Design and Decor

Kitchen Remodel Plan Learned From Our Fixer Upper Home

Do you have plans to remodel your kitchen this year or in the near future? Having a well thought out kitchen remodel plan is the key for a successful renovation. It is a home project that is very important for many to create a space that satisfies all of the family’s demands while still being stylish.

The kitchen is the part of your home where a lot of memories are created aside from the delicious meals that are shared with your loved ones. On top of that, the kitchen has become an important focal point and the most expensive room in the entire house. For these reasons, the kitchen is considered the heart of every home. Therefore, it is crucial that you know the different aspects of remodeling a kitchen before jumping in and putting your dream kitchen into action.

In this article, I will share with you all that my husband and I have been through when we renovated our kitchen and the important lessons that we learned along the way. If you are new to my website, let me give a brief background about our remodeling journey.

When I discovered the show called the Fixer Upper, I immediately became a huge fan of Chip and Joanna. After that, buying an outdated house and fixing it became my ultimate dream at that time. I was very fortunate that my husband allowed me to fulfill my dream even though he did not really like the idea of buying a fixer upper. So that’s how my remodeling started. See my article, My Kitchen Remodel That I Personally Designed, to see the before, during and after pictures of our 1950’s home.

Below are some points that I have learned that you need to consider when planning your kitchen remodel:

Kitchen Remodel Plan No. 1: Know Your Kitchen Design Style

Most likely you have already done some research about your kitchen remodel plan and may feel that your kitchen design style does not belong in the top spot. For me however, I found that knowing your style first is very important because you cannot really set a budget without knowing what you want your kitchen to look like. This is especially important if you are not going to hire a professional to guide you on the kitchen design process.

Pinterest is a great platform to hang around and will definitely help you to know your style. It is a website that offers free visuals where you can find inspiration into choosing a kitchen design. All you need to do is to sign into Pinterest and create a board dedicated to kitchen design. Then begin to look for kitchen design ideas and pin every picture of a kitchen design that you really like or any that catch your attention.

Once you have already saved a lot of pictures in your “kitchen design board”, Pinterest will reveal to you not only your kitchen design style but your cabinetry style, colors, materials that you would like to use and flooring that you would like to have. How? You will find out that most of the pictures on your board have a similar look or design, similar type of cabinetry and similar kitchen colors for the wall and cabinet paints. You will even see that the appliances whether stainless steel appliances or colored ones are shown as well as floor color.

If you are hiring a designer, show your Pinterest board during consultation. This will help your designer to come with the design that will bring your dream kitchen to life.

From Pinterest

The above pictures were some of the pictures I collected from Pinterest during the time that I was trying to find out what I wanted my kitchen to look like. Most of the pictures were leaning towards a kitchen with shaker cabinets, with a kitchen farm sink, white countertops and backsplash. My Pinterest board revealed to me that the kitchen style that I like leans toward a transitional kitchen.

Plan No. 2: Think Appliances

When redesigning your kitchen, it’s critical to include all of the appliances you’ll need. Appliance selection and their positioning with the kitchen area is critical to the success of any design. You need to keep in mind that you need to position the refrigerator and oven in such a way that when you open them, the doors should not hinder the walkways. Aside from that, kitchen appliance placement or positioning should be within a workable distance with one another to offer complete flexibility to whomever is cooking in the kitchen.  Determining what brand and style of kitchen appliances you would like to have will also help you to come up with the right remodeling budget.

In my case, the original kitchen did have a dishwasher, no built-in microwave and the refrigerator was sticking out in the side of the hallway. So I needed to make sure that in my design that I allocated space for those three kitchen appliances. Built-in appliances will provide a lot more work space as well as give a more organized feel in your kitchen.Kitchen Remodel Plan

Kitchen Remodel Plan No. 3: Consider Kitchen Layout

When it comes to designing a kitchen renovation, the layout of the space is also one of the key factors to make a kitchen remodel a success. The kitchen remodel should never be based only on esthetic improvements but should also be based on the functionality and the efficiency of the kitchen. Paints, curtains and other textiles can easily be changed however, the kitchen layout cannot.

