When you decide to remodel your kitchen, you may be tempted to jump right into the design process. You may ask yourself questions about the colors of the cabinets, the type of flooring, or the countertop materials. However, there’s more design decisions that you need to consider to help you avoid any unfortunate surprises down the road. Asking questions during the planning process can smooth out the project details and truly help you to build the kitchen of your dreams.

Here’s what you need to ask before your kitchen remodel.

1. Are there any building codes or rules that may affect my remodeling choices?

Ask your contractor, or do some of your own research about the rules laid out by local building codes that may or may not affect your design decisions. Depending on the area and your project details, there may be some building codes to consider or there may be no restrictions at all. For example, in some areas, your building codes dictate the type of hood fan you are able to use (to ensure proper ventilation).

2. What’s your contractor’s input on the kitchen design?

Don’t be afraid to ask your contractor for their opinion. If he or she is silent and opinionless, they may not be the right contractor for you. The right contractor will work with you through every step of the process—from inception to completion. If you’re having a difficult time deciding between options, get some input from the professional. Chances are, they’d love to help!

3. How do I want to use my kitchen?

Ask yourself how you really want to use your kitchen. Or, in other words, how can you make the most of your kitchen space? Here are some things to consider.

  • unspecified-4Do you see your kitchen more of an entertainment area or strictly cooking andcleaning? This decision will help you with defining the work zones.
  • Do you prefer more privacy in your kitchen or do you see it more as an integrated living space? This question can help you decide the layout, where and how big to make the entryways, and how much of your kitchen area is visible from other rooms (will itbe combined with the living room area into a “great room?”).
  • Do you envision a kitchen table or an island? Is there enough space for either or both? This will affect the way you plan your storage, cabinets, and paths.
  • Does the kitchen offer access to the backyard? If so, consider how you can let these two space work together and flow naturally.
  • How many people will be eating together on a regular basis?

4. How much storage do you need?

unspecified-6Once you figure out the most functional layout for your kitchen space and define your zones, you need to ask yourself how much storage you intend on using. This all depends on how you will be utilizing your kitchen space as well. Consider things like:

  • Whether you would like appliances to be hidden or if they will be okay on the countertop.
  • Whether or not you bake or cook anything often that will require specialized or bigger equipment.
  • Whether you eat mostly fresh food or packaged items. This will help you decide whether or not you need more prep stations and countertop space or pantry and freezer space.

5. Have you considered the smaller details?

Ask your contractor (and yourself) about any other minute details you may be forgetting. While many of these details may seem rather unimportant, having them all worked out well in advance can really help the process to go more smoothly and enable better results in the long run. Here are some things to think about.

  • Which profile you use for your countertops. Yes, that’s right, the shape of the edge of the countertop. It may seem unimportant, but it can really make or Kitchen 7break the aesthetic and function of your counters.
  • How your cabinet drawers and doors should open. Not only do you needto decide on hardware (or no hardware), but you need to decide if the same size handle works for every cabinet/drawer, and if not, what other styles you need. Then you need to decide where to install it on each and which way the cabinets will swing open.
  • What finish your countertop material and other kitchen fixtures should have. Selecting colors and materials is one thing, but then you also have to think about finishes. So many options!
  • What style sink you prefer. If you select a drop-in sink, it could affect more than just the look of the sink itself. It may affect your countertop material selection and even what materials are available to you for your fixtures.
  • What material your toe kicks should be. Think of the color, material, and finish for your toe kicks—it can either tie your kitchen aesthetic all together or completely throw off what’s already working.

Your dream kitchen is more than just paint colors and appliances. It’s every little detail working together to form a beautiful whole. Be sure to ask as many questions as possible before the design process begins so surprises don’t come up later on. A smooth, successful kitchen remodel starts with a relationship between you and your contractor. Make it a good one by spending time getting to know each other and building up trust.

Ready to start your kitchen remodeling process? Contact Sandy Spring Builders and tell us what’s on your mind.