If you’re planning a remodeling project this season, consider focusing on your kitchen or bath. These spaces might offer the most basic of functions, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be as lovely and comfortable as the rest of your property. And, given how your kitchen and bath are two of the most frequently used spaces in your home, they should be given top priority when you have the opportunity for an upgrade.
Keeping a pleasant, organized and fully functional kitchen and bath not only improves your quality of life–it can also increase your home’s value. For this reason, it’s best to take proactive measures that ensure these spaces remain in good shape.
Signs You Need a Remodel
If you’re experiencing any of the following, you’re highly likely due for a remodel:
Your kitchen is considerably short on storage or counter space. Maybe you find yourself struggling for counter space every time you cook or your cabinets are so packed with kitchen items you’re forced to put them in other rooms. If this is the current situation in your home, now is the perfect opportunity for an upgrade.
Your kitchen has an awkward, or even dangerous layout. Do you remember those rangetop islands that were so popular back in the day? They look good but can be a safety risk. Aside from safety concerns, poor kitchen layout just makes working in the space difficult and inconvenient.
Your kitchen is hard to clean and declutter. Stains on countertops that never go away, kitchen items piled haphazardly in every corner, mottled and chipped tiles–these are just some of the things that make cleaning the space a nightmare. Fortunately, some effective kitchen remodeling work can quickly address these issues.
Your kitchen has outdated appliances. Because they don’t have the sustainable features most modern options have today, older appliances use more of your home’s energy, which can lead to increased monthly energy bills. Equipping your kitchen with newer appliances from a remodeling project can help prevent this. In fact, they can actually pay for themselves over time.
Your kitchen is damaged. There’s no saying what severe weather can bring so it’s not impossible for your kitchen to fall victim to heavy rains and high winds. If you’re going to rebuild your kitchen anyway, then take damage as an opportunity to introduce upgrades.
Your bath has old and leaky fixtures. Old and Inefficient toilets and faucets result in higher water bills. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has revealed that toilets use about 30% of water used indoors. Leaky showers may also use about 17% of indoor water, while a regular shower head about 2.5 gallons of water per minute.
Your bath space is cramped. Do you bump into things inside your bath every time you turn around? For better comfort and convenience, expand your space with a high-quality bathroom remodel from a trusted contractor.
Your bath decor leaves a lot to be desired. A change is always good, especially when it involves something you always use everyday, like your bathroom. If your current space looks like a set in a low-budget movie, it might be time for an update. You can bring your bathroom up-to-date with a sleeker, more stylish look via a remodel.
Getting Started with a Remodel: Some Useful Tips
Once you’ve decided a remodel is the solution for your needs, it’s time to do some careful planning. Kitchen and bath remodels take a considerable amount of your time and money. If you want to get the most of them, make sure you cover all your bases with these tips:
Determine what you want to achieve with your remodel. This means making a prioritized list of your needs and wants. Do you want a complete overhaul or just a few specific upgrades? Do you need a better layout or are you looking to expand the room itself? Divide the upgrade you’re planning to get into categories such as:
Must-haves – crucial upgrades that offer the biggest visual and functional impact.
Would-like-to-haves – can augment the must-have item if there’s budget left over.
Dream items – the upgrades you don’t need but want to get anyway because they look great.
Writing this list will help both you and your remodeling contractor prioritize during the project because you have clearly outlined what you want to get out of remodeling your kitchen or bath.
Be inspired. If you don’t yet have a specific look in mind for your kitchen or bath upgrade, all you need to do is look for inspiration. You can find many design ideas online or on magazines. They usually feature most of the latest remodeling trends, including color palettes, storage solutions and advanced appliances. Having a clearer vision about the project can help cut back on change orders, ensuring you get the results you want for your kitchen or bath space.
Keep layout, traffic, placement and other factors in mind. Kitchens and baths should allow for smoother flow of movement. This is one of the first things you should look into when planning a remodel. You can consult your local kitchen or bath remodeling expert for this.
