As a Houston kitchen remodeling contractor, I’ve talked with lots of homeowners. A common concern with homeowners is their dream kitchen not turning out as expected.
Below is a list of 27 kitchen tips customers like yourself wish they knew before starting their remodel.
1. Ventilation is important. Windows serve a dual purpose, letting in natural light and removing cooking odors.
Ducted vent hoods. Ducted island or range hoods remove cooking odors, smoke, and grease from the kitchen. The exhaust pulls the odors to an outside vent.
Ductless hoods pull odor through a filter and recirculate the air back into your home. Ductless hoods are installed when adding ductwork is not an option due to space. Or when the customer doesn’t want to spend the extra cost for ductwork.
2. Embrace smart technology. Your kitchen remodel should be functional, efficient, and innovative.
Connecting Alexa or Google to smart switches and outlets will take the remodel to the next level. Google and Amazon smart displays are popular due to hands-free and voice control. Get recipes, metric to US conversions, control lights, play music, and more with a voice command.
It’ll become the helper you didn’t know you needed.
3. Install a charging outlet for electronics. Following an online recipe? Having a dedicated space for a tablet to follow recipes is resourceful thinking.
adding a charging outlet to end searching for the tablet charger, is a game changer.
4. Islands- Counter height or Bar height? Which is more popular? Don’t select by popularity, instead choose by what works best for you and your lifestyle.
Counter height island questions to ask yourself. Do you prefer your feet touching the floor while eating? Shorter people have expressed an appreciation for that small comfort. Taller people, the counter is waist-high when seated, causing them to lean over while eating.
Will the island serve a dual purpose, ie. have a sink or cooktop? If so, you’ll gain more counter space but keep in mind your mess will be more visible.
Bar height islands are perfect when space is a concern. Or when the homeowner prefers an eating counter that is separate from the cooking, prep, or sink area.
There is no right or wrong decision regarding which island height to choose, it comes down to what works best for you.
5. Buy the correct height bar stools for your island. Counter height is 24-27” from the floor to the top of the seat. Bar height stools range from 28-33” from floor to seat.
6. Buy new cabinets or reface? Buy new when cabinets made of pressed wood material become damaged or non-functional.
Reface solid wood cabinets when a layout is staying the same. Also refacing is worth considering when the solid wood cabinets are dated but in good condition.
A skilled carpenter can build new soft close doors and drawers in current style trends. Your doors and drawers will be rebuilt with the same functions as the new cabinets.
After the door refacing, finish cabinets in paint or stain in the latest color.
Update the hardware to match the current kitchen trend.
And now you have beautiful, quality cabinets that are more durable than new pressed wood ones. You’re Welcome!
7. Dropping the ball on cabinet organization. Not adding organization to the inside of the cabinets. Pull out drawers and dividers utilize the inside of a cabinet door.
8. Your cabinet color choice will make a difference. Do you prefer natural light and bright spaces? If so, stick with light colored painted or natural wood stained cabinets.
9. Countertops in white, light colors and medium shades of brown are popular. Black and dark colors are less popular, they’re hard to keep clean and make a small area feel smaller.
Kitchens with one window or minimal natural light, feel confined by dark colors. Dark browns, dark grays, and black color combinations make the space feel smaller.
10. Cluttering the countertops. Why spend the money on new countertops to cover every inch? Select a few key appliances or items to display to avoid cluttering up the countertops. Less is more.
You paid for those beautiful countertops, now show them off!
11. Popular kitchen cabinet colors. White and off-white colors are still the most popular because they are timeless.
Followed by wood finish cabinets which tend to go in and out of style based on color.
White cabinets are easier to update without needing a full remodel. Small updates performed in stages can have a big impact.
Below are the top 4 renovations requested by our customers with white and wood cabinets:
- Change the countertops and hardware.
- New tile backsplash installation.
- Painting- walls and cabinets.
- New tile or luxury vinyl plank flooring installation.
These updates are the most requested when a full kitchen remodel isn’t in the budget.
12. Be prepared to not have a kitchen. Most homeowners say “yeah I know”, but don’t take the time to prepare. Asking your contractor how much longer until you get your kitchen back a week into the demo, is not a plan.
13. Set up a temporary cooking area. Setting up a temporary cooking area doesn’t need to be stressful or complicated. Keep things basic and simple (think camping), and add your daily essentials.
Below are temporary kitchen setup ideas from our previous customers.
- Start with a folding or dining room table.
- Move the refrigerator to the temporary cooking area. Or leave it in place, cover it with a moving blanket, then tape cardboard to the bottom half and sides. This provides added protection while crews are working.
- Create a makeshift shelf with cardboard boxes or crates.
- Meal prep cooked or uncooked dinners in single containers. Individual servings can be cooked, reheated, and eaten from the container.
Daily essentials homeowners added to their table:
- Tableware (1 set of each item per person). Plate, saucer, bowl, knife, and large cup for beverages. Also a mug, refillable water bottle, fork, spoon, and knife (real or paper dishes, it’s a personal preference).
- Cooking and serving utensils- cutting board, knife, spatula, large fork/spoon, and whisk.
- Air fryers are lifesavers. Easy to prepare full meals and cleanup requires minimal water.
- Small appliances –Microwave, toaster, crock pot, or toaster oven.
