Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Kitchen Remodeling

Whether you want to update your kitchen or make it more functional, a kitchen remodel can be challenging, stressful, and expensive. The results can be rewarding with its positive influence on your daily quality of life. To ensure you get the best results from a renovation, you can use this step-by-step guide to kitchen remodeling to help you in your kitchen remodeling journey.

a kitchen with white cabinets, black countertops, and a kitchen island with white countertops and dark brown base, with dark brown hardwood flooring

Step 1: Define Your Goals and Budget

Before creating a plan or design for your new kitchen, you must first identify your goals for the remodel. This allows you to have a good idea of the specific objectives and priorities of your kitchen remodeling.
Here are some common kitchen remodeling goals to give you an idea for your project:

Whether you have a single or multiple objectives in your remodel, you need to prioritize items in your renovation and allocate your budget accordingly. You also need to be realistic with your budget and allot an additional 20% for unexpected expenses, like repairs and structural upgrades.

Step 2: Design and Layout Planning

There are several layouts you can choose from in designing your kitchen. The most popular layouts are single-wall, galley, L-shaped, U-shaped, peninsula, and island. Here are some considerations when choosing the layout for your kitchen:
You can browse websites like Houzz, Pinterest, and Apartment Therapy to take inspiration on how award-winning professionals design kitchens and apply the tips mentioned.
If your remodel involves structural changes, it is best to consult with a professional to ensure the safety and compliance of your home. Professionals can provide design input to create a cohesive look for your kitchen, and help you make cost-effective choices for your kitchen remodel.

Step 3: Choose the Materials and Appliances for Your Kitchen

You have a variety of options for the materials, designs, and appliances for your kitchen. Use the guide below to choose the right one for it.

1. Cabinet Design

When designing your cabinet, you have a few decisions to make when it comes to its material, material, and finish. Here’s what you need to know about the different options:
Cabinet Material
  • Solid wood: Comes in a variety of natural hues depending on the wood species. Customizable in terms of style, color, and finish. They tend to be the most expensive cabinet material and require regular maintenance.
  • Plywood: Very durable. Lighter and more affordable than solid wood but still more expensive than other cabinet materials. It requires veneer or edge banding to hide its edges.
  • Laminate: Resistant to impact, chips, and scratches. Comes in a wide range of colors and finishes. Easy to clean.
  • Melamine: Made of pressed wood or plywood with a layer of resin on top of it. Comes in a variety of colors and patterns, including faux wood grain and textured surfaces. Affordable, scratch and stain-resistant, and easy to clean and maintain. However, limited to square shapes, difficult or impossible to repair, and not the best option for hanging cabinets.
  • >Medium-density fiberboard (MDF): Can be repainted. Easily crafted to a variety of cabinet styles. Less prone to warping. However, it is easily chipped or scrapped and unsuitable for areas exposed to high temperatures.
  • Thermofoil: Its reflective appearance makes it a great option for modern kitchens, but easily shows smears and fingerprints. Easy to clean and resistant to fading or warping. Vulnerable to high temperatures and moisture.
Cabinet Style
  • Shaker: Its clean, classic lines work well with modern, transitional, or traditional interior styles, making it a popular cabinet door style.
  • Raised panel: Its center panel is raised, adding depth and character to the cabinets. Cabinets in this style often have molding and details that look best in traditional or transitional kitchens.
  • Recessed panel: It consists of a flat central panel with a lip or frame around its perimeter. The elegant and mitered seams of its edges give it a timeless look perfect for traditional kitchens.
  • Slab: Also known as flat cabinets, it consists of a single flat slab without any raised or recessed detailing. These cabinets have a minimalist and sleek appearance, making them a great choice for modern and contemporary kitchens.
  • >Bead board: Its center panel consists of vertical planks separated by slats. It has a casual appearance that suits country- and cottage-style kitchens.
  • Glass-front: These cabinets have glass panels surrounded by a wooden or wood-like frame. Aside from allowing you to display the contents of your cabinets, it can make your kitchen look more spacious and brighter.
  • Rustic: Often made of pine wood, it features visible knots and its soft material allows for dents that add character to its appearance. This is suitable for farmhouse and country-style kitchens.
Cabinet Finish
Your chosen cabinet finish can bring out the natural beauty of your chosen finish. It can also add colors that complement the overall design of your kitchen. And, it can affect the ease of cleaning and durability of your kitchen cabinets.

Here are your cabinet finish options:

  • Natural or clear finish: There’s no stain or paint applied, just a plain top coat. It preserves the natural appearance of your solid wood cabinet.
  • Stain: These come in a range of colors and opacities, bringing out the natural grain of the wood. It’s best to pick a stain that complements the natural color of the cabinet material and your kitchen’s design.
  • Paint: Its wide range of colors offers versatility, making it easy to match your cabinets with the rest of your kitchen. It hides any imperfections in the wood and comes in a variety of textures.
  • Glaze: This is a semi-transparent secondary color applied over stain or paint. It adds depth and dimension to your cabinets by highlighting profiles, corners, and detail.

2. Kitchen Countertop Material

Your kitchen countertop material should fit with the aesthetics of the space. It should be able to handle how you use your kitchen to ensure its longevity. You should find it easy to clean and maintain your kitchen countertop to maintain its luster and appeal.
The best countertop materials you can use for your kitchen include granite, marble, natural stone, quartz, butcher block, and concrete.