Set aside an emergency budget. The fact is, kitchen and bathroom remodeling doesn’t always go as planned. For instance, you or your local remodeler may discover some hidden damage behind your walls or the plumbing, prompting comprehensive repair work. To avoid overspending, make sure you have a fund set aside to cover these contingencies. This way, you’re sure the project will remain on budget. Additionally, most home improvement professionals have special offers and rebates, and they can also suggest alternative materials and options to help you save costs.
Achieving Style and Function
In a kitchen or bath remodel, good looks and functionality should go hand in hand. It defeats the point of an upgrade if you have to sacrifice one for the other. Fortunately, finding the right balance between the two can be easy, especially when you work with a contractor who knows how.
You spend a lot of time in your kitchen not only preparing meals, cooking and eating, but entertaining, as well. That’s why a kitchen remodel is a worthy investment; this upgrade allows for both style and function so you can move around the room easily and with better storage and counter space.
Here are some pointers:
Take advantage of an outdoor view. If your kitchen boasts a stunning view of the outdoors, why not frame that view with a larger window? Picture windows are excellent for this because they feature slim frames and expansive glass that can effectively bring the beauty of the outdoors into a room. Because of this same large glass area, they also offer greater access to natural light, helping provide your kitchen with a brighter, more spacious feel.
Allow for more fluid traffic. You can do this by tearing out an unnecessary wall. According to remodeling experts, paths should be at least 36 inches wide for smooth movement. Directing traffic for a better flow also works. For instance, keep cooktop items out of high traffic areas. This helps prevent children or guests from catching the handles or causing spills. You should also establish “zones” specifically for preparation, cooking and cleanup. Additionally, make sure the refrigerator is fully accessible to both passersby and people working in these zones.
Update your center island. Kitchen island are still popular today, although you might find most of the standard options available in stores seem a bit uninspired. If you want something more creative for your kitchen remodeling project, have your center island custom made by your local contractor. They’ll work closely with you in designing the island that best suits your kitchen decor and color scheme. In addition, updating your island offers more benefits. The top provides a surface for meal preparation, with one side available for storage space and the other functioning as a convenient seating area.
Get smarter storage solutions. Keeping a clutter-free kitchen means adding more storage, which you can do in a number of effective ways. You can, for instance, install cabinets that reach the ceiling. While this may cost more (and you’ll have to be on your tippy-toes to reach them), taller cabinets provide valuable storage for those items you rarely use, like Christmas platters and the good china. Another plus–you won’t have to dust the cabinet tops.
You can also try mounting small shelves on unused wall areas, or even inside cabinet doors. Large skillets and stock pots can also be hung on a ceiling-mounted rack. What about aprons, brooms or mops? Add hooks to the back of the closet doors for them. With smarter storage, keeping an organized kitchen space can be worry-free–and you know that a clean, neat kitchen adds a lot to visual appeal.
Plan the space. If you want to keep your cabinets and appliances fully functional, consider door clearance and swing direction. Keep your kitchen appliances away from corners. Plus, make sure their doors won’t bang into each other when they’re opened at the same time.
Choose a good material for your kitchen countertops and flooring. As visual design elements, your countertops and floor should make a big impression. Your choice of material contributes greatly to this so make sure it complements your kitchen decor to a T.
Some popular material options for countertops include:
Quartz – Requiring little to zero maintenance, quartz countertops don’t need to be scrubbed or sealed to stay beautiful. Their shimmering surface adds a touch of elegance to the space. The material is also more low-key than their flashier counterparts, so you’re less likely to grow tired of it.
Granite – Available in a variety of unique colors and veining, granite countertops are highly durable, able to resist heat, cuts and scratches. With the right polish or matte finish, plus proper sealing, they can also resist most stains, making cleanup a breeze.
Laminate – Cost-effective and easy to install, laminate countertops look better than ever today thanks to advancements in printing technology and the addition of decorative edges.
For kitchen flooring materials, some popular choices are:
Hardwood – Never going out of style, hardwood floors offer warmth and natural beauty, providing an old-world charm you can enjoy for years. They can also stand up to spills and stains, which is especially handy.
Laminate – Able to emulate the rich look and feel of hardwood or tile floors at a fraction of the cost, laminate flooring is great for those on a budget.
