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Kitchen Reno Basics

Kitchen Reno Basics - House & Home

Use these tips to keep your kitchen renovation on budget while choosing the best countertops, islands and storage.

Canadian homeowners are more likely to renovate their kitchens before any other room in the home. With proper preparation, lots of patience and helpful guidance from professionals, your makeover can go smoothly and (maybe!) even finish on time and on budget. Here are a few important points to consider before you begin creating the kitchen of your dreams.

Stay Organized

As soon as the renovation bug hits, start a project folder to keep on hand. Include tear sheets from magazines of rooms that inspire you. Add your sketches and floor plans, paint chips of your favourite colour schemes, material samples, appliance spec sheets and a renovation job/wish list so you can check off items as the work progresses.

Make a Plan

While almost all plans will change to some degree over the reno process, make sure to have one that is as concrete as possible from the very start of the project. Without a solid plan, the work could take months longer than expected and cost much more than you budgeted for.

Budget for the Unknown

While it’s great to keep a positive attitude and think that everything will go as planned, life usually doesn’t work out that way. When coming up with your kitchen reno budget, add on at least 15% for contingencies.

When in Doubt, Hire a Pro

You can save money by doing some of the work yourself, but only undertake parts that you are absolutely certain you can successfully accomplish on your own. Otherwise, you may waste time and cash having to redo botched work.

Before hiring your reno team, look at their past work and speak with references. Make sure the people you select for the job are reputable and insured. They’ll be in and out of your home over the next few months, so be certain you are comfortable around them and that you understand their work styles prior to proceeding.

Go for Quality

In most cases, buying the most inexpensive and lower quality hardware, fixtures and appliances will cost you more in the long run. Take time to research products, whether working with a designer or not.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Before making costly purchases, take measurements of all openings your new kitchen appliances will fit into. For example, if you are buying a new fridge for an existing space in the kitchen, make sure the opening is wide and tall enough to accommodate it. You’ll also need to check that you have the plumbing necessary for the fridge’s water/ice dispenser and that protruding pipes won’t make your new fridge stick out beyond the depth of the counter.

Match the Flooring to Your Lifestyle

If you spend a considerable amount of time in the kitchen preparing meals, it’s important to choose flooring that will be comfortable underfoot and is easy on the knees.

Stone, porcelain and ceramic look beautiful and are very durable materials but can be uncomfortable to stand on for long periods of time. Wood has more give, is available in an array of finishes and offers a hard-wearing surface for high traffic areas. Cork tile is a renewable resource, comes in a host of colours and patterns and is particularly comfortable to stand on.

Choosing a Countertop

Countertop finishes add colour, shine and personality to a kitchen. Available in a plethora of materials and colours, one can easily feel overwhelmed by the many choices. Make sure to speak to your builder, designer or product representative about the pros and cons of the materials you’re interested in before making a decision. Check out our video on the best kitchen countertops.

Air it Out

While a kitchen’s ventilation system is an important consideration during a reno, it often gets overlooked by homeowners. Whether you install a large hood or an inconspicuous downdraft, the ventilation in your kitchen must be carefully planned out ahead of time. Be sure to give your builder specifications pertaining to all your kitchen appliances so that preparations can be made prior to the start of the renovation process.

Consider an Island

If you’ve got the square footage to spare, an island can be a practical addition to a kitchen. Family and guests tend to congregate in the kitchen and an island with counter height stools offers a smart seating and dining solution. Make the most of a kitchen island by having as much storage built into it as possible. If a cooktop will be installed, consider adding a 6” high ledge for a dining surface that will also act as a barrier from hot pots and messy pans.

Plan for the Future

Think about what you may want to add to your kitchen in years to come. For example, if you're considering installing a television next year, have the cable wiring roughed in while your walls and ceilings are opened up during your reno so that it’s ready when you are.

For kitchen design and decorating inspiration, browse our guide.

Photographer: 

Jessica Lin

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