The 5 Dos and Don’ts of a Kitchen Remodel


The kitchen is normally the most expensive room in the home. It’s where most of your appliances reside and where people tend to spend a lot of time. A kitchen remodel is an investment in your home. I have lived through my own personal kitchen remodel, countless kitchen remodels working at Woodtryst, and as a realtor, I have seen what works and what doesn’t in the kitchen. I wanted to share some of what I have learned to help you with your remodel. It’s a very expensive investment and it requires a bit of research so you don’t waste you money.

Here are my 5 dos and don’ts in a kitchen remodel, starting with the dos:

1. Hire a designer 

You are probably like me and think your Pinterest skills make you a designer, so why pay someone else? A designer can bring materials to you that go together well, such as tile, countertop, flooring, etc. It’s more expensive when you pick out your tile and have it installed, and then realize it clashes with the paint in the dining room or the tile in the kitchen. Once materials are purchased it is much more costly to change your mind. A good designer can give you a visual of the layout and your choices, so you can decided if you really like the sink under the window or the stove in the island. Designers also have developed relationships with reliable and trustworthy contractors and suppliers and can save you money with them.

2. Hire the right contractor 

I think this is the most important DO. A good contractor knows and understands the process. They are going to time out the process so you don’t go months without a kitchen. They are also going to be reliable and available to answer your questions and concerns. A good contractor will be able to give you feedback on the selection of materials used, especially when it comes to maintenance and durability. 

3. Choose the right custom cabinet company

In smaller kitchens, the right cabinet company can maximize space with options such as pull-outs and can give multiple layout options to give you the most storage. In larger kitchens, they can give multiple options to fit your style and needs. The quality of the cabinets is also important, as the cabinets are a fixed structure in the home. Cabinets should be durable enough to withstand the daily use of a functioning kitchen for years.

4. Choose appropriately-sized appliances.

We all love the double French door refrigerators, but not all our kitchens are massive. We have to pick appliances that fit the size of our kitchen. A six burner stove is not going to be appropriate for a two bedroom, one bath home — it’s just too much. 

5. Pick a style that’s timeless as opposed to trendy

This is a hard one to follow, but if you want your kitchen to be an investment as apposed to a splurge, you have to follow it. I love all the gold right now, but I do remember the brass fixtures from the ’90s and think they look so dated. In 10 years when you want to sell your home, you don’t want someone coming in and looking at your big investment and saying it has to go because it’s so 2017! 

1. Don’t know go cheap

This is probably the hardest thing for me. I have been able to accept it more because I have seen A LOT of homes and you can tell when one goes cheap. There is a reason it’s cheap — it will look cheap and it won’t last. A designer will help guide you on where to save money and where to spend.

2. Don’t go with a paper filmed or particleboard cabinet

Once a paper filmed or particleboard cabinet gets wet, it starts to bubble and is destroyed. Cabinets are expensive and are used daily, so they need to be durable. 

3. Don’t try to DIY

Your DIY job next to a professional job will look like a DIY job. Know your limitations and skill sets. It might look good to you and it might be good, but if your home is ever for sale and people are seeing your good DIY and comparing it with a professional job, it will make a difference. The money you thought you saved doing it yourself is going to affect how much you sell your home for because buyers are going to want it redone by a professional. If your work is at the same quality level as a professional, then go for it!

4. Don’t choose high maintenance items

High maintenance items scratch and etch easily, they show dirt and grease, and they are hard to clean. Especially consider the backsplash behind your range. I have seen some textured white tiles that don’t look as pretty as they did when installed. Think about sauce and oil splatters and how to clean those.

5. Don’t go with a contractor who quotes at the top of your budget

There are always unforeseen issues/expenses. Leave a buffer for wiggle room. You don’t know if your subfloor is rotted and has to be replaced, or whether the wiring or plumbing are done incorrectly. There are lots of issues that the contractor cannot predict and you want to have the funds to finish your remodel.

What other tips can you add? Leave us a comment!