Whether a sleek, modern room full of stainless steel and recessed cabinetry with frosted glass, or a cozy, enveloping rustic country style, kitchens are the center of the home, the hub around which the life of a family revolves. It's by far the room that gets the most mileage in a house, a gathering place and eating venue geared towards comfort and ease, where people entertain friends and welcome new guests, without the rigidity of a formal dining room. Kids do homework on the kitchen table, parents prepare meals, and everybody helps wash up. Apart from the bathroom, it's the only room used by each and every person in the home.

Kitchen functions today have expanded to include elements of the living room and dining areas of a home, and increasingly moved towards larger, more open designs. As cooking is perceived more and more as a creative exercise rather than just work, architects followed this trend by rethinking the kitchen as a prestige room, designed to show off wealth or culinary proficiency. The trend towards open kitchens is more than just an exercise in appearances, however, as it also corresponds to changes in the way we cook. Americans have become busier, unable to spend the time commitment of making a home-cooked meal every day, and we therefore we rely more and more on meals from grocery stores and mail delivery plans, that require little in the way of preparation. 

Remodeling can respond to purely aesthetic concerns, such as wanting to update a wood-filled cottage-type design to a more modern, contemporary look with polished concrete countertops and repurposed industrial fittings. But it can also be undertaken due to changes in lifestyle, and to accomodate disabled family members, or seniors looking to age in place. For purposes of reselling, especially in older homes, kitchens are usually redesigned to look newer and more streamlined, with newer appliances that are energy efficient. Of all interior remodeling projects, the kitchen only lags behind replacing flooring and insulation (or HVAC systems) in terms of the return on investment, averaging 67%.

When considering a remodel project, we determined it was best to include a few different overarching categories of contractors or remodelers. The first is marketplace websites. These usually work as aggregators, in which consumers input some simple information (usually including budget, location, email, and phone number), and are then put in contact with contractors or designers within the marketplace's network. Some national home improvement chains also have their own remodeling programs, with a network of local, vetted contractors. Another option is directly calling a local contractor or designer, who will usually have their own technicians to work on the project. Finally, some homeowners with experience in construction and remodeling can also opt to do some of the work themselves and simply call in professionals for more complicated elements, such as plumbing and electrical work. While this last choice is generally the most budget-friendly, consumers should always be realistic about their abilities, experience, and skill level--mistakes can make DIY solutions considerably more expensive in the long run. 

Before making a final determination, homeowners should narrow down their choices to three or four options, and ask each for a quote. This should include all the different costs for both materials and labor, as well as any warranties or guarantees for the work. Some of the fixtures involved in remodeling a kitchen, no matter its size, include faucets, sinks, flooring, countertops, storage and cabinetry, lighting, laundry area, and appliances (extractor hoods, refrigerators, freezers, stoves and ovens, microwaves, and even wine fridges). Individual products usually carry their own warranties, so it's important to have all this information on hand as well when evaluating competing quotes. 

Whichever decision a homeowner makes for their kitchen remodel, they should always be aware that these projects can get very complicated, very easily. Local governments usually require building permits in order to ensure that the work is done according to local codes, and contractors and technicians are also required to have valid licenses for the work they do. Savvy consumers should verify that these provisions are met, as well as check if the contractors have any relevant certifications from governing organizations, such as the  NAHB (National Association of Home Builders), NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association), Guild Quality, NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry), or Good Housekeeping. 

One should take the time to do some research into the company or contractor's reputation, no matter how well recommended they may have come. A quick survey of online review sites can result in being able to identify potential problem areas or red flags, thereby making sure that these don't occur during one's own project. Finally, communication is key. Establish a timeline and clear guidelines for acceptable behavior. Workers will be spending a good amount of time in the house, and it's important to establish boundaries and expectations. 


