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How to Plan Your Dream Kitchen Remodel

November 14th, 2018 | 4 min read

By Michael Flory

Remodeled kitchen space with hardwood floors and white cabinets

Your kitchen is the heart of your home and your dream to make it as beautiful as it can be is about to come true. Now is the perfect time to organize your dreams and desires; what you want, what you need and everything in between. Since you and your family are the only ones who really understand exactly what you hope to achieve with your kitchen renovation, chronicling everything will enable your contractor to design and build exactly the kitchen of your dreams!

Take a Step Back

You may feel like you know your kitchen pretty well, both the things you love and things you don’t. When you begin to consider remodeling,  however, you want to be sure about each and every change as well as everything that will remain the same. We call that “taking a step back,” it’s an easy way to evaluate your kitchen in a very objective way, and decide what you love, what you like and what you want to change.

The beauty of the step back is that it lets you be honest and helps you begin to build an image of your new kitchen in your mind. When you step back, even the smallest details should be considered so nothing is left to chance.  Also consider things like space, natural light and walls and doors that may impact your remodel design.

Lifestyle Review

Now that you have an objective overview of your remodel, you should also evaluate how you and your family use your kitchen. Consider things like how many people like to be involved in meal preparation and whether your children prefer to do homework and hang out with friends in the kitchen area. Then estimate how much time is spent there, if the space is adequate or not, and what changes might influence those family habits and traditions.

For example, if your family enjoys cooking together, you may need more space in the preparation area for your children as they grow and become more involved. Keep in mind you want your remodel to enhance how you and your family use your kitchen, not stifle it.


Priorities and Possibilities

Next you can begin to define elements that you need most — your priorities, as well as possibilities — things you want but that might not be mandatory. Starting with priorities, create a list of all the things you recorded in the step back that you identified as needing replacement. For example priorities might include:

  • The flooring matches nothing and is worn out. Considering how much time is spent in the kitchen it’s time to look at new flooring options that will stand the test of time.
  • Your countertops take a lot of abuse and show it. Your culinary pursuits deserve better!
  • Your cabinetry was top quality but simply does not reflect your tastes or style. You want your kitchen cabinets to work with the rest of the kitchen, not against it.
  • The kitchen as a whole is too dark; the cabinets, the floor, the counter, the walls. You need light!
  • You need a better configuration, more storage, more room to move while cooking, and a larger refrigerator. In short, you really need a new kitchen!

Next, write down things you want — possibilities — that are not top priorities but still important to your overall dream kitchen.

For example:

  • Lighting fixtures that better serve the areas where you prepare and cook meals as well as gathering areas.
  • More artistic touches like decorative tile backsplashes or crown molding that make the room uniquely yours.
  • Improved storage organization in the pantry that makes better use of the space.


Wish List

Now you know what you need and what you want so the next step is your wish list; things that are above and beyond need or want. When creating your wish list, don’t consider cost or any other negative factors that could influence your decision. These are simply things you would really love to have in your new kitchen like Carrera marble countertops or custom cabinets made to your exact specifications. Nothing is to big or too small for inclusion on your wish list.

Since wishes can come true, your wish list should be prioritized so those things you most desire are given the highest score and the most consideration when you begin selecting the actual components with your contractor. Download our Wish List worksheet to help you stay organized.

Book of Dreams

You should be starting to feel personally invested in your kitchen remodel so it’s time to take it one step further and start a scrapbook that contains your Step Back page(s), your Priorities and Possibilities page(s), your Wish List, and all information about everything and anything that could be included in your new kitchen.

We call this your Book of Dreams and it will become your guide for ensuring your new kitchen meets or exceeds your every expectation. Keep in mind that your worksheets are a work in progress and can be changed as you find new information, ideas and wish list items. Here are several tried-and-true sources of information to help you get going:

  • Design, architecture and remodeling magazines. Clip images and articles about things you like and note on them exactly what aspect is under consideration.
  • The internet is an endless source of information where you can save links to webpages, print images and compare everything from plumbing fixtures to flooring.
  • Friends and family are great sources of information, especially if they have experienced their own remodel recently. They may even have samples and other items to share.
  • Newspapers regularly run sections about building and remodeling so save any sections that interest you.
  • Manufacturers information you can often print directly from the internet or pick up at home shows and exhibitions.
  • TV shows that are on par with your type of remodel can help revive your creative instincts by providing new ideas and outlooks you might not have thought of already.


In addition to information gathering, try to keep a list of questions to ask your contractor. Everything about your remodel is important to you and to your contractor so it is essential that you address all concerns and eliminate problems before they start.

To learn all of the steps in a kitchen remodel, read our all-inclusive article, A Complete Guide to Luxury Kitchen Remodels , or receive all of the worksheets mentioned above by clicking on the image below.

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Michael Flory

Michael brings over 2 decades of building and remodeling experience to his position as the Owner and Visionary of Custom Built. Michael’s passion to make an impact on the home building industry has led him to serve for over ten years at the local and state Home Builders Association, culminating as President of the HBA of Michigan in 2020.