How to Plan a Kitchen Remodel During the Holiday Season

Although there is no “ideal” time to remodel your kitchen, doing it right before the holidays can put some extra pressure on you and your family. Sometimes, remodels run a little longer than we expect or setbacks push the project back an entire season. When this happens, you have to adjust your plans and way of life around the remodel. With the holiday season right around the corner, it can be hard to balance a kitchen remodel and entertaining guests in your home. Here are a few tips for how to plan a kitchen remodel during the holiday season.

Find the right contractor. You should be upfront about your plans during the holidays and how the remodel may affect them. The contractor can try to work around your schedule or plan certain projects for certain days and weeks to avoid any catastrophes. Make sure you compare plans and prices as well, since you’ll be paying for the remodel during the holidays- which is typically when people spend the most money on gifts.

Plan ahead. Create a list of the projects you want done and when each should be completed. For example, if you are cooking the holiday dinner, make sure that all the appliances will be able to be reached and used in the midst of the chaos. Relocate any kitchen seating to another room for guests to relax, since the kitchen will be under construction. Keep track of the remodel’s progress on a calendar so you can see if the goals are being met on time.

Double-check your timing. Figure out which parts of the kitchen you want to be done with before guests come over for the holidays. For example, if you can live without your new floor tiles, save that project for after. However, if the cabinets are in terrible shape and you want them fixed before guests arrive, have that completed on time. You’ll have to make some sacrifices in terms of what gets done before and after the guests come. Prioritize what can be updated or changed easily to look better for the holidays, and then do the full remodel after they are over. Always allow time for mishaps and delays, since they are bound to happen.

Create a makeshift kitchen. If your kitchen remodel is so large that you won’t be able to use much of it, you’ll need to create a makeshift kitchen station in another room in your home. Move must-have items like the microwave, some type of refrigerator/freezer/cooler and commonly used tools to another room with an empty table or counter space. Take some of the stress off of yourself and ask others to cook dishes that will be difficult for you to do. If at all possible, make some food ahead of time and freeze or appropriately store it away until the holidays. This makes for one or two fewer things you have to do while your kitchen is under construction. Lastly, use paper goods instead of dishes- it will save you a lot of dish washing, especially if your sink is temporarily out of commission.

What to Save & Splurge on For Your Kitchen Remodel

Remodeling your kitchen can be a very expensive and demanding task. The average cost of a minor kitchen remodel is about $20,000, while a full one can cost double that. While doing a full remodel will provide benefits if you decide to sell your house, there are many small improvements you can make without having to do remodel the entire area. It’s important to know which areas and tasks you can splurge on and save on. This will allow you to raise your home’s value, give your kitchen a new look, and save you some money in the end.

What to save on:

Cabinets– There are so many affordable types of cabinetry out there, as well as hacks to make your cabinets look more expensive than they actually were. Instead of splurging on entirely new cabinets, try refacing them, replacing just the doors, painting them a new color or adding some fun hardware to spruce them up.

Hardware Hardware for your kitchen cabinets and drawers are relatively inexpensive. Many can be painted or finished to give them a brand new look at a low cost.

Trendy colors- Don’t spend tons of money on painting your new cabinets or purchasing appliances in a trendy or bold color. Chances are, in a few years it will be out of style and you’ll have to replace it. Stick to more traditional colors and trends that will be in style forever.

What to splurge on:

Countertops- Granite countertops are a bit more expensive than laminate, but they are of higher quality, will last long, and have a nicer appearance. Most people end up replacing their countertops sometime in their life, so by investing in one that will last longer, you won’t need to do so. Choose a color and pattern that will match well with any new changes you make, such as a more neutral color.

Energy-efficient appliances- These appliances are not only great for the environment, but they will last long and save money on your future energy bills. Sometimes paying a little more up front will help save money in the long run.

Storage- Efficient storage space is usually the number 1 “want” on every homeowner or renter’s list. Adding additional racks, drawers, closets, cabinets, etc. to your kitchen to increase space is worth the money. This will keep everything in its own place, organized and not cluttered. Clutter can instantly de-value your home and change the appearance, so proper storage is a must.

