(BPT) - In this economy, taking on a kitchen remodel can be a scary proposition. You're probably asking yourself plenty of questions. How drastically should you change the room? Do you need to hire a professional? Can you still recoup money spent on remodeling if you sell the house?
Have no fear - these six tips from Summer Baltzer, interior designer and former host of HGTV's Design on a Dime will get you remodeling like a pro without losing your mind or breaking the bank.
Tip one: Breathe in. Breathe out. Break it down.
Before starting, take a deep breath and know that your project is going to turn out great. The key is to break your remodel down into manageable steps that you can wrap your head around: cabinets, counters, floors, paint and accessories. Although it can seem like a daunting process, there is no need to freak out.
Tip two: Identify the function of the room.
Take a second to think about how you use your kitchen. The best outcome is a kitchen that's both beautiful and functional, so make sure you're not getting caught up in just color swatches, paint samples and tile styles. Ask yourself a few simple questions: Who primarily uses the kitchen? How much foot traffic will there be? What are the main tasks occurring in the space? Pausing to think about how the space will be used helps you create a kitchen that works for your life.
Tip three: Make the space work for you.
If you are considering a new layout, first think about how you move around the kitchen. There's nothing more frustrating than furiously trying to get dinner on the table for a group of friends when you can't find anything or move around your kitchen with ease. Determine the types of stations you always use and what you need in each station. Add drawers or containers for utensils or herbs ... anything you might need to quickly grab while standing in that place. If you can't recreate your floor plan, sometimes it's simply a matter of reorganizing. Don't assume you're stuck with what you've got.
Tip four: Understand the scope of your work.
Is this kitchen makeover going to involve a partial or complete demolition, or are you going to be implementing simple fixes that you can pull off in a weekend? The work you're looking to do will determine whether or not you need to hire a contractor and apply for permits or, if it's just you, bribe your friends and buy that bucket of paint. It's often smartest to look to a trained professional to handle the trickier parts of a kitchen makeover. Hire contractors who carry insurance to deal with your electrical and plumbing issues, use a professional installer to replace that new countertop and keep in mind that you may void the warranty on items if you install them incorrectly.
Tip five: Make a budget.
Though not as much fun as picking colors and fixtures, having a clear idea of what you can afford is important. Determine your budget and consider funds for unanticipated issues such as mold or plumbing pitfalls. If you have enough in the budget to deal with problems as they arise, you'll be less stressed and can complete the project without a hitch. Finally, consider eco-friendly and durable materials that can be more affordable, including reclaimed wood, low-VOC paints, and countertops made from recycled fibers such as Wilsonart HD High Definition Laminate that can give the look of granite at a fraction of the cost. They'll keep more of the green in your kitchen and in your wallet. Learn more at www.wilsonart.com.
Tip six: Keep track of your paperwork.
It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of remodeling a kitchen, but the business end of a makeover is just as important. Keep track of contracts, warranties, manuals and receipts. Numbers used to identify paint colors and finishes are important too. Having everything accessible in a 'kitchen makeover file' will make it easy to call for repairs or even simple touch-up if need be.
Armed with the basics, you'll be well-prepared to create a kitchen you love.