetry or a wall, can still provide great seating options. In galley kitchens, there is typically no room for either. In very large kitchens, you could accommodate both.

Storage, Storage Everywhere

There are plenty of kitchen remodels out there that look absolutely beautiful, but are not practical when it comes to storage. Talk with your architectural design professional about how you can maximize storage in your space. A wall of cabinets, an oversized pantry, or a unique, hidden storage solution is an ideal solution for all of your random kitchen gadgets. When planning your storage options, keep in mind open shelving only provides about a third of the storage space as a traditional closed cabinet.

  • Do Your Research

While quality design build contractors will walk you through all of the important decisions that need to be made for a kitchen remodeling Chicago project, it is in your best interest to come to the table with some prior knowledge. Complete a little preliminary research in these categories to ensure you have practical expectations before meeting with your design professional:

  • Material Choices – Countertops, backsplashes, cabinets, flooring, paint – oh my! The architectural design of your new kitchen will require lots of decision making. Budget, quality, durability, and style are all factors in choosing the finishes for your space. Consider all of the options available to you and begin to narrow those down to your top picks.
  • Design Style & Color Palette – With hundreds of styles and colors to choose from, landing on the right interior design style for your new kitchen can feel overwhelming. Before meeting with design build contractors, use sites such as Pinterest and Instagram to find the styles and colors best suited for you. Save these photos on your phone so you and your designer can get on the same page.
  • Appliance Brands – Appliances can be a costly line item when budgeting for your kitchen remodel. You can choose budget appliances, luxury models, or anywhere in between. Compare the cost and capabilities of many brands and varieties in order to make an informed purchase decision.
  • Consider Your Needs vs. Wants

Everyone has a picture in their head of what their dream kitchen looks like. Alas, this dream does not always coincide with reality. To keep your budget in check and your architectural design realistic, you should evaluate your needs versus your wants. Typically, this means prioritizing function over style. Consider these questions to determine the needs of your kitchen renovation:

  • How do you use your kitchen day-to-day? How would you like to use it?
  • What do you like about your current kitchen? What do you hate?
  • What is the main reason for renovating your kitchen?
  • What are common issues you run into while cooking, hosting, or cleaning?
  • Are the walkways in and around your kitchen sufficient?

Once you answer these questions, you can start to prioritize and budget for the crucial changes you need to make. Only after functionality factors have been accounted for can you start to consider your wants. Wants are items that won’t necessarily affect your day-to-day, but could be an added bonus. These include high-end appliances, particular material choices, and other designer upgrades.

  • Don’t Forget the Unknowns

In absolutely every kitchen renovation project, an unknown condition will present itself that requires more time and more money to manage. During the demolition phase, your design build contractors may find moisture damage, rotted drywall, lead or asbestos, or faulty plumbing or wiring. It is impossible to know the exact scope and impact of these unknown conditions before starting the project, but it is possible to plan for them with a contingency fund.

What is a Renovation Contingency Fund?

A contingency fund is a portion of your budget that is allocated for these unexpected occurrences. Experts suggest setting aside approximately 10 to 20 percent of your overall budget for these unknown conditions. The more you are able to set aside, the better.

In a best case scenario, these funds are left over at the end of your project and can go back into your savings or be used for supplemental projects items like furniture. In a worst case scenario, a substantial unexpected condition occurs, such as damaged structural elements. Talk with your contractor to determine how this will affect the overall budget.

  • Understand the Return-on-Investment

Your home is an asset that can increase or decrease in value while you own it. Making certain upgrades to your home, such as installing new windows or replacing the roof, can actually increase the value of your home and allow you to recoup some of the cost of the upgrades in the future: a return-on-investment.

What is the ROI for a Kitchen Remodel?

According to Zillow, the national midrange major kitchen remodel ROI is 59 percent. This means for a $50,000 kitchen remodel, you will receive back about $30,000 upon the sale of your home. 

Return-on-investment is an important factor to consider if you plan on selling your home in the next few years. You will want to make upgrades that would appeal to a wide range of buyers and be sure not to over-upgrade. If you plan on staying in your home long-term, it is perfectly acceptable to add those personal touches that may not necessarily wager a return.

  • Know Your Environmental Impact

From the materials you choose to the energy you consume, your kitchen remodeling Chicago project will have some impact on the overall environment. Choosing design build contractors who are also experts in green building and design will allow you to feel confident in your kitchen design decisions as they affect your carbon footprint. Green building and design professionals may incorporate some of the following sustainable ideas into your kitchen project:

  • Low VOC & Solvent-Free Paints and Sealants
  • Energy-Star Rated Windows
  • Recycled or Reclaimed Materials
  • Energy-Efficient Appliances, Lighting, and Fixtures
  • Sustainably-Sourced Materials
  • Green Tech Integrations

Shopping local is another environmentally-friendly green building and design option to consider during your kitchen remodel. Opting for kitchen suppliers that source local materials reduces your project’s overall carbon footprint.

Bringing your dream kitchen to life is a lot easier with the right design build contractors. Working alongside a professional team, such as EcoBuild+ in Chicagoland, ensures you can feel comfortable in your design decisions from day one to day done. At EcoBuild+, we take obsolete, outdated spaces and turn them into functional, eco-friendly showpieces. Let’s discuss your kitchen remodeling project – contact us today for a free consultation!

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