Remodeling Your Kitchen and Kitchen Design

How to Cost and Plan a Kitchen Remodeling Project

By Mark J. Donovan

Remodeling your Kitchen is an expensive undertaking, but it is well worth the investment. A kitchen is the focal point of any home as it is where we cook, eat, and spend much of our waking hours in a home. Moreover, a functional and attractive kitchen design is highly sought after by home buyers. As a result, kitchen remodeling has a high rate of return on investment. But all this said, remodeling a kitchen is again expensive, as well as very disruptive to the occupants of the home. Planned out well, however, the disruption time can be limited and costs can be controlled.

Done right, a kitchen can be remodeled in as fast as two weeks. Done wrong, and it can take a month or longer.

I personally remodeled my kitchen and within two weeks we replaced the kitchen cabinets and countertops, flooring, and appliances without ever having to have a non-functional kitchen for an evening.

The Kitchen Design and Planning Stage

As previously mentioned, construction planning is crucial when remodeling a kitchen. However, the planning of the work needs to happen after you’ve first developed a budget and have come up with a Kitchen design. As part of the kitchen design effort it is important to establish upfront the goals and key features you want to incorporate in your remodeled kitchen. Specifying the goals and list of key features will help to establish a basis for a remodeling budget. Visit local home improvement centers to find out the latest kitchen trends and to identify what types of kitchen appliances, cabinets, and countertops you want to include in your kitchen design. You’ll quickly see that you have many options, both in terms of features and costs.

Cabinets and Countertops

In regards to kitchen cabinets, lighter wood colors are popular today. For countertops, Silestone countertops are gaining in popularity. Silestone is made out of quartz stone and resins and to some extent resembles Granite. It comes in many colors and patterns and has a very unique and beautiful sparkle to it. It also has a very hard surface making it ideal for kitchens. Granite, however, is still the most popular high end kitchen countertop material.

Kitchen Appliances

Again, you have many choices when it comes to kitchen appliances. Stainless steel is still very popular today, however.

Kitchen remodeling ideas

Look for kitchen appliances that offer high energy efficiency and run silently, particularly the dishwasher. Refrigerators with freezers located at the bottom of them are also very popular today.


Vinyl is still used commonly in kitchens. Hardwood floors are also used today in higher end kitchen designs. Tile and stone can also be used. However, particularly with tile, it can crack easily when an item drops onto it, which commonly happens in a kitchen. Also, tile and stone floors can be cold to walk on in bare feet. So you may want to include radiant floor heating in your kitchen remodeling plans if you go with tile or stone.

Sketching out Kitchen Design plans

Once the key features and goals of your kitchen remodeling project have been determined you can then begin to sketch out a kitchen floor plan. In the sketch you should include the location of cabinets, appliances, islands, peninsulas, and even the kitchen table and chairs. Make sure the sketches include accurate dimensional information as the kitchen cabinet designer will need this information to design the cabinet layout.

Most likely they’ll need to come out to your home anyways to make their own measurements, but providing them with accurate dimensions up front allows them to draft a kitchen cabinet design plan before their visit.

Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet

Also, when sketching out your kitchen floorplan think of a triangle, where at each point of the triangle you place one of the three key kitchen features: stove, sink and refrigerator. A triangular kitchen design makes the kitchen highly functional for cooking, preparing food, and cleaning dishes.

Make sure to include open space in your kitchen design floorplan for easy walking paths through it. You want a kitchen layout that is as open and roomy as possibly while still functional.

Bring Sketches to Kitchen Remodeling Design Center

Once you’ve completed your kitchen floorplan sketches, visit your local kitchen design center, where you can present them to a certified kitchen designer. They will convert your sketches into formal plans and help you through the process of picking the specific kitchen cabinets and features you want incorporated into them. Again, after they draft up the formal kitchen design plans they will most likely want to come out to your home to verify the measurements in the kitchen and to confirm that there are no dimensional issues in the plans. As a matter of fact, insist that they visit your home before ordering the kitchen cabinets and countertops.

One wrong measurement could cost you a fortune in wasted cabinetry and/or countertops, as well as extend the remodeling time while you wait for replacement pieces to arrive on the jobsite.

Receipt of Kitchen Cabinets

When the kitchen cabinets are delivered to your home make sure the shipping list and kitchen design plans match the actual materials received. Doing so will enable you to quickly identify any ordering/shipment problems and mitigate costs and any delays in having them replaced and installed.

Kitchen Cabinets and Swapping out the Old with the New

Once the new cabinets are at your home, the kitchen cabinet installers should be on the jobsite within a day or two.

They should be able to remove the old countertops and cabinets within just a few hours. Similarly, if you feel up for a little DIY you can remove them yourself just prior to the kitchen installer’s arrival. You could save a few dollars doing so.

If your kitchen remodeling plans include a new floor, however, you’ll want to install it in between removing the old countertops and cabinets and installing the new cabinets. Make sure to cover the new flooring to protect it while the new cabinets and countertops are installed.

Installing the Kitchen Countertops

After the new kitchen cabinets are installed, the countertop subcontractor should come out and make precise measurements. He/she will also need to template them if Granite, Silestone, or Corian are to be used. Make sure to call the countertop subcontractor ahead of time so that he/she can be on the jobsite just as soon as the cabinets are installed. Doing so will help to minimize the disruption time. Expect it to take up to a week for the countertops to be cut and ready for installation after the measurements have been made. In the meantime, the kitchen design center project lead should be able to install a temporary plywood countertop and faucet to keep the kitchen functioning. Once the kitchen countertop, and new sink and faucet have been installed your remodeled kitchen should be fully operational.

To conclude, although remodeling a kitchen is an expensive and disruptive home construction project it is well worth the investment. Besides the improved beauty and function that it immediately provides, it also offers a high rate of return when the home is eventually sold. As a result, the inconvenience to the family during the construction is quickly forgotten, and there is peace of mind in knowing you’ve made a sound investment.

For help on your kitchen remodeling project, see my Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet. The Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet provides a request for quote checklist section that you can provide to prospective kitchen remodeling contractors. It also includes a comprehensive kitchen remodeling cost breakdown table, in Microsoft Excel format, that allows the contractor to include his projected remodeling costs for every phase of the project.

Related Information

Additional Kitchen Remodeling Design Resources


Get Free Kitchen Remodeling Price Quotes with No Obligation!

Fill out our 3-5 minute quick and easy form, and receive a free price quote on kitchen remodeling from one of our prescreened and licensed kitchen remodeling contractors. This process is free and there is no obligation to continue once you receive your kitchen renovation price estimate.