Tips & Tricks

The Ultimate Kitchen Remodel Guide: Contractors, Storage Space, & More

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A kitchen remodel is a big project. You’ll likely encounter unforeseen expenses, last-minute design changes, and plenty of stress during the dusty months of renovation. While the duration of the remodel can be challenging, the finished project is usually well worth the wait. The trick is figuring out how to survive until the end. Luckily, there are a few ways you can ease the challenge of renovations.

We’ve created a complete remodel guide with tips and expert advice on how to have the smoothest, most pain-free kitchen remodel possible.

How to Have a Successful Kitchen Remodel

The best way to set yourself up for success in your upcoming remodel is to adequately prepare yourself beforehand. Study, shop around, budget, and compare samples before you tear out the first cabinet. Having a well-thought-out plan can save money and your sanity as you go through renovations. Here are some preparation tips to make your kitchen remodel successful.

  • Make a budget. Before you do anything else, decide how much money you’re willing to spend on your kitchen renovations. Use a free calculating tool to get an estimate of how much your design ideas will cost, and alter your ideas to fit within your budget. Be sure to leave a little extra room in the budget for unexpected expenses.
  • Find the right contractor. Get quotes from multiple contractors before selecting one. Your contractor should have a good balance of cost and reputation, so do thorough research on potential candidates.
  • Plan for plenty of storage and lighting. Two of the most common problems in finished kitchens are lack of storage and improper lighting. Plan ahead for these problems by discussing options with your contractor. Talk about under-cabinet lighting and updated fixtures along with clever cabinet structures to squeeze more storage out of your kitchen space.

What to Ask Your Contractor Before Starting a Kitchen Remodel

Having a contractor you can put your confidence in is an important part of your kitchen remodel. It’s not only a matter of asking questions, but asking the right questions to determine who is best fit for the job. Here are the top questions you should ask to ensure you’re leaving your expensive project in the hands of an expert.

Can I see your license and certificate of insurance?

Make sure your contractor has completed all the necessary certification require by your city and state. In addition to asking your contractor for proof, you can contact local agencies to ensure he or she is properly licensed.

Along with proper certification, your contractor should be able to produce paperwork proving he or she has both workers compensation and liability insurance for the job. Choosing a contractor that doesn’t have correct licensing and insurance could result in major problems down the road.

What experience do you have?

A contractor who has been in business for years has certainly learned a few ins and outs of handling big projects. Choose a well-experienced contractor who specializes in kitchen remodels. Someone who has experience with local permits, inspections, and building codes and knows the easiest way to expedite permitting is the best person for the job.

What are your thoughts on the kitchen design?

A good contractor will be actively involved in the design process of your space. He or she will give you ideas, feedback, and samples to consider. This is a sign that they’ll be more flexible throughout the remodel process and able to assist with expediting design decisions if any unplanned issues arise. A contractor who isn’t interested in looking over the design with you isn’t someone who can deliver your dream kitchen.

How will payments be handled?

Never agree to pay the full amount for your renovation up front. A reputable contractor will set up a payment plan with you based on a specific time frame or stages of project completion.

You should also make sure you understand how unexpected expenses will be dealt with and your contractor agrees to not spend more than your budget amount without your direct approval. Get all the payment details and budget in a written contract prior to starting the remodel.

What’s the best way to communicate with you?

You need to know the best method and time to get ahold of your contractor to discuss the project. Take the time to get your contractor’s information, along with a general timeframe to expect a response to your messages. You should also spend time on the job site talking to your contractor and observing progress once the remodel is underway.

What services are included?

In addition to tearing apart your kitchen and rebuilding it, check to see what other duties the contractor will take care of. He or she should take initiative to get proper permits and inspections, so you don’t have to worry about it.

You should also check to see if your contractor gets a discount on appliances, cabinetry, or finishings, and if they’ll extend that discount to you. Establish beforehand who will be responsible for purchasing and picking up appliances and other essential items in your kitchen remodel. If your contractor doesn’t offer this service, or charges additional fees, consider looking into hiring low cost helpers from Dolly to do the job for you. Dolly connects you with local pickup truck owners who are ready to help with your moving and delivery needs. Dolly Helpers can bring home your new refrigerator, take away your old cabinetry, or even pick up the sweet new kitchen table you bought off craigslist. Now that you’ve got all the logistics of the remodel figured out, take your time designing your kitchen into the kitchen of your dreams!

5 Tips to Make Your Small Kitchen Seem Larger

Once you’ve found the right contractor, set up a budget, and collected pictures of your ideal kitchen layout, it’s time to start making design decisions. If you have a small kitchen to work with, your design will have to be especially strategic to avoid cluttering the space. Below are five simple things you can do to make your kitchen space seem larger.

