Creating a Great Kitchen: Simple Yet Effective Suggestions

It’s time for a redo. Your kitchen could be a decade or more in age, but busy rooms start to look tired more quickly. If you bought an older house, your kitchen could need a real upgrade from the walls out. Either way, there’s no way to renovate your kitchen without a major disruption to your routine. 

Using these tips can let you have the kitchen of your dreams without leaving you too broke to afford food. The good news is that a good kitchen remodel can add a lot of value to your home when you sell it, according to Zillow. 

Generally you can add from around 84 to 98 percent to the resale of your home depending on the scale of the remodel and your market.

Budgeting is tricky, but you should really do the work before you start. This Old House advocates that whatever your budget, you allocate it this way:

·        29 percent to cabinets and hardware
·        22 percent to design and installation
·        16 percent to walls, ceilings, floors, doors, and windows
·        14 percent to appliances and ventilation
·        9 percent to electrical and plumbing

Going All The Way: If you have an older home, you might want to look into professionally rewiring and re-piping your whole kitchen. Older wiring is implicated in hundreds of fires every year, and if you have a house built before 1980, it’s a virtual certainty that your plumbing has lead content in the solder, according to

In faucets often made of leaded brass, leaching is minimal. But with faucets on the market of modern, lead-free alloys, viable alternatives exist for those who want to be cautious. 

If you have the money, you might want to start with this, as wiring and plumbing will make sure that your investment doesn’t go up in flames, or fall victim to a burst pipe.

Get a Pro: Kitchen remodeling is a major undertaking, even for experienced DIY’ers, so engaging a kitchen design pro can help you by designing a workable, functional kitchen that’s efficient as well as appealing. Even if you’re doing the non-certified trade work yourself, you can get important design tips and advice on materials.

Cabinet Considerations: If your cabinets are sound, you like the layout of your present kitchen, and you really don’t want to spend a lot of money, a professional resurfacing job might be just the ticket. Resurfacing means new veneers, sometimes new doors, and new hardware for a new kitchen look without the new kitchen price.

Other cabinet options include buying stock or semi-custom cabinets from your local home supply store, custom cabinets from a kitchen design firm, or RTA (Ready To Assemble) cabinets from a variety of online or brick and mortar stores.

Lighting: You want to illuminate your work areas, while at the same time creating a welcoming space for eating and entertaining. 

Under-cabinet lighting eliminates dark spots, while recessed lighting creates a nice, ambient direction-less light. You want direct lighting for your task areas, but not enough to be harsh.

Putting in pendant lamps from Lumens and adding a rheostat to heighten or lower the level of illumination can give you the versatility you need. 

You will also want lighting over the sink area, the eating area, and over the cook-top.

Flooring: If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, think like a pro and go with a resilient flooring in vinyl, linoleum, laminate, cork, wood, or even rubber. Ceramic, sealed concrete, and stone floors can look great, but in a professional kitchen where staff can be standing for hours, those materials can be very hard on the joints over a prolonged period of time. 

Even with resilient flooring, you may want to add a couple of thick anti-fatigue mats for areas where you’ll be standing a lot.

Counter Tops: While natural stone is more prohibitive in cost and solid surfacing is more affordable, some laminate counter tops can give both a run for the money. Tile is another classic choice, but more modern materials like recycled glass, stainless steel, and concrete could give your kitchen a lot of modern pizzazz.

Appliances: You can shop at your local home store, warehouse store, or a kitchen specialist, but in all cases you want to look for energy efficient appliances that suit your needs. A two-person household doesn’t really need that 26 cubic foot, French door refrigerator/freezer!

Finally, add in details such as tile back splashes, ceiling treatments like stamped in tile or bead board, and put the finishing touches around doors and windows with mill work and moldings. Make your faucets something extra special and easy to use for the busy cook.

Extra out-of-view touches can include sliding shelves for your cabinets or pot-depth drawers, and an extra deep sink in a great material like fire clay might just make the kitchen your favorite room in the house.

Yamma Cass

"Yamma is a blogger, home design geek, and graphic designer from Savannah, GA"

1 comment

  1. My kitchen has been my nemesis since the day we purchased our home. I see all of these pretty kitchens online, and I am sill not happy with mine. We purchased a foreclosure, and the house was in shambles, so we really are working from the ground up.. on a budget. haha! We had lofty dreams as first time home buyers, but we are having to go slowly. I'm hoping to get to really tackle the kitchen soon, and make it what I want it to be. I love the character in your kitchen... so bright and fun! These are great tips... especially for someone like myself - I've never done such a large project.


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