Here are 10 key tips to avoid getting burned on a kitchen remodel

When it comes to making magic happen during your kitchen remodel, there is a lot that can be prepared – there are loads of options. There’s also a lot that can go wrong.

1. Don’t Overspend

Before you start planning, consider the market and decide whether a low-, medium-, or high-end kitchen remodel makes the most sense. Costs can run the gamut from $2,000 for a simple paint-and-hardware upgrade to $50,000 if you’re installing expensive countertops and luxury appliances. Knowing your area will help keep from overspending – you may not get your investment back installing travertine in your tiny starter – or worse, underspending. Let’s face it, you’ll never see Formica in a high-end home, and in fact, it may become a barrier to your sale.


2. Avoid An Identity Crisis

Don’t try to remodel a 1960’s ranch-style kitchen into a modern-day cook space. All homes, however humble, are built in a certain architectural style. Work with it, not against it. You’ll be spending too much money and time on complete renovation, and you’ll end up with a kitchen that looks like it belongs in someone else’s home.

3. Don’t Lose Track Of Trends

There’s always something new in the world of kitchen enhancements. By staying on top of the latest technological trends and improvements, you may be able to find inexpensive, more green versions of the newest looks.

4. Don’t Move The Plumbing Leave It Where It Is

Moving water and gas lines to accommodate the reconfiguration of sinks, ovens, stoves, or dishwashers is extremely costly, especially in older homes. Keep any pipe-connected elements where they are, and keep some extra cash in your pocket.

5. Beware Of The Wrong Floor Plan

If you do have the budget to rearrange appliances, make sure to keep your floor plan in mind. Does it follow the natural triangular traffic pattern between the refrigerator, stove, and oven? Is the dishwasher next to the sink? It should be, because otherwise, you create a mess every time you walk across the room with a dripping dish in your hand. To save money, I once put a dishwasher in the counter opposite the sink – and as a result, I cleaned up drips on the floor for years.

6. Don’t Trash Existing Cabinets

If they’re quality wood and still in good working order, you’re in luck. This is one of the first things I check when sizing up a pre-remodel kitchen, since cabinet frames are the most expensive component of the entire space. It’s quite simple to give salvageable cabinets a face lift. Three common ways to repurpose and save thousands include: adding new doors and drawer fronts, re-laminating fronts and sides, or repainting – which leads us to……Don’t Just Paint – Spray Paint. Have all the cabinets cleaned and lightly sanded, then have a painter come in to spray them. Don’t try to DIY this one; a couple of cans of spray paint from the hardware store just won’t do the trick. A professional spray job can make ugly cabinets look factory-new. And you can’t get the same look by painting or rolling the cabinets yourself.

7. Do Not Cut Back On New Hardware

Home remodeling superstores carry a great selection of door hardware. Choose knobs and pulls that complement your architectural style, and don’t cut corners. This is what I call a brooch – an added touch that makes the whole room work! Also, remove and replace any old painted-over hinges with shiny new ones. It is time consuming, but very inexpensive. And it makes a huge difference.

8. Free Advice Is Always Available

Check out the larger box stores for free, computer-based design services for help arranging your kitchen. Their professionals are at the leading edge of current decorating trends, and their services include one-on-one client help as well as in-home meetings.

9. Don’t Mismatch Appliances

When buying new refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens and ranges, stick with the same kind. Fortunately appliance manufactures have begun to create nice-looking, low-priced lines that include matching sets. With a little exploration and some clever shopping, you can find inexpensive appliances that look very high-end – and when they all match, you get a expensive look for much less.


Add a high-end faucet, one with a pull out spray attachment or a gooseneck with detachable head. It’s a necessity and an enhancement – and the difference between good and great is only $75 -$100. Stick to one uniform fixture finish since assorted finishes can look like patch work.