Top 8 Companies

#1
9.8 / 10
  • Free kitchen design services
  • Installations come with a 1-year warranty and 30-day post install follow up visit
  • No-obligation in-home analysis to measure and examine your space
  • Flexible financing
  • Eco options
  • More than 1,980 Home Depot stores 
#2
9.8 / 10
  • Financing available for your remodel project 
  • Choose from qualified vetted professionals in your area
  • Find the right pro with just a few clicks
  • Use the True Cost Guide to estimate your project's cost
  • BBB accredited business
#3
9.6 / 10
  • Compare competing quotes from different contractors
  • Find experts in your area
  • Learn about different types of projects in a kitchen remodel
  • Get help finding cost estimates
  • Free quotes with zero obligation
#4
9.5 / 10
  • Choose from a large database of vetted professional service providers
  • Good resource for information and design ideas
  • Angie's Guarantees stand for quality service
  • Find highly rated local professionals
  • Get quotes from three local contractors
#5
9.0 / 10
  • Free consultation
  • Traditional, transitional and contemporary kitchen remodeling services
  • Financing options
  • Free remodeling guide
  • NAHB, NKBA and NARI certifications
  • Guild Quality Member
#6
8.9 / 10
  • 2018 Crystal Design Award Winner – Current Kitchen Category
  • Over 50 years in business, with 100+ awards and recognitions
  • 5-year warranty
  • Find your home design style with their quiz
  • Educate yourself with Case Design seminars
  • Large online design portfolio and blog
#7
8.5 / 10
  • Flexible loan amounts up to $100,000
  • Options for low credit scores (under 580)
  • Design tool, project gallery, and testimonials
  • Over 120 locations across the country
  • Affordable alternative to complete kitchen remodel
#8
7.5 / 10
  • Serves the Metropolitan Kansas City Area
  • "Ask Arlene" Design Blog
  • Professional interior designers
  • Custom kitchens 
  • In-studio consultation (by appointment)
  • BBB accredited business
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How We Compare Kitchen Remodel

Installation

50%

In older architecture, kitchens were reserved for purely functional uses: food was prepared in a kitchen and promptly delivered to a nearby dining room or living room. Kitchens were hot, messy, and dirty, as most cooking was done over fires fed by wood or coal. Soon after mass-produced gas or electrical stoves became affordable--and the large-scale urbanization of the late 19th century meant that water, gas and electrical distribution was built into dwellings by city planners--kitchens began to be designed accordingly. This was also when the equipment in a kitchen became standardized as a hot and cold water tap with a kitchen sink, an electrical or gas stove and oven, and counter and cabinets arranged in a modular design which persists to this day. Very quickly, the refrigerator was added on as another crucial item, as were extractor hoods, eventually. The development of the modern kitchen was defined from its very beginnings by unit architecture, in which pre-fabricated components kept costs down and allowed developers to build standardized housing.

While still largely following this unit design model, kitchens today can be infinitely customizable, depending on budget and personal taste. As they've incorporated sound systems, television sets, bookshelves, couches, and breakfast nooks, kitchens are still the most used room in the house. And realtors uniformly agree that a trophy kitchen is by far the best asset in attempting to sell a home, especially when designed as the showpiece of the home, with rich wood cabinetry, gleaming countertops, and energy-efficient, high quality appliances and hardware. Kitchens that include descriptors such as "custom", "luxury", or "stainless steel appliances" generally sell quicker than similarly-sized homes in the same zipcodes. Expanded spaces and open floor plans are also very much in vogue, with older homes being reconfigured to conform to these new expectations. 

Today, the quality of your kitchen installation is as important as the quality of the materials and appliances purchased to transform an old kitchen into the kitchen of your dreams. Contractors who do residential and commercial installation can help clients design and customize a kitchen that will add value to their home. Customers can choose to remodel their kitchen partially or to do a complete overhaul of the room to, basically, start from scratch. If the budget is an issue, a partial kitchen remodel lets customers focus on specific aspects of a kitchen by only renovating the parts that are in dire need of replacement. This option is also less expensive. On the other hand, a full kitchen remodel allows customers to create an entirely new kitchen but require a higher budget.


See 10 Best Kitchen Remodel of 2018

8 Reasons to Remodel Your Kitchen

Marcela Otero

A hub for much more than just meal preparation, kitchens are the emotional center of a home, where members congregate, tell each other their days, eat their dinners or breakfasts, and of course, cook and bake. This hasn’t always been so. The kitchen’s modern iteration as the hub of a house is actually fairly recent.

Until just before the first World War, kitchens were dark, dirty areas with poor ventilation. Cooking was done over smoky fires which left soot. Indeed, some architectural styles separated them from the rest of the home with a wide hallway or housed them in independent buildings (which also reduced the ever-present risk of fire). At the beginning of the 1900s, however, fuels such as gas and electricity became more widely available for home use, and the industrial age made mass production of cooking appliances economically feasible for most modern homes.

