What-To-Know Before-Remodeling-Your Kitchen-in-the-Bay Area

What To Know Before Remodeling Your Kitchen

Whether you’re hiring a pro or working on the project yourself, a kitchen remodel can be costly in the Bay area. But when done right, it can bring you tremendous satisfaction and financial rewards. So, to avoid unnecessary costs and strife, you ought to know some things in advance.


Like all renovation projects, kitchen remodels can be quite unpredictable. They might run over budget, create structural mistakes, and even be impractical in the future market. But with proper knowledge of the main aspects and possibilities of a kitchen remodel, one can do it the right way.


Therefore, before beginning a kitchen remodel, you need to explore all aspects of the design to develop a thorough strategy. Read on to discover 19 things you should know before remodeling your kitchen.

Identifying Your Remodeling Reasons Is Fundamental

Before you start looking for inspiration on Pinterest, you need to know why you’re doing your kitchen remodel. This will help you figure out the right path to take with your planning. Otherwise, you might end up with a kitchen that lacks a theme and your desired functionality. 


Here are some reasons for remodeling your kitchen:

  • Improving functionality and practicality
  • Boosting your home’s resale value
  • Updating to fit your family needs
  • Creating an aesthetic that matches your personality
  • Increasing energy efficiency


Knowing the reason for your remodel helps you set up your project goals accordingly. Therefore, determine the why of your kitchen remodel before moving on with any planning. 


For instance, if you’re remodeling to bring more character to your house, you might not care about real estate trends like someone who’s trying to sell in the future. This could be the difference between a costly renovation and a low-budget one.

Determine The Potential ROI If Looking To Sell

According to a national value report, a major kitchen remodel can bring a 50% return on investment while a minor one can return more than 70%. Therefore, if your main reason for remodeling your kitchen is to increase the return on investment when you sell the house, you should break down your cost options before you start spending.


The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) recommends that you budget only 15% to 20% of your home value for your kitchen remodel. This realistic portion would help you stay within the viable spending range and also estimate the ROI correctly. 

Kitchen remodels with the highest ROI cost little and are low maintenance but long-lasting. If you focus on upgrades with those qualities while factoring in other convenience issues, you’ll likely end up with a huge profit after you sell.

You Should Balance Your Budget For Consistency

One of the greatest challenges for many homeowners is determining where to splurge and where to save. Some people will tell you to hire the best kitchen designer in town, no matter how much they cost. Others will advise you to squeeze cabinetry money and allocate it to a luxury countertop.


While some tips may work, not knowing how to handle expenses might result in an expensive remodel with no significant change in perceived value. You want to avoid that by finding a great balance in your budget.


The following table shows NKBA’s general guidelines for a kitchen remodel budget:

Expense Percentage of the total budget
Design fees 4%
Cabinetry and hardware 29%
Lighting 5%
Countertops 10%
Flooring 7%
Walls and ceilings
Appliances and ventilation 14%
Installation 17%
Faucets and plumbing 4%
Other 1%


Using the above guidelines can help you distribute your costs efficiently. On the places you’re doing no renovation or spending little on, you can throw the extra on something you want to

 splurge on. As you modify the budget, you can still ensure you have a quality consistency you’ll be satisfied with.


Your Costs May Exceed Your Budget

As mentioned earlier, renovation operations can’t be fully anticipated. You may discover a need for certain material and incur additional costs to the previous budget you outlined. Most unexpected scenarios call for more money, and knowing this in advance helps you prepare accordingly.


After you determine what you’re willing to spend on your renovation project, budget for 80% of that to start and hold on to the remaining 20% for unexpected expenses.

By expecting the unexpected, you can ensure you don’t overspend when the project encounters a snag in its plan. 


You Don’t Need to Upgrade Everything 

One of the mistakes some homeowners make is to buy the highest quality of every material they need to remodel their kitchen. However, once the project is done and they wish to sell after some time, they realize that no one cares about the chef-grade appliances and will offer much less than money than expected.


Before getting everything at the high-end store, consult with your contractor and let them advise you which things matter should be high-grade and which things you can find cheaper alternatives to achieve the same effect. 

You Should Decide Your Design Pieces Early

One major mistake you might make is merging designs on a whim while constructing. While creating a big picture design is essential, identifying the small style details before starting your project is also critical.


