Homeowners remodel their kitchens for all sorts of reasons. They remodel to make their kitchens more energy efficient, more functional for their families and more enjoyable while entertaining. Of all the reasons why homeowners remodel their kitchens, one rises above the rest. Referencing survey data in an article for Houzz, Erin Carlyle writes that 37% “wanted to do it all along and finally had the funds.” These homeowners had a vision for what that space could be, but had not found the time or budget to create their dream kitchen. Of course, homeowners remodel their kitchens for other reasons too. 34% simply could not stand their old kitchen any longer and had to make a change. 27% chose to remodel their kitchen because it had “deteriorated or broken-down” past the point of reasonable use. Whatever the motivation behind your upcoming kitchen remodel, every Houston homeowner could use a bit of inspiration. In this post, we explain what to expect during a kitchen remodel. We also list ten innovative kitchen remodeling ideas to kick-start your renovation. From custom millwork and open shelving to a second kitchen island and bespoke storage solutions, follow below for inspiration from recent LUDC remodels.
What to Expect During a Kitchen Remodel
Every kitchen remodel is different, but most follow a similar trajectory. Initially, the homeowner will determine the budget, timeline and scope of their project. To do this, the homeowner should create two lists: a wishlist and a list of “must-haves.” If the desired updates are purely cosmetic, the homeowner might opt for a minor kitchen remodel in which they DIY much of the project. Even with a minimal budget, homeowners can swap out hardware, freshen the space with a new coat of paint or replace window treatments.
If the homeowner’s goals are grander, however, they should consider working with a designer from the very beginning. Any time kitchen renovations involve structural alterations — like changing the layout or adding square footage — a designer’s expertise is invaluable. After all, a major kitchen remodel might involve demolition and construction or require updates to your home’s electrical or plumbing systems. A full-service residential design firm will guide you through the entire process — applying for permits and hiring subcontractors when necessary.
How to Get Started
Figure Out Financing
After listing your goals and determining if you want to work with a designer, you will need to figure out financing. As a homeowner, there are quite a few financing options available to you. In our recent post “Are Home Improvement Loans Worth It?,” we outline five of these financing options.
If you already have equity in your home, you might opt for a cash-out refinance, home equity loan or home equity line of credit. Homeowners planning to buy a fixer-upper can bundle their mortgage and renovation costs with an FHA 203(k) rehab loan. Construction loans and personal loans are another possibility, but interest rates are typically higher with these types of loans.
Average Kitchen Renovation Cost
Costs vary depending on whether the homeowner opts for a minor remodel or a major remodel. The cost of a kitchen remodel not only depends on the scope of the project. It also depends on the location, style and age of the home, the quality of materials and the level of craftsmanship.
According to Miranda Crace in an article for Rocket Homes, “a good rule of thumb is to spend 5–15% of your home’s value.” Nationally, the cost of an average kitchen remodel ranges from $50 to $250 per square foot. Shera Nuss outlines what Houston homeowners can expect to pay in this Renovation Cost Guide for Sweeten. Nuss writes that a high-end kitchen renovation involving “general contracting services” starts at around $71,000 in Houston.
Next, you will want to interview designers for your project. In each design firm’s portfolio, you will probably find a brief bio, mood boards, swatches, technical drawings, renderings and professional photos of finished projects. You might also read through a few testimonials, case studies and a list of awards. As you prepare to interview designers, here are ten questions to ask while evaluating their portfolios.
Prepare Yourself and Your Home for the Remodel
By this point, you have set a budget and timeline, arranged financing and found the perfect residential design firm. Now it’s time to prepare yourself and your home for the remodel. Here’s what you can expect during the remodel. If working with a design firm, your remodel will begin with the discovery, inspiration and design phases. They will consult with their in-house team, the client and external partners to create a design, develop necessary documents and apply for permits.
Next, the firm will involve their procurement team. The procurement team will source all products needed for your project and have those products delivered to your home as needed. Once all materials and products are delivered to your home, your project will enter the implementation phase. During this phase, your residential design firm will schedule any necessary demolition and start construction. They will install all flooring, furniture, cabinetry, countertops and appliances. Cosmetic touches — like updating window treatments and painting the walls — will also happen during this phase.
After the project is complete and final inspections have been arranged, your full-service design firm will reveal your gorgeous new kitchen. In many cases, you and your family will be able to live in the home while your kitchen is renovated. If the project involves demolition and construction, however, you might need to find alternative housing for a period of time.
Now all you need is a spark of inspiration to get your Houston kitchen remodel going!
10 Kitchen Renovation Ideas to Kick-start Your Upcoming Remodel
#1 Let the Ceiling Take Center-Stage
First on our list of kitchen remodeling ideas is to let the ceiling take center-stage. Depending on your budget and the location of your kitchen, you can cut skylights, vault the ceiling or update a tray ceiling. You can also add millwork, strip the paint from coated beams, paint the ceiling or hang a gorgeous wallpaper.