The kitchen was then re-designed, and re-imagined, dispensing with the clutter and the disorganization that had been typical. Architects such as Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky created designs equipped with gas stoves and built-in storage, and subsequent designers continued to focus efforts on improving functionality.

Post-WWII, the American economy’s significant boom helped the country dominate the world market in consumer goods. The wartime research into new materials and technologies was used by large companies such as General Electric, Westinghouse, and Rubbermaid, to develop innovative products with an emphasis on consumer choice. Kitchens came to take on more and more social functions, especially in increasingly spacious suburban settings, thereby growing into the central hub we know today. The kitchen then became a female space, a haven for the idealized domesticity of the comfortable housewife.

All of which brings us to the present day, when kitchens reign as the most important room in the house is virtually undisputed. It’s the locus of childhood memories, a place where busy families spend what little time they have together, where meals are both prepared and served (especially as the formal dining room is used less and less). It should come as no surprise, therefore, that realtors agree that a minor kitchen remodel is one of the savviest improvements a homeowner can make, recouping an average of 92.9 percent (and upwards of 100 percent, depending on the market). Let’s look, then, at the top ten reasons to remodel a kitchen.

1. It’s falling apart – This is obviously the number one reason to remodel a kitchen, or for that matter, any room in the house. Broken or outdated appliances, cracked tiles, peeling Formica countertops, missing doors, worn runners, cabinets that are separating from the wall…the list can go on. A kitchen in this state of deterioration merely has outlived its useful life and needs something more than a painting facelift can give.

2. To increase the value – As we mentioned above, kitchens are the center of a home. And buyers look for kitchens that are already attractive and functional. Even a small remodel can help sell a home, though this will depend on other factors, such as current market prices and location.

3. You’re spending too much on your power bill – Outdated appliances can take a toll on your wallet that can be remedied easily with newer, energy-efficient ones and solar-powered water heaters. Adding skylights can also help reduce the need for lighting, aside from providing prettier, natural sunshine for those Instagram pics.

4. It’s too retro – Maybe the last occasion a contractor stepped foot in your kitchen was at some point in the mid-70s. The harvest yellows, the laminate cabinets, the brightly spotted backsplash (seriously, polka dot tiles?!), the avocado-colored dishwasher may all have been the height of style forty years ago, but have quite frankly become unbearable to live with, (and that’s without even mentioning the oddly placed cabinetry and wine racks around the window). If any of this sounds familiar, maybe it’s time to redo your kitchen.

5. Unsuitability – Even if the kitchen layout was a great fit for the previous owner, it might not meet your needs. Kids may require an area with a computer for their homework, you need more shelving and storage for all your kitchen gadgets, maybe you want to open the space into the dining room for an open plan, or perhaps it’s as simple as putting in a breakfast nook. For whatever the reason, the way the kitchen is formatted doesn’t suit your needs.

6. Special needs or aging in place – If a homeowner has a person with special needs in their family, there may be some modifications that can better accommodate disabled members. Lowering cabinets and sinks, incorporating pull-out drawers, cutting boards and spice racks can prove crucial for wheelchair-bound loved ones. Another similar situation may occur when homeowners wish to age in place, with comparable solutions, including rounding corners, a pull-out pantry, and slip-resistant flooring.

7. Economic incentives – As people are gaining a greater consciousness of the need for energy efficiency, the U.S. government has followed suit, offering tax credits to consumers who purchase renewable energy products (https://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits). Some retailers also host periodic sales of energy-efficient appliances or cash rebates for outdated equipment. Consumers may even find remodeling grants and low- or no-interest loans at home improvement centers.

8. Change – The popularity of home improvement shows, combined with the proliferation of online mood boards such as Pinterest, have likely led to a more significant interest in home improvement and renovations, as consumers get more of a feel for the endless design possibilities available to them. Whether to cater to gourmet tastes and recently acquired culinary skills (here’s looking at you: eight burners, double oven, pot filler, griddle, and salamander), or merely to enhance its attractiveness, maybe a kitchen remodel is the right choice, just because.

The number one reason for remodeling a kitchen, surprisingly, is this last one. Most homeowners break down and redo their kitchens mainly because they can, and they just can’t stand the current one. Day after day, homeowners walk into a kitchen and spend a considerable amount of time in there, it’s no wonder that it’s also the room in the house that most buyers change first.