Position your stove, sink and refrigerator in a way that will form a triangle which is commonly known as a work triangle. This work triangle will help you to create a more functional space by reducing the number of steps between them. Also, in order to maximize its functionality, the kitchen layout should also provide a sufficient amount of counter space for food preparation and to make cooking easier. Below was my original rendering of our kitchen.

In this design, I was very determined that storage would be more important than counter space aside from the fact that I fell in love with a kitchen design that had a built in pantry cabinet (sorry for my poor rendering skills). On the day that we finally had a face to face consultation with the kitchen designer at Lowe’s, after the designer was done with her rendering, she informed me that a built-in pantry cabinet was not going to work. She told me, you may not agree with this at this moment, but you need to have sufficient counter space in order to have a functional kitchen. And since having a kitchen island is not possible because of space limitation, the built-in pantry should be removed in the design. She was right! When we moved in and started using the kitchen, I immediately realized that having that counter space made our  small kitchen more functional.

If you have enough space, a kitchen island is also a wonderful addition. However, you need to first know the purpose of the island in your kitchen in order for you to identify where to position it. If an island will be used for extra storage and extra counter space, make sure that it is positioned where it will not block the flow of the “work triangle”.

Plan No. 4: Take Your Kitchen Storage Into Consideration

If you have small kitchen, it is recommended to take into consideration your kitchen storage. As much as possible, try to utilize all of the available space that you can like adding a built in second pantry around the  awkward area next to your refrigerator. Installing a narrow rolling pantry in those tight spaces that are not wide enough for a standard upper cabinet will provide a decent  storage solution for your pantry essentials aside from the fact that it really improves the aesthetic of your kitchen.

Next, think about the other items that you need that must be stored inside the cabinets to gain additional counter space in your kitchen. This includes finding a permanent home for your coffee maker, toaster and kettle by tucking them away neatly to keep these small appliances out of sight. This is very much applicable and actually necessary for your heavier kitchen appliances. Your blind corner cabinet is a good place for your heavier appliances by installing a blind corner pull-out system. If it happens that you have no budget for that, see my article How To Organize Your Blind Corner Cabinet.

It is also important to include at least few kitchen drawers in your design. This is something that I did not consider in my design. I was very fortunate that our kitchen designer included drawers when she was in the process of designing our kitchen. Drawers definitely offer easy accessibility to your kitchen items and there is no need to bend down to look for them. All you need to do is to pull out the drawer and you will immediately see what’s inside that drawer. Drawers can hold almost anything in your kitchen! The large drawers can be used to store a wide range of cooking equipment like pots and pans, plates, and others. However, do not go overboard on customizing your cabinets because it will cost you a lot of money. It should only be based on what you really need.

Below are the pictures of the storage solutions that I have in my kitchen and of course, a big thanks to our kitchen designer.

Kitchen Remodel Plan No.5: Decide Your Kitchen Color Scheme

The color of your kitchen is not only limited to selecting the color of your cabinets. The kitchen color scheme includes walls, counters, and of course your cabinetry and floors. For example, you already decided on the color of the cabinetry way before you even planned your kitchen remodel, then you need to select the color of your counter, walls and floor that would compliment the color of your cabinetry.

When selecting colors, use an approach based on how easy the color is to change. For example, the color of the flooring is way harder to change than changing the paint on your wall. Therefore, you need to choose colors that are timeless and more neutral on areas like flooring that are harder to change color in the future. Using wood floors is very popular right now because most wood floors have some shade of brown. Brown is a color that combines all of the hues, therefore, it tends to go well with other colors. However, you also need to remember that wood floors also come with more than one color which can make it challenging to work with. The rich chocolate of walnut and the silvery gray of antique or weathered woods are the most neutral colors so they are the easiest to work with.

If you want to add some contrast and visual interest to your kitchen, two-toned kitchen cabinets may be a good option. This method has become quite popular in particular because they can adapt to any style whether it’s modern or a traditional style and make the whole kitchen look more appealing.

However, you need to avoid choosing colors that lean toward being gender specific such as colors that are too feminine or too masculine or colors that are too taste specific like orange, red and others. Why? Because when it comes time that you need to sell your house, your kitchen will cater to a bigger market and most of the time your kitchen adds great value to your home.