#1 Choose the Right Appliances

Don’t go for the double-decker oven and oversized refrigerator if you’re trying to conserve space in your kitchen. Instead, choose sleek appliances with high-end function and minimal mass.

In addition to choosing the right appliances, you also need to choose the right arrangement of your appliances. For example, keep the cooktop and oven together and install an overhead microwave to conserve counter space. Keep small appliances built into cabinets or in a designated storage spot to prevent clutter.

#2 Include Lots of Natural Light

Bay windows, skylights, and greenhouse windows are all great ways to allow more natural light to flow into your kitchen space. Having the added windows and lighting will make your kitchen feel extra roomy.

#3 Pick Light Colors

Dark cabinets and flooring will make your small kitchen space feel even more cramped. Choose naturally light woods and light neutral paint colors to brighten up your space. But be wary of what color you choose for your countertop: a white counter is a recipe for dirt or spills to stick out. Stick with a more neutral gray or brown to keep the space light without adding mess to the kitchen madness.

#4 Use Glass Cabinet Doors

Replace solid cabinet doors with glass ones for a nice window effect. This will make your kitchen space seem bigger and brighter. If you choose to use this tip, keep your cabinets free of clutter to avoid having the opposite effect.

#5 Keep Color Consistent

Using the same paint color on your cabinets and walls allows the eye to travel freely through the space without visual boundaries. This will make your kitchen appear larger and less cramped.

10 Tips to Maximize Storage Space in Your Kitchen

Let’s face it. You have more small appliances, dishes, cooking utensils, and other kitchen gear than anything else in your house. You need a lot of storage space to hold all of your kitchen items, regardless of how large or small your kitchen is. Below are a few genius ways to squeeze more storage space out of your tiny kitchen.

Opt for Above-Cabinet Storage Space

Add shelving above your cabinets to create extra storage in your cramped kitchen. This is the ideal place to store items you seldom use. Add some greenery up there to draw the eye upward and make your kitchen seem larger.

Use a Pegboard

If you have wall space to spare, add a pegboard with various hooks for utensil and pan storage. Your cooking gear will be neatly organized without taking up precious cabinet or counter space, and you’ll have a cool wall feature as well.  

Store Your Appliances

We all know that sometimes it can be difficult to fit all your appliances into those tiny cupboards in your kitchen.  If you just don’t have enough room or you can’t bear to part with your grandmother’s china; then just store them with Neighbor. Neighbor provides a peer-to-peer storage marketplace where homeowners rent out the extra space around their house to those who need storage space. The best part is, they are 50% cheaper than traditional self storage facilities. Simply book a space online or through the Neighbor App. Bonus: they’re perfect for those once-a-year specialty kitchen items, like all those Christmas cookie making supplies, or the giant cooking tools you use for the Thanksgiving turkey.

Magnetic Strips

Save counter and drawer space by storing your knives on a wall-mounted magnetic strip. These handy devices are also great for storing cooking utensils and other metal objects.

Add Extra Shelving

Whether you install shelves on an empty wall or add some more shelves to your pantry, DIY shelving could be the storage solution you’ve been looking for. Be creative with your shelf placements, but be careful to avoid cluttering up your space.

Utilize Open Cabinet Sides

If some of your cabinets have an open side that isn’t pressed up against a wall, you can use this space to your advantage. Install a rack for hanging spices or hooks for hanging mugs. You will have easier access to these items as an added bonus.

Don’t Forget the Inside of Cabinet Doors

Invest in organizer hangers to place over the door of your cabinets. You’ll be able to store dish rags, soap, cleaning items, pot holders, and spices in these door hangers.

Hang Things Up

Use small tension rods to create hanging space in some of your larger cabinets. This is a great place to hang towels, rags, pot holders, and gloves. Enjoy greater organization along with the extra storage space.

Organize Pans and Cutting Boards

You can also use small tension rods to vertically organize baking sheets and cutting boards. These items tend to pile up, creating a mess and taking up valuable space. Keeping them organized will free up some space for other items.

Be Creative with Ceiling Space

Purchase hanging storage racks to squeeze some storage out of your empty ceiling space. Hang a rack by the oven to hold various pots, pans, and utensils. This will likely clear out at least two of your cabinets entirely, plus it makes for a cool feature that will make your kitchen look taller and your home look more refined.

Under-the-Oven Space

If you’re desperate for extra storage, use your under-oven space. Some ovens have safe storage space underneath for baking sheets and pans. If your oven isn’t one of these, however, be sure to take out all of your pans before turning it on.

Author Bio

This post is written by our friends at Neighbor. Neighbor is the Airbnb of storage, connecting hosts with unused space to renters in need of storage. Neighbor is an online, peer-to-peer self storage community that provides homeowners with extra monthly income and renters with a storage solution at 50% the traditional price. Whether you need Rv, boat, car, business, or just plain self storage space, we are there for you. Neighbor, it’s storage your way.

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