The bottom line is that a kitchen remodel can offer many advantages when done correctly. Above all, it’s important to make sure you have a large enough budget saved for the fixes you’d like—if this is impossible in your current situation, we also have a really good list of small fixes that can upgrade the look of your space. Next, it’s a good idea to determine whether there’s any part of the remodel you can do yourself, if you’re an avid DIYer with actual skills--remember, if you ruin something, it’ll probably cost more to fix it than having had it done professionally in the first place, so be honest about your abilities. 

Extensive remodels require permits, as well, so that’s another consideration to keep in mind. If you do decide to go the contractor route, it’s always a good idea to ask for referrals from people you know who have recently had work done. If this isn’t possible, let your fingers do the walking and do some research. Once you have a shortlist, check references, and ask to see some pictures of recent projects. You’re hiring a service provider, not a product, and the quality of that service will be fundamental in the quality of the finished project.


Financing

25%

When remodeling, financing is one of the major concerns home and business owners have when they decide to start such a project. And with kitchens not only being the most used room in a home but also the most expensive to renovate, it's wise to select quality equipment and materials that can last a lifetime. Thus, in many cases, financing is a must in order to complete the project promptly and using the best materials, appliances, and labor. The majority of homeowners pay an average of $25,000 to $50,000 for their kitchen remodel but have several financing options available. From same as cash to low-interest loans, remodeling companies and home improvement centers can offer reasonable financing options to make the remodeling project a reality.  

Customers can also take advantage of free estimates and several discounts and promotions that are sometimes available.


See 10 Best Kitchen Remodel of 2018

Kitchen Fixes for Renters

Ilia Apolinaris

A few years ago, when I was looking for an apartment to rent, there were two requirements. I needed two bedrooms, and I wanted a bright, modern kitchen. However, after looking at about 7 apartments, some within my budget and others way over it—hey, a girl can dream— I realized that the bright, modern kitchen I wished for would have to wait until I got my own place or at least until I was making more money. It was a bit disheartening, I confess, but after some research, it dawned on me that my creativity could help turn one of those less than dreamy kitchens into a kitchen I would enjoy cooking in. You can do the same.

Nevertheless, before you start planning and before you go shopping for paint and light fixtures, it’s important to read your lease and ask your landlady or landlord’s permission before making changes. Violating your lease agreement for making unauthorized changes or improvements to your unit can be an unpleasant and expensive ordeal. When you are given the authorization to start your kitchen’s metamorphosis, and before you begin any project, politely ask management to send you a written authorization. Better safe than sorry. Also, set a realistic budget. Ideally, you should be able to reuse some of the items used once your lease expires or you are ready for a change of address. Now then, what can you do to turn that “vintage” kitchen into a fabulous one? Read on for a few ideas.

Although we can all agree that painting a room is the most common an efficient way in which to increase any room’s appeal, you must keep in mind that you are not the apartment’s owner and that keeping your landlady or landlord happy should be one of your top priorities. Painting is one of the projects that will require authorization. But before seeking it, do your homework. Gather as much information about the changes you are planning. Be prepared to answer questions and have poster type document that includes color samples. Because the unit must be repainted before you move out, choose colors that can be covered easily. Having a professional complete the project might help ease any fears your landlady or landlord may have.

If management’s response is a resounding no, don’t discourage. If. You. Must. Have. Color. I have two words for you: removable wallpaper. This traditional wall covering was once feared for its challenging installation process and difficult removal, but it’s made a comeback as a design marvel. Removable wallpaper comes in every color and pattern imaginable and patterns, and if that is still not enough for you, you can design your own. This vinyl-coated marvel of technology can be applied on walls that are in good condition and have been painted with an eggshell, satin, or semi-gloss paint. You will need a tape measure, a ruler, a craft knife, a smoothing tool, and an assistant. The application is easier with two people. Sites like Chasing Paper, Swag Paper, Dormco, and WallPops are just a few of the online stores from which you can purchase it. Also available is wallpaper that is both paintable and removable.

Installing and painting wallpaper not your cup of tea? There are many other things that you can do to transform your new kitchen that do not require paint.

Get creative with removable wallpaper. In addition to transforming your walls, you can add some pizzazz to your fridge with the extensive array of removable wallpaper patterns and colors available. You can even design your own at some online retailers. This project is relatively easy and can help you change your boring fridge into a conversation piece in about an hour. All you need is the wallpaper in your favorite pattern and a bit of patience. With removable wallpaper, you can transform cabinets too. Before purchasing your paper, remember that whatever pattern you choose needs to be properly aligned on the surface. So, choose wisely.

