The Decorating Therapist

Interior Design for your Heart and Mind


Columbia, Maryland
(410) 922-9252

6 Things to Do Before a Kitchen Remodel

It can be thrilling to move forward with the kitchen update you’ve been craving. So thrilling that you jump right in by calling a contractor to get an estimate. This is the most common mistake I see. Instead, if you really want to save money, time and frustration, start with the steps I use when I guiding my clients through a kitchen remodel.

1) Is it a “room refresh” or an all-out remodel? A room refresh is when all of the appliances, the counter tops and the sink are already in their most functional place. Maybe you’re looking to update the counter tops, cabinets or flooring. A kitchen remodel is when you change the footprint of the space, like knocking down a wall to expand the room, adding an island with a faucet, or moving the stove or sink.

2) How does the room function for you now? If you typically have more than one chef in the kitchen, are you bumping into one another as you navigate from the stove to the sink? Do you have enough prep space? If you have an expansive or open kitchen, is there too much space as you shift from food prep, to the stove and to the sink? If your kitchen is frustrating rather than functional, it may ultimately be a cost savings to upgrade your refresh into an actual kitchen remodel.

3) How long do you plan on being in the home?  If this is your forever home, go ahead and get the more expensive appliances, the higher-quality flooring, or the backsplash or countertops that may be a bit quirky or bold but that capture who you are. If you will be there 10 years or more, select whatever will bring you joy. If you’re planning to sell your home before then, you need to consider retail value and the choices most likely to appeal to the greatest number of people.

4) What is your budget?  This hinges on your first three considerations. You are going to need to do some homework, or hire a designer to do it for you. Create a category for each item you need to buy, and list the price ranges for each of these emotions: “It’ll work,” “I like it,” “I absolutely love it.” I call it “good, better, best,” and a designer can show you how to coordinate a “good” flooring with a “better” sink and the absolute “best” countertop. Make all of these choices long before construction begins, so that you have all of the materials your contractor needs on hand. If you don’t have a garage, consider renting a POD  or a storage unit. Doing this will save you weeks of having the dust, clutter and inconvenience of ongoing construction in your home. Create a budget and then add 20 percent. You never know what you will find when demo begins.

5) Call in a professional. Finally, it’s time!  Bring in a qualified professional to start the investigation well before the kitchen remodel begins. A contractor can look for signs of water damage and review the placement and safety of electrical outlets. They will be familiar with how building codes have changed since your home was built, and they can help set realistic expectations for what is possible.

6) Where will your temporary kitchen be? The kitchen is the hub of your home. How will you live without it for four to six weeks? Do you have space in another room for dishes, a refrigerator, and microwave? You could use a dining room, with a nearby powder room for a water source. Can you create a makeshift kitchen in the basement? Spring and summer can be a great time to do a kitchen remodel because you can grill outdoors and you have access to a bounty of fruits and vegetables that don’t need refrigeration.

If you’ve been thinking about remodeling your kitchen, start your planning now to ensure that it meets all of your needs and you love the results! Let’s get started now! Contact me here.