Homeowner’s Workbook: How to Remodel Your Kitchen

Remodeling the kitchen is a serious project, which requires a lot of preplanning and usually involves considerable investments. But any upgrade to the heart of your home means more joy and comfort for your family, so the effort is really worth it. And with these tips the whole process will be made easier.


Rough-In Works First

If you are planning any demolitions and rough-in work, make sure to do them first. So, tear out old cabinets and appliances, replace the plumbing and electrical installations, install new doors and windows, and THEN finish the walls. Doing it the other way around would lead to duplicated effort and will cost you both time and money. When the walls are done, hang the wall cabinets, install new lighting fixtures, and move on to putting down new flooring. Regardless of the flooring material, be extra careful when placing base cabinets and appliances to avoid scratches.

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Make a Small Kitchen Look Larger

If knocking down walls is not an option, there are simple visual tricks that can help you make your tiny kitchen appear larger. Light shades add a spacious feel to small spaces, so you can never go wrong with an all-white kitchen. If you have a lot of windows and natural light to reflect on the white surfaces, the effect will be even stronger. The biggest problem in small kitchens is the lack of storage space. Floor-to-ceiling cabinets might solve this problem, but they also make the space look cramped. There are two options here. One is to opt for open shelves instead of wall cabinets. They open up the room and provide display space. The other option is to put frosted glass on the cabinets’ doors. The glass will also visually open the space, but hide the clutter.

Consider Current Layout

The biggest mistake most people make when remodeling their kitchens is that they stick to the existing kitchen footprint. Do not feel married to the traditional kitchen layout. The purpose of the remodeling process is to customize the space and make it more functional with regards to your own cooking routine. Ask yourself:

How much do you move around while cooking?

Is there anything that restricts your movement?

Can you easily reach the items you use the most?

Can more than one person cook at the same time?

Think carefully about every single detail, from the location of the sink to the direction in which the cabinet doors open, and see if there is anything you would change. Beware of bulky kitchen islands. They have become a sort of a commonplace in all kitchens, although they are not always an ideal solution. A peninsula does the same work, but takes up less space. It can also serve as a room divider, if you want to separate the kitchen from the dining room.

If you plan on selling the house any time soon, then sticking to a more universal layout will work better.

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Upgrade Appliances

New kitchen appliances are perhaps the biggest investment, but if you have already decided to replace them, add a few extra bucks and buy energy-efficient ones. They might cost more initially, but the savings on the utility bills will quickly make up for that initial difference in price. For a start, switch to an Energy Star-certified refrigerator and a water-saving dishwasher, since these are the biggest energy savers.

Refreshing on a Budget

If you do not want to break the bank, you can still freshen up your kitchen for a few hundred dollars and in a few hours of work. Just by changing cabinet handles and knobs, you can make a huge difference. Add a fresh coat of paint and your old cabinets will look as good as new. Replace the old faucets for the same effect. Or provoke interest with a classic white backsplash made of subway tiles arranged in a herringbone pattern.


**Lana Hawkins is an architecture student from Sydney. She enjoys writing about interior decoration and renovation, which she does regularly for Smooth Decorator. Lana is interested in sustainability and green building, as well as landscaping.



43 Insanely Cool Remodeling Ideas For Your Home

We recently stumbled upon a great blog article that we love!  After looking through all of these great remodeling ideas, you’re going to be saying “How did I not think of that?”

Check out some of our favorite ideas below:


Custom Treehouse


Conversation Pit

Sunken Conversation Pit


Hidden Passage Way


Hidden Storage Nooks

Hidden Storage Nooks


Undercabinet Storage

Undercabinet Storage


Vacuum Baseboards

Vacuum Baseboards

Check out more crazy-awesome remodeling ideas here. 

Which idea can you see adding to your home?

DIY Friday: Kitchen Makeovers for Less Than $500

Remodeling your kitchen is one of the best ways to make your home more beautiful and your life easier, but it’s also a great way to drain your wallet. Kitchen remodels are some of the most expensive and disruptive to daily life in your home.

But you can still do a lot with a little if you know how to spend it right. Even if you’ve got just $500 to spend, there are plenty of options for you to make your kitchen nicer, brighter and better.


Painting the walls of your kitchen may be the most inexpensive fix you can choose. Kitchen walls are more easily worn and stained thanks to all the food preparation that goes on in the kitchen, so even if your walls aren’t dated or bare, a new coat of paint can go a long way in making your kitchen look fresh and revitalized.


“The first thing to look at is the condition of the cabinetry, which will reflect the overall look and feel of the kitchen,” said Susan Serra, certified kitchen designer and author of TheKitchenDesigner.org blog. “If the cabinetry needs a new look, repainting may be in order.”

Remember that if you do it yourself, painting your cabinets is a little more complicated than painting a wall. Cabinets will need to be sufficiently cleaned, deglossed and lightly sanded before they will take on paint. Cabinets are also banged around quite a bit, so pick a paint that is going to last longer and is less likely to peel.

“New hardware can give a fresh new look and nudge the kitchen’s style in a new way and is a design element that is seen and touched every day,” Serra said.

Hardware such as cabinet door knobs and handles varies wildly in price, but if you spot bargains online or in stores you can easily update the look of your cabinets inexpensively.

Serra also recommends updating the functionality of your kitchen. Roll out shelves, spice, cutlery or knife inserts, lazy susan or other cabinet inserts will modernize your kitchen and aid in universal design.


“Adding new lighting in various forms such as accent, general and task lighting can transform the aesthetics and function of the kitchen,” Serra said. “New under cabinet lights, the addition of living room type sconces and/or pendants can add new life and light into the kitchen design.”

Lighting doesn’t have to be expensive, either, depending on what you would like to install. Under cabinet or track lighting isn’t hard to install yourself, but it would also be a relatively inexpensive job for an electrician to quickly tackle.

You can install a dimmer switch so that the halogens last a longer and save even more energy, plus a dimmer helps change the mood of the kitchen, turning it from a functional space to a place to sip wine with friends.


Replacing your countertops could certainly blow your $500 budget, but depending on the size and layout of your kitchen you can actually re-do some countertops on the cheap.

If you want granite, but simply can’t afford it, try a laminate design that looks like the expensive stone. Laminate has significantly changed over the years, with new designs and patterns. You can get a 30-inch by 12-foot sheet of laminate that mirrors granite for between $80 and $150.

And if you have older laminate there are specialty laminate paints on the market to repaint aged laminate countertops which can add more time to its use, Serra said.


No, you’re not going to be able to replace your refrigerator for less than $500, but you can replace other appliances like a dishwasher, trash compactor, disposal or some ovens. While this won’t spruce up the overall look of your kitchen, these can make a big difference if you have an appliance that is a considerable eyesore.

Changing a faucet can make a difference in the functionality and look of your kitchen as well, especially if your faucet is particularly dated.

Just be careful when changing out appliances that you measure your space and ensure that changing appliances won’t reveal a stained or unpainted portion of your wall.

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