Kitchen remodelling projects can be grouped into five levels, based on how much the room’s layout will be changed (there’s more information on each level on this website).
To determine the amount of change you need when designing your new kitchen, ask yourself a few questions. Do you have enough space to prepare meals? How far apart are the refrigerator, range and sink from one another? Are there efficient and convenient pathways through the kitchen or are other people always crossing your path as you work? Is there an adequate eating area; does the eating area block the flow of traffic through the room? If you’ve identified problems with your layout or floor plan, ask yourself if they can be corrected simply by rearranging your existing kitchen. If not, explore how you might address them, perhaps by adding or moving doors, redirecting traffic or expanding the kitchen.
If your current needs are few, or you simply want a new look in your kitchen, you’ll probably plan a Level 1 project a relatively inexpensive cosmetic makeover, in which you simply redo the surfaces and make no (or very minor) changes to the layout and floor plan. This level of the project is popular because the cost is relatively low and many homeowners can complete most of the work themselves. On the other hand, you’d like to move the refrigerator over a few feet or put the sink closer to the range, you’re probably thinking about a Level 2 project; with a Level 3, you’re likely to rearrange the whole kitchen. A Level 4 often means knocking out an interior wall to expand the kitchen into an adjacent room, while a Level 5 involves an expansion that requires a room addition.
With each higher level, you’re likely to need more professional help with kitchen planning and design, but even a Level 5 job offers several tasks you might `choose to do yourself including managing the job.
Reviewing the Elements
The following is an overview of the major kitchen elements. As you assess your needs and desires for each, use a notepad to record your thoughts.
Countertops & Work Areas
Countertops are one of the most important visual elements of a kitchen, and replacing them is a common kitchen remodelling project. Since a kitchen is first and foremost a place to prepare meals, almost any kitchen can be improved by adding more countertop space. An outdated, worn or unattractive surface is also a perfectly good reason to redo your counters.
A beautiful new countertop can not only transform the look of your kitchen but increase the resale value of your home, as well. When evaluating your countertops and work areas, ask yourself the following questions: ls there enough space to perform kitchen tasks? Are two or more people able to work at the same time without bumping into one another? Is there enough countertop work space around the sink, cooktop, oven and refrigerator? ls there at least one long, uninterrupted countertop where you can assemble meals and prepare recipes? Or, do you have the rarer problem of too much counter space, so that the sink, stove and refrigerator are too far apart to use efficiently?