A kitchen remodel has an impressive return on investment that can provide a sanctuary for you and your family. According to the 2016 “Cost vs. Value Report” by Hanley Wood’s Remodeling Magazine, a kitchen remodel recoups approximately 57.6% of the investment. Since the kitchen serves as a hub for family gatherings and entertaining, it is an area home buyer’s view as critical when considering a purchase.

When making the decision to remodel, it is important to carefully plan the project so that your family’s needs and desires can be realized. Below, I will discuss the important steps necessary for a success kitchen renovation:

Step 1: Sketch out the kitchen’s existing condition

Accurate measurements are one of the key elements needed in the planning of your new kitchen. This information will provide the foundation for the future design of this space. In this step you want to identify the exact locations of windows, doors, hood vents, gas lines, water lines, drains, light fixtures, wall switches and heat registers.

In order to measure your space you will need graph paper, similar to the one provided below. You will also need a pencil and tape measure. The measuring procedures below should guide you in providing the correct dimensions:

First Measure Horizontally

  1. The numbers below correspond to the numbers in red circle on the wall 1 elevation below. Measure from one wall corner to the opposite wall corner at 36″ height.        
  2. Measure from the wall corner to the window or door trim.
  3. Measure the window or door opening from trim edge to trim edge.
  4. Measure from edge of trim to far wall corner. If you add the measurements provided in steps 2 – 4, the sum total should equal the measurement taken in step 1.
  5. Mark the exact location of existing water, drain and gas lines. Also measure wall switches and electrical outlet locations.
  6. Measure from wall corner to opposite wall corner over the window. Compare measurement with the measurement taken in step 1.

Then Measure Vertically

  1. Measure from floor to the top of the window sill.
  2. Measure from window sill to top of window trim.
  3. Measure from top of window trim to ceiling.
  4. Measure from floor to ceiling.
  5. Add the measurements provided in steps 7 – 9, the sum total should equal the measurement taken in step 10.

Step 2: Write down your priorities from “most important” to “like to have”

What features fit your family’s lifestyle? How many individuals will be cooking and gathering in your kitchen? Is the space large enough for your intended use or do you need to expand? Do you want natural stone countertops or will a man-made option suffice? What type of appliances do you need? Will a refrigerator with Wi-Fi be necessary or can you live with one that has generous cubic square footage? Will you need a wine cooler for a drink of wine at dinner or will a rack incorporated in the cabinetry work? Are 30” maple cabinets important or will 42” cherry complete your vision?

Write down these priorities in the order of importance so unexpected costs during construction don’t challenge your budget and eliminate items of most importance to you.

Step 3: Determine your design style and decide on a budget

Set the maximum amount that you will spend on your kitchen project and stick to it! It is exciting to think about all the possibilities available to you when remodeling but you don’t want to over improve your home, thus hurting your chances of investment recovery in the future.

Understand the costs ranges for kitchen remodels so that you are not surprised when the estimate is revealed; currently moderate projects can cost $25,000 – $35,000, $40,000 – $60,000 for mid-range and $80,000 – $100,000 for more upscale jobs.

Understand how the budget is allocated. This information can help you in the design and finish material selection early in the design process. On average the following line items represent the largest part of your budget:

  1. Cabinets and countertops – 35%
  2. Appliances – 20%
  3. Trade Labor – 20%

One of the best ways to stay on budget is to create a spreadsheet that shows budget versus actual costs as construction progresses. Monitoring this sheet will help you to keep tabs on the amounts spent alerting you to any danger of over spending.

Budgeting and design go hand-in-hand. Reviewing design resource sites like and visiting kitchen design showrooms can shed light on current trends in kitchen design and to the use and cost associated with popular finish materials. This step will assist you in the creation of a scope of work that memorializes your vision which is necessary in the communication of your wishes to your design and construction professionals.

Step 4: Decide if you will stay or leave the house during construction

You might not have thought about eating during the renovation but this important fact must be thought through so that you are prepared for the inconvenience of the construction that lies ahead. Your kitchen will be destroyed and will be rendered useless as your project gets underway. It might be a good idea to seek alternate living arrangements to keep your sanity during this time of high stress. When preparing the budget for construction, make sure that you take into account the cost of food and/or carry out so that this basic need is satisfied.

If leaving the house is not an option, consider setting up a temporary kitchen in an adjacent room away from the dust and noise of construction.

If you properly prepare using the steps above, you can reduce an otherwise stressful activity to an orderly conclusion.