Among home improvement projects, the kitchen remodel is one that brings a heftier return on investment (ROI). According to Zillow, the average ROI on a minor kitchen remodel is around between 60 and 81 percent, depending on the complexity of the project. Not only will revamping the hub of the house get you more cash when you go to sell, but it’ll also significantly improve your quality of life, especially if you love to cook and host.
But kitchen overhauls are notoriously stressful and complicated. Unlike other rooms in the house, you have to think about replacing large kitchen appliances in addition to revamping the floors, cabinets, countertops and backsplash. All these changes mean plenty of room for error, budget overages and delays. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help prevent roadblocks so you get a shiny new kitchen with less stress.
1. Taking Inaccurate Measurements — The spatial limitations of your kitchen will dictate layout, appliance sizes, cabinet space and so much more. You need to make sure you take (and take again) accurate measurements before you start picking out finishes or getting quotes. Your contractor will take measurements for you, of course, but if you plan on doing any task on your own — from ordering the kitchen range to picking out light fixtures — you need to know the right dimensions.
2. Not Getting Enough Quotes — Between an ongoing skilled labor shortage and an unprecedented surge in home improvement projects, it can be tough to get one, let alone multiple, quotes for your project. However, getting three or more quotes is the only real way to ensure that you get the best possible price and don’t wind up overpaying for your project. Another tip: Once you find the right contractor, make sure to treat them well. The occasional pizza for lunch or regular coffee in the morning will go a long way in ensuring that they feel comfortable and welcome in your home.
3. Not Bundling Your Appliances — One great thing about completely overhauling your kitchen is that you can take advantage of price breaks when replacing multiple appliances. There aren’t a lot of times in life where you’ll upgrade all your appliances at once, but doing so during your renovation can save you more than replacing them at different intervals over time. Look for kitchen appliance packages that suit your needs and remember that many trustworthy retailers will happily build out special bundles just for you and your kitchen.
4. Not Starting with the Foundation — As tempting as it may be, avoid the urge to ignore any architectural, structural or mechanical issues before diving in. Things like cracks in the walls or inefficient plumbing can cause you serious problems down the road. It’s a lot easier to address these issues when your kitchen is already torn up.
5. Not Preparing Yourself for the Process — By far the biggest challenge of remodeling the kitchen is the fact that you won’t have a kitchen for weeks or even months, depending on the scale and involvement of the remodel. Consider moving to a short-term rental or temporarily moving in with family for the duration of the project. If that’s not realistic or desirable, plan to set up a makeshift kitchen somewhere out of the way with access to water, a microwave and disposable plates and cutlery. Your slow cooker, Instant Pot, air fryer and plug-in camp stove will come in handy, too!
6. Not Considering the Season — If you live in a climate where rain, snow and extreme heat are par for the course, you’ll want to try your best to schedule your remodel during a time of year when the weather is mild. The fact is that your project may involve knocking down walls, redoing windows and temporarily restricting heating and cooling, which could complicate things if the weather isn’t great.
7. Going Ultra-Trendy — As tempting as it is to choose the trendiest finishes of the moment, resist the urge to go for what’s hot right now. Instead, choose finishes that you love but will (hopefully) have staying power. While everything will look dated at some point, some trends are likely to stick around longer than others.
8. Not Trusting the Pros — As handy as you may be, know that many home improvement jobs require a professional. Be sure to trust the pros for any complicated tasks, especially those involving structural changes and electricity. It’s important to go into every home improvement project with professionals you trust. If you find yourself questioning their work and recommendations or thinking “I could do this myself,” you may want to rethink the company you’re working with.
9. Settling for What’s Available — Another important thing to avoid when revamping any room in your home is that you don’t have to settle for what’s available locally or at the big box stores. If you see something you like on Instagram or Pinterest, scour the web for the same or a very similar product. Chances are if you go to a local retailer and they don’t have that product or design, they will try to sell you on something similar but not quite it. Luckily, with lots of great deals and free shipping on most sites, you can get excellent prices on the exact finishes and supplies you want.
10. Losing Track of the Budget — Make sure to keep track of every single item you buy for the project, down to every last screw. Log all purchases via Google Sheets or Excel, ideally keeping it cloud-based so you can easily add to it when you’re at the store or away from your desk. Don’t forget to keep track of returns, too, because there are bound to be a few, and it’s easy to forget to send things back amid all the chaos.
At the end of the day, executing a successful kitchen remodel is about staying organized and being persistent about what you want. With a little bit of patience, some foresight and commitment to the end result, your project will go off smoothly and get done under budget and on time. Learning from our mistakes will help you get there!