For small kitchens it is essential to choose a neutral color palette to make your small kitchen feel and look bigger. Below are some of the neutral colors that are popular today:

Kitchen Remodel Plan

  1. Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige – color that works well with almost any color scheme
  2. Sherwin Williams Alabaster – 2016 Color of the year
  3. Benjamin Moore Simply White – 2016 Color of the year
  4. Benjamin Moore Simply Stonington Gray – The most neutral color gray paint and my personal favorite

Also consider the amount of light that enters the room especially if you really want to go bold with your color choices. You need to think of this because colors may look different in daytime with natural light and then look different in evening time with artificial light. Some colors will make you feel more claustrophobic or even feel depressing so choose wisely!

Plan No.6: Choose The Right Countertop Materials

Selecting the appropriate materials is the key to having a kitchen counter that provides both a robust look and elegance to your space. Fortunately, there are a wide range of materials available that you can choose from to suit all budgets and kitchen styles. When it comes to kitchen countertop ideas, natural stone, although it offers you a one of kind material, may require you to be a little bit more careful when using it. This is because you will need to protect the this type of countertop from spillage and also take extra precaution with selecting a cleaning products for them. However, if you are looking for a more pristine look or a counter with low maintenance, then you might want to consider a solid countertop or a quartz countertop.

Solid-surface countertops are made from mineral dust (mainly marble) that is blended with a variety of plastic resins and colors. This material is durable, non-porous, warm and smooth to the touch. It is easy to fabricate and create invisibly seamed countertops. Quartz countertops are engineered stone products consisting of 95% ground natural quartz and 5% binding resins. Both are considered to be part natural and partly man-made at the same time and neither of them are considered to be as premium as natural stone. However, both are considered to be high-end countertop products when compared with laminate, tile and wood.

Your choice of countertop will have a direct effect on the overall design of your kitchen because this is one of the most used part of your kitchen and it will also frame the entire room. Therefore, it is really important to make the right choices! Keep in mind, that a heavily veined marble effect although awesome, may compete with other textures in your kitchen. You need to avoid having too many competing textures or bold looks in your kitchen. In my case, I chose a Quartz countertop, Calacatta Verona Quartz to be specific. Aside from the fact that its surface is smooth and glossy, it is also more scratch-resistant. Most of all,  I really like the soft white color of the background with a subtle color gray veins. It makes my kitchen look open, clean and calm because of the reflective materials of white quartz which also offers wonderful contrast with the colored gray based cabinetry.

Kitchen Remodel Plan

Kitchen Remodel Plan No.7: Look For Durable Kitchen Flooring

The kitchen is the busiest room in your entire house because this is where your whole family congregates, that is why it is only practical to have flooring that is both durable and easy to maintain. Wood flooring was and is still a popular choice for the kitchen but you might want to explore and consider the wood-effect ceramic or porcelain tile and laminate.

Between ceramic or porcelain tile and laminate, many would say that porcelain tile is non-porous or water resistant, a perfect flooring for the kitchen while laminate flooring is prone to holding moisture which is the obvious worst enemy of most floors. However, ceramic and porcelain tiles still have water absorption limits which means when the water sits on tile long enough, the tile will eventually absorb the water through the seams. The grout that holds the tile together is a far more porous substance. While the laminate flooring when installed right and with tight seams may prevent water to find its way to the core. In my case, we chose the laminate flooring for the entire house and I can say that it makes the space look nice but it is prone to show foot prints and can wear poorly when subjected to a lot of wear and tear.

Kitchen Remodel Plan

However, the section of laminate flooring can easily be replaced because it is not connected to the substrate and most of the time, the boards are not permanently bonded to each other. So if it  happens that you are leaning towards laminate flooring, you better stock up a good amount of extra pieces because you might not able to find the exact laminate on the market when the time comes that there is a certain section that needs replacement.

If you are really looking for truly water-impermeable kitchen floor, a sheet resilient flooring or also known as sheet vinyl flooring is great because its a non-porous material. However, you still need to make sure that no water will go in between the seams even though it is a very limited number of seams. With sheet vinyls, the water can remain on the surface until it evaporates or is mopped up.

