Updated: Jul 21, 2021
I am not a professional blogger, but I am a professional kitchen designer. My clients often times have that same paralyzed feeling that I had writing this blog. They say things like, “Where do I start?”, and “I feel like I’m all over the place”.
It’s these questions and feelings that keep most people from getting started, also, the first step can be the biggest hurtle because it is the hardest thing to make peace with.
The budget. Until you have established this, and accepted what it looks like, you don’t even know if you are ready to begin the project.
Money is always the elephant in the room. Nobody likes to talk about it. Sales people dance around it, and customers don’t want to reveal their budget for fear that there is no chance of coming under budget. All of these thought processes are the wrong approach, in my opinion. I have been on both sides of this line, as the customer and as the sales person. From a sales person's point of view, I always wanted to know what the customer’s perceived budget was. This way I could direct them to a product that fit within their financial boundaries. In addition, I didn’t want to waste their time or mine showing them a Lexus when they were in the market for a Honda or vice versa. Notice in my above line I used the term “perceived budget”. There are also times when customer’s budgets are too low and unrealistic. You’ve never done this before, or maybe it’s been a while since you did and prices have changed. It's best to know this from the start and make the necessary adjustments.
As a customer, revealing your perceived budget allows a good sales person to show you what that looks like. Again, this allows you to adjust if need be. Stating what you think your kitchen is worth should not be a deep dark secret. It's a helpful tool for all those involved in your process, and a good place to start. It gets the budget conversation rolling. Instead of wasting your time, it can really cut down on the leg work up front. So, cut to the chase, it's a good thing. Maybe you have no idea what to expect in a budget. Whether you do, or whether you don't, you still have to build one so you know what you are looking at for the overall project. There are different ways to approach gathering your budget information. One way is seeking the advice of a professional. A kitchen designer or a contractor that has done a lot of kitchen remodeling will have a pretty good idea of the cost of all the components that will play a part in your kitchen budget. The nice thing about hiring a kitchen design consultant for instance is that this person is not tied to how much you spend on anything. They are charging you for their time to advise you, therefore, they can act in the best interest of you, your kitchen plan, and your budget. Honestly this person should be able to sit down with you in an hour or so, at least, and apply ranges of pricing to each item on your list to develop a ball park budget for your project. This will definitely give you a starting point and a good overall picture of what you are looking at.
You can also begin the budget building process with a trusted contractor that you want to handle your project. He will provide you with a labor quote and may or may not include allowances for plumbing electrical and any tile work that might be included. The upside of starting here is that this person will most likely be managing your project, if he is licensed and boned to do everything, including the installation of the cabinetry. The down side of starting here is that it will probably be on you to gather information on the decorative options in your kitchen such as lighting, counter tops, cabinetry, and sink and faucet selections. Oh, also tile for the back splash.
Teaming up a kitchen designer and a contractor for your kitchen project is really a winning combination. This way the contractor can stick to what he knows best, and the kitchen designer can help you with gathering pricing and making selections for everything else. The two work well together and at really a nice compliment to each other's skills and what each one can bring to the table.
If you are a savvy do it yourself Kind of person, then there is always the old fashion way of gathering bids and pricing on your own. This will take some time, but it's a great learning experience. It's good to get at least two bids on everything. Talk with friends who have gone through a kitchen remodel and ask them if they mind if you look at their budget. This will save you some time for sure. Another good resource for "do it yourselfers" are consumers reports. Actually, this is a good resource for anyone approaching a kitchen remodel. Consumers Reports put out an issue in March of 2015 called, “Kitchen Remodeling Tips and Budgets”. This guide provides shopping lists and basic expected budgets for kitchens based on different level remodels. Anything from DIY projects, to mid-range and higher are included. As a side note, I will say what I didn’t like about Consumer Reports is I felt that the time they allotted for the remodel seemed much longer than I have ever experience running kitchen remodel projects. From tear out to completion a simple kitchen remodel shouldn’t go longer than a month and half. If it does, then perhaps there is more going on than the usual kitchen remodel players.
The last piece of advice that I will give you is, start big with your wish list, and build it early on. Think through what you want in your dream kitchen. I am not saying that you will get everything that you are wishing for, but it can’t hurt to see what that looks like on paper. If you don’t start with the big picture you will never know what you could have done, and changing your mind mid-way through will only end up costing you more time and money. After you have your menu of items on your budget, then you can pick and choose at will. Keep the things that you absolutely have to have and eliminate the things
that you are willing to do without to keep your budget in a place you are comfortable with.
You want to move forward with an open heart and enjoy this. You don’t want to be worrying about money all the way through or you will end up resenting your project every time you have to write out a check. You will be miserable. Ohm....... make peace with your budget, then move on .
Finally, here is a list of the items you should consider when you are starting to develop your remodel budget for your kitchen. Each project is different, so you may or may not be
doing a full remodel with everything involved, but at least it’s all here, you can cross off what ever does not apply to you:
· Cabinets (this area has a pricing range of options, choose what you want then narrow down to what you need)
· Counter tops
· Sink and faucet
· Garbage disposal
· Appliances, (some or all)
· Flooring (if your footing has changed) and wall tile
· Construction labor (this area will have its own list of options, choose what you want, then narrow down to what you feel you need)
Each one of these things is a subject within itself. Stay tuned in for future blog posts!!!