How to Keep Your Home Energy Efficient

One of the concerns among homeowners lately is making their homes as energy efficient as possible. Doing so is not only good for the environment by conserving our natural resources, but it can lower your heating and cooling bills as well. Here are a few things you can do to keep your home as energy efficient as possible.

Improve your lighting. Skylights are placed on your home’s ceilings to allow natural light into your room. This allows you to use less artificial lighting, which will save you money on your electric bill and save energy as well. Another option in regards to lighting is to replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. These save ¾ of the electricity used by the regular bulbs and last much longer, too.

Improve your water system. There are a few ways to improve the hot water situation in your home. Installing low-flow, energy efficient fixtures in your shower or bath is a very simple upgrade. You can also turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting. Lastly, insulating your water lines will prevent them from cooling down as quickly between uses.

Practice proper ventilation. It’s commonly known that hot air rises, so in warmer months opening a few windows will release the heat and cool down your home without the use of air conditioning or central air.

Install the proper insulation. To keep your home warm during colder months and cooler during warmer months, it’s important to have quality insulation. Insulation slows the rate that heat flows in and out of your house. Speak to a professional about which type will work best for your home and watch as you have to use your heating units less and less.

Try solar heating. Although it’s certainly not for everyone, solar heating is an eco-friendly option. The solar heating panels collect the sun’s heat and transfer it to a collector or directly into your home. This is a great way to take advantage of sunny weather and reduce your carbon footprint.

Check doors and windows. Old windows and doors may need to be replaced if they are old or leaky. There are a variety of more energy-efficient windows on the market today if you are looking to completely replace them. If not, checking for any cracks or gaps can help prevent air from coming in and out. The same goes for your doors- make sure to check the bottom, top and sides for any drafts. Any open spots should be caulked so they are airtight.

Change filters. Something that is often forgotten about is changing the filters. You should periodically change the filters on your furnace and air conditioner, for example. This will keep the machines clean and running smoothly and more efficiently.

Tips for Painting Your Kitchen Cabinets

Altering the appearance of your cabinets is one of the easiest ways to change the look of your kitchen. Since installing brand new cabinets would cost a pretty penny, painting them is a more affordable option with equally great results- if done the right way. With a little help from the hardware store and some extra time on the weekends, you can get the job done and show off the new look of your kitchen.

First, you need to plan. Browse photos online and visit your local hardware store to get inspiration for paint colors. If you can, bring home paint swatches or small samples to see what you like best. Make sure that you keep in mind the color of your kitchen walls, appliances and hardware finishes. Research prices so you are prepared to budget accordingly and always be prepared for mix-ups or messes.

The next step is to prep your cabinets for painting. First, you should remove the doors, drawers and hardware. Then you should clean your cabinets with a cleaning liquid (soap and water may just do the trick) to get rid of any grease stains, dirt or food particles. Any noticeable or large dents or scratches should be filled in so you have an even surface to work with. For a smooth and even finish, sanding is required. Choose the proper type of sandpaper (medium to fine grit) and sand away. Wipe the cabinet doors clean of dust or other debris and then apply one coat of primer as a base.

Now it’s time to actually paint your cabinets. Using a high-quality brush for the best results, apply two layers of a semi-gloss paint. Gloss paint offers greater protection and will hold up well. There are a variety of other paints to choose from including acrylic (water-based) or alkyd (oil-based) options. Purchase high-quality paint for the best results. A better quality brush with avoid uneven strokes and brush marks and will prevent pesky brush hairs from being noticeably stuck in your paint. It’s important to let the paint dry completely before attempting to put the cabinets back onto your wall. This will prevent them from sticking to the cabinet box and therefore ruining your hard work.

Lastly, make sure your hinges and hardware match your new color of cabinets. Even if it’s just a simple cleaning, you can transform the look of your cabinets with clean hardware. You may want to switch out your old knobs to something new that matches better with your painted cabinets. If you want to stick to your old hardware, you’ll need to screw or attach it back onto your cabinets.