Kitchen Remodel Plan No.8: Include Kitchen Lighting

Kitchen lighting is another element to consider when planning a kitchen remodel. Use spots lighting to light up the space under cabinets, to light up the plinth or the heavy base supporting the base cabinets and ceiling. However, there are some rules  that you need to follow when installing spots lighting like the proper spacing in between lights and the ideal placement of each light to achieve symmetrical aesthetics.

For fixed items in the kitchen such as the sink and kitchen islands, use pendant lighting. When choosing a pendant light fixture, make sure that it reflects the style of your decor because it often commands a prominent presence in the room. For example, pendants that are made of glass or chrome generally lean towards a sleek modern design style while pendants made of woven shades often have a boho or coastal look to them. Pendant lights with industrial-style metal shades or exposed light bulbs often are perfect for a farmhouse-style kitchen.


Modern Mini Pendant LightKitchen Remodel Plan -This clean and simple design works well in both traditional and modern settings.

Barn Pendant Light – When utilized in a farmhouse style kitchen, the black barn shade gives off an old-fashioned, spirit-free vibe.

Drop Globe Metal/GlassKitchen Remodel Plan – The classic combination of black metal top and brass components with champagne-colored smoked glass at the base makes this pendant light go well with both contemporary and transitional kitchens.

Teardrop Mini Crystal PendantKitchen Remodel Plan –  This min crystal pendant lamp offers an interesting feature to your kitchen island a perfect match for your modern kitchen style.

In my case, I chose recessed lighting because it  offers a rich, stylish and clean design to any room because of its unobstructed design element. Recessed lights are not visible and therefore they do not command a strong presence in the room which makes them popular for modern home styles and decor and it also goes well in a traditional design setting. But, I do wish I had spots lights installed inside the cabinets and under the cabinets for esthetic purposes only.

Kitchen Remodel Plan No.9: Identify The Scope Of Work

Once you have identified your “kitchen must haves”, now it is time to take a look at your current kitchen to know the scope of work that you need to undertake to achieve the kitchen that you would want when you do the remodel. Below are a few tips to show you how to reconfigure your kitchen space to turn your kitchen remodel plan into a reality.

  • Removing Wall – To expand the foot print of your kitchen. Bear in mind that opening up a wall can also means tearing down a load bearing wall that will definitely cost you a lot of money depending how wide the wall is.
  • Opening up the Space -If you like to have an Open Concept Kitchen. Eliminating a wall separating the kitchen from the living room and your dining area.
  • Adding or Removing an Island – To improve the current flow.
  • Expanding Counter space – To add kitchen storage and working space.
  • Adding features to your existing layout – If you need space for a wine fridge, dishwasher or to create a cabinet space for a kettle, toaster or coffee maker to neatly tuck them away and to keep these appliances out of sight.

The more changes you make the more expensive the kitchen remodel will be.

Kitchen Remodel Plan No. 10: Download a Planner and Interior Design App Or Go To Nearest IKEA or Lowe’s Store

There are many online design tools that you can download to help you better visualize your dream kitchen or if not, just go the nearest Ikea store or Lowe’s because their staff is willing to render your kitchen for free. All you have to do is measure the dimensions of the entire kitchen area, Length x Width x Height (Space between floor and ceiling), the dimensions of each entry way,  dimensions of the windows and where they are located within the space.

After you have that, you simply tell them your list of ideas for your remodeling plan and choose the type of cabinets and fixtures from their selection. After few minutes or few hours, they will show their rendition of your kitchen based on your descriptions. In my case, I downloaded a design app and paid $24.99 because I wanted to actually visualize my list of kitchen must haves and to see if they were really doable. On top of that to make me feel like I was a professional designer! This design app is really worth it if you really enjoy figuring out how to transform an outdated space into something functional and beautiful.

I know my rendering is not that impressive. This is because I did not have much time to really learn how to use the app effectively. After I finalized that the layout that would work for our kitchen, we started to contact some contractors and went to Lowe’s to know the cost of the kitchen cabinets based on the layout that I had made. Of course the cost will vary depending on the type and design of the cabinetry. So you should ask the price range of each cabinet before you even begin the selection. Why? Since it was my first time to do this kind of stuff, I was so excited to choose from the cabinet selection without even considering the price range. It just so happened that I picked the most expensive cabinets and we were so shocked at the initial cost that our designer presented to us. When we went for the 2nd time, I made sure to ask the price range of each cabinet style and selected cabinets within our price range. Below are some of the scanned pages of the final document that we received from our kitchen designer:

Kitchen Remodel Plan

By doing this, you will get an exact cost for the kitchen cabinets and hardware (cost of labor and other materials not included) that you are going to use.

