Kitchens come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, which accounts for a lot of their challenge -- and a lot of their appeal. The same cabinets, appliances, and surfacing materials can look entirely different in someone else's home than in yours. Stock cabinets can be given a unique look with virtually unlimited specialty finishes and a change of hardware. If your budget can accommodate custom cabinets, your choices are even greater: countertop materials already come in a great array of choices, but they can be customized even further with special routing or inset bands of another color or material. The same variety is applicable for flooring, walls, and in-kitchen dining furniture. So even if your kitchen is small and ordinary, remodeling is not a hopeless task.
You can transform it into a remarkable space unlike anybody else's. Manufacturers and designers have seen it all, and the end result is that you can have all the amenities you want and need, even in a tiny kitchen. Savvy, space-saving products are available for the owner of the apartment-size condo, co-op, or townhouse kitchen. You'll find that convenience doesn't have to come only in the large economy size.
Make a list of your goals.
Always keep those goals in mind. Why do you want to remodel your kitchen? Do you want to increase the value of your home, or make the kitchen layout more friendly and open, or improve functionality of your workshop, or use the space more efficiently, or improve the aesthetic? As you narrow down your goals and priorities, think about what you like and dislike about your kitchen.
Once you have identified your main goals, actually write them down. To be honest, no one enjoys the kitchen remodeling process. It is stressful and it is easy to lose sight of your priorities and get caught up on little details when your home is being torn apart. If you are struggling with decisions or feel like the project is getting off track, grab your list and say, ask 'will this help me achieve my goal?' Or 'am I making progress towards achieving my goal?'
Use quality materials.
Research the materials you are interested in, appliances, manufacturers, and contractors. Gather information from several sources. Do not rush the planning process. Taking time to plan on materials will help in the long run. Top-quality drawer slides and hinges mean cabinet doors will stay closed and drawers won't stick. Stay away from drawers that are stapled together or made of particleboard. For cabinet interiors, wood veneer is more durable than melamine, laminate, MDF or particleboard.
Don't overdo the details.
Design accents such as pediments over stoves and plaster mouldings on cabinet fronts can represent decorative excess. Remember that the style of your kitchen should be compatible with the rest of your home.
Determine cabinet heights.
If you have eight-foot ceilings, choose cabinets that go to the ceiling. They offer more storage, enabling you to use extra wall space for artwork or open shelves. If your ceilings are higher than eight feet, leave 15 to 18 inches above the cabinets.
Stick to basic appliances.
Instead of purchasing a variety of appliances and gadgets, consider selecting a few reliable basics. For example, a commercial-quality stainless-steel range makes an interesting focal point and takes up less space than separate wall ovens and a cooktop.
Avoid maintenance nightmares.
Use natural surfaces with inherent texture -- slate, terra-cotta, brick and tumbled marble -- are more difficult to clean but camouflage the odd crumb. Smooth surfaces in light colours, such as white laminate counters or ceramic floors, are easy to clean but show everything.