Use the space above your cabinets to add a splash of color and texture. Longtime favorites are boxes and baskets, but if the items you place atop your cabinets are large and bulky enough to be seen from the opposite room, you can pretty much use anything. You can use candlesticks, a colorful sign, metal baskets that can double as storage space, metal or wooden letters to create your very own whimsical word or phrase, or any other items that compliment your décor. A word of caution, though, don’t display grandma’s expensive vase collection if you have cats. It’s not going to be pretty.

Add an area rug. Not only can you make your kitchen more colorful, but you can also add a bit of extra cushioning in an area where you spend a lot of time on your feet. Before looking for the perfect area rug, measure the area the rug will cover and decide on the shape. Also, consider the type of cushioning you need. If necessary, purchase a separate non-skid cushioning pad. When it comes to colors and patterns, although you can choose any you like, keep in mind that dark colors and patterns hide stains better. And because a kitchen area rug is bound to be a stain magnet, buy one that’s machine washable.

Update your backsplash. Boring backsplashes are a common denominator in many rental kitchens. A simple Google search will yield dozens of temporary and removable backsplash ideas that will make your kitchen sizzle. My favorite, adding removable tile stickers is a quick way to add some color to that ugly, old backsplash. These self-adhesive accents can be purchased online or at a home improvement store, but you will find a larger variety online. A few well-placed tiles can create a Mediterranean, Moroccan, Southwestern, or Gothic kitchen. The best part? Many of these tiles are water resistant, so you can quickly wipe them clean in no time. Another easy to tackle project are peel and stick tiles. I was quite impressed with Smart Tiles. They are easy to apply, can be wiped clean, and are removable. The only tools you need are a pencil to mark the wall, a box cutter, and a level.

Add a mirror. If you have a tiny, I mean a cozy kitchen, hanging a mirror can make it feel larger and brighter. A mirror can also serve as a backsplash. If you want to place it over the range, make sure to purchase a mirror that is at least ¼” thick and be prepared to clean it when your done using your range. Mirrors love to collect dirt and sauce!

Add a rolling cart or a small cabinet to use as a kitchen island. Many Ikea hacks can help you transform basic products into customized items that can be repurposed as kitchen items. For example, a Kallax shelving unit can be turned into a kitchen island that can serve as a prep station and provide added storage space for about $100. Or you can buy a Billy Bookshelf and a butcher block, also at Ikea, and turn them into an impressive island with lots of storage space for $110. When it comes to Ikea hacks, the sky’s the limit! Come up with your own or look for inspiration and ideas online. You’ll be amazed by what you find. The best part is that you can take these cool hacks with you to your new home when it’s time to move.

Add lighting. Usually, all the lighting you get in your kitchen comes from a well-placed light fixture in the center. A well-placed, dull light fixture that is. However, as dull and ugly as that well-placed light fixture may be, attempting to do electrical work in your apartment can be dangerous, and most leases clearly state that you should not attempt to. However, additional lighting can turn your kitchen into a friendlier space. A well-placed strip of stick-on LED lights above the counter can brighten up your kitchen and instantly becomes a great task light. A chic table lamp adds charm and gives the kitchen an air of elegance. Just be mindful of where it’s placed. You don’t need to add a fire hazard to your kitchen.

Change the hardware on cabinet doors. This is yet another simple way in which to add a bit of color. Replacing cabinet knobs is notably easier than replacing pulls. If you have door pulls, you’ll need to measure the distance between the existing drill holes or the length of the pulls to make sure that the new hardware aligns to the existing holes; drilling is not an option. Taking one of the pulls to your home improvement store is best. You’re bound to find ones that are the same size. A word of advice: buy only one pull or knob to see if you like the way it looks, especially if the store has a no-return policy. And remember, put the original hardware in a safe place.

Don’t forget the plants! Our resident plant expert agrees that adding plants to your kitchen will undoubtedly improve aesthetics and could even help clean the air. You should also consider that plants can help reduce stress and boost your mood. And let’s face it, we all need a boost in the morning. Some of the plants that will fare well in your kitchen are golden pothos, aloe vera, areca palms, spider plants, peace lilies, money plants, and Boston ferns. Your windowsill is another area that can be decorated with herbs which can also be used for cooking. For a south-facing window choose rosemary, thyme, basil, and oregano. They require the most light. If your window faces east or west, go with mint, parsley, or chives. Because the watering needs of these herbs are different, make sure to plant them in separate pots. For a special touch, be sure to buy pretty pots or decorate them yourself. And if you have pets, check the ASPCA website to make sure that the plants you choose are non-toxic before bringing them home.