In our Hedwig Village project — pictured in the upper left of the above collage — we popped the ceiling for added height. We also installed oak beams across the ceiling to provide warmth, texture and dimension. These beams hover directly above the custom-designed kitchen island, which is also made from oak.
For our Rice Residence remodel — pictured above in the upper right — we took inspiration from the home’s history. Throughout the home, we opted for a number of elements inspired by the warmth, innovation and burgeoning modernity of 1930s-era design. In the kitchen, we created a coffered ceiling through custom millwork that matches the surrounding cabinetry and vent hood.
In the kitchen of our Viscaino project — pictured above in the lower left –, we updated the existing tray ceiling. Though we kept the color and shape close to the original, we swapped out the light fixture to great effect. We replaced the original cage pendant light with a sculptural Fan Light from Lumens.
#2 Consider a Bump-Out Addition
Next on our list of kitchen remodel ideas is to expand the size of your space with a bump-out addition. Of course, this tip is for homeowners with a slightly bigger budget who are open to a bit of demolition and construction. A bump-out addition typically adds a few square feet of livable space without requiring extensive reworking of the existing foundation.
We opted for a bump-out addition in our Mountain Lane Show House project — pictured in the three photos above. The original layout of the Mountain Lane Show House kitchen was disjointed — cut in half by a clunky peninsula. Our team pushed the back wall out four feet. Expanding this area creates enough square footage for a large kitchen island with lots of storage and plenty of counter space. Eliminating the peninsula allowed us to cut a new picture window over the kitchen sink. This casement window swings open to let in fresh air while cooking, cleaning and entertaining.
#3 Build a Butler’s Pantry, Day Pantry or Other Storage Solution
Third on our list of kitchen renovation ideas is to seek out beautiful yet practical storage solutions. If you are planning a Houston kitchen remodel, do not settle for boring storage spaces. Our team has added or updated walk-in pantries, day pantries, butler’s pantries, home bars and other storage spaces for many of our clients. A butler’s pantry is particularly useful because it adds counter space and storage space to an unused hallway. For aesthetics, we prefer to mix hidden storage solutions with floating shelves and glass-front cabinetry. Glass-front cabinets and floating shelves let you display crystal and ceramics, while hidden appliances and pantries allow you to showcase custom millwork.
In our Hedwig Village project, we updated two sets of storage spaces: one in the main home and one in the hunting lodge. For the hunting lodge, we designed a bar with glass-front cabinets below the ceiling and white oak base cabinets beneath the countertop. The French curve millwork resembles cabinetry from the main house and the hardware draws on the unique history of this 1920s home. For the main house, we designed a day pantry and fridge cabinet — both of which are disguised by custom millwork. The day pantry allows our clients to hide small appliances like their toaster and coffee maker.
Another way to increase your kitchen’s storage without taking away valuable space is to add a second island. In our Viscaino project, we added a second island to increase the amount of seating, storage and prep space for our clients. One island is a working island while the other is used mostly for casual dining. Having two islands not only maximizes storage space, but also encourages family and guests to join you in the kitchen while you cook.
Other Storage Solutions We Love
Beyond day pantries and kitchen islands, there are a few other storage solutions we love. If a second island either will not fit in your kitchen or is outside the budget for your project, we recommend a kitchen cart. You can store the cart in a walk-in pantry or under the existing island. Best of all, you can slide it out whenever you need a little extra counter space or a spot to keep Tupperware. Shelves that rotate outwards and a lazy Susan or two also maximize storage without making you root through messy drawers or cabinets.
Last but not least, we love a slide-out cutting board mounted above a hidden trash closet. Camryn Rabideau identified this as one of “16 Kitchen Storage Ideas You’ll Wish You’d Known Sooner” in her article for Food52. While Rabideau recommends placing a small trash closet beneath the cutting board, we suggest creating a spot for your composting bin. Composting your melon rinds, cabbage leaves and other vegetable ends has never been easier!
#4 Choose Durable Materials for Everything from Countertops to Window Treatments
Durability is key when redesigning a kitchen, which is why we typically choose performance fabrics for window treatments. The style of your window treatments is also important. Roman shades are some of the easiest window treatments to care for. This is why we picked them for the kitchens in our Viscaino project — above left — and our Mountain Lane Show House — above center. The Roman shades chosen for the kitchen of our Mountain Lane Show House were crafted from Perennials’ Tribal Trellis fabric in Nickel. This acrylic performance fabric was also chosen for the living room pillows too!
#5 Think About Accessibility Now Rather Than Later
Fifth on our list of kitchen renovation ideas is to think about accessibility now rather than later. If you plan to age in place, embracing a universal design approach to your kitchen remodel ensures you enjoy this space for decades. For those unfamiliar with universal design, Kristina McGuirk explains in this article for Better Homes & Gardens. McGuirk writes that “universal design aims to ensure everyone—regardless of age, size, or ability—can safely and effectively use a space.”
There are many ways to make a kitchen more accessible for seniors, for people with mobility disabilities and for those with visual impairments. These include updating the lighting, lowering countertops, motorizing window treatments, updating storage and widening the space between the island and kitchen counters. You can also alter the layout of your kitchen to better accommodate all residents and visitors.
