Planning Tips for a Dream Kitchen

A dream kitchen has to be in the top three of the desired options for a home. Unlike a century ago where room at the back of the home was set aside for this area the modern kitchen is now one of the focal points of any home design.

The main fact to realize about kitchen remodeling is that it is a fairly straight-forward renovation. Unlike many bathroom remodeling projects kitchens do not have the multiple plumbing centers. In addition, with just a few exceptions, kitchen cabinets and appliances fit in square spaces and cabinets can be made to fit if they are a bit too big or too small. Another fact to know is that the consumer mark-up for kitchens can be as much as 200% more than the wholesale cost of the materials and labor. With this in mind it makes sense for a homeowner to do his or her homework before shelling out $24,000 or more to a kitchen design store.

The Square Plan

For many novices the thought of remodeling a kitchen themselves might as well fall under the category of building a skyscraper when actually it is not that difficult. However, before going out and purchasing a kitchen design program there is a simpler way to get started. Computer programs are great but there are many things to consider before spending hours pouring over computer manuals.

The first step is to buy a pad of graph and have a few sharp pencils around paper. Measure the present kitchen, wall to wall, and put in the floor plan. This includes base cabinets and appliances. If the kitchen is going to be made large pencil in this space as well and mark in the present walls, doors or other obstacles. Even if a person is not an artist is easy to draw lines and make a scale map with graph paper.

Choose Your Appliances

Many kitchen designers will ask what appliances a homeowner wants before putting in the cabinets because the appliances define the structure of the kitchen. Most appliances are standard. For example a stove is usually thirty-inches, and most dishwashers are twenty-four inches, but refrigerators come in all sizes. In addition, decide what smaller appliances will be in the kitchen such as microwave ovens, mixers and coffer machines. This will go to deciding how much storage and counter space will be needed.

Save Money on Plumbing

Where the water will go is the next most important part of a kitchen design. The sinks, dishwasher and, to a certain extent, the refrigerator all need water intake and drainage. If at all possible try to keep the design close to the present water and drainage to lessen the plumbing bill. For example, if the present sink position is fine then the pipes will not have to be moved. This goes for the dishwasher as well. In some cases these positions can be moved without tearing up the floor or walls. This is what extension pipes are for. A kitchen designer might add a $1,000 in the estimate for a plumber that may not be needed.

The Lowdown on Cabinets

One of the features of a kitchen that vary the most in price is the kitchen cabinets. For the most part kitchen cabinets are built from cabinets made up of panels containing wood chips. This composite is held together by melamine sheets that mimic the woodgrain of solid-wood cabinets. The most expensive part the cabinet is the door which can be made from solid wood or a pressed-wood product. Many cabinets are mass-produced in factories and can be purchased unassembled. By following the instructions a novice can put together a whole set of kitchen cabinets, a job that can cost up to $2,000 if left to a carpenter.

When the appliances, storage, island and counter space has been decided then the cabinets can be drawn onto the graph paper. This is where a manufacturer's book comes in handy because there are diagrams of each cabinet. If there are small spaces, don't worry. These can be filled in with panels coded to the design of the cabinets.

Cabinet Hardware

Hardware is another area where money can be saved. Many products are marked up over 100% so spend some time go to the discount areas of home improvement stores. This goes for items such as pulls, knobs and storage hardware.

Realistic Countertops

The desire of many homeowners is to have granite countertops. Besides being expensive these counters need to be maintained. To get the bang of granite without the hefty cost choose a precut piece for the island and then color-match it to a quality, texture laminate for the rest. In some cases great bargains can be found where an island topper and be as cheap as $400. The homeowner has the real granite front and center while the laminate is in the background. Many people will not know that there is no granite on the main countertops unless they see them up closely.


While ceramic tile is popular try choosing a cushioned-vinyl with a tile design. Not only is it cheaper and easier to install it will be easier on the feet while maintaining the look of real ceramic tile.

The Tear-Out

By tearing out the kitchen a homeowner can save hundreds of dollars in carpentry fees. This is the time to line up professional help for the installation. This will be one of the biggest expenses but tearing out the old kitchen can be a do-it-yourself project.

First, move the fridge to another room and find plastic boxes to store cereal and other perishable. Cans and other non-perishable foods can be stored in the garage or other storage area. A hot plate can be substituted for a stove because most homes do not have an extra 220 volt outlet. Now the space can be cleared of the old cabinets and flooring. Make sure that a plumber, electrician and gas-fitter cap off the utilities


With the cabinets pre-assembled and the space crack-filled and painted it is now time to assemble the kitchen.

For more information on dream kitchens consult our Contractor Directory or simply post your kitchen project online and a qualified contractor will contact you.

Posted by: kim
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