Life is too short to drink cheap coffee and to cook in an ugly kitchen. So, go, pick a project, and start transforming your space!


Reputation

25%

Looking into a company’s reputation is always a crucial step when hiring. This is particularly important when the service is going to be performed in a customer’s home. Kitchen remodeling professionals and home improvement centers provide information about the accreditations and associations their team of professionals belongs to. Organizations such as the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) hold their members to high standards and require them to complete continuing education courses. Additionally, the comments and reviews found on trusted online review platforms such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot are exceptional tools that can help clients learn about a company and its policies regarding customer service.


See 10 Best Kitchen Remodel of 2018

Family-Friendly Kitchen Remodel Ideas

Claudia Rodríguez

“Love enters through the kitchen.”

This very traditional Latin American adage is roughly equivalent to “the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach,” and we couldn't agree more. The kitchen is the heart of the home. Your day probably begins in the kitchen with a cup of coffee or tea and freshly-cooked breakfast or a hastily grabbed bagel. Kitchens are where you prepare food for your family and probably sit down to eat as well. Families and friends gather in the kitchen to cook, eat, and enjoy each other’s company. If you are remodeling your kitchen, you want to make sure the new space is not only aesthetically pleasing but functional and family-friendly.

“A family who eats together stays together.”

Studies show that eating as a family has great benefits for your children and teenagers. Conversations during mealtime provide the opportunity for the family to bond, connect, and learn from each other. Also, it is a time to encourage your children to try new foods, which can expand your child’s knowledge and experience. You can include dishes from other cultures and countries, teach your children about the importance of buying locally-grown and chemical-free produce, and have your children gather recipes from cookbooks, newspaper, and websites. Also, children today are missing out on learning how to plan and prepare meals. According to the Child Development Institute, “teaching your children to cook helps prepare them for the future and gives them skills that may help prevent them from getting stuck when necessity calls them to cook their own food.”

Unfortunately, American families hardly eat together anymore. Professor and author Michael Pollan estimates that 20 percent of all American meals are eaten in a car, while 86 percent of Americans say they sit down to a family dinner together, at least once a week. There are several reasons why we don’t eat meals together anymore. We eat out more, we eat more fast-food, and we don’t have enough time to cook once we get home.

On top of that, women continue to feel pressured to provide the home-cooked family dinner. In recent years, the home-cooked meal has been offered as the solution to our country’s nutrition-related health problems of diabetes and heart disease. But while home-cooked meals are generally healthier than eating out, parents (usually mothers as primary caregivers) who juggle a full-time job with parenting are usually exhausted and stressed and have no energy or motivation to go into the kitchen.

In 2014, a team of sociologists from North Carolina State University found that “cooking is at times joyful, but it is also filled with time pressures, tradeoffs designed to save money, and the burden of pleasing others.” The researchers interviewed 150 mothers and spent 250 hours observing 12 families in depth. The mothers they interviewed considered that “providing a home cooked meal is a hallmark for good mothering and stable families” but found that even though they wanted to achieve that stability, they lacked the money or time to get there. The researchers conclude by suggesting that brainstorming more creative solutions for feeding families is of uttermost importance.

So, how can remodeling increase the efficiency and functionality of your kitchen and reduce the stress of everyday cooking? There are five different layouts for most kitchens —the G, L, U, single, and galley. These layouts or floor plans create a map of the shape made by the arrangement of the countertops, major appliances, and storage areas. Knowing the layout of your kitchen is essential. You should consult a professional to know early on where the plumbing, gas, and electrical points go for each appliance. And you should also revise the different kitchen layouts to identify which one is most similar to your current kitchen.

Here are a few ideas to start your journey to a brand new family-friendly kitchen.

Open floor plan

Having an open-plan kitchen provides ample space and opportunities to integrate it with the living areas. As we mentioned earlier, think about your layout. Where will your children sit while you cook? Where would you like to eat? A kitchen-dining room is a practical solution as it creates an all-inclusive environment that’s perfect for today’s modern family. You could even install skylights to allow natural light into the kitchen or dining area and position a vent hood to circulate the air around the space.

