Kitchen Renovation Ideas for Chicago
If every time you look at your kitchen and the thought of transforming it crosses your mind, you probably need to. The key word here being ‘’need’’. Maybe you have putting off the idea of renovating for financial reasons or you are waiting for the right time. Well, the truth is there is simply no right time to do it. That little voice at the back of your mind is the head start you need to finally get that new kitchen counter or new lighting. First and foremost, let’s look at the best kitchen renovation ideas for Chicago.
A popular misconception about the kitchen is that the space is just for cooking, so you probably don’t need to upgrade the furniture. After all, the room is just about food. The most visited room in the house is the kitchen.
Simple, modest ideas can transform that little space your stomach loves and your waist frowns upon into a marvel of design and architecture. Cheap, DIY ideas or even professional help can make an exciting impact for you and your family.
Kitchen Renovation Basics
There are three basic kinds of renovation
- Repair and maintenance
Repair involves using what you already have and making something more beautiful and attractive with it. It would probably cost less to repair than replace. However, if you really want to transform the look, you are better of refurbishing and enhancing.
- Refurbishing and enhancement
Refurbishing and enhancement involves making something totally new out of what you already have. It could be that your Oakwood kitchen counter gets ruined every time it comes into contact with a knife. You would opt to refurbish it with stone or ceramic. Depending on the extent of this renovation exercise its more expensive than repairing. It is however cheaper than rebuilding.
Rebuilding involves doing away completely with what you already have. Destroying the kitchen counters and installing new ones. Anything with no sentimental value becomes obsolete. You might want to consult a professional if you are rebuilding. This is the most expensive of the three kinds. You will probably need a budget of some sort before starting.
Before you start your exciting renovation journey, here’s a few ideas you can scan through to ignite your idealistic side.
Open up the kitchen
Not unless you have dust problem in your home, or just like keeping things out of site, open shelves are a thing now. Designers have it that the more open your kitchen is the more spacious it looks. Why not show off that fine china collection? Replace the kitchen cabinets with open shelves. It might even prove cheaper. Plus, there are a number of shelve design ideas you can explore.
Invest in high-end energy saving appliances
Truth be told, kitchen appliances are not that expensive. The truth is, if you invest in quality, you will get beauty as an added bonus. You are renovating and probably the next time you will be doing the same, you kids will have left for college. New appliances are also energy efficient; they will pay for themselves in energy savings. That said, remember to keep everything energy-star rated and you will see for yourself at the end of the month.
Add detail to your finish
The smallest thing like the water tap, knobs or light bulb could go a long way in making your kitchen stand out. Consult your renovation expert for advice on what’s trending. Glass and marble go well with aluminum. Adding lighting that compliments these two is a guaranteed win-win. The devil is in the detail, even the tiniest of them.
No boring ceilings
From coffered ceiling to tray ceiling to vaulted ceiling. Gone are the days when the area above was left plain. The kitchen ceiling should complement the colors you choose to use. It should also compliment the lighting you will install or already have. That said, do not forget the ceiling.
Why subway tiles?
You have probably heard this before, and if you haven’t then here goes… Subway tiles are clearly the most popular tiles to install in your kitchen. They are inexpensive and very stylish. You can even use tiles that mimic exposed brick to get that rugged feeling. Moreover, its what’s trending at the moment.
Bright white for more light
White reflects light, so it’s a guarantee that your kitchen will be brighter. Moreover, it will look cleaner too, if you are a clean freak. We are not just talking about white, we are talking bright white. This is the glossy, shiny, very bright white.
The white you only see in make-believe imagery. You might want to keep paintwork to a minimum. Ceramic and marble are the best options. You can finish off the walls and cabinets with glossy, oil-based paint for easy cleaning and maintenance. Avoid Formica, it depreciates easy over time. Want to make things even brighter? Make the ceiling and floor white too!