10 Tools for Your Kitchen Remodel

For most kitchen remodels, homeowners or renters decided to try to do some of the work themselves. While hiring a contractor would be the easiest choice, sometimes you can save money by doing small projects yourself. Or if you only want to remodel one or two aspects compared to your entire kitchen, doing it yourself may be a better idea. When remodeling your kitchen, there are a variety of common tools you will most likely need to use. While each of these doesn't apply to every home remodel, they apply to the majority of kitchen remodeling projects.

  1. Hammer– Chances are, you will need a hammer at one point in your home remodel. Whether it’s for hammering in nails, tapping countertops into place or positioning tiles, it will come in handy. The best part is that you probably already own a hammer or two, so you might not need to invest in a new one for the remodel.
  2. Screwdriver– Much like the hammer, this is a commonly used tool in remodels. To save time and space, a multi-function screwdriver or drill will do the trick.
  3. Box cutter– Whether you’re using one to open boxes of supplies or to cut tile, a heavy-duty box cutter can help.
  4. Safety products- Depending on what aspects you are remodeling, you may need the following safety items: goggles, earplugs, respirators, a dust mask, work gloves, proper footwear, a first aid kit and even a hard hat.
  5. Measuring tools- A ruler, tape measure and level are all necessities for getting accurate measurements for your remodel.
  6. Ladder- Chances are you may be doing something about your lighting fixtures or cabinets during your remodel- both of which are high in terms of height. A ladder is the best way to reach these items.
  7. Vacuum- After a long day’s work, there is bound to be debris all over the floor and counters. A high-volt vacuum can make cleanup easy and quick.
  8. Area light- You need to be able to see everything that you are doing, and an area light will make sure that happens. Some kitchens can be poorly lit, so this tool helps solve this problem.
  9. Saw- Power saws, table saws and hand saws are three of the common options for a remodel. Each one helps with a different task- cutting wood, molding, cabinets, etc.
  10. Pen and paper- There will be so many instances where you need to jot down measurements, phone numbers and new ideas, so it’s best to be prepared with a notepad and pen.

The Importance of Cabinet Knobs

Cabinet knobs are an affordable and fairly quick way to change the look of your kitchen or bathroom. Since an entire remodel is usually out of the question (and your budget), knobs are a simple way to give your home an instant update. The proper hardware will help to create a cohesive look to each of the rooms in your home.

brass cabinet knob

Cabinet knobs are available in a wide variety of materials. Common options include metal knobs like aluminum, brass, bronze, chrome, copper, iron, pewter, silver and stainless steel. Glass knobs are traditionally seen on bedroom dressers, but will add a lovely and elegant accent to your kitchen or bathroom. Glass knobs are scratch-resistant, durable and have a finish that won’t wear off as easily as wooden or plated knobs. Wooden knobs are always a great option as well, since they blend in with most cabinets and can easily be painted to your liking. Plastic knobs are a common and affordable option as well.

green knob

Another thing to take into consideration when choosing knobs for your cabinets is the color. Wooden knobs can easily be painted to achieve the color you want. You can choose polished, antiqued or rubbed versions of the different metal knobs as well. Brightly colored pulls can bring some excitement to your plain kitchen, while a polished and shiny option will offer a more modern look that will be in style for years to come.

interest cabinet knobs

The shape and size of the knobs can also drastically change the look of your room. If you’re tired of boring options, you can choose fun shapes to fit with the room’s décor. For example, seashell knobs would match with a beach-themed bathroom and apple knobs would look great in a country-style kitchen. Since the knobs on your cabinets will get a lot of use, it’s important to choose a shape and size that is comfortable to the touch.

To keep your knobs looking new, clean them once a week or so. Usually mild soap and water with a cloth will do the trick- just make sure to dry them immediately after to prevent any rust. Stay away from harsh household cleaners with chemicals.

As you can see, even though knobs may seem like just a small part of your room, they can have a large impact on the aesthetic. Choose a knob that is comfortable, durable and complements the look of your space and watch as the compliments roll in.

Should You Replace or Reface Your Cabinets?

