A kitchen remodel can be a big project, often requiring structural changes like changing the floor plan. Depending on your goals, this can involve demoing walls and adding or moving plumbing or electrical lines.
A full kitchen renovation can add substantial value to your home. Choosing the right finishes and thoughtful upgrades is key to a successful renovation. Click Here to learn more.
Cabinets are a kitchen’s backbone, offering significant design impact and value. Even a minor kitchen remodel can increase home value, and cabinets may become the primary deciding factor for potential buyers in a real estate transaction. Cabinets can serve an array of purposes: They display art or dishware, store specific cookware, reinforce a style, and support the overall design of the space. Cabinetry may be custom-built or refaced, with options for custom depths and door designs.
Historically, the term “cabinet” has referred to any piece of furniture used for storage and display: a curio cabinet, medicine cabinet, or a broom closet. Cabinetry can be made from wood, metal, or other materials. It can be stained or painted and may have decorative elements, such as moldings, carvings or beadwork. It can be glazed or left unglazed, in a wide range of finishes from opaque to transparent. Cabinets may be constructed with face-frame or frameless construction. A face-frame cabinet is a wooden box or carcass closed on five sides with a front face frame that the cabinet doors are inset into. A frameless cabinet exposes the front of the cabinet box and allows drawer boxes to be sized closer to interior openings for greater efficiency.
A variety of cabinet accessories can maximize functionality and reduce clutter, such as waste basket roll-outs, pot and pan pull-outs, cutlery drawers and utensil dividers. Other organizational features include corner shelves, stacked storage and adjustable shelving. The type of cabinet hardware can also impact the look of the room, with options including flat handles and knobs, or more ornately detailed pull handles and cup pulls.
The construction of cabinetry is critical for durability and performance. Poorly constructed cabinets can sag and bend under heavy loads, and weak back panels can allow the cabinets to fall off the wall. The most durable construction uses plywood or high-quality particle board for flat sections that do not require a shaped surface, such as the shelves, cabinet sides and drawer bottoms.
Cabinetry has evolved over the years to accommodate new technology and household functions, with many innovations emerging post-World War II. For example, pioneering motion studies of housework in the 1920s led to improvements such as built-in cabinetry and standardized dimensions. Today, designers seek to improve usability and accessibility in the home through a process called universal design, which includes easily manipulated handles, low switches and other features.
The kitchen is the center of every home and a space where homeowners are more likely to splurge on materials and finishes that exude quality. This makes countertops an important kitchen remodel decision that can be expensive, but that should also reflect the way a homeowner uses his or her kitchen.
It’s important to install the backsplash before the countertops, if possible, so that you can get a better sense of how your design will work together. If you love a dazzling backsplash but install it first, the two materials might clash or compete for attention, and your vision could be marred by an ugly pairing.
Countertops should be made from a durable material that’s easy to maintain and will stand up to a lot of use. For this reason, many homeowners opt for hygienic and durable options like quartz, granite, or marble composites. These surfaces are resistant to bacteria, heat, and stains. They’re also easy to clean, and they’re a great choice for modern and transitional kitchens.
Stainless steel is another durable option for countertops, which can withstand high temperatures and resist stains from hot pans and spills. However, it’s prone to damage from scratching and denting. Stainless steel can also show wear and tear, so it’s best to avoid cutting or grinding on the surface.
Laminate is an inexpensive countertop option that can be easily installed by a DIYer. It’s made from layers of wood fiber, resins, and plastics that are seared together under pressure. Although it doesn’t look as luxe as natural stone, laminate is highly versatile and can be shaped into any shape for a unique countertop. It’s a good choice for rustic, country, or cottage kitchens and comes in an array of colors and patterns.
Soapstone is a dark natural countertop option that works well with craftsman and cottage-style kitchens. It has a natural, soapy feel and can complement oak cabinets nicely. The natural color of the stone can also make a striking contrast against white cabinetry.
Zinc, brass, and bronze are all unique countertop options that can add warmth to a farmhouse-style kitchen. They develop a natural patina over time, which can give your kitchen a warm, lived-in look.
The flooring choice for a kitchen is a crucial design decision. It must be durable and stand the test of time, but it must also be visually appealing. There is a broad range of kitchen flooring options to choose from, and there are many styles that will complement the rest of the kitchen design. For example, marble flooring can be used to create a statement piece or to coordinate with the countertops and backsplash. It can be installed in a tile or solid surface, and there are numerous patterns and colors available.
Wood flooring is a popular option, especially in open floor plan homes. It helps to provide a sense of continuity between the living areas of the home and adds warmth and texture to the space. However, it’s important to consider the level of moisture in your kitchen before you make this type of investment. Wood doesn’t hold up well to water and can become damaged if it is exposed to moisture over long periods of time.
Another popular type of kitchen flooring is vinyl. It is an affordable option that comes in a variety of colors, textures and shapes. There are even vinyl options that replicate the look of natural wood or stone. The key to choosing the right flooring for your kitchen is to understand your kitchen’s needs and to work with a designer who can help you find a product that will meet those needs.
It’s also important to be aware of the impact that a new kitchen will have on your home’s resale value. It’s best to avoid over-customizing your kitchen in a way that would limit its appeal to future buyers. For example, a walk-in wine cellar may be a desirable feature for current homeowners but may not appeal to a wide range of potential buyers in the future.
A kitchen remodel is a big project that can involve lots of decisions and challenges. It’s important to make the right choices in a timely manner and to stick with those decisions throughout the process. Changing your mind mid-way through the remodeling process can cause delays, increase costs and potentially lead to a lower quality finish.
The lighting in a kitchen is a vital aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked. Not only does it add functionality to the space but it creates the mood of the room and helps you complete tasks in a well-lit environment. Natural light is great for a kitchen but when that’s not possible, there are other ways to bring in brighter, sharper lighting fixtures that help you see more clearly while also creating an appealing design.
Layered lighting is a term that describes how multiple light sources work together to make the room both functional and attractive. The three primary types of lighting for kitchens are ambient, task, and accent. Ambient lighting is the general illumination that floods the kitchen and includes recessed lights and other overhead kitchen light fixtures. Task lighting focuses on the areas where kitchen tasks are performed and may include LED lights under cabinets or hanging over countertops. Accent lighting is the third type of kitchen lighting and can be used to draw attention to specific elements, such as an interesting architectural detail or a piece of artwork.
During a kitchen remodel, the best way to achieve optimal light is to use a layered lighting plan that incorporates all three types of lighting. This provides shadow-free functional lighting for cooking and reading while bringing out the colors in decorative items and drawing attention to other features.
To maximize the function of a kitchen, the key is to select fixtures that provide ample overhead lighting and that have dimmers so you can adjust the brightness to suit your needs. For example, if you’re working on a recipe and need to focus on the details of the recipe, then it makes sense to use under cabinet lighting that can be dimmed so you can work without distraction.
If you’re entertaining guests, then a pendant light that hangs over the dining area can be dimmed to set the right tone and create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. For an elegant effect, backlighting can be used to highlight crockery and other items on open shelves or in glass-fronted cabinets.