Kitchen lamps and lighting
If you happen to shop for kitchen lights, ensure your shopping is extensive. There are literally hundreds of lighting ideas out there. Some of them are just boring but if you know what you are looking for you are on your way to kitchen lighting supremacy. Do not worry about energy consumption, just look for lamps with an energy star rating.
What type of kitchen do you need?
In my experience, there are four types of kitchen renovators. It helps to decide what type of kitchen renovator you are so you know where to invest more of your budget. Remember, a cheap kitchen renovation can start at $1000 but fitting a whole new kitchen can be as expensive as $55 000.
The Glamor kitchen
Many renovators simply want their kitchen to look more modern and to become a design feature of the home. This renovator will spend money on high-quality finishes like cupboard doors, splashbacks and appliances. A budget of at least $10 000 is necessary.
The Chef ’s kitchen
Some renovators will live without the décor as long as they have the right appliances and configuration to whip up a dinner party. For this renovator, spending money on appropriate appliances and cooking services is important. A budget of at least $13 000 is necessary.
The Functional kitchen
Some people go batty trying to cook every day in a kitchen that has no bench space or can’t accommodate two people. This renovator just wants to change the configuration. This could be achieved with some ingenuity and a budget of as little as $1000.
The budget kitchen
Other renovators don’t care much about the function of the kitchen, but need it to look presentable for resale. Of course, for this renovator, cost is the most important consideration. If the current fittings and fixtures are serviceable and all that is necessary is some maintenance, paint and the replacing of door handles and splashbacks, a budget of as little as $1000 may be adequate.
Main Kitchen Components
Kitchens are expensive because of the amount of materials used. These include:
The expensive part of the cupboard is the door. It can be melamine, timber veneer, solid timber or polyurethane.The doors are attached to the carcasses, and with the benchtops this assembly forms the common kitchen cupboard. You can buy carcasses cheaply from suppliers and fit your own doors to save money, or you can engage a kitchen company to look after all supply and installation. Cupboards can be custom-made by a carpenter or architect, but it is cheaper to use a kit kitchen.
These usually consistent of melamine carcasses with hinged doors or drawers attached.The carcasses are propped up on legs to which a kickboard is attached. Kit cupboards are mass-produced in factories and then assembled onsite in your home. These are the most common type of cupboards for kitchens. They are used in most new apartments and houses as well as in renovations.
The finish of a benchtop is dependent on price—laminate is the cheapest, with granite and stone at the expensive end. Benchtops are fitted on top of cupboard carcasses, at a height of between 850 mm and 950 mm, with holes cut out for sinks and stoves. If you are handy, you can try installing them yourself but, if your measuring is slightly off, it can cost you a lot for a new linear strip of benchtop material.
Door handles and hardware
‘Hardware’ refers to the hinges that hang the cupboard doors and the drawer runners. Look for good-quality solid metal hardware rather than plastic. Moreover, if you’re refurbishing or just maintaining and repairing, remember that shiny new door handles will revive a tired old kitchen.
There are dishwashers for all applications and they can range in looks from standard white to stainless steel or integrated models which look like another cupboard. Most are 600 mm wide, but there are also 450 mm wide models to save space (although these usually cost around the same price as the 600 mm ones).
Fridges and freezers
Leaving space for the right fridge or freezer is important when planning your kitchen, as they vary widely in size. You can also choose to buy integrated refrigerators that are concealed as part of the kitchen cabinetry. That said, the size of the fridge or freezer you buy will depend on the number of people it has to service. Couples who live in the inner city and eat out will need something much smaller than a family with three kids.
Stoves and ovens
You get what you pay for when it comes to cooking equipment. Moreover, separate stovetops and ovens are more flexible, as you can lay out your kitchen in a way that suits you. Ranges (with the oven and stove in one unit) are often sturdier. Electric cooking equipment has gone high-tech and now can be just as efficient as gas. The better the cooking equipment, the more powerful the heat and the more control you will have over it.