Tile – Another classic and versatile choice, tile flooring is available in a wide selection of colors and patterns and can handle heavy foot traffic, water exposure and spills. Plus, it doesn’t absorb bacteria or odors.
When choosing a material for your countertops or flooring, make sure to also take into account their maintenance requirements, durability and longevity to help you assess which will best suit you.
Have better lighting installed. You can’t rely on just a single light source if you want to keep your kitchen stylish and functional. Blend task, ambient, accent and decorative lighting to achieve the best effect. Task lighting is necessary for getting work done in your kitchen, like reading recipes and preparing meals. They’re put to best use above kitchen islands and below wall cabinets. Ambient lighting adds to the overall mood of the kitchen, inspiring better comfort. You can place ambient lights under cabinets, on the ceiling, orr over the kitchen island for that warm, soft glow.
Accent lighting, meanwhile, helps highlight the decor in your kitchen while giving the room some dimension. Install them inside glass cabinets to better show off your fine china and other decorative features. Decorative lighting, on the other hand, adds a more dramatic look to your kitchen. Just make sure the size of the fixture is compatible to your kitchen.
On Your Bath Remodel
You can make every bathroom visit a more enjoyable experience when you invest in a remodel. After all, who doesn’t love relaxing in a warm, bubbly bathtub with wine and a good book? With a bath upgrade, you get the chance to do this anytime you want.
Keep in mind the following:
Choose energy-saving upgrades. If you want to save more money in the long term, ditch the old toilets and showers, which are not equipped with the advanced energy-efficient features newer ones have. This applies to a kitchen remodel, as well. Choose appliances, such as dishwashers and refrigerators, that consume less energy. They help lower your bills while also helping the environment.
Get a walk-in bathtub. This excellent option helps improve bathroom safety, especially for homeowners living with aging or physically challenged family members. Walk-in tubs make entering the tub easier because you don’t have to lift your legs over the threshold. They are sealed so water stays inside the tub and doesn’t flood the floor. Walk-in tubs also come with handrails and adjustable shower heads or bubble jets.
Small updates can give the biggest impact. They’re also easy and cost-effective. Replace all the old hardware from your bath space, including drawer pulls, faucet handles and shower heads. Choose fixtures with metallic finishes, like stainless steel, brushed nickel or bronze to give the room a newer, more polished look.
Don’t forget about ventilation. Baths use up a considerable amount of water, which contributes to excessive indoor moisture. To improve your home’s indoor air quality and reduce the potential for mold or mildew growth, have larger windows installed. A well-ventilated bath smells better and, with a new window, looks brighter and more spacious.
Use the right kind of lighting. As with kitchen remodeling, keep good lighting in mind when upgrading your bath space. Install sconces at eye level on the vanity to get even lighting on your face. This also helps diminish unflattering shadows. If you want to relax a while in your tub, use softer, warmer lighting. Brighter lights, on the other hand, are especially useful for shaving or applying makeup. How do you make your bath seem larger? Getting more overall lighting can help with this.
Professional or Do-It-Yourself?
A kitchen or bath remodel is a huge investment. You’ll want to be brutally honest about your DIY skills if it’s vital to stay on budget and on schedule. It’s easy for the untrained homeowner to make costly mistakes, so it pays to consult a professional for the job instead. With a pro at the helm, you’re sure the project will run safely and smoothly from start to finish.
To guarantee best results, choose a remodeling contractor that is:
Licensed, which makes them eligible to perform kitchen or bath remodeling work in your area. This also means they are deeply familiar with local building codes, ensuring the remodel follows safety standards.
Insured, with workers’ compensation and liability coverage. Accidents may occur during the project and hiring an insured remodeler helps protect both you and your investment better.
Experienced, so you’re sure the work is completed in a timely and efficient manner. This eliminates the possibility of callbacks, which means no sloppy workmanship and the costly repair work it entails.
Certified, which allows you access to high-quality products from the leading manufacturers. You’ll also benefit from the extensive warranties included with them. Additionally, make sure your choice of remodeler already has a proven reputation for excellence.
By keeping in mind these essentials, you can achieve both style and function in your kitchen or bath remodel, giving you a stress-free experience while ensuring you get the most of your investment.