Before and After: A Kitchen Well Done

A beautifully renovated kitchen can completely transform a home. Taking a tired, dated kitchen and giving it a fresh, modern makeover breathes new life into the space. A “kitchen well done” makeover requires careful planning, design and execution. The results are worth it – with the right remodel, you can have the kitchen of your dreams. This article will explore the before and after of kitchen remodels, providing tips and ideas to help you undertake your own successful transformation.

Planning Your Kitchen Remodel

Remodeling a kitchen is a major project that requires careful planning. Rushing into it without preparation can lead to mistakes, delays and cost overruns. Here are some key steps to take when planning your kitchen remodel:

Set Your Budget

Know how much you can realistically spend on the remodel. Get quotes from contractors on the key elements – cabinetry, countertops, flooring, appliances. Also factor in costs for demolition, structural changes, HVAC, plumbing and electrical work. Include a 10-15% contingency fund.

Decide on a Style

Traditional, contemporary, transitional, farmhouse – narrow down the overall look you want. Collect inspiration photos and ideas. Key elements like cabinetry, backsplash and hardware will be based on your style.

Make a Layout Plan

Consider how you use your current kitchen and what works or doesn’t work. Decide on the ideal layout for work triangles, family hangout space and storage. Create rough sketches of your new layout.

Choose Materials

Select finishes and materials that align with your budget and style. Research countertops, cabinets, flooring and hardware options. Be mindful of durability and ease of maintenance.

Hire a Contractor

Choose a licensed, insured contractor with extensive kitchen remodel experience. Get 3-4 quotes and check references thoroughly. Ensure you have a detailed contract in place.

Get Permits

Your contractor will ensure all required building permits are obtained. Permits are required for structural, electrical and plumbing work.

Create a Timeline

Discuss an expected timeline for completion with your contractor. Build in a buffer for potential delays. Make a plan to handle being without a kitchen during renovations.

Demo: Tearing Things Down

Once you’ve done the legwork on planning your kitchen remodel, it’s time for the fun part – demolition! Here’s an overview of this messy but satisfying first step:

Clear the Space

Remove everything from cabinets, drawers and counters. Dismantle any existing shelving. Take down drapes, valances and other window treatments.

Protect Surrounding Areas

Cover nearby floors, walls and doorways with plastic sheeting to contain dust and debris.

Turn Off Water Supply and Electricity

Locate the shutoff valves for the kitchen plumbing and electrical circuits. Turn these off before demolition.

Remove Sink, Fixtures and Appliances

Detach the kitchen sink, garbage disposal and dishwasher. Uninstall lighting fixtures, exhaust fan and microwave.

Knock Down Walls and Cabinets

Carefully demolish walls marked for removal. Use pry bars and saws to dismantle old cabinetry. Remove baseboards.

Remove Flooring

Take up any existing flooring – tile, laminate or linoleum. Assess the subfloor for any needed repairs.

Dispose of Debris

Load all debris into a dumpster or haul away for disposal. Thoroughly clean the empty space.

Expose the Bones

Once stripped down, inspect the underlying plumbing, electrical, ventilation and framing. Note any issues to address.

Demo is dirty and messy, but taking the kitchen down to the studs creates a blank canvas for your beautiful new redesign!

Key Elements of a Kitchen Remodel

The fun begins once demolition is done and you start building your kitchen back up. Here are some of the key elements that bring the new design to life:


Finalize the floorplan that works best for your goals, needs and space. Focus on optimizing the kitchen triangles between sink, fridge and stove. Allow enough room for islands, banquette seating or built-in desks as needed.


Cabinets make a huge impact in the look and function of the kitchen. Choose cabinet fronts that support your overall style – shaker, inset, modern flat – in materials like wood, painted MDF or thermofoil. Organize storage with cabinets, drawers, rollouts and pullouts.


Durability and ease of maintenance are top priorities. Popular options include quartz, granite, solid surface and laminate. Integrate countertops into islands for extra seating and prep space. Add a countertop backsplash to protect walls behind the sink.