From lighting to cabinets, you need to decide what goes where — no matter how small your project. 

You can use free design software like the Kitchen Planner or Room Sketcher to merge different ideas that may work for you. Share your dream kitchen with your contractor and exchange ideas about how to make it happen within your budget.

Don’t Try to Force Pinterest Ideas

Pinterest is an excellent source of kitchen design inspirations. However, wanting a duplicate kitchen style may cause problems budget-wise as well as during construction. 


After acknowledging the reason why you’re doing a kitchen remodel, you can go to Pinterest to get some ideas of how you want the outcome to look like. Take ideas that can work for you and discard those that would cause too much strain like taking down a structural wall when it’s unnecessary.


Some Pinterest ideas are from luxury homes and home improvement shows, and they may not be practical for your needs or financial reach. Therefore, forcing them on your renovation plan would be a bad idea.

what-to-consider-when-remodeling-a kitchen-in-the-Bay-Area

A Kitchen Designer Is Sometimes Worth It

While you may have an idea of what your kitchen should look like, bringing that idea to life may be overwhelming. You might merge some ideas only to get an unsatisfying result. Moreover, you may have a busy life, and time to design keeps eluding you.

If you’re finding designing your kitchen to be difficult, it’s best to hire a designer who can walk you through the process.

A good designer can work with your contractor to make the project successful. They’ll help define your kitchen dreams and show you more ideas that are more appealing aesthetically as well as financially. 

Keep in mind that an experienced kitchen designer can cost you up to 10% of your total project cost. For someone less experienced, you may pay less. To get an idea of how much a kitchen designer will cost you in the Bay area, call some call local design companies and get estimates

Generally, you can carry out minor kitchen remodels like swapping cabinetry on your own. However, if you’re looking to make major modifications, a kitchen designer may come in handy. 

Order Your Materials Before Demolition

You shouldn’t rush the remodel planning time because you must wait for your materials to arrive. Any unfortunate thing can happen when you’re buying materials. Things you need may be out of stock; some items may arrive broken while others may be the wrong orders altogether.

To avoid inconveniencing your contractor and yourself, order everything you need before you start ripping out cabinets. This way, you can mitigate any issues beforehand so that once you start the project, acquiring materials won’t delay its progress.

What’s Hot Now May Be Impractical in the Long Term

Some people wish they had known better than to go with fads when it’s too late. While trends come and go, impractical ones go faster, and they’re not worth doing a remodel for. 


Trendy but impractical kitchen remodels include:

  • Open shelves: Keeping the TV show type of tidiness in a kitchen is difficult, so open shelves may look cluttered. Further, they easily gather dust and make it hard to stay clean as well.
  • Marble countertops: Although they look grand and are a common feature in cooking shows, these beauties are like a sponge and stain easily over time.
  • Metallic tiles: These are good looking but a bad idea, especially in coastal environments. They tarnish easily, are tough to clean, and are prone to rust.
  • All-white kitchens: They may look pretty, but obvious wear and tear plus spills are unsightly.


Before including all the current trends in your kitchen remodel, think about their practicality first. Ask your contractor about the long term effects of a particular design and choose accordingly.

The Kitchen Work Triangle Is Worth Including In The Remodel

The kitchen work triangle is a timeless kitchen layout technique that dictates the proper placement of the cooktop, sink, and refrigerator to facilitate easy operations while making meals. With the invention of numerous kitchen styles, some people forget this effective alignment that even NKBA highly recommends.


But before you start your renovation project, you should consider including it in your plan. Here are the kitchen work triangle guidelines you should follow:

  • The cooktop, sink, and refrigerator should be organized in a triangle with 4 feet to 9 feet of distance between them.
  • The total length of the work triangle should be more than 13 feet but less than 26 feet.
  • No work triangle side should pass through a kitchen island, cabinetry, or table by more than 12 inches. 
  • Main traffic areas shouldn’t cross the work triangle.


Measuring Your Space Ensures Size Consistency

Before starting your project, you have to check out the best appliances, cabinetry, and other kitchen components. But the design isn’t the only thing that matters. 


The size of each element needs to match the other aspects of your layout to look elegant. 

Otherwise, you’ll end up with a small refrigerator awkwardly standing in a spacious corner of the kitchen or some similar scenario.


