How to Remodel Your Kitchen

Ready to breathe new life into your kitchen? A variety of updates can bring fresh appeal to this important room, but none are quite as transformative as new cabinets. The remodeling process can feel overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. At Plain & Fancy, we're happy to guide you every step of the way.

Where to Start?

The mere desire to remodel your kitchen will not provide the results you want. You need to enter this process with a clear vision and easy-to-understand priorities. Ideally, these will include not only your budget, but also your general style, preferred materials, and color scheme.

A little research can go a long way as you determine what, exactly, will go into your dream kitchen. Remodeling videos on television or YouTube; set aside some time to browse for inspiration. You can also find excellent ideas on Pinterest and Instagram or in home renovation magazines.

Consider not only what you like, but also, what you dislike. Begin with your current kitchen — where could it be improved? If you dislike virtually everything about your kitchen, identify the biggest offenders.

Looks are important, of course, but don't stop there. Consider the function your cabinets serve. How could new cabinets make your life easier? From drawer inserts to pull-out trash cans, a variety of   solutions can be incorporated to amp up your kitchen experience. You'll also want to consider the longevity of your cabinets; the ideal remodel will stand the test of time.


Work With A Designer

No matter your preferred style, you should aim for a cohesive kitchen, in which all stylistic elements work together to create an impression that is greater than the sum of its parts. This can be difficult to accomplish on your own, even if you possess an eye for design.

As you choose the ideal designer, take care to examine not only this person's portfolio, but also his or her communication style. You will spend considerable time with your designer, so you need to feel comfortable in this person's presence. Ideally, that necessary chemistry will be evident from the get-go.

Don't hold back as you let your designer know what your dream kitchen will or will not include. If you struggle to define your aesthetic, visit cabinet showrooms for inspiration. There, you'll see how specific types of cabinets and hardware fit into your kitchen's overarching design. Use our dealer locator to find cabinet showrooms in your region.


Narrow Down Your Selections

Versatility is the name of the game in modern cabinetry, but most kitchen cabinets fall under the umbrella of two main categories: traditional and contemporary. Transitional cabinets allow for a middle ground, blending the best of traditional design with modern functionality. Several factors can determine how traditional or modern your cabinets look, including:


Wood Versus Paint

The painted cabinet look is hot right now. White cabinets, in particular, provide an open and airy look that appeals especially to those with small kitchens. Grey is also an appealing option that can be integrated with nearly any tile or hardware style imaginable.

HGTV-inspired painted cabinets may currently be trendy, but there's plenty to be said for the elegant and more traditional look of wood cabinets without paint. The right stain can showcase wood's beautiful features, lending your kitchen more personality and visual interest.

If you opt for wood cabinets, you'll want to determine which type fits your budget and preferred aesthetic. Favorites include:

  • White oak
  • Red oak
  • Cherry
  • Maple
  • Poplar
  • Ash
  • Birch
  • Walnut


Finish Choices

The right finish can attract attention to your wood cabinets' most impressive features. Conversely, the wrong finish will highlight flaws and do little to elevate your kitchen's style. As mentioned earlier, paint is always an option, especially for woods with tighter grains. Many homeowners prefer stains, which add color without obscuring the wood's natural characteristics. Glazes can be used to draw attention to accent pieces. Additional finishing techniques such as distressing and edge sanding can add further character to your kitchen.


Cabinet Door Style: Inset Versus Overlay

Homeowners primarily focus on finishes when planning cabinet designs, but it's also worth considering how the doors will fit into the rest of the structure. Top options include:

  • Flush inset: These doors fit directly into the frame, creating a smooth and cohesive look. When closed, the cabinet's doors and drawers are fully flush with the frame.
  • Beaded inset: Beaded inset doors use the same structure as standard insets, but with accents provided to add flair. Plain & Fancy uses specific tooling to add a subtle “bead” to the interior of the cabinet frame.
  • Full overlay: Offering a similar sleek aesthetic to inset doors, full overlay designs almost completely cover the cabinet's face, providing the smooth look that makes insets so visually appealing.
  • Partial overlay: With partial overlay cabinets, the door rests on the face. This allows a significant portion of the frame to be seen. This traditional look offers exceptional versatility, as hardware is not required.


Storage Options

Whether your home boasts an expansive kitchen or something a bit cozier, storage can play a key role in how organized it feels not only when it's unveiled, but also as the craziness of daily life takes over. More storage space is always better, of course, but it's also crucial that this space is used effectively. Your designer can help you achieve an intuitive layout that makes it easy to keep every item in its designated place. This, in turn, will ensure maximum food prep efficiency.


During the Remodel

If you expect your kitchen remodel to be completed in just a few hours, you'll come away from the process feeling decidedly disappointed. A quality remodel requires considerable time. If you feel impatient, remember: you'll spend a great deal of time in this room for years to come — the last thing you need is a substandard rush job that you'll ultimately come to regret.

Unfortunately, the time-consuming nature of the remodeling process is such that you won't be able to use your kitchen for quite some time. Restaurants, takeout, and delivery are all options, of course. If you prefer home-cooked meals, plan for an alternate meal prep space. This could be as simple as returning to your dorm room days with a mini fridge and a microwave. Other homeowners prefer to install or utilize existing kitchenette spaces in their basements or entertaining areas.


After the Remodel

A carefully-designed kitchen can stand the test of time, but only if you invest in proper cabinet maintenance. Wood cabinets, in particular, require regular care. While cleaning may initially seem like a simple prospect, significant thought needs to go into this process. Use the wrong chemical or the wrong cloth, and you could degrade the finish you so carefully selected.

Avoid steel wool and other abrasive materials at all costs. Microfiber and old T-shirts are both gentle and effective. You'll also want to avoid cleaners that contain lemon, bleach, or ammonia. These and silicone-based cleaners will soften your cabinet's finish over time. Instead, mix a gentle dish soap with warm water to create a safe and effective cleaning solution. Get the cloth damp but not wet to prevent water from running into the cabinet's crevices.

Your cabinets can completely transform your kitchen. Give them the care and attention they deserve, and you'll enjoy a lifetime of beauty in what will quickly become your home's most inviting room.

Ready to move forward with beautiful new cabinets for your home? The team at Plain & Fancy is happy to help. Family-run for over fifty years, we boast a long history of success in kitchen cabinetry design. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a design consultation.

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