Sink and Faucet

Double bowl sinks are trending to allow for multitasking. Look for durable finishes like stainless steel or fireclay. Pick a high-efficiency faucet in your choice of finishes like brushed nickel or matte black.


Today’s top kitchen flooring options include porcelain or ceramic tile, engineered hardwood planks and luxury vinyl plank (LVP). Each material has pros and cons around durability, water resistance and comfort underfoot.


A mix of lighting ensures the kitchen has excellent task lighting for prep work, ambient lighting for the whole space and accent lighting for design features. Use recessed lights, pendants, under cabinet lights and accent lighting.


Upgrade appliances to energy efficient models with smart features and convection cooking. Popular picks include stainless steel french door fridges, gas ranges, wall ovens and built-in microwaves.

After: Enjoying Your Fresh New Kitchen

After months of planning, demo and construction, your kitchen remodel is finally complete! Here’s how to make the most of your gorgeous new space:

Clean and Organize

Give every surface a thorough cleaning before putting anything away. Set up an organization system in cabinets and drawers that makes sense for you.

Cook Up a Feast

Break in the new appliances and amenities with a home cooked meal. Invite family and friends over to show off your new kitchen.

Maximize Storage

Take advantage of all your new storage space. Use containers, turntables and racks to neatly organize pantry staples. Store less used items in upper cabinets.

Care for Surfaces

Learn how to properly clean and maintain your new counters, cabinetry and flooring to keep them looking their best.

Make Adjustments

Live in the new space and see what tweaks might help. For example, you may want additional task lighting or small drawer organizers.

Enjoy Entertaining

With your optimized layout, upgraded features and storage for all your equipment and serving pieces, your new kitchen is a dream for entertaining!

With good planning and design, it’s amazing how old kitchens can go from dreary and dysfunctional to fresh, beautiful and highly efficient. Enjoy this ultimate heart of the home for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kitchen Remodels

Kitchen remodels involve many decisions. Here are answers to some of the most common questions on how to tackle this major home project:

How much does a typical kitchen remodel cost?

A minor cosmetic refresh may cost $5,000-$15,000. A mid-range remodel with new cabinet fronts, counters and appliances averages $20,000-$30,000. A down-to-the studs renovation generally runs $50,000-$75,000+.

What is the most popular kitchen layout?

The U-shaped galley kitchen layout places appliances and counters along three walls. It allows for an efficient kitchen triangle and maximizes work space.

What backsplash should I choose?

Popular backsplash options include ceramic tile (best for budget), glass tile (sleek) and natural stone tile (luxurious). Limit backsplash to the space between counters and cabinets.

Which is better, matte or gloss cabinets?

Matte finish cabinets are trending for a more modern, streamlined look. Gloss cabinets are timeless with a classic beauty. Both are great options!

What are the hottest kitchen remodel trends?

Trends include two-tone cabinets, open shelving, quartz/marble mix counters, brass hardware, statement sinks and induction cooktops.

Should I renovate or start from scratch?

Consider the condition of your current kitchen. If the layout is inefficient and systems like plumbing and electrical are outdated, remodeling may make more sense than updating.

Should I do it myself or hire a contractor?

Kitchen remodels require expertise in plumbing, electrical, carpentry and more. Unless you have renovation experience, hire a general contractor to ensure the job is done right.

How do I choose the right contractor?

Seek referrals from friends, check online reviews and confirm licensing and insurance. Get 3+ quotes. Ask for past customer references and check out their kitchens.

How much disruption will a remodel cause?

If you completely gut the kitchen down to the studs, you may need to move out during renovations. A less extensive facelift allows you to still use the kitchen. Discuss options with your contractor.


A kitchen remodel takes this essential space from worn-out and dysfunctional to beautiful and welcoming. By planning your design, choosing materials wisely, hiring experienced pros and maintaining your new space, you can enjoy your dream kitchen for years of cooking, baking and memories around the table. With strategic planning paired with innovative design, even the most dated kitchen can go from drab to fab. From layout to lighting to high-end finishes, the possibilities for your kitchen makeover are endless. Invest in this heart of the home and you’ll gain an inviting space your family will enjoy for years to come.