Kitchen Renovation Guide: How to Get the Perfect Kitchen (Guest Post)


The world of design is constantly moving forward, and kitchen renovations are the ‘new black’. Homeowners see exciting improvement projects to boost the value, visual appeal, and functionality of the space. To complete them with flying colours, you should take into account your lifestyle, preferences, and goals.  You can let your dreams run wild as long as they stay within limits of your budget and what is feasible. At the same time, brace yourself and know that there is a lot of ground to cover, from light fixtures to major appliances!  

Planning stage and assessing costs

In recent years, more and more homeowners are taking on kitchen renovation projects. After all, kitchens are the hub of domestic life, where people spend time not just cooking, but relaxing and socializing. What is more, kitchen renovations provide an excellent ROI and are a great way to “wow” potential buyers. The only problem is that kitchens are one of the most expensive and time-consuming rooms to renovate. It is estimated that an average project goes at least $20,000[1] and takes eight weeks to complete.

Hence, planning helps you safeguard against failure and costly mistakes; your plans should include your budget and goals for the space. For example, if you hope to boost the resale value of the home, you must weigh your options very carefully in terms of design features, quality of finishes and the overall aesthetic. Over-improving the kitchen may not be such a splendid idea because you will find it quite difficult to recoup the costs. It is recommended to cap the investment at 10-15% of the home’s total value.

However, if you’re hoping to stay in the home for years and use it extensively, then 20% is not so farfetched or unusual. Simply, your personal reasons and delight outweigh the amount of money you are going to spend. Also, remember that the costs fluctuate depending on your region. In Montreal, mid-range kitchen costs between $22,000 and $35,000, while in Toronto, the spending is a bit higher – $27,000 – $40,000.[2]

Weighing different options


Choosing finishes is one of the key decisions you must make. According to the experts from the Remodeling magazine, a minor renovation with midrange materials costs around $20,000.00, provided that you have a 200-square foot kitchen and do the following projects: Installing a laminate countertop, sink, faucet, sturdier flooring, and a stove.  And since it is a minor renovation, it implies you are leaving elements like cabinet boxes in place. 

As for a major renovation with midrange materials, it can cost you $57,000.00. However, opting for luxury and professional-grade features such as custom cabinets, ventilation system, built-in appliances, lighting fixtures, and new dishwasher can double the price and push it to $100,000 and more. Finally, those who want to carry out an upscale renovation should be prepared to spend more than $130,000.00. For this kind of premium price, you get features like stone countertops, commercial-grade ranges and state-of-the-art cabinets.

Speaking of which, a countertop is a key feature can be a significant expense. For example - marble is a popular solution that infuses the kitchen with a sublime luxury vibe. Yet, you can also mimic the natural stone with materials that are easier to maintain and are quite durable, such as engineered stone. Always keep in mind that the maintenance is a big deal in the kitchen, so always factor in requirements in this department.

This rule applies to your choice of furnishings and cabinets. Pay attention to all elements of construction: Such as the construction of the frame and the drawers/doors. Cabinet boxes made from plywood tend to be more stable and resistant to warping when exposed to humidity. Therefore, this material is a sound option because it is more durable and stable than other engineered wood products.

Improving efficiency, looks and functionality

A kitchen renovation is your chance to take energy efficiency to the next level.  According to the NKBA, Appliances and ventilation are the second largest expense (14% of the budget) and together with cabinets, they can account for nearly half of the total spending[3].

Thus, it pays off to first focus on major energy-devourers such as the refrigerator. Shop around for ENERGY STAR-rated products that are highly-efficient and sustainable. For instance, I would not miss an opportunity to obtain a quality piece like a high-grade Electrolux freezer and achieve considerable money savings by bringing down the electricity consumption.

Furthermore, regardless of the reason you are renovating, you should figure out how to update the functionality and the overall look and feel of the space. In condos, a kitchen is also the area where guests are welcomed. Therefore, a condo renovation project should put more weight on the visual side of things: Install task lighting under cabinets and see what the best position for overhead fixtures is.

Moreover, add life and character with a tile backsplash, striking wallpaper, multiple paint colors and detailed tile patterns. These features draw the eye and increase your enjoyment. It is advisable to keep your design preferences in mind, but also to adhere to the principles of prominent styles, such as classic, modern, traditional or cottage. Usually, the choices are funnelled through distinctive, staple kitchen looks like the natural wood kitchen. Then again, you can go for an all-white kitchen if that is more up your alley.

Finally, if you plan to alter the general layout of the kitchen, there are several things you can do. It may be possible to change the size of the room and create a whole new floor plan. This may involve adding, removing, or modifying walls, windows, and doors, consider changing the location of fixtures and appliances. In any regard, put together a functional layout, which makes the best use of the space. Keep an eye on how workstations are positioned and adhere to the principles of a work triangle, which echoes the flow between refrigerator, sink, and cooktop.

A perfect model of style and utility

Kitchen renovation is a rewarding endeavour, but it is no walk in the park. Thus, set up a budget and plan accordingly. Make sound materials selection and prioritize features. Remember that the kitchen should stand up to heavy use, accommodate your specific needs, and help you accomplish other goals.  So, improve your enjoyment and the utility of the space. Assemble an inviting and multipurpose room that can serve as the heart and soul of your household. If you do the renovation right, it will pay dividends, and in more than one way too.


Lana is an architecture student and the editor-in-chief of Smooth Decorator. She enjoys writing about interior decoration and landscaping. Lana is interested in sustainability and green building, and that's where she gets most of her inspiration from.