Let’s talk one of our favorite topics: Kitchen Renovations! Whether you’re limited by time, budget or both, remodeling a kitchen on a $15-20k budget or $200k, you have to prioritize the design build elements of your renovation. So what takes precedent? What’s most important? New appliances? Countertops? Let’s get into it:

Hire a Professional Kitchen Designer

Hiring a professional kitchen designer will be a surefire way to do things as efficiently as possible and time is money! Spoiler alert: one theme that is going to come up over and over again as we walk through how you should prioritize your kitchen renovation is spending more up front in order to save later.

This is a pretty good rule of thumb to apply to any undertaking as expensive and laborious as a kitchen renovation. A professional kitchen designer is going to be able to look at your kitchen and tell you what you need to do and in what order. For example, you may think your kitchen needs a cosmetic update, new countertops and a sparkly backsplash, but a designer may walk-through with a contractor and determine there are less glamorous, structural projects like adjusting the layout of your kitchen’s ‘workflow triangle’ (distances between sink, fridge, and counters) or electrical or plumbing that need to happen first. Then the countertops can wait.

A Kitchen Proportional to the Rest of the Home

Another way a kitchen designer is going to save you money is by designing a kitchen that is proportional to the rest of the home. If you splurge on a gorgeous kitchen complete with all the bells and whistles, you’ll have a gorgeous space, but if the rest of your home is not on the same level, you’re not likely to see a return on that investment when you try to resell your home. Be sure your kitchen and home design is relatively proportional to the neighborhood you are in. Steer clear of the McMansion stitched together like a patchwork quilt with an inappropriate mix match of higher and lower end!

Information about Kitchen Layouts Here

Kitchen Countertops, Backsplashes, Flooring

Speaking of resale value… It’s no mystery that the kitchen is now the #1 thing prospective buyers are looking at when purchasing a new home. Choosing durable, quality, and coordinating countertops, backsplashes, and flooring in the kitchen are incredibly important factors when it comes to reselling your home and appearing attractive to prospective buyers. If reselling your home is the priority, focus on the cosmetic elements


Maximize your kitchen’s value by selecting the right kitchen countertops: Although granite has been popular for the past decade, there are so many other excellent options. Right now buyers are loving quartz, marble, and concrete.

Read More About Countertop & Flooring Trends Here

Are High End Kitchen Appliances Worth Extra Cost?

You don’t want a beautiful new kitchen with last century’s appliances. If budget allows, upgrading to high-end appliances are always worth the splurge. If you’re investing in a kitchen renovation, we’re guessing it’s because you actually want to use the space to its fullest potential and that means cooking more and better! Higher end appliances are also built to last and can be more energy-efficient. Not to mention they’re also designed with aesthetic in mind and will look gorgeous in your new kitchen. There are a number of ways that splurging on higher-end appliances now will save you down the road:

  • For a few hundred dollars more than the average fridge, refrigerators with multiple evaporators or compressor units will extend food freshness, significantly reducing grocery bills. If you cook often, its is absolutely worth it to upgrade!
  • Similarly, dishwashers have vastly improved in the past few years. Upgrading dishwashers will cut back on water usage and save you lots of time scrubbing off plates!
  • When it comes to range hoods and ovens, top of the line versions are going to cook/bake most evenly. Evaluate how much time you will spend utilizing each appliance to help prioritize purchases.

Read about Kitchen Renovation Mistakes to Avoid Here

Lighting Your Kitchen

We’ve written extensively on the Build Blog about lighting in the kitchen and it bears repeating: The kitchen is a complicated space with lots of activity. Each work zone requires certain types of lighting which you can read about in more detail here, but in summation: You need general overhead lighting, as much natural light as you can get, and task lighting, including under cabinet lighting. There is so much variance is lighting fixture costs. A few important things to keep in mind when lighting your kitchen, regardless of how much you want to spend:

  • having ample and appropriate lighting for each work zone
  • having energy-efficient lighting
  • making sure electrical wiring has been done properly (extra important around wet

Custom Cabinets Vs. Reusing Existing Cabinets

Custom configurations can increase cost by up to 45% and they may or may not be worth it. It’s difficult to answer affirmatively because it’s dependent upon so many factors:

  • For example, if you’re updating an older home, you may have a sink in a strange location that absolutely needs moving or you may have dead corner cabinets that won’t be functional without custom pull-outs and corner lazy susans. In those cases, it is worth updating!
  • But if you’re looking to trim costs, refreshing existing cabinets with a new stain or fresh coat of paint may be a worthwhile DIY project.