3. Kitchen Flooring

Since kitchens are high-traffic and messy areas, it is best to choose a flooring material easy to clean and maintain. Your best options in this regard are ceramic tile, concrete, and vinyl. Ceramic tile and vinyl are the most versatile in terms of design, and you can easily find one that matches the style of your kitchen.
You can use hardwood, brick, or natural stone in your kitchen — all of which are materials that can handle heavy traffic. Keep in mind that these materials require regular sealing due to their porosity.

4. Kitchen Appliances

Your kitchen appliances are possibly the most important functional aspect of your culinary space. Here are some tips for choosing energy-efficient kitchen appliances for your home:
  • Consider induction cooktops. They are more efficient and lose the least amount of heat.
  • If you prefer gas cooktops, select those with higher BTU, which means it gets hotter faster, but make sure it has variable heat control so it’s useful for gentler cooking.
  • Convection ovens are great for all-purpose roasting, since they cook food faster and more evenly. For baking, a traditional oven that can bake, roast, and broil is preferable.
  • Your range hood should keep up with your cooktop. A four-burner cooktop should have ventilation of at least 400 CFM.
  • For refrigerators, a dual-compressor unit will cost more but is more efficient and keeps food fresh longer.
  • >Get drawer dishwashers. They are easier to load, can handle smaller loads, and can be installed at various heights.

5. Kitchen Lighting

There are three types of lighting — task, ambient, and accent. You need all three of these to maximize the aesthetics and functionality of your kitchen. Here’s what each lighting type does for your kitchen:
  • Ambient lighting — This provides general illumination and can set the mood of your space. These include ceiling fixtures, chandeliers, pendant lights, and LED strips.
  • Task lighting — It enhances the visibility for reading, cooking, working, and food preparation. Kitchen task lighting includes cabinet interior lighting, drawer lighting, and countertop and under-cabinet lighting.
  • Accent lighting — These are lights that highlight artwork, architectural elements, and other decorative aspects of your kitchen. These lights include track lighting, spotlighting, and wall sconces.

Step 4: Hiring Contractors

If you want the best result for your kitchen remodel, it is best to hire a reputable contractor who can deliver the best result. Here are some tips to help you find a reliable kitchen remodeling contractor:

Step 5: Preparing for the Remodel

Before the remodel starts, make sure to prepare for it by following these simple steps:
1. You will need permits before you can start a remodel. The requirements are unique to each area. If you are working with a licensed contractor, they can secure all the necessary permits at once faster.
2. Once your remodel has been approved, clear out your kitchen by boxing up everything. Sort these items according to where you got them. This could be a great opportunity to throw out any items you no longer require.
3. Set up a temporary kitchen in your home. Ideally, it should have a sink and space for your refrigerator, microwave, and trash can.
4. Clear a path for the contractors and set up plastic sheeting between rooms to protect other rooms from dust. You can also protect your floors, walls, and stairs with cardboard and plastic coverings.

Step 6: The Remodeling Process

The length of the remodeling process depends on the scope and size of your project. You can expect a typical kitchen remodeling project to go through the following phases:

1. Demolition

This is the quickest stage of the remodel. Appliances and cabinets are removed, walls are torn down, and the area is inspected for any necessary repairs or structural enhancements.

2. Construction

This is the longest and most work-intensive phase of the remodel. It involves working on the changes and enhancements to the electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and structure of your kitchen. Once this is done, the new drywall and insulation are installed before prepping, priming, and painting any surfaces.

3. Installation

This involves the installation of the new floors, cabinets, and countertops.

4. Finishing touches

At this point, the contractor starts installing the appliances, light and plumbing fixtures, kitchen cabinet hardware and details, and backsplash. When they’re done, they will clear and clean the construction zone of dust and debris.

Step 7: Go Through Your Post-Remodel Checklist

The contractors are now done with your remodel, but you have to make sure everything meets your expectations. Here’s what you need to do before finalizing everything with your remodeling contractor:

Inspect the quality of the construction

And make a list of any defects and mistakes you find. Use the lists below for what to check:
If you have any concerning observations during your inspection, address them with your contractor as soon as you see them.

Gather warranty and documentation

for any products or appliances installed during the remodel. Keep these for future reference. Confirm the warranty details for the remodeling work done with your contractor.

Review the invoices

Receipts, and contracts and settle your outstanding accounts with your contractor.

Step 8: Enjoy Your New Kitchen

The kitchen remodel is done, and you can finally start enjoying your new kitchen. Start by cleaning it up before adding your personal touch. Then, organize your kitchen and get it ready for your cooking, food prep, and gatherings. Here are some tips for maximizing the potential of your newly renovated culinary space:
Aside from organizing your new kitchen, make sure to create a schedule for maintaining the materials of your cabinets, countertops, flooring, and backsplash. Regular maintenance ensures the longevity of your kitchen’s appeal and functionality.

Looking for a Kitchen Remodeling Contractor in the Memphis Area?

Southern Stone & Cabinets is your premium solution for upgrading your countertops and cabinets and renovating your culinary space! Contact us today for a free consultation and tell us about the kitchen remodel that you have been considering.


Whether you have a question about our services or are ready to book a consultation call, our team is looking forward to hearing from you.