Kitchen Remodel: Things I’ve Learned

kitchen floors

Our remodel isn’t done yet, but I wanted to share a few of the key bits of knowledge I’ve gained from the past month’s experience.

First of all, I need to stress how grateful I am that 1) we had help for a huge chunk of the work, 2) my husband put up with my critical eye, and 3) we were able to save up enough money in the months previous to cover the whole project. These things made everything a lot less stressful – and considering how stressful it was anyway, I feel dang lucky.

Plan, Plan, Plan

While we had been thinking about renovating our kitchen for a few years, we didn’t really begin planning in earnest until December. From our 1387136 trips to IKEA over the years (it’s only about 15 minutes away) we already had a good sense of what we wanted, and just needed to decide on specifics. If you use Pinterest, this is a great way to get organized and corral all of your inspiration into one place.

Figure out your budget and time frame ahead of time, too. With the baby coming at the end of June, my only absolute requirement was to get it done before then, but in our minds the sooner was the better, especially because I have gotten less useful around the house as my belly gets bigger.

Multiply

Take your budget and time frame and multiply them both by two. Deliveries will be delayed, you will get sick, and even the easy tasks will take much longer than you expect them to. Unless you have the funds to pay for a contractor and day laborers, you’re going to need to take real life and (possibly) inexperience into consideration.

Padding the budget is usually a no-brainer, but don’t forget to include all those extra trips to the home improvement store in that calculation. And, according to a Consumer Reports article from 2012, the average cost for a kitchen remodel (including appliances) is around $30,000.

kitchen tile

Be Patient

Like I said, deliveries and installations will get delayed. Unfortunately, home renovation doesn’t really work like Amazon Prime. When it comes to working with actual people, be prepared to give a little leeway. Especially with your spouse or co-habitors.

Have a Fallback

When we planned out what we wanted, it didn’t really occur to us that products might suddenly be discontinued. Or that actually, we can’t install new lighting ourselves because the attic is a mishmosh of beams and pipes and ductwork. Or that IKEA doesn’t make a cabinet that is the proper dimensions for the space between our oven and pantry wall.

These aren’t huge problems, but they did trip us up and caused a lot of (perhaps more than needed) discussion. See above on being patient.

Get Used to Take-out Food

My stove was out of commission for less than a week, but other factors, such as “Where the @*^!# did I put the forks?” will not exactly inspire home cooking.

Keep fresh fruit and snacks like granola bars on hand, and if you’re lucky to have your fridge working, Greek yogurt (for the extra protein) and coconut water (for the electrolytes/hydration).

For lunch and dinner, we alternated with sit-down restaurants, prep food from the grocery store, and yes, fast food. It happens.

kitchen upper cabinets

Ask For Help

My in-laws visited for a week and helped my husband do the bulk of the work that was needed. My friend Steff answered my freaked-out plea to help me empty out the cabinets before demolition. We borrowed tools from anyone who could loan them.

Asking for help isn’t always easy, but most people will jump at the opportunity to help out those they love. The worst that can happen is that they say no.

 

At the end of this, I definitely won’t consider myself an expert, but I hope I’ve learned a few things that will stay with me for future projects. Not that I think we’ll be embarking on any large projects any time soon … although there is that one area that could use sprucing…

[highlight]Have you planned a kitchen remodel? What was your biggest hurdle?[/highlight]

 

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Comments

  1. says

    It’s been just over three years since we remodeled the kitchen, and I can’t stress padding the budget enough. I had been told to pad the whole thing by 20%, and that was pretty much bang on. I kept track of expenses, URLs where I’d bought particular items, etc. in an excel spreadsheet, and found that in the end, we were within about $500 of our budget – that is, the 20% padded budget.

    The thing that ate into our budget most? Eating out. We tried to keep it to diners and healthier fast food options (I may STILL be burnt out on Wendy’s salads), but since we went completely down to the studs and moved literally everything BUT the kitchen sink, we ended up eating most evening meals out for just over 6 weeks. For breakfast there was lots of microwave oatmeal, and lunch was typically a PB&J or Kraft microwaveable mac and cheese with an apple. I was never so glad to cook again!

    [Reply]

    Megan Reply:

    @Amber I couldn’t bear to add up all the eating out costs, but that 20% number is fairly close to what we will end up spending. Saying “double” might have been too dramatic, but I think people need to have realistic expectations! I certainly didn’t think we would have been spending so much money at IKEA, considering we didn’t get *that* many cabinets!

    [Reply]

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