Renovating Your Kitchen – Where Do You Start?

If your kitchen is in need of an update, finding where to begin can be overwhelming to say the least. From finding a paint color to choosing a cabinet style, the options are virtually limitless, and it’s easy to get lost when trying to find the style for you. However, by breaking your kitchen renovation into a few smaller steps, you can make the process much more manageable.


From the elements you can replace to the quality of the finishes, your kitchen renovation will be almost entirely determined by your budget. Before you can start picking paint colors, determine the amount of money you’re working with so you can eliminate items outside that range. However, don’t forget to budget for the unexpected; give yourself some wiggle room in case you run into issues partway through.

Research & Shopping

Once you’ve figured out how much you can spend, the next step is to start researching what’s available within your price range. To help you get started, we’ve divided the main elements into a few categories:


Before you begin looking at appliances, consider what you want from each. Are you looking for increased fridge space, or are you more concerned with finding a great dishwasher? Create a list of your priorities so that when you’re shopping, you know exactly what to look for.

Green tip: Many big box stores offer significant discounts on scratch and dent or returned appliances. Look for a local Sears Outlet store or find the discount section at your local Lowes. You may also want to consider buying a used or refurbished appliance to go even greener.


When it comes to floors, you have a few options: wood, tile, or laminate. Solid hardwood floors and natural stone are going to be the most expensive choices while wood laminate, ceramic, porcelain and vinyl are more affordable.

Green tip: Salvaged wood floors offer a beautiful vintage style but can also be refinished to look like new. Plus, they’re often available at a discounted rate so you can save money and reduce your reno’s carbon footprint.


Cabinets come in many profiles, but you can narrow it down by asking a few questions: Do you want natural wood or laminate? Dark or light colored? A simple door style or a more ornate, carved surface? Look through some interior design magazines and mark the kitchen cabinets you like to find common elements that you can look for when shopping.

Green tip: If your cabinets are in relatively good shape, consider repainting them or refinishing. It’s amazing what a simple coat of paint can do to refresh a whole kitchen, and replacing the doors can change the whole look of the cabinet. Changing the hardware can also make a big impact.


As with floors, there are a few main options for counter tops: natural stone, laminate, and solid surface. Natural stone is beautiful and extremely durable, but also the most expensive. Today’s laminate and solid surface options can look nearly identical to natural stone, but may not be as durable.

Green tip: Visit your local granite and marble store and ask about potential discount pieces. If you have a small kitchen or just need a small piece of stone for an island, you may be able to negotiate a low price by taking a piece that’s leftover from another cut.

Paint colors

Consider the overall color scheme of your home, and try to find something that is different enough to complement the rest of the home while not clashing. Most paint stores can help you find matching accent hues, and many even have paint chips with predefined color schemes so you know they will match. Before you commit to any color though, take a few home and paint samples on your walls to see how they look with your kitchen’s lighting. It can be surprising how different a color looks in your home versus on the sample chip.

Green tip: Look for low-VOC paints and eco-friendly formulations to reduce harmful chemicals in your home and cut down on environmental impact. Also make sure to dispose of your paint cans safely by taking them to the local refuse center.

Bring in the Pros

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring an interior designer. Even if you can’t afford ongoing services, one-time consultations can be extremely affordable and give you insight into the functionality of the room, your options, and a plan for moving forward.

Kitchen renovations may be complex and involve a lot of different elements, but with some planning, organization, and maybe a little outside help, you can create the kitchen of your dreams in no time.

photo by: mick sz4