Erin Doman on February 15, 2016 19 Comments The kitchen is one of the most desirable rooms to renovate for homeowners. Homeowners use their kitchens often, and the right upgrades can make the space more functional and visually appealing. Remodeling the kitchen can also enable you to add unique features to the space, such as a kegerator or wine cooler. Since a kitchen renovation is often a big investment, it is important to make the right decisions when it comes to hiring a contractor, choosing materials, budgeting, and more. Fortunately, the following nine tips can help you accomplish a perfect kitchen renovation. 1. Research Contractors Before Hiring Hiring a contractor is one of the most important parts of a kitchen renovation, and it is important to take time to make this decision to ensure you are picking the best contractor for the job. Some homeowners end up with unfinished products or poor work when they hire the wrong contractor. To avoid problems, research the person or company you plan on hiring and use their last job as a guideline. This will help you set realistic expectations for the work that will be performed. It is also smart to ask for references. When you speak to previous clients, make sure to ask them the following: Did the contractor stay close to the budget? Were any unauthorized changes made? Did the contractor stick to the schedule? How would you describe their work habits? Did anything go wrong? Was it resolved? Finding the right contractor is one of the best ways to avoid problems during the renovation, and is key for ensuring a better final outcome. Even if you have to wait a few weeks to get the right person, it is probably worth it. 2. Add Functionality to the Space Before you begin this kitchen renovation, it is important to consider upgrades that will make the space more functional. One way you can incorporate better functionality via your building materials is with your countertop. It would suit you to splurge on a countertop that is durable and will last for a very long time. Consider the type of wear and tear your average kitchen counters see on a day to day basis, from hot pots and pans being placed on it to food being chopped directly on it to harsh chemicals used to clean it. One popular choice for kitchen countertops is granite or marble. You can put hot pans on these surfaces without them ruining and they are difficult to chip as well. This is why these materials are so popular among today’s homeowners. If you budget allows for it, use this time to expand walkways or knock out entire walls. Having more space in your kitchen to walk around and work with is a huge benefit to not only you, but any potential buyers when you decide to sell. If possible, try to create an easy line of sight from the kitchen to the living room. This is beneficial for those of us who have kids and need to keep an eye on them while we cook. There are many other ways to add functionality to your space, including shelving, storage and built-ins. Before you begin your renovation, pay attention to what you feel you are lacking in your existing kitchen. Use your renovation to address these grievances. 3. Set a Realistic Budget Setting a budget is a crucial part of the planning process, and it is important to do this prior to starting the project. When you set your budget, make sure to be realistic. If you are changing the layout, then it might be more costly due to plumbing and structural repairs. Also, certain materials are more expensive. To avoid running out of money, make sure to prioritize your wants. In addition, prepare for unforeseen expenses that might arise during the project. 4. Update the Most Important Spaces When you are remodeling the kitchen, it is a good idea to improve the most important spaces in this room. Most homeowners prefer quality countertops and cabinets. The right appliances can also make a difference in the kitchen because they look better visually and are more functional. When you are choosing the appliances, it may be smart to spend a little more on quality units that you will use frequently, like an oven or stovetop. 5. Don’t Forget About the Extras One of the benefits of a kitchen remodel is that it allows you to add extra details to the space to make it easier to use. For example, you can install recycling drawers, extra outlets, a drawer for knives, a kegerator, special taps for water, a wine cooler, and an ice machine. To determine what extras you will need, make sure to assess how you use the space. This will help you create a kitchen that is unique to you. When in doubt, make sure to add these extras, as long as you have the budget for it. Otherwise, you will probably regret it after the project is finished. 6. Save Money Without Cutting Corners Ideally, you do not need to spend all of your life savings for a great finished product. Although a kitchen renovation will cost a good chunk of cash, there are certain things you can do to reduce your costs. For example, many people save money by taking advantage of local or online sales. This is especially helpful if you need new appliances. In addition, you can reduce long-term costs by installing energy efficient lights and appliances. Furthermore, many homeowners strategically place important materials that can be expensive. If you want granite countertops, but don’t have a large budget, try mixing finishes. Install granite in the areas it will be most used. Then, choose an appealing alternative that coordinates with the granite. This way you still get the benefits of granite without the high price tag. 7. Remain Organized Throughout Your Kitchen Renovation How clean you keep your workspace can directly impact the quality of the final product. However, it is often difficult for homeowners to maintain a clean kitchen throughout the entire renovation process. After all, many people use their kitchen several times each day. If possible, try to limit or avoid kitchen use. This way you will not create a mess that causes problems with the installation. Also, a clean space is safer for both you and the contractor. 8. Look for Inspiration It is important to avoid choosing random pieces in your kitchen that do not coordinate. If you struggle making decisions or are not sure what you like, it is best to look for ideas in appropriate places, or even to hire a professional designer. While browsing different kitchens and determining the aesthetic of your future kitchen, you might discover that you like cleaner, modern kitchens. In this case, you might prefer white cabinets with modern hardware. Or maybe you like the traditional, ranch-style kitchen, in which case you’ll want to stick to dark-wood cabinets and granite finishes. Browsing different spaces can also help you identify unique features that might look good in your space, such as open shelving units or a colorful mosaic backsplash. 9. Pay in Portions One of the biggest mistakes people make during a renovation is paying the total cost up front. This is risky, and it can jeopardize the timeline of the project. It is better to pay portions of the fee as the project progresses. This gives the contractor incentive to work hard, and it can also help you stick to your budget. Furthermore, it is often helpful to include a payment schedule in the contract. Keep these nine helpful tips in mind during your next kitchen renovation. They will help ensure that you get the most out of this valuable home makeover and that you are satisfied with the end results.