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Expert Advice

How to Get Started Planning Your Kitchen Remodel


Renovating a kitchen is a pretty big undertaking. You’ve got to think about layout, functionality, design, and of course, budget. But if you plan it correctly, and think long term, you can achieve a beautiful result that will protect your investment for years to come. Here are a few things to think about as you start planning your kitchen remodel.


Make a wish list

Before you can get started you need to make a wish list for your finished kitchen. Is it a simple update to bring everything up to code and increase the value of your home, or is it a luxury space designed just for you? Remember that any renovation will be driven by the quality of the finishes, so be realistic about the ultimate result you hope to achieve.

Cambria Ella kitchen drawer organization for kitchen remodel

Kitchen island with Ella™ countertops and stylish drawer organization.


Determine your budget

Your budget will determine which items on your wish list can stay and which should go. But when determining your kitchen renovation budget, think about the long-term return on investment. Certain materials may cost more up front but the value you get over time will make them well worth the initial cost. Things like Cambria countertops and hardwood floors may seem more costly than other options, but the value and beauty they add can’t be beat, and the return on investment is significant. Get my thoughts on selecting the perfect countertop and recommendations for kitchen renovation splurges and saves.

White quartz kitchen island in Cambria Ella inspiration for kitchen remodel

Elegant kitchen remodel featuring Cambria Ella countertops and backsplash. Photo: Reno to Reveal


Find your renovation team

Kitchen renovations are not a DIY project. While there are certain elements you can do yourself (installing a backsplash or replacing a faucet, for example), a full kitchen renovation is a big project best left to a team of professionals. So take the time to properly plan your kitchen remodel with your renovation team (designer, contractor, etc.). Think about how the room will be used, who will be using it, and how you want it to look and function. Your team is there to help guide you and will help you to realize your vision.

Planning a kitchen remodel with Cambria Fieldstone in farmhouse kitchen with open shelving

Kitchen with dark gray quartz countertops (Fieldstone™), subway tile, and open shelving.


Plan the kitchen layout

Your design team will be able to offer valuable insight into what works and what doesn’t, but make sure you consider your lifestyle and how you plan to use the kitchen when thinking about layout. The way a professional chef uses a kitchen may be different than the way a busy family uses one, for example. Think about the amount of storage you’ll need, what kind of traffic flow you anticipate, and what kind of work surfaces you’ll need. I suggest a solid, high-quality quartz surface like Cambria that can stand up to the wear and tear any chef (professional or amateur!) will inflict on it.

Planning a Kitchen Remodel with Cambria Ella kitchen island and Fieldstone in farmhouse kitchen

Modern farmhouse kitchen renovation featuring Ella and Fieldstone countertops.


Choose materials and finishes

The most fun part of any kitchen remodel is choosing the materials and finishes. I always suggest choosing neutral colors and transitional styles for large, fixed items. For cabinets I often choose gray, white, and more recently, navy blue. For counters, my preference is to use quartz. I often opt for Cambria’s Ella or Brittanicca™ in main areas, and in places where I want to add a little pizazz, like my home bar, I go for something with a little more impact, like Roxwell or Ellesmere™.

 Planning a kitchen remodel with Cambria Roxwell in Scott McGillivray's basement bar

My home bar featuring Cambria Roxwell™ countertops. Photo: Moving the McGillivrays


Planning is the key to any successful kitchen renovation. So start early and don’t start knocking down walls until you’re confident you’ve considered all the variables. Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!