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What You Need to Know Before Renovating Your Kitchen

Six tips to consider before spending your hard-earned bucks on home improvement

A clean and contemporary kitchen with white countertop, blue-grey painted wooden cabinets and simple silver fixtures

If you’re like us, you spend a ton of time in your kitchen—it’s pretty much your home’s command centre, serving as way more than just the place where everyone comes to dine and dash. So when the heart of your home starts feeling outdated and inefficient, it makes sense to invest in a renovation project. No matter how big or small the job, here are some dos and don’ts that will help you make decisions along the way:

DO buy your appliances first

A clean and contemporary kitchen with white countertop, silver oven and blue-grey painted wooden cabinets and simple silver fixtures

“The size of your appliances will directly impact the measurements of your layout,” says Toronto designer Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault, so you should choose them before finalizing your design. She speaks from experience here—when designing her own reno, she picked a fridge that required customized panels to match her cabinetry. But when she went to buy it two months later, the fridge had been discontinued, sending her on the search for a new model that ended up costing $2,000 more than her original choice.

DO plan lighting before a kitchen reno 

You should decide your lighting scheme before the reno starts. “If new wiring is needed for your lighting layout, it’s much easier to contract an electrician during the reno phase when the drywall is opened up, so backsplash switches and outlets can be added before [the] cabinet install and tiling,” says Allaire Perrault.

DON’T be frugal when it comes to your faucet 

A sleek high-end spout kitchen faucet

Make it a focal point. “With your entire reno budget considered, why skimp on spending an additional $100 or so…when that small amount of extra money, in the grand scheme of things, can…elevate the look of the entire space.” 

DO upgrade your fixtures to maximize kitchen organization

Another angle of the same clean and contemporary kitchen with white countertop, blue-grey painted wooden cabinets and simple silver fixtures, the set kitchen table seen behind the counter  

Who likes messy, disorganized counters? Do yourself a favour and bump the budget up a bit to include things like storage that’s hidden away for small appliances that aren’t often used. (We’re looking at you, bread machine.)

DON’T get sucked into home-reno fads

“It’s easy to fall head over heels for the latest tile and countertop trends, but I always say, ‘Don’t over-invest in a trendy, big-ticket kitchen item that you think you could grow tired of within the next 10 years,’” says Allaire Perrault. These are generally items that aren’t cheap to replace, so err on the side of conservative if you know your tastes are likely to change. Instead, have fun with cabinet hardware and paint colours, which she says are easier (and more cost effective) to replace. 

DON’T toss your old kitchen to the curb

“Avoid the urge to swing a sledgehammer. Take some care during the removal process and donate your cabinets to a charitable centre that will reuse what you’re getting rid of...you get a tax receipt for the donation and you save the items from ending up in a landfill.”

Looking for more expert advice?

 Get tips from a professional organizer on how to put your home in order. 

And remember, CAA Members earn 4% back in CAA Dollars® on online purchases at Rona.

Image credit: Courtesy of Larry Arnal