- A grill- an indoor electric one or outside charcoal or gas.
- Coffee maker, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, sugar, spices, etc.
- Paper towels, napkins, pot holders, and dishtowels.
- Breakfast bars, oatmeal, and cereal.
- Add a trash can on the side of the cabinet table.
- When the contractor finishes working for the day, remove the cardboard and blanket. This allows access to the refrigerator in the evenings and on weekends.
14. Bring paint, flooring, and countertop samples home. Paint peel & stick color samples are awesome. They’re mess free and can be re-positioned. Or buy a sample size of the paint, and apply it to all kitchen walls to see how the color changes throughout the day.
Eggshell and satin finish are the most used for kitchen walls because it’s the easiest paint to wipe clean.
Flooring– Showrooms have way more lighting than a home. Tile, hardwood, laminate, or vinyl plank may look great in the showroom. Get it home and it’s a hot, busy, off-colored mess in your space. It’ll have you asking yourself… what was I thinking!
Dark flooring shows dust, dirt, and pet hair. And requires more maintenance to keep clean. Doesn’t matter if it’s tile, hardwood, vinyl plank, or laminate it’s all the same. Earth tone, light, or medium tone shades camouflage dirt better.
Countertops– Always, always, always, (did I say always?), see a full slab of the countertop before making your decision. Can’t stress this enough! I’ve had customers select granite based on a picture online, a small sample they’ve grabbed from a big box store.
After insisting we see their selection in person, 30% of them did not like the veining or color variations. And selected something different. This is common with quartz too!
After seeing the full slab, bring a sample(s) home of the selected countertop. Combine with the flooring and paint to select the color scheme.
15. Light countertops- show crumbs, spills, and messes.
16. Warm brown tone and granite countertops– dirt, crumbs, and spills blend in more.
17. Electrical- Have an electrician inspect and update old wiring (if needed). And add any outlets and switches that are needed. Most kitchens need more outlets or a breaker updated to handle the new demands.
This is why it’s important to have fixtures on site before the remodel begins. It allows the electrician to install electrical boxes for the new lights. As well as dimmers, and wires for new pendants, recessed or under cabinet lighting.
Also, a microwave in a drawer requires an outlet installed inside the cabinet.
18. Lighting- Always install a dimmer on the island counter light fixtures. It’s an overlooked feature to go from bright cooking light to a soft vibe for eating or entertaining.
Recessed lights are a “must have” in a Houston kitchen remodel today. They’re functional, modern, and timeless. It’s like having two lights in one. Always install a dimmer on recessed lights for the same reason listed above.
The downside to recessed lighting, they blend with the ceiling.
How to fix the problem?
Make a statement with a ceiling or pendant light.
If the space doesn’t have an island, center an eye-catching light fixture in the ceiling.
If the space has an eating or bar counter, add pendant lighting above to make a statement.
Don’t be afraid to go bold!
19. Popular pendant choices are small and large sizes and different shapes. Metal finishes, and fabric shades are hot too. Or use colored decorative glass shades to add a pop of color and tied in the adjoining room.
20. Under cabinet LED lighting is hot right now, and for good reason. A variety of uses, illuminate the countertops without turning on overhead lights.
Excellent accent lighting or night light.
Image cooking, it gets dark and your hands are messy. No problem! Image cooking, it gets dark and your hands are messy. No problem! A simple voice command turns them on when connected to Google or Alexa.
21. Buy appliances sooner than later. Appliances should be on site before the remodel to incorporate them into the layout. Most need extra electrical and plumbing connections that are not included. And some appliances need extra parts and kits from the manufacturer.
Drop-in cooktops require a hole to be cut in the countertop before installation.
The microwave drawers we’ve installed required modifications to fit inside the cabinet.
22. Trash shouldn’t be an afterthought. To avoid adding a garbage can at the end of an island or the side cabinet. New cabinet pull out trash drawers are 18 inches wide. Perfect for some households, and too small for others. Larger families need to consider where the trash will go in their remodel.
23. Hire a General Contractor. Save yourself time and frustration and hire a general contractor that is on the same page as you.
The money you’ll save coordinating your project, you’ll pay for in time, mistakes, or both.
Delays due to corrections, products, materials, and coordinating contractor schedules will become overwhelming fast. Gaps in project timelines caused by not knowing the next step or how long it takes to complete a task will create tension.
An experienced general contractor has a team of skilled crews to complete the entire project. A GC has established relationships with the contractors and knows their abilities. They’re experienced with unforeseen issues. And they’ll navigate the process to complete your project on time.
24. Be realistic about how much cleaning you currently do now and what you’re willing to do.
25. Don’t select “beautiful” materials that are not easy to clean. You’ll regret it each time you enter your kitchen. It is possible to strike a balance between beautiful, functional, and easy to maintain.
26. Don’t stress yourself out. Watching the kitchen of your dreams go from a vision to reality should be an exciting process.
27. Last but not least, don’t select materials to impress the Joneses or social media! A remodel should be a reflection of your personality. Select items that “wow” you and make your daily tasks easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable.
You’ll smile every time you walk into your kitchen. And your guests will be impressed because they’ll say wow, I should have thought of that.
Want the kitchen of your dreams? Let our experienced team transform your Houston kitchen today. Contact me at 281-809-7554 to discuss your project and see if we’re a good fit!
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