Questions to Ask When Planning the Perfect Kitchen Remodel

Are you remodeling your kitchen but don't know where to start? Take some tips from a design pro and answer these questions.


Remodeling a kitchen can be overwhelming. It's a substantial project involving many big and small decisions. Even if you've been thinking about a new kitchen for a long time, once you're ready to start your dream project, you may not know where to begin. However, your ideal kitchen will become a reality with proper planning and good advice.

How to Get Started on a Kitchen Remodel

The best way to start a kitchen remodel is by making a wish list. There's no cost to dreaming. List features you've always wanted, group them according to must-haves, nice-to-haves, and fun-to-haves, and number them by importance.

"I advise all my clients before they start a remodeling project to create a file of pictures and magazine tear-outs of rooms that 'speak' to them," says Keri Davis, a certified kitchen designer (CKD) in Lake Oswego, Oregon. "It may mean that you like the flooring in one photo, the cabinets in another, and the countertops in yet another. Or maybe you just like the light and bright feeling of a particular photo. The more photos you collect, the more apparent your style will become, and a common thread will start to emerge."

You might find that you repeatedly tear out photos of kitchens with white painted cabinets and dark hardwood floors. This will give you the confidence to move forward and make a decision. "It doesn't matter too much whether you select the countertop first or the cabinets first," Davis says. "At this stage, it's more about understanding your style and making sure that your decision fits with that style."

Organize all the photos you collect into a scrapbook, and include product samples and brochures. Add the name and address of the manufacturer, style name/number, color, price, etc. Then, take the scrapbook with you when you meet with a designer. It will help you communicate your ideas, plan your budget, and feel confident about your decisions.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Getting Ready to Remodel a Kitchen

Assess Your Needs: Basic Goals

Before you start shopping for your new kitchen or even consult a design professional, take a needs assessment. Use these questions to help you determine the design changes you need to make based on how you plan to use your new kitchen. These questions are great starting points for sparking creative kitchen remodeling ideas.

  • How much time is spent in the kitchen?
  • How old is your existing kitchen?
  • What is the budget for your kitchen project?
  • How long do you intend to own your home?
  • Is the remodel a long- or short-term investment?
  • Are you remodeling for resale value or yourself?
  • What do you like/dislike most about your present kitchen?

Assess Your Needs: Kitchen Size

  • Is your family likely to grow, remain the same, or decrease in size?
  • Is there a primary cook? Secondary cook or multiple cooks?
  • Do the cooks have any physical limitations or special needs?
  • How does your family use the kitchen? Daily heat-and-serve meals? Make-ahead meal prep? Cooking? Daily full-course meals? Weekend family meals? Is the kitchen a social/entertainment space?
  • How would you like your new kitchen to relate to adjacent rooms?

Assess Your Needs: Kitchen Activity

When it comes to your kitchen, which of the following statements most closely describes you?

  • I like to be the only cook, with guests congregating elsewhere in my home.
  • I like to be the only cook, with guests nearby in spaces open to the kitchen.
  • I like guests to sit and visit with me while I cook.
  • I like guests to help with meal preparation.
  • I like guests to help with cleanup.
  • I often use caterers who prepare meals in my kitchen for guests.

Assess Your Needs: Kitchen Designs

In addition to food prep, which of the following would you like to accommodate in your kitchen?

  • Eating Area
  • Crafts
  • Laundry
  • Sewing
  • Work/Study/Desk
  • Radio/TV/Computer
  • Wet Bar
  • Recycling
  • Other

Assess Your Needs: Kitchen Atmosphere

Which of the following best describes the kitchen of your dreams?

  • Purely functional
  • Family-friendly
  • Warm and cozy
  • Open and airy
  • Formal
  • A private retreat
  • A personal design statement

Once you've answered these questions, put together your wish list, and found a designer and a contractor, you're ready to start your kitchen remodel. Then, all you'll have left to do when the project is completed is start cooking!

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