Measure your space and ensure that you have the applicable appliances’ measurements before purchasing them. Double-check the measurements and visualize the devices in use and when not in use. This way, you can avoid undersized or oversized equipment and achieve your desired look.

Demolition And Major Reconstructions May Be Needless

If unnecessary, changing the entire floor plan of your kitchen is a bad idea. Major changes like building a structural wall or reconstructing plumbing and electrical outlets can skyrocket your remodeling costs really fast.


If you can see your kitchen looking good with the current layout or with few changes, keep it that way. Keeping your appliances, walls, and water fixtures in the same position does not only save money but also simplifies your project.

Functionality and Ease of Cleanup Should Be Priorities

When remodeling a kitchen, you need to look beyond the aesthetic appeal of the space. When preparing meals, you need to get the things you need with ease in nearby storage spaces. Furthermore, your cleanup time should be as minimal as possible.


Therefore, your kitchen remodeling project should prioritize functionality and easy to clean features and make them look aesthetically appealing. Talk to your contractor or designer about the materials you want to use for your kitchen remodel and discuss how you’re going to do it to improve functionality and ease of maintenance. 


For instance, instead of getting a traditional kitchen island in your small kitchen, you can get a standalone type with shelves to maximize storage space and gain an operating platform.

Writing Everything Down Is the Best Way to Plan

Whether it’s your budget, the materials you bought, or the timeline you wish to operate by, you’d be better off writing it down. Recording your remodel this way is the only way to ensure that everyone is on the same page.


Sometimes, your workers may misunderstand some communication and do their own thing. Other times you might forget where your money went and find yourself overspending unnecessarily. However, if you record everything as you plan your project, your remodeling process will go way smoother and faster.

Maintain Open Communication

While this may sound like overkill, communicating until you’re sure there are no more details to clear up is the best way to go. Most people make the mistake of assuming their workers know what they want. 


Client needs are different and what you may think is obvious may not be to everyone. Therefore, it’s smart to articulate everything you want the way you want it should be done. Doing this before starting the project can help you decide who is best to work with, too.

Get Used Appliances to Reduce Remodeling Costs

Depending on your remodeling reasons, you can get brand new or used appliances. If you’re looking to sell your home soon, it’s generally best to go with new appliances, but if you are tired of your old kitchen and merely wish to update it for your family, you can find used appliances in top shape.


You can get used appliances in good condition from William’s Low-cost Appliances and Stabler’s A-1 Appliance in the Bay area. These stores are available everywhere, and you can check out any nearby used appliance store with high Yelp ratings to get something that satisfies you.

Your Project May Take Longer Than Expected 

You may have agreed to work on the project for two weeks. But unfortunately, even the most time-conscious contractor may take longer than your timeline. Again, remodels are unpredictable, and some changes may come up to lengthen the schedule.


So that you don’t get caught off guard, you should expect your project to take longer than you planned. This way, you can organize beforehand how you might carry out some operations in case that happens. 

Taking Samples With You Is Crucial

When buying anything and you’re offered samples, take them home with you to confirm their real appearance in your kitchen. While the colors and patterns might look a particular way while you’re at the store, they might change a lot when you’re in your kitchen. This is mostly because of the overhead lights they have there.


Although you might assume that the changes in the appearance of your flooring or backsplash won’t be a big deal, you realize later that it all doesn’t match well with your appliances and paint. 


When coming up with a design, you chose a certain blend of colors and patterns and thought they looked great. Therefore, you need to maintain the integrity of your design by choosing the right materials.

It’s Normal to Make Mistakes – But Don’t Have Regrets

Lastly, you should know that a well-thought plan doesn’t exclude mistakes entirely. Especially if it’s your first time doing a remodeling project, mistakes are bound to happen. The sooner you accept that, the easier it will be to handle blunders smartly.


What matters is that you love your project’s overall turnout and don’t regret lessons you learned along the way.  


Where there are mistakes, there is no need to beat yourself up over it. You might not entirely love the way the faucets turned out. Some small details of coloring may be a little off. And that’s okay. Look at the bigger picture and be proud of what you’ve accomplished.

Closing Thoughts

The above are things most homeowners wish they knew before starting their kitchen remodel. Now that you know them in advance, you can create the kitchen of your dreams with the right purpose in mind within your budget. 

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