Your guide to getting your ultimate dream kitchen, at a price you can afford

The renovation world is littered with horror stories. Kitchen nightmares happen all too often, and anyone who taken on an extensive DIY kitchen project will know exactly. While challenges are great, disasters aren’t. So if you’re in the planning stages of your kitchen renovation, you’re probably looking for a space that’s good-looking, functional and the source of comfort, efficiency and maybe even a little envy.

To guide you on your way of achieving your culinary dreams, we’ve created the ultimate step-by-step guide to steer you through the process of remodelling your kitchen. Take the information onboard, and use the elements that are relevant to you. At the end of the day, you can’t have too little information when it comes to kitchen renovation. Let’s get started.

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Finding a Reliable Professional

A kitchen remodel is often the nr.1 item on the list when it comes to redoing a home. Not only is it often the most popular room in the house, but also the one that adds the most value to the house. So finding a pro to help you get started is essential.

Choose a trusted expert, preferably one recommended by a friend. Even if you plan on doing your renovation yourself, it’s worth at least one consultation with a kitchen expert, like an interior designer, architect, or contractor, before you begin work. They’ll see potential problems and provide innovative solutions you may never have thought of.

3 Things to Know About Contractors

1. They are only as good as their last job. Ask your top three candidates to supply references, and follow up with their most recent jobs.

2. You get what you pay for. You can learn a lot about a contractor’s commitment to quality and safety by asking about his process – and receiving a quote.

3. The best are the busiest. If your contractor is available immediately after first contact, alarm bells should start ringing. The best professionals are booked way in advance.

Four Questions to ask Your Candidates’ References

1. Was the contractor reliable? Did he show up on time and follow instruction?

2. Was the project completed within the scope of the original brief?

3. Was the project completed within budget, or were there a few surprises?

4. What whet wrong, and how quickly and effectively were issues resolved?

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Plan Your Space

3 Things you Should Know Before Going to the Briefing

You should have pretty good idea of what you want before meeting your chosen kitchen pro. Your contractor will undoubtedly have a wealth of info to share, but he or she will certainly require a few things from you. So prepare before going in.

1. A detailed list of your kitchen goals. Do you require more space? Updated cabinets? What about appliances?

2. A to-scale drawing of your current space. This is important to give your contractor an idea of where outlets, plumbing, windows and doors are located.

3. A moodboard. Be it physical or online, you need to be able to show your style preferences and designs that you think work well.

4 Questions to Ask Yourself

1. How many people spend the most time in the kitchen?

2. What kind of entertaining do you do?

3. Who will be doing the cooking?

4. What are the non-negotiables and must-haves?

Spend enough time formulating your answers. The more information your contractor has, the better. If you think it might be worth mentioning, put it in.

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Get to Grips With Kitchen Layouts

Your kitchen layout has a huge impact on functionality, so it’s vital to get it right. One of the best ways to start the design process is to use a number of tried-and-tested template kitchen layouts and adapting it to your space, requirements and budget. Read on for a look at the most popular template kitchen layouts you can use as your base.

Your main options are the following:

Galley Kitchen – One of the simplest, straight-forward kitchen designs. Cooking areas are all in close proximity from each other – preparation, sink and cooking areas tend to be parallel along the same wall, creating an effective ‘production line’ format.

L-Shaped Kitchens – The the most common kitchen layout, L-Shaped kitchens provide various storage options, given the various corners units and effective use of space. It provides enough room for a breakfast bar/table – making the room multifunctional.

U-Shaped Kitchens – With a U-Shaped kitchen, you have easy access to the main preparation, washing and cooking areas. While most U-Shaped kitchens don’t allow enough space for a table and chairs, they tend to function well by allowing generous space between the various areas.

Island Kitchens – Island kitchens are one of the most popular kitchen layouts, providing a practical and functional space when paired with tall units with built-in appliances. Kitchen islands are great for socialising if your space allows for it.

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Cutting Down on Costs

The simplest way to keep the budget at bay, is to repurpose what you already have. Before ripping your space to shreds, take a long look at what elements you can reuse. Maybe those cabinets aren’t so bad after all? I coat of quality paint can go a long way. After some thoughtful consideration you will have a better idea of which areas are crucial, and which aren’t.

Secondly, you want to try and keep the costs of appliances down as much as possible. If money’s tight, decide what’s most important to you, and make cuts in other areas. Where Will most of your money go you ask? Kitchen renovation costs, on average, are broken down as follows:

Design and planning: 4%
Installation costs: 17%
Appliances: 14%
Cabinetry and hardware: 29%
Countertops: 10%
Lighting: 5%
Flooring: 7%
Doors and windows: 4%
Walls and ceilings: 5%
Plumbing: 4%
Other: 1%

When shopping for appliances, be sure to look at the following things:

Energy Efficiency, ease of operation, safety features, ease of cleaning. These elements can all have a long-lasting impact on your appliances.

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Avoid Renovation Mistakes as Much as Possible

In a perfect world, everything goes smoothly from day 1. Deliveries arrive on time, timelines are honoured, and every nail and screw is where it’s supposed to be. Chances are, that won’t be the case. But to prepare yourself, be aware of the most common remodelling mistakes:

Not knowing what you want. Differing opinions and changes of heart make for good TV ratings, but not for a good renovation experience.

Ignoring good advice. There is a wealth of websites, blogs and pin boards dedicated to kitchen renovation to review when you don’t know what your next (or first) move should be.

Not creating (and sticking to) a budget. In the middle of a renovation it’s tempting to be swept up in the fun and swayed into spending more than you planned.

Choosing the wrong ‘expert’. Go online, ask friends and get references.

Not thinking about how you use your kitchen. Lifestyle factors like your family and social style will most certainly affect the design elements and floor plan you choose.

With this guide, you should be well on your way to kitchen renovation bliss. Simply stick to your own rules, enjoy the process and never take anything too seriously. The process is almost always worth the hassle. Explore some Kitchen Styles to get started.