Whether your kitchen is past due for a makeover or you’re only dreaming about what could be, start with our Kitchen Planning Guide.
SECTION 1: PLANNING GUIDE
Your kitchen should reflect your lifestyle. Start by thinking about how you use your kitchen and what you need and want on a daily basis.
kitchen renovation is a major undertaking. Before you dive in, you’ll need to take a hard look at how you’re using your current kitchen and what you want this remodel to accomplish. The Day in the Life of Your Kitchen Questionnaire will help you assess the activities that take place in your kitchen and how the room is stacking up to your needs.
After completing the Day in the Life of Your Kitchen Questionnaire, think about what you want and need from a kitchen remodel and fill out the Kitchen Goals Worksheet. You’ll use these exercises to create a road map to a successful kitchen renovation.
And don’t forget about your budget!
Once you get a better idea of your remodeling plan, explore kitchen designs here in our houzz ideas book and projects that suit your daily needs and special occasions, whether you’re an epicurean or an entertainer. Find inspiration in these common kitchen types:
- Gourmet Kitchen
- Entertaining Kitchen
- Family-Centered Kitchen
SECTION 2: SETTING BUDGETS
Create a wish list, fin out what’s available and choose backup options.
The kitchen is one of the most complicated remodeling projects because of all the decisions you will make throughout the process. We’ll walk you through this with our planning and buying guides, covering everything from foundation appliances, cabinetry, surfaces and finishes to sustainable products and extras like wine coolers and microwave drawers.
According to Remodeling magazine, a major kitchen renovation can result in a return on investment of between 61 and 70 percent of the cost.
SECTION 3: CHOOSING MATERIALS
Counter tops set the tone for the kitchen, so choose materials and a look that not only reflect your style, but also are in line with how you use the kitchen.
Granite is on the must-have list for many home buyers. But engineered stone products made primarily of quartz are replacing granite in high-end design today, and their functionality as a stain-resistant, durable, sleek-looking surface fulfills lifestyle and aesthetic prerequisites for many.
Burgin says half his clients go with granite, and half go with a quartz surface. Jorge Castillo, whose clients want modern kitchens, chooses quartz for its consistency. He would rather the focus be on a dramatic statuary marble back splash than the work surface. “One of the reasons I like Caesar Stone and Cambria is because it doesn’t make the kitchen busy,” he says.
Meanwhile, concrete has come a long way. With more colors and a sleek finish, today’s concrete surfaces are more durable. Crushed glass surfaces provide an opulent focal point.
Here’s a wrap-up of work space surfaces and how they stand up in the kitchen environment. Keep in mind, counter tops may dictate the kitchen design and are sometimes chosen before cabinetry.
Granite. Riding a wave of popularity for the last several years as the surface for counter tops, granite is available in several grades, generally 1 through 5 (ratings depend on where you buy it), patterns, colors and thicknesses. Depending on what you choose, a slab can cost you anywhere from $30 per square foot for modular pieces of very basic stone purchased at a home center to upwards of $1,000 per square foot. Thickness can really drive up the cost. If you want granite on a budget, you might consider a three-quarter inch thick slab rather than an inch and a half slab, where you’re more likely to get your money back at resale.
Engineered stone. These are your quartz surfaces composed of 93 percent quartz particles and available in a larger range of colors than granite. Prices are comparable, sometimes more. The nonporous surface resists scratches and stains, and manufacturers generally offer a warranty. Brands include Cambria Quartz, Silestone, CaesarStone, LG Viatera and DuPont Zodiac.
Laminates. The surface, frequently referred to by the brand-name Formica, is plastic-coated and available in a range of colors—including surfaces that resemble granite. If your budget is tight and you’re doing a quick-and-dirty kitchen overhaul, this is a solution within reach. You’ll have to weigh the resale pros and cons: Does your home value require granite? (It’s not a bad idea to check out real estate comparables.)
Soapstone. These pewter-toned counter tops are ideal for historic renovations, such as this one by Superior Homes. They darken over time and require regular maintenance with mineral oil applications, but people like the smooth feel and rich character.
Ceramic tile. You can lay it on the floor, wall and, yes, counter tops. You can recover an existing surface, which appeals to DIYers. And with a wide range of colors and textures available in tiles today, options are seemingly endless. But remember, tiles do crack. And perhaps the biggest down side: tiles require grouting.
Concrete counter tops add an industrial touch to this earthy kitchen design.
Concrete. Cast concrete counters can be poured to suit counter tops of all shapes. They can be cast in the kitchen, or produced off-site and installed after the fact. The great thing about concrete is its durability. Plus, today’s concrete is even stronger because of treatments that eliminate cracking and seal the surface so it’s less porous. This style suits a modern kitchen—concrete can be dyed a range of colors.
Solid surfaces. Otherwise known by the popular brand-name Corian, solid surfaces offer the same seamless loo as engineered stone, except these are not resistant to stains and can scratch. (You can always sand those out—but do you want to?)
Stainless steel. This industrial-strength surface provides a sleek finish in modern kitchens. It’s easy to clean with soap and water, and it takes hot pans, no problem. But stainless steel can scratch and dent, so you can’t cut on stainless. Plus, it’s a costly surface. You might decide to use stainless in a certain area of your kitchen, such as a dining area or by the range.