Replacing twist knobs with hardware you can pull or press is one easy way to make your kitchen more functional for elderly family members. You can also elevate appliances to avoid bending down or creating space for wheelchair users. In our Hedwig Village project, we added a lift-up, pull-out shelf to one of the base kitchen cabinets. This shelf allows our clients to easily access the mixer they wanted to store away instead of keeping on the counter. You can watch this short clip on our TikTok to see how it works.
#6 Include Plenty of Seating
Sixth on our list of kitchen renovation ideas is to include plenty of seating for family and friends. For many families, the kitchen is the hub of the home. It’s where kids do their homework and where friends chat while the host and hostess cook. Most seating is centered around one or more kitchen islands, where homeowners typically place basic bar stools.
While simple metal or wooden barstools are certainly a classic, they are not always the most comfortable option. We recommend opting for a more ergonomic — and aesthetically elevated — option like the chairs pictured above in the lower left. Instead of simple wire-base bar stools, we added Fritz rope counter stools in fog white from Palecek to our University Place kitchen. These were upholstered in a custom Haze color Cordova pattern fabric.
Some larger kitchens allow for an entirely separate seating area or a second island. For example, in our Viscaino project, we created a living space with sofas, armchairs and a fireplace where guests can relax. A snapshot of that space is pictured above in the upper right. In our Braeswood Place project — pictured above in the upper left — we extended one waterfall island with a second, slightly shorter waterfall island. For the taller island, we chose walnut Cherner Stools from Design within Reach in a custom Architex fabric. We chose blue chairs from Vanguard Furniture for the shorter island, which the family plans to use as their everyday kitchen table.
#7 Add Personality with Color, Custom Tile, Artwork and Accessories
Seventh on our list of kitchen renovation ideas is to add personality with color, custom tile, artwork and accessories. In our Rice Residence remodel — pictured above in the upper left — we opted for slabs with gray veining that matches the stainless steel appliances. As we note in the project reveal, our team traveled to five different stone yards before finding the perfect look at Aria Stone Gallery. We chose a gorgeous gray-grained marble for the countertops, waterfall kitchen island and each backsplash. The striations of the oven’s backsplash – which is the same stone as the island and countertops – almost create a chevron pattern. These marble slabs offer a subtle dynamism to this monochromatic space. They also beautifully offset the stainless steel stove and chrome accents while effectively framing the window.
The interiors of our recent Braeswood Place project were inspired by the bold colors of Southwestern sunsets. We wanted to emphasize that theme and the family’s playfulness in their pool house kitchen — pictured above in the lower left. To do so, we added deep blue cabinetry, dark orange bar stools and a multi-colored triangle backsplash. Of course, no kitchen is complete without a statement-maker. In our Mountain Lane Show House, we added personality with a wall art installation in the hallway and a stunning vent hood. More on that vent hood later in this post!
#8 Make it Your Own by Focusing on What Matters
Eighth on our list of kitchen renovation ideas is to make it your own by focusing on what matters to you. Do you love to make pasta, soups and roasts for dinner but hate carrying your Dutch oven to the sink? Add a pot filler above the range like we did in our Rice Residence remodel.
Would you like to wake up to an espresso prepared exactly as you like it each morning? Do you wish you could walk on warm kitchen floors during the winter? Invest in smart-home tech. Does a cool glass of pinot noir make cooking holiday meals all the more enjoyable? Install a wine fridge in your kitchen island like we did in our Viscaino remodel.
Do you want to display your collection of cookbooks? Invest in a custom-designed bookcase like our Dumbarton Residence clients did! The perfect kitchen is one that makes your mornings easier and your evenings more enjoyable.
#9 Create an Architectural Feature with a Bold Vent Hood or Custom Millwork
Ninth on our list of kitchen renovation ideas is to create a focal point with an architectural feature. We recommend custom millwork, an arched doorway, built-ins or a special vent hood. A defining architectural feature inspired by your home’s history can really center the room and tie the entire interior together. Our team designed custom millwork for the kitchen in our Hedwig Village project — pictured above in the upper left.
In the Mountain Lane Show House kitchen, we addressed angles and asymmetry by adding built-in shelves. We chose a brass Monogram hood, mounted sleek cabinets and installed a range within the niche our team carved out of the back wall. The kitchen centerline was designed to be on center with the brass Monogram hood, which also makes quite the statement. You can see the stunning hood in the second photo from the left.
#10 Don’t Forget Your Furry Friends!
No kitchen is complete unless it addresses the needs of all family members. As such, last on our list of kitchen renovation ideas is to remember your furry friends when remodeling! In our Hedwig Village kitchen remodel, we included a dog bowl station and food storage station.
We disguised it as another cabinet with millwork similar to that found in the rest of the kitchen. We even included a pot filler and a classic blue and white tile backsplash for the pups. This dog feeding station ensures our clients furry friends feel right at home! Watch this TikTok video to see it in action.
Need more inspiration? Read another popular kitchen remodeling blog post here.
Looking to renovate your kitchen? We’d love to help!