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Essential Kitchen Remodel Checklist

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Remodeling an older kitchen adds new design elements for a fresh appearance. The kitchen is a very functional part of the home where a lot of time is spent. It should be a comfortable space for cooking, eating and entertaining. Use this essential kitchen remodeling checklist to get the kitchen you want.

1. Open the floor plan.

Some closed-in kitchens could definitely be improved by opening them up to other living areas, such as the "great room" concept combining living, dining and kitchen rooms. This is a good way to expand the kitchen space and make it part of the home and works especially well in a home with less square footage. Partial walls, columns, central fireplaces and other features can add separation to the rooms while still retaining the open feel. This openness brings more sunlight into the home while allowing family members or guests to be "separate but together" while in different areas of the large space.

2. Get new appliances.

A new refrigerator, stove, oven and dishwasher can run several thousand dollars, but is a must for any kitchen remodel. Do you want fancy retro-designed appliances or stainless steel? Those will be costly. Check around and get the best price for the look and use you need. Make sure you have the correct measurements so all appliances will fit in the allotted space. Check order timeframe, as you don't want to wait months when your kitchen will be completed in weeks.

3. Replace countertops.

There are several types of countertop options to provide a design element that is also utilitarian, each one with its own pros and cons. Elegant granite comes in many colors, holds up to heat and lasts forever with proper care, but has a high price tag. Easy to clean laminates come in a range of colors and are very affordable, but easily scratch and chip. Tile, my go-to choice, comes in a range of colors and sizes and can be done in a pattern for extra interest. It is inexpensive and easy to clean, but grout gets dirty over time and tiles crack and chip. Custom tiles can get pricey. Stainless steel adds that modern, industrial feel, but is a less affordable choice. Other countertop choices include hardwood, stainless steel, marble, concrete and soapstone. Plan ahead, check your budget and get several contractor quotes, if going that route, before picking and installing countertops.

4. Add new cabinets

A kitchen remodel calls out for new cabinets, which can dramatically change the kitchen's appearance, but can be quite expensive. Reduce counter and stovetop clutter by having plenty of cabinets for storage. Use unpainted wood, light or dark in color, for that natural look. Painted cabinets should be done right to avoid cracks and chips. White paint is a good choice, as it goes with any style. Don't forget to add those under-cabinet lights. As with countertops, get a few contractor quotes before installing any cabinetry.

5. Style with backsplash.

The right backsplash adds style to any kitchen. Choices include colorful tiles, recycled glass, reflecting mirrors or stainless steel. A mirrored backsplash makes a kitchen look larger, whereas stainless steel is a modern, yet expensive, option. Tiles can be made of ceramic, glass, metal or stone and can be patterned to provide backsplash artwork unique to your kitchen.

6. Highlight with paint.

Darker colors can make a smaller kitchen seem larger, but don't use a paint color that is too dark. Bright colors feel as if the sun is always shining. Whatever your color choice, paint the inside of open cabinets a different color to highlight the contents, such as fine china or antique serving bowls, for a dramatic impression.

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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