10 Decisions to Consider Before a Kitchen Remodel

Custom cabinets on display at the Manor House Studio showroom

Choices and more choices. For some people, it’s a fun opportunity; for others, a stressful chore. Given the cost of remodeling, whatever you choose — whether it’s appliances, cabinet color, floor style or countertop — you’ll have to live with it for a long time, unless you are planning to move soon. So it’s best to have a pretty good idea of what you want (or at least, think you want) before you begin. Here are 10 core decisions Manor House Studio suggests you should think through in before you plan your kitchen remodel.

1. Footprint

Will you work within your kitchen’s current dimensions, or do you want the room to be bigger? In which direction do you want to expand, and what are the ramifications for the rest of the house?  Are you removing a structural bearing wall?

2. Cabinets (Styles)

Manor House Studio designers use cabinets that are custom made to our orders, albeit, some options are already decided when you select which brand of cabinet. Wood species, finish (stains or paints) and glaze type options, door styles, cabinet construction, and hardware — all these decisions and more will need to be made. Manor House Studio is the sole representative of Wood-Mode and Brookhaven fine cabinetry for the 5 county area of central Pennsylvania but can provide designs using cabinets custom-made by other workshops to suit needs of customers.

3. Layout (Configuration)

For base cabinets, you can do doors and adjustable shelves (pullout or stationary), or you can go with deep drawers. You probably want some of each, but how many and where? Will you have any pantries? How many and what size? Any pullout cutting boards? And how do you want to handle those pesky corners?

4. Countertops

Granite, quartz, laminate, concrete, wood, or a combination. They all have their pros and cons. If going with granite, you’ll need to pick a color/pattern, then your specific slab(s), as well as weigh in as to how the slab will be cut for the various portions of counters so the veining or patterns flow in the same direction and what style of edge treatment you prefer.

5. Flooring

Hardwood is popular, but durable luxury vinyl tile, ceramic tile, pre-finished wood flooring, laminate flooring and bamboo are other choices to consider.

6. Appliances (if Buying New) 

Will you replace all of the appliances, or only one or two? Will you match the color of existing appliances or go with what you eventually want them all to be? Do you want one oven or two? There are too many choices to list here, but keep in mind some of the newer options like a steam oven, small beverage refrigerator, a microwave drawer, or microwave convection and wall oven combination. Think about how you cook. Are you a baker? Do you prepare daily meals that utilize the cook top or an oven?

7. Appliance Location

It can be hard to picture yourself in a whole new space cooking dinner, but it’s worth making the effort. Moving the stove or fridge over a few inches can make all the difference in achieving the perfect kitchen layout. Who in your family needs to get to the refrigerator most? Who typically cleans up the dishes? Who uses the range or cook top?  

8. Retain Kitchen Footprint

Most kitchens come in one of several pre-determined shapes; few kitchen designers ever do anything different, mainly because these shapes work so well. Whether it’s a one-wall kitchen layout, corridor or galley, L-shape, or U-shape, your existing kitchen layout probably works better than you may think. The problem may be more in the arrangement of your services within that shape than the shape itself.

9. Miscellaneous

How hard can it be to pick out cabinet hardware? They’re just knobs and handles, after all. Answer: harder than you think. Other decisions you’ll need to be ready to make include the type of sink (material, one basin or two, built-in soap dispenser or not, etc.), type of faucet, and color of outlets and switch plates. All of this takes time. Take as much time as you need.

10. How Many Will This Kitchen Serve?

How many cooks are in your family? How many stools do you want for counter top seating? Each person should have 2 feet of counter top frontage for comfortable seating (seating for 5 people will require 10 feet of counter top). Is that extra stool worth the loss of storage space?

Now that you know what to consider before you look into a kitchen remodel, check out the Manor House Studio design process to see how we can help you!

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