Plan No.11: Plan Your Kitchen Remodel Budget

Now that you have a cost for the kitchen cabinets and have already searched for the price of the kitchen appliances that you would like to buy, the price of the kitchen sink, countertop and backsplash that you have always dreamed of and the estimated cost (using estimating calculator) regarding the scope of the work involved to make your kitchen remodel plan a reality, it’s now time to put all those costs together on one sheet of paper. Allocate the budget range for each item or activity and add all the costs to get an overall kitchen remodel budget. If the remodeling cost that you gathered through your diligent research falls within your allocated money for the project then, you are now ready to look for potential partners who will put your kitchen plan into action.

Plan No.12: Research Potential Kitchen Remodeling Partners

Finding a reliable and within your price range contractor is very important to make your plan a reality and a success. Why? Because you are not being careful you might end up spending most of your budget to pay for labor expenses. Keep in mind, contractors have different expertise and therefore will come up with different cost and most of them nowadays are doing various projects which could lead them to give you a quote that is ridiculously expensive. So it is important to check for general contractors in your neighborhood or better yet ask your neighbors and friends if they knew someone reliable that can do the project.Because a good local reputation can go a long way.

Then once you come up with the list of possible contractors, at least 3 to 5 possible partners, that you can work with, request each contractor a meeting to present your design and kitchen remodel plan. A well thought out kitchen remodel plan will definitely help each contractor to understand what you wanted for the space and therefore help them to come up with close estimation of the material cost, labor and other miscellaneous fee.

Below was the kitchen remodel plan that my husband and I presented to our potential contractor. We actually gave him the copy so our contractor could write down his labor cost and estimated material cost for each section. In this way, everything was documented.

Plan No.13: Make A Decision To Go Or Not To Go

Once you received a quotation from different contractors, select a contractor not only on the quotation price, but also based on the quality of work and design styles by looking at their work on their website, their reviews from former clients on their Facebook page, Yelp or Houzz.

However, if you happen to find out from the contractor that your kitchen remodel plan will cost you way beyond your allotted budget, ask your potential contractor what things can be adjusted to make the cost of the project fall within your budget. A good contractor can come up with good suggestions about how to reconfigure the project to fit your budget. However, if the changes that your contractor offers do not fit your idea of a kitchen, then you need to postpone the project. Wait for a little while until you have saved enough money for your dream kitchen.

In our case, we chose to let go of expanding the size of the kitchen window. Although it may sound like a simple project, it was actually very complicated and expensive to execute.

Plan No.14: Put Your Plan Into Action

This is the most exciting part of the project, putting your plan into action. Once you have finalized the contract with the contractors that you have chosen, you now need to finalize the starting date for the project, payment method and your contractor’s target timeline to finish the project.

Since you have already identified kitchen cabinets, countertops, kitchen appliances, flooring and backsplash for your kitchen, ask your contractor the target date that they will have those items on hand. In this way, you will avoid the instances that your contractor stops their work because they are waiting for your items or worse still, they are waiting for you to choose what type of countertop and flooring that you would like to use.

This is the reason why I placed the kitchen style identification, appliance selection and the color scheme as a priority. Having this done ahead of time means when the time comes that your remodeling plan is ready to be put into action, these items that are vital for renovating your space are all ready to go.

Actually, our contractor shared with us that most of his clients do not even know what they want for their kitchen remodel. These types of people have to always make changes which often leads  him to stop in the middle of the renovation because he is waiting for the owners to make decisions as to the countertops, backsplash and other items. Remember, time is money! Do not give your contractor a reason to stop working and by doing this you avoid any interruptions. If you stay on top of the game to finish your kitchen remodel within your time frame and budget, it will make both you and your contractor happy.



  1. Valerie June 30, 2022

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