How to Plan a Kitchen Remodel

Dreams do come true! The 10 year pause on our kitchen remodel is finally coming to an end. It wasn’t always easy but we were still able to make limited updates along the way.

Specifically, I am talking about the faux marble contact paper on the old, dark granite countertops. If you want to see what I did, take a look here.

how to plan a kitchen remodel

It has been over a year and these contact paper countertops have held up well way beyond my expectations. We treat it like any other table surface and it has been great!

I highly recommend this for rentals or old spaces you cannot change yet.

How to Plan a Kitchen Remodel

As I started designing my kitchen, I quickly realized it wasn’t all glossy home magazines and pretty wallpaper samples, there are a ton of logistics too.

Since this could be helpful whether you’re in the dreaming of stage or in actual planning stages, let me go step by step with you.

Your first objective is to take into account all your functional needs. Do you love to bake? Maybe plan for some extra counter space for those extra cookie sheets. Are you always on the list for the latest appliances? Make sure you have extra pull out cabinets for appliances. All great things to consider!

I’m often guilty of diving head first into the Pinterest rabbit hole of pretty kitchens.

But making a full assessment of what functional goals you have helps set the tone as well. This is especially true when it comes to budget.

For a really simple and helpful way to assess your needs, use the Kitchen Goals Worksheet by HGTV. What I discovered is that storage and ease of reach were important to me. Did I want open shelving? Some sounded good but not all.

For myself, as I filled it out, storage and ease of reach was important to me.

Once you have your priorities set, you will need to figure out the budget to achieve them. HGTV to the rescue again with this budget worksheet.  

Remember to always add in extra for any overage costs that you know will happen because life happens.

All things Pretty in the Kitchen

Now we can get to the fun part! Deciding on the right style can be very overwhelming for anyone including me!

Here are a few tips to get you in the right direction.

  1. Start saving images! Whether it is Pinterest or Houzz or screen shots, start a folder in your phone or computer. Compile all the favorites and soon you will see a theme.
  2. You might want to decide the metal finish in your space first. It is not a prerequisite but it will help. I know I will be mixing metals because my appliances will be stainless steel but I love brass hardware. Because of this combination, it will guide what tone and color I want to add to this design dynamic.
  3. Get a consult and estimate from a contractor or two. It will give you an idea of how much you can copy from your dream kitchen. For example, I was curious if I could re-arrange the layout of my fairly small kitchen. But too many load bearing walls prevented any options. I had to stick with the original layout.
  4. Involve your family with the design process. My girls love getting involved and having a say. Travis has his opinions too. The kitchen is the heart of the home. Getting your family involved makes the space all the more special!
  5. Go visit showrooms and take a look at things first hand. Touch and use the sample fixtures, soak in the colors and textures you see. Design can take time. Yet sometimes if you see something in real life it might hit you right away, you just never know.

Dreamy Kitchen Inspo

Now enough talk! Here are some dreamy eye candy for you!

how to plan a kitchen remodel

Image Credit: Elizabeth Lawson Design 

I’m obsessed with two toned cabinets. I don’t think I will go as dark as these cabinets but I love the contrast!

Add the open shelving, brass hardware and vintage rug and Gah, this kitchen has all my hearts eyes.

how to plan a kitchen remodel

Image Credit: Built Design Collective 

This kitchen caught my eye because the layout in the corner is exactly the same as my kitchen. I am always on the lookout for kitchens with the same layout because then I can confidently visualize what it would be like. In this case, I wanted to imagine what custom hood would work in my space. I’m not sure I would use natural wood or paint it white. But either way, it would be nice to have a hood like this!

Additionally, I love the placement of the open shelving. My only concern is losing cabinet space on the other side near the hood.

I love finding out how others design their cabinet and drawer placement. I have clients who are adamant about where their garbage trash can goes and which side the utensils drawers are located. It is very helpful to think ahead in this aspect.

Hold the phone.

how to plan a kitchen remodel

Image Credit: 1st Dibs

Guys, this might be the most perfect kitchen/family room situation. Do you see the perfect itty bitty kids table too?

I love it when I find the ultimate dream inspiration because from here I can take little things here and there to see if it works for my house!

So, are you ready to get your kitchen remodeled? Even if you aren’t, stick around and take notes. I’m sure there will be successes and some fails with my project. It’s just part of any kind of renovation. However, the nice part for you is that you can learn from me and hopefully not repeat the mistakes!

Happy day!






Leave a Comment


  1. Jenny wrote:

    where is the counter top contact paper from?

    Posted 9.18.18 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      read my blog post on DIY under $40 makeover!

      Posted 10.14.18 Reply
  2. Skye wrote:

    Have been waiting for you to do a full scale kitchen reno forever!! CANT WAIT for the posts…. and also wondering if u were going to make this in ur signature Cali Cool or more bohemian like your original living room…. I’m so exited and good luck!

    Posted 9.21.18 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      thanks so much! I am still pondering the design!

      Posted 10.14.18 Reply
  3. Thanks for sharing such unique ideas related to your work.

    Posted 12.17.18 Reply
  4. Sam Li wrote:

    I like your advice about finding out how others design cabinet placements. I believe that contacting a remodeling contractor that has an amazing portfolio is the best way to ensure that your kitchen looks amazing. If I were to need remodeling services, I would make sure to contact the best contractor in my area that cares about filling my needs.

    Posted 2.28.19 Reply
  5. I loved the tip that you gave about making sure you get some estimates from different contractors to see what your options are. My daughter and her boyfriend bought a home, and it is very old and antiquated, so they are looking to start remodeling it slowly, starting with the kitchen. Cooking is one of my daughter’s biggest passions, so she will need to find someone that can customize the kitchen for her every need.

    Posted 8.28.19 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      Yes it’s important to meet them in person to see if it’s a good working relationship fit as well!

      Posted 8.30.19 Reply
  6. My sister told me that her kitchen is outdated and she would like to get suggestions to renovate it. I like how you said to start by taking pictures and asking a contractor or two for quotes. As you mentioned, I think that the best would be to hire a professional to help her with this project.

    Posted 12.11.19 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      thank you!

      Posted 12.29.19 Reply
  7. I appreciate your suggestion of getting everyone in the family to give suggestions and participate in coming up with a design. My wife and I have been wanting to remodel our kitchen lately and have a tentative idea of what we want to do, but maybe we should ask our kids whether they have any ideas. We’ll probably start consulting with contractors next month to see how many of our ideas are possible and how much it would cost.

    Posted 12.12.19 Reply
    • Anita Yokota wrote:

      That’s amazing! Good luck!

      Posted 12.29.19 Reply