If your kitchen is closed off, but you don’t want to rebuild the entire floor plan, you could talk to your contractor about creating a large cut-out between the kitchen and living room. (Be sure to consult a structural engineer before embarking on a project like this.)

Organizers

Sometimes we don't realize just how vital it is to have an organized home, and in this case, a kitchen. We spend so much time in the kitchen that it quickly becomes the most chaotic and messy room in our entire house. How many times did you have to stop cooking because you couldn't find a utensil or an ingredient? Installing cabinet organizers, drawer organizers, pot racks, and rolling carts will save you time and frustration because you don’t have to waste time looking for something that you need. A set of drawers below a bench seating or banquette are also a great way to store or conceal items that your family doesn’t use every day.

You could also strip your walls down and get between the studs. It may be dusty and messy, but you will find lots of storage room, which can be used for a spice cabinet, a double recessed pantry, or a small storage cubby for your utensils—there are endless options.

For more ideas, check out Home Depot’s section on kitchen storage and organization.

Islands

Depending on the size of your kitchen, an island could be added to expand storage and create additional counter space. Installing an island will provide a center stage for all kinds of things happening in your kitchen such as homework, blogging, prepping food, chatting with the chef and finally, eating. Islands can be fabricated in different shapes and sizes and have different countertop materials such as polished granite, wood, marble, glass, concrete, and travertine. You could also upcycle and turn unique things into functional islands. You could also think about including not one but two islands in the floor plan. One island could be for the food prep (or sandwich-making area) while your children use the second island to do their homework—under your supervision.

Easy-to-clean surfaces

Kitchens get dirty, and there’s not much you can do about it. However, there are several low maintenance options for your countertops, cabinets, and floors that will minimize the mess and time that you have to invest in cleaning.

Cabinets give your kitchen a sense of style, and few things compare to the beauty of wooden cabinets. Wood’s natural color and adaptability to a wide variety of finishes make it a preferred choice among homeowners. Some woods like cherry look beautiful with rich, deep stains while others like maple look great either stained or painted. Cabinets that have flat doors with baked-on finish are easiest to clean. On the other hand laminate cabinets are easy to maintain because the surface isn’t porous and doesn't absorb grease and dirt. Wiping them with a damp microfiber cloth once a week will leave them spotless. High-gloss lacquered cabinetry, on the other hand, will show your children’s sticky fingerprints.

Much like cabinets, countertops make a huge impression when you walk into your kitchen. Wood countertops are a terrific addition to any kitchen and require minimal maintenance to clean. But you can also use granite, laminate, quartz and stainless steel. Quartz wins in durability because it's almost indestructible and looks just as beautiful as granite or marble. Also, it won’t stain, is non-porous, and will keep your countertops relatively bacteria-free. If children are running around the house, make sure the countertops have rounded edges instead of sharp corners.

Lastly, when choosing floors for your family kitchen, you should consider durability, ease of cleaning, and slip-resistant flooring. Floors come in a variety of colors, materials, and textures. Wood is a popular choice that is easy to maintain and creates a warm look. Stone is an excellent choice too for its natural beauty, durability, and elegance. High-quality bamboo flooring can be a fantastic alternative to traditional hardwood floors, specially un-carbonized bamboo, which can be as strong, hard, and durable as red oak. Bamboo is classy, comes in a variety of colors and styles and is easy to maintain. On the downside, lower quality bamboo can dent or scratch easily, and too much moisture will cause discoloration or even mold growth. In contrast, ceramic tiles have a protective layer that makes them water resistant and makes them reasonably easy to care for. But if you want to make your kitchen a safer space to eat, work or play; cork, linoleum, certified-slip resistant tile, texture vinyl or laminate will do the job.

More seating

People love hanging out in the kitchen. If you have the room, include a puffy loveseat or comfy armchair to make it even more appealing. You could opt for reversible cushions, removable covers, indoor-outdoor upholstery fabric or a washable slipcover to forget about spills. Beautiful benches or banquettes do not only serve as functional storage but also create an instant breakfast nook for you and your family.

“The kitchen is where memories are made”

Kitchens are made for bringing families together. It is the center of your family’s day-to-day living. And having an organized and functional kitchen will make you want to get in there and cook. What are you waiting for? Talk to your contractor and start creating family memories in your new kitchen.