Key factors to consider before you renovate or update your kitchen

When deciding to do updates — or fully renovate your kitchen — there are a few key factors to consider. One of the most obvious considerations is your budget, but another very important consideration is how long you plan to remain in the home. As a designer and home stager, one of the most frequent questions I am asked is whether a seller should renovate their kitchen before selling. Unless the kitchen is in really bad shape or completely non-functional, the answer is typically “no!”

There are a lot of basic updates we can do without having to replace cabinetry. If your cabinets are in relatively good shape, leave them. Give your cabinets a good clean with soap and water to remove any grease and grime to refresh old cabinetry. If your cabinetry has a lot of grooves with built-up grime, an old soft-bristle toothbrush is a great tool to use to clean without damaging them. Some clients choose to paint old cabinetry. This can often update old cabinetry with a new contemporary colour tone. However, painted cabinetry will never look or wear as well as professionally finished cabinetry. The paint can easily be scuffed off during regular usage, so
I typically do not recommend this unless it is
absolutely necessary.

Other updates to completely change the look of your kitchen can be countertops, backsplash tile, new faucet, paint, and, of course, flooring. If you are remaining in the home you may wish to update older appliances. If you are planning on selling, I typically do not recommend replacing appliances as you will rarely receive a higher selling price because of new appliances.

Once you have updated counters, flooring, paint and backsplash, it will look like a whole new kitchen. This will cost a fraction of the cost of replacing an old kitchen, and will often increase your sale price well beyond what you spent on the update, ensuring you recoup your updating investment when you sell.

When planning a total kitchen renovation, there is usually a problem the client is trying to solve. The client is planning on remaining in the home long -term and wishes to make the space more functional for their family. The space may not work well for the family, they may need more space, or wish to remove walls for an open concept design, or they may simply need more storage.

The most common request we receive is removing a wall or part of a wall to create a more open concept design that makes the space more functional for entertaining. There are a number of things to consider when removing walls. The most important is whether it is a load-bearing wall. If it is a load-bearing wall, we must ensure that the proper supports are put in place to ensure the structural integrity of the dwelling. Determine whether building permits are required for your project, and ensure proper permits are applied for. You never want to ignore structural integrity when renovating a space. There are too many companies (some very well-known kitchen companies) who will not take out permits, even when
required, in the hopes of speeding up the job and eliminating any potential delays with city inspectors. I advise all our clients that it is best to ensure the job is done properly the first time, and always ensure that we have permits in place, when required.

When removing walls, we often have a whole new space in which to plan a more functional design. We often add islands or peninsulas where none existed previously. We can frequently provide additional storage capabilities with added cabinetry. We can also provide multiple work areas to allow for more than a single cook in the kitchen at one time as we’ve found that more and more families enjoy cooking together. We plan for storage of all small appliances, ensuring we measure heights in advance and custom design drawers or shelves for the heights required. Any special features such as built-in coffee or beverage centres, breakfast areas, or baking spaces can all be incorporated into a custom design to give you everything you want in your dream kitchen. The only limits we have to create your dream kitchen is the space we are working in and the budget for the project. However, one of the biggest benefits of working with a professional designer is our ability to provide cost-effective options to meet most, if not all, of the must-haves on your wish list!

Whether you choose to update your kitchen to sell your home, or renovate your kitchen to make it more functional for your family, it is always important to ensure you work with a professional who understands your goals and respects your budget. You want to ensure top quality workmanship and attention to all the fine details. As always, never pay for everything in advance. Custom cabinetry will often require prepayment, however, never pay a company everything in advance. You should have the opportunity to ensure that all the work was done as promised to your satisfaction before you issue the final payment. For more details on updates and renos, check out our websites and Happy renovating!