Picture this: you turn the corner and walk into your bff’s newly remodeled kitchen and your jaw hits the floor. It’s more beautiful than anything you’ve seen in a magazine or on Pinterest- and you’ve been looking forever! Immediately you want the phone numbers of her kitchen designer, contractor and all her sources. You realize you don’t just want a stylish new kitchen that functions and looks good, you actually need one!

But where do you even start? And how do you know if you’re making the right decisions? After all, you want your kitchen to be beautiful and functional as well as unique. And you don’t want to have to compromise on a single thing.

Follow these Do’s and Don’ts of kitchen remodeling below judiciously and I promise that you’ll impress all your friends but even more importantly, you will fall in love with your renovated kitchen.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when thinking through the project:

1- Do start with a Showstopper Tile

A showstopper tile is the pièce de résistance that will not only give your kitchen the wow factor but also help streamline every other decision you make in the kitchen remodeling process.

So how do you find a showstopper tile? Look through our gallery and store pages to find a huge selection of gorgeous ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles and glass tiles that will complement our even larger selection of floor tiles, and backsplash tiles.

To better understand the difference between the variety of tiles and their uses, read the very informative article by Architect Kate Reggev on the Top 10 Kitchen Backsplash Materials.

2- Do create a mood board

It’s simple and fun! Just put together a board with your showstopper tile as the center point. This step can be so much fun. So by all means, enjoy it! This is the single most effective tool that we designers use to guide us through the initial kitchen design and material selection process. Simply lay all the samples of the countertop, cabinets, knobs and fixtures around the showstopper tile to make sure all components complement each other.

Here’s where a little extra attention to detail will behoove you. Most people will examine their board to make sure all the colors work well together, and once satisfied, they move on. But there’s so much more to consider when designing your kitchen around a feature piece.

I suggest you look a little closer and consider the following all important elements of design: style, texture, repetition, pattern, scale, proportion and rhythm.

Considering all these elements will guide you through the kitchen design process and the selection of your cabinet door, countertop, flooring, pulls, plumbing and lighting fixture.

It’s important to keep in mind that you can mix styles (for instance, vintage and modern) successfully. The point is to do so intentionally. And when you have everything right there on a board you will be able to easily decide on what you need to change, add or eliminate.

{For some examples of creative mood boards put together by our talented team of designers, check out our gallery page.}

3- Do choose complementary appliance and fixture finishes.

Make sure all kitchen appliances, plumbing fixtures, pulls and knobs etc. are in matching or complementary finishes- and again, be sure that they complement your feature tile.

4- Do think about flow.

Good space planning is a crucial step in a kitchen renovation project. You want to be able to perform daily tasks with ease and flow. Here, the most vital factors to consider are:

  • The flow between the three major task areas (the sink, stove and fridge) referred to as the kitchen triangle.
  • Leave 42-48 inches of room for easy flow of traffic behind open cabinet and appliance doors.
  • Think about the specific tasks that you perform on a daily basis (such as how you serve your food and the path to the table)

5- Do order extra tiles

Most installers agree that the rule of thumb is 20% more than the surface area to account for breakage during transport and waste during installation. It’s not a bad idea to keep any extras for future repair projects.

6- Do budget for the unexpected

Project managers agree that most projects tend to run about 20-25% over budget due to unexpected circumstances that inevitably come up during a kitchen remodel. And, on that note…

7- Do plan like a project manager

It’s such a great idea to keep a schedule of the time line. All pro’s will avoid exact dates because they don’t want to be held to exact start and end times. That’s understandable. But at least it will keep you and all professionals on the same page on the overall timeline. Just remember to be as flexible as possible and allow for possible delays in the process of the kitchen remodel.

Hopefully the list below comes as no surprise to you but, just to be safe, let’s go over some don’ts while we’re at it:

1- Don’t wait till the last minute to order your tiles and fixtures

This is that part of the process that can make or break it all. Consider that you will have to either postpone your project or change the design entirely if important items such as your showstopper tile are on backorder. Oh… Sacre bleu!

2- Don’t hire the lowest bid

No matter how many times I warn people, I still hear horror stories. Look, I understand about budgets and expenses. As a matter of fact, I have a horror story of my own to tell. Please trust me when I say, it will always cost you more money in the end if you hire an inexperienced or sloppy craftsman to do the job. To stay on the safe side, check references and visit the professional’s current works in progress. Also remember that a good contractor is always in high demand and worth waiting for.

3- Don’t skimp on counter space

This is where people often forget to account for all the people prepping in the kitchen and vying for counter and eating space in the kitchen. Another thing people often forget are all those small appliances that sit on the countertop. Remember to account for the most used items.

And on that note…

4- Don’t short yourself on electrical outlets

Another little detail often forgotten during the kitchen design process is to account for all the small appliances that either reside on the countertop or are used often.

5- Don’t skimp on storage space

This is pretty self-explanatory. It may take a little bit of time to actually go through everything you own (as well as everything you would like to buy but don’t have the room for now) but you will be so grateful you did the work. By the way, it turns out that storage for trash and recycling bins tends to be one of those top things people forget during the design process. Which leads me to:

6- Don’t forget to hide eye sores

As we all know, some gadgets and small appliances as well as trash and recycling bins are best hidden. Have you accounted for everything you need stored and hidden out of view? If not, do yourself a favor and take the time to do so… lest you regret it every time you lay eyes on the overcrowded countertop.

Here’s another one people tend to miss. Let’s say you have an open view into the kitchen from the living or dining room. Especially if you entertain often, you want to account for a way to hide the inevitable clutter from view. So do your best to imagine your room from every perspective and eventuality.

7- Don’t overlook lighting

Consider general, task and accent lighting. All three are equally important but, task lighting tends to be the most often overlooked of the three in a kitchen remodel. So account for proper lighting for over the kitchen sink, the stove top and the most utilized prep areas. Having said this, to a designer, highlighting the feature element in the room with the proper lighting is just as important so don’t overlook that in the design process.

And that’s pretty much all of the Do’s and Don’ts of Kitchen remodeling that you’ll need to keep in mind.

Happy designing to all!