Photo by Ricardo Diaz

Update: Nowadays we demand a lot more from our kitchens. It’s not just a room where we prepare meals for our families; it’s become a flexible extension of our entertaining space, with kitchens and living areas now being incorporated into one with features such as breakfast bars. The move towards a more European style of eating and cooking means that we want bigger rooms with more high-tech gadgets and a higher standard of materials and design. For these reasons and many more, many people are looking into kitchen remodeling.

In certain parts of the country, the kitchen has always been the center of life in a home. In other regions, the center of the family’s life has moved from the kitchen to the family room or other areas. But today, in virtually all parts of the country, the kitchen has become central again. A kitchen that is both functional and comfortable is now the norm.

Whether you want to remodel your kitchen to make it more functional, more comfortable, more modern, or to provide more space for family life, you can create wonderful changes within most any budget. If you are considering a kitchen remodel to make a house more marketable, the good news is that, according to Realtor Magazine, you can expect to recoup 85-112% of the cost when you sell your home.

A kitchen remodeling project can be as simple as new window and wall treatments, new flooring, or new cabinets. Or you can create the gourmet kitchen/family room that is so popular today.

A simple and relatively inexpensive kitchen remodel might mean new curtains, a fresh coat of paint, new appliances, and new flooring. Hardwood floors are very popular today in the kitchen. The new finishes and coatings on the wood make them as practical in the kitchen as they are in other parts of the house. Ceramic tile is also a very popular flooring option. Tile is easy to clean and durable.

Much entertaining is now done in the kitchen. Preparing a meal can become a time for guests to gather in the kitchen and enjoy conversation. Most kitchens built today will either be open to a family room or they will include a family area at one end of the room. An attached or semi-attached breakfast room is also a popular design. An island that is functional for food preparation and provides a place for people to sit and talk to the cook is also very popular. In fact, one side of the island can be serviceable in food preparation while the other side functions as a casual dining counter.

If your home is older and your kitchen just needs a little modernizing, you will certainly want to consider modernizing your cabinets, and, perhaps, your counter tops. Raised-panel cabinet and cupboard doors are certainly the way to go. This can be accomplished by simply placing new doors on existing wood cabinets. If your budget permits, you can even install custom or semi-custom wood cabinets. While laminate countertops are certainly still being used, there is a clear trend toward marble or granite countertops. They are both beautiful and functional.

Your choice of appliances will be important in the total appearance of your kitchen. To be sure, appliances are available in a wide variety of colors and styles. There is, however, a clear preference in most new appliance purchases for stainless steel.


A quick look around an appliance or department store will provide a head-spinning variety of styles, colors and functions in appliances. Your refrigerator can be simple and functional or it can provide a variety of accessibility options and features that go far beyond ice and water from the door. Microwave ovens can be built in, or they can sit on the counter, or they can hang from the bottom of a cabinet. And stoves and ovens are available with an amazing array of options from warming chambers to griddles to multiple ovens, including convection ovens.

You will also find a wide variety of sink styles and faucet and spray options. Sinks are available in the standard single basin style, as well as equal double basins or even double width with various configurations of additional small basins.

Water filtration and purification is becoming more important in many areas. There is a great deal of choice in systems that are either built-in or installed under the sink. There are also small systems that simply attach to the faucet.

Ventilation hoods can be simple or extravagant, depending upon the style you want to achieve in your remodeled kitchen, ranging from porcelain to stainless steel to copper.

To make standing easier on the cook, you can even consider installing cork flooring with wood trim. And you can add a trash compactor, composting and recycling organizers to reduce the number of trips to the garage.

Lighting is also important in your new kitchen. Installation of low-voltage under-cabinet lights are fully functional, energy efficient, and conducive to warmer lighting in the rest of the kitchen. In addition to light fixtures, you might want to consider installing a skylight for warmth and natural lighting.

Another great feature to add in cabinets, especially high cabinets or low corner cabinets is a lazy Susan that brings items to you without stretching. Pull-out shelves and recessed areas that permit shelves on the inside of doors will also make items more accessible.

If your house has a family room in close proximity to the kitchen, you may find that opening up that space by taking down the separating wall will provide a feeling of spaciousness and keep the cook interacting with the rest of the family or your guests. Two popular approaches to connecting the kitchen and the family room are to either take the wall out completely, and allow the rooms to open naturally, or to remove the wall and replace the bottom part of the wall with cabinets backed by drywall with an opening at the top. Yet another possibility is to remove the wall and replace it with a dual-function counter.

RemodelOrMove.com: Contractor Selection Workbook

Remodeling a kitchen can be great fun. It offers the opportunity to create a more energy-efficient kitchen and to create a space where the family can relax. Whether your remodel is simple or you want to create a gourmet super-kitchen, you can count on adding to the value of your home as you create a warm and functional family space.

Finally, you must ask whether this is something you can do yourself, or you need to hire a contractor. This will depend on the extent of the renovation, your skills and knowledge, and your time. You may be able to do all of the work yourself. You may need to hire someone to do the parts of the remodel that you don’t feel competent to do. Or, you might just want to relax, have someone else do the work, and simply enjoy the result.