The more you spend on powerful cooking equipment, the more you will need to spend on ducting the cooking fumes out of your kitchen. This is because any cheap apartments or project homes have a rangehood that vents into the ceiling cavity, which is not good if you cook a lot of stir-fries at high temperatures. No doubt, the steam carries droplets of fat into the ceiling cavity, leaving your ceiling prone to damage and your house smelling like a fast-food outlet. In this case, the cheapest rangehoods are the single-motor slide-out types starting at around $500; the good quality, top-ducting rangehoods with stainless steel canopies can cost between $1500 and $5000.
Task lighting is important in the kitchen—you need good light over the sink, the stovetop and preparation areas. That said, plan your lighting needs in advance and go for washable and hardwearing light fittings.
You need one good-quality kitchen tap—usually a mixer. Moreover, most taps, regardless of price, will do the job you need them to do, but some people are prepared to pay a lot more for the right design.
If you change the configuration of a kitchen, the power points to run the dishwasher, rangehood, fridge and stove may need to be moved. It is also wise to plan where you need benchtop power points and install ‘quad’ points rather than ‘doubles’.
The kitchen sink, garbage disposal unit and dishwasher should be the only kitchen features that require plumbing. However, these can be moved, but bear in mind that it is cheaper to leave any plumbing where it is as moving drains and pipes can be expensive.
Installing laundry facilities in a kitchen can be a useful space saver, but make sure you check the latest Building Code of Australia requirements and amendments. Moreover, there are two key issues when it comes to creating a concealed laundry within a kitchen. One is making sure that there is enough ventilation in the cupboard for the washing machine and dryer to run efficiently (some cupboard manufacturers are creating ventilated—and expensive—doors for this purpose) and the other is creating space for a separate laundry wash tub.
The most common kitchen layouts
Most kitchen design experts agree that you need a ‘work triangle’ between the sink, fridge and stove (above).These are the appliances you will use the most and you need an unbroken walk, of 3.5–4.5 metres, between them. Here are some examples of kitchen layouts:
The L-shaped layout
This is suitable for small or narrow rooms, especially in terraces or semis. Thus, there will be a lack of bench space, but adding a roll-away chopping block can help.
The U-shaped layout
This is the most space-efficient kitchen, offering the most bench space and a good working triangle.
The galley kitchen layout
Another good use of small space, but beware of fridge doors blocking the thoroughfare.
The island bench layout
The classic country-style kitchen, this layout is great for large rooms or kitchens near open-plan family and dining rooms. Beware of making the working triangle too large to be efficient.
How to Save Money On Kitchens
Planning is the best money-saver. For this reason, use the kitchen grid planner to form your designs and know your plans and measurements off by heart. If you come across a bargain, you will then know instantly whether it will work in your kitchen. It’s no good paying 15 per cent less for a fridge if it doesn’t fit in the cabinet space.
Sometimes, paying a kitchen company to re-do the kitchen is the most cost-effective way for a busy family to renovate a kitchen. That said, there’s no point in putting up with a makeshift kitchen for three months to save money if it means forking out for takeaway for a family of four for 92 days!
If money is extremely tight…
For the budget-conscious, you could spend less than $10 000 on a kitchen renovation provided you have the time to invest in shopping around and you can do things yourself. Often, you can re-use existing kitchen components and spend money on the things you really need—maybe a new stove or a modern splashback?
Seconds and second-hand kitchen fittings are easily obtained through factory retail outlets, auction houses, the Trading Post, and demolition yards. Auction houses can sometimes take your plans and, for as little as $3000, give you a standard U-shape or L-shape configuration which you can tailor to fit your home.
Buying a second-hand kitchen through the Trading Post or eBay can save you thousands, especially if you know what you are looking for. However, if you just need new appliances, search only for good appliances. Check the auction listings in the newspapers. Accordingly, sometimes manufacturers auction their end-of-year stock and run it out for half the retail price.
Talk to other renovators about how they saved money on a kitchen or where they think they blew their budget.