Follow these seven strategies to maximize your financial return on kitchen remodels.
For good reason, homeowners spend more money on kitchen remodeling than on any other home improvement project. Kitchens are the heart of the home and a source of pride for many people.
You can recoup a significant portion of your kitchen remodeling costs by increasing the value of your home. According to the National Association of REALTORS®’ “Remodeling Impact Report,” a complete kitchen renovation with a national median cost of $80,000 recovers approximately 75% of the initial project cost at home resale.
Homeowners are also enthusiastic about the project. Based on those who said they were happy or satisfied with their remodeling, those polled in the report gave their new kitchen a “joy score” of 9.8 (out of 10!).
Follow these seven tips to help ensure you get a good return on your kitchen remodels:
Make a plan, plan, plan.
The planning phase of your kitchen remodel should take longer than the actual construction. If you plan ahead of time, you can reduce the amount of time you are inconvenienced by construction. You’re also more likely to stick to your budget.
How much time should you dedicate to planning? At least six months is recommended by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. You won’t be tempted to change your mind during construction and issue change orders, which will raise construction costs and reduce your return on investment.
Some planning advice:
Examine your current kitchen: How big is the entrance to your kitchen? Many homeowners make the mistake of purchasing an extra-large refrigerator only to discover that it will not fit through the doorway. Create a drawing of your kitchen with measurements for doorways, walkways, counters, and so on to avoid mistakes like this. Don’t forget about height.
Consider the following traffic patterns: Work aisles should be at least 42 inches wide for single cooks and at least 48 inches wide for multi-cook households.
Consider ergonomics when designing:
Drawers or pull-out shelves in base cabinets, adjustable counter heights, and a wall oven instead of a range are all features that make a kitchen accessible to everyone — and enjoyable to work in.
Prepare for the unexpected:
Expect the unexpected, even if you’ve planned down to the number of nails you’ll need for your remodel. Allow for some wiggle room for finishing the remodel. Do you need it completed by Thanksgiving? Then aim to finish before Halloween.
Before you begin, select all of your fixtures and materials: Contractors will be able to make more accurate bids, and you will reduce the risk of delays due to backorders.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help:
A professional designer can make your kitchen remodel easier. Professionals assist in making style decisions, anticipating potential problems, and scheduling contractors. Most kitchen designers charge $65 to $250 per hour or 10% to 20% of the total project cost.
Be Honest About Appliances
When designing your new kitchen, it’s easy to get carried away. A six-burner commercial-grade range and a luxury-brand refrigerator may be eye-catching, but they may not suit your cooking needs or lifestyle.
Appliances are essential tools for cooking and storing food. The design and functionality of the entire kitchen should be the focus of your kitchen remodel, not the tools. So, unless you’re a fantastic cook who cooks frequently, spend your money on long-term features that add value, such as cabinets and flooring.
Then, choose appliances from reputable brands that have received high ratings in online reviews and “Consumer Reports.”
Maintain the Same Footprint
Nothing raises the cost of remodeling faster than moving plumbing pipes and electrical outlets and knocking down walls. This is usually where unanticipated problems arise.
As a result, if at all possible, keep appliances, water fixtures, and walls in the same place. Not only will you save money on demolition and reconstruction, but you will also reduce the amount of dust and debris generated by your project.
Don’t Underestimate Lighting’s Power
In a kitchen, lighting can make or break the space. It can make it appear bigger and brighter. It will also assist you in working safely and efficiently. In your kitchen, you should have two types of lighting:
- Task lighting: Because cabinets create such dark work areas, under-cabinet lighting should be on your must-have list. And, because you’re remodeling, there’s no better time to hardwire your lights. To eliminate shadows, plan for at least two fixtures per task area. Pendant lights are ideal for islands and other counters that do not have low cabinets. Recessed and track lighting work well over sinks and general prep areas where there are no cabinets overhead.
- Ambient lighting is created in your kitchen by flush-mounted ceiling fixtures, wall sconces, and track lights. Include dimmer switches to control the intensity and mood of the lighting.
During kitchen remodeling, functionality and durability should be top priorities. Avoid low-quality deals and opt for low-maintenance products with long warranty periods. Solid-surface countertops, for example, maybe a little more expensive, but with proper care, they will look great for a long time.
And, if you’re planning a move soon, products with long warranties are a selling point.
Increase Storage, Not Space
Storage will never go out of style, but if you’re working with limited space, here are a few ways to add more:
Install cabinets that reach the ceiling: They may be more expensive, and you may need a stepladder to install them, but you’ll gain valuable storage space for Christmas platters and other seasonal items. Furthermore, you will not have to dust the cabinet tops.
Hang it up: Add hooks to the backs of closet doors for aprons, brooms, and mops, and mount small shelving units on unused wall areas and inside cabinet doors. Hang stock pots and large skillets on a ceiling-mounted rack.
Make Clear Communication With Your Remodelers
Maintaining a positive relationship with your project manager or construction team is critical to staying on budget. Keep the sweetness in your project by doing the following:
Visit the project during working hours: Your presence communicates your dedication to quality. Create a communication routine: Install a message board on-site where you and the project manager can post daily updates. Subs and team leaders should have your email address and cell phone number.
Establish house rules
Make it clear about smoking, boombox noise levels, available restrooms, and parking.
Offer refreshments (a little hospitality goes a long way), give praise when it’s due, and refrain from bothering them with conversation, jokes, and questions while they’re working. They will perform better if they are refreshed and allowed to concentrate on their work.
Contractors will often set up a temporary kitchen or loan you a two-burner countertop as part of their remodeling services. More information can be found in What to Do About Dinner While Your Kitchen Is Being Remodeled.