If you’re looking to change the appearance of your kitchen or bathroom, one of the easiest ways is to alter your cabinets. Completely replacing your cabinets can be a costly and long process, but provides you with an entirely new look. Refacing your cabinets is a less expensive and easier way to give them a new look, but doesn’t always deliver the results you want. Factors such as your budget, time constraints and décor ideas are important to figure out before choosing an option.

Refacing Cabinets

Refacing your cabinets is the process of changing the doors of the cabinets and leaving the cabinet box as is. Refining the exterior is also commonly associated with the process of refacing. Refacing cabinets includes applying stains, glazes and paints to alter the color, sanding the doors to give the surface a new texture, or replacing the door with a different style (such as shaker style doors or recessed panel doors).

Refacing cabinets is a cheaper alternative since you are only changing the door, usually for aesthetic purposes. It also can be done by yourself, so you save money that you would usually spend on a contractor or carpenter.

Replacing Cabinets

Replacing your cabinets means you take out the old and bring in the new. You can change up the structure, size and type of wood that you are going to use for your cabinet. This allows you to change the overall structure and look of your space, whereas refacing just changes the look of the door fronts. This is a great option for those who want a big change or have cabinets that are in very poor condition.

When choosing to replace your cabinets in their entirely, it’s important to do your research. Shop around for different deals with companies, research the different wood types and pay attention to trends and décor ideas for inspiration. Replacing cabinets can be costly and time-consuming, so you want to make sure you get the best deal you can.

Choosing Oak Cabinets

oak cabinets

Choosing the right type of wood for your cabinets is crucial. The right wood species can change the entire look of your room, so it’s important to read up on the pros and cons of each wood before purchasing. Oak cabinets are a popular choice among homeowners due to their durability and beauty. Here are a few things you should know about oak cabinets before choosing them for your home.

Oak cabinets are very durable. This hardwood will hold up through the slamming of doors, storage of heavy food items, and grease splatters from cooking. Oak cabinets can easily be cleaned with a wipe-down of a wet rag. This makes oak cabinets an investment, since they will stand up to use for years to come.

Oak cabinets can easily be customized to your liking. The neutral wood color can be changed with an application of paint, glaze or stain of your choice (just make sure you sand the wood first to create an even and smooth surface for the substance to adhere to). Oak's natural grain lines add beauty to your room, but can easily be covered if they clash with your decor. So whether you like a natural look or want a more glossy finish, it can be accomplished by choosing oak.

Oak cabinets are also very versatile. As mentioned above, they look great in almost any type of room- including traditional and rustic spaces. They bring a lovely warmth to any space and will stay in style for many years to come.

oak kitchen

oak kitchen cabinets

Update the Look of Your Bathroom

bathroom

There comes a time in every home’s life when the bathroom needs a change. Whether it’s due to a leaky sink, cabinets that are falling apart or outdated décor, bathroom remodels are often at the top of homeowner’s to-do lists. While remodeling an entire bathroom can certainly cause a drop in your bank account, there are a few cost-efficient ways you can update your bathroom.

Update your cabinets. If you have the time and money to get new cabinets altogether, you can go that route. If you have a budget set in mind and want to save time, there are still many ways to update your cabinets. Try installing new cabinet doors instead of the entire cabinet to save money. Repainting or resurfacing cabinets can also give them an entirely new look. Lastly, adding some interesting hardware to your cabinets will give your bathroom an updated look.

Replace old items. Simply updating your faucet, sink tops or showerheads can make your bathroom look like new. After years of use, these items can start to rust, change color, or simply not work as well- so replacing them can make a large difference.

Add new décor. Changing the color scheme of your bathroom is a very simple way to update the look of your home. Ditch the old shower curtains, towels and soap dispenser and opt for a new pattern or fabric- your houseguests will be the first to notice the new change.

Change the lighting. Since the bathroom is where many people get ready in the morning, it’s important to have optimal lighting so you can see what you’re doing.

Switch up your storage. Instead of stashing all your goods on the countertop, opt for under-the-cabinet storage. There are plenty of other storage options as well, including shower caddies that hang from the showerhead, closet organizers, or even reusing an old nightstand or storage bin from another room in your home. Keeping things stored and organized out of sight will give your bathroom a clean and simple appearance.