The Do's and Don'ts of Planning an Oklahoma City Kitchen Remodel

A completed kitchen remodel, with an island bar area, hanging lights, and under-cabinet lighting.
Whether you're the type of person who relishes the opportunity to whip up an elaborate eight-course meal for all your friends and family or you mostly use your kitchen as a place to unpack takeout boxes, it's an absolutely indispensable part of your home. The kitchen is the heart of a house, where everyone seems to end up gathering—even when it's standing room only. But if your kitchen is poorly designed, malfunctioning, run down and outdated, or just doesn't meet the needs of your household, it's time to plan a kitchen remodel.

If you've never planned out a kitchen remodeling project before, it may feel overwhelming at first. There's a lot to consider, and it can be difficult to know where to start. But once you get the ball rolling, it can be a surprisingly fun challenge. This guide covers some of the do's and don'ts you should keep in mind during your planning phase to help you get started on a painless kitchen remodel. Your dream kitchen is a lot closer than you think!

From a few small tweaks here and there to a major kitchen remodel, you can rely on your local Oklahoma City handyman to see you through the entire process. The service professionals at Mr. Handyman of North Oklahoma City and Edmond are experienced with completing many types of kitchen remodels in Oklahoma City and other nearby parts of central Oklahoma. We pride ourselves on delivering the highest standards of quality workmanship and excellent customer service for all renovation projects.

DON'T: Prioritize Appearance Over Functionality

When you first begin looking around for inspiration to plan your Oklahoma City kitchen remodel, it's easy to get distracted by scrolling through dozens of glossy, airbrushed photos of the latest perfectly appointed, beautiful kitchen design and forget all about what your household actually needs. Trends will come and go, but your kitchen is a highly utilitarian room that gets a lot of use on a day-to-day basis, so the most essential design ideas will prioritize function above all else.

You may love the look of a marble countertop, for example, but it's a costly material that is easily stained and chipped. While quartz countertops don't scream "luxury!" like marble does, they are durable, easy to maintain and still very attractive. Or you may see a single basin farmhouse sink in a magazine and decide it's a perfect addition to your rustic kitchen, but if you're used to double-basin sinks, it won't be long before you're thoroughly irritated and wishing you'd picked a more practical option.

DO: Make Room for Unexpected Expenses

You may be completely certain that you've planned your budget out down to the last penny, but unexpected costs have a way of rearing their ugly heads during any renovation process—and an Oklahoma City kitchen remodel is certainly no exception. Sometimes the budget gets out of control because the homeowner changes their mind about something (or multiple somethings) halfway through, but that's not the most common reason. Typically, expenses arise because a problem is uncovered during the remodel that needs to be dealt with for safety reasons, or to protect your house. For example, your Oklahoma City handyman may remove your floor tile and discover that the subfloor or floor joists are rotting and need to be replaced.

The best way to deal with the eventuality of unexpected expenses is to pad your budget with a buffer of 20% to 30% above what you think you'll need to spend. That way, you can deal with those surprise costs stress-free and keep your budget on track. If you don't end up needing it after all, you've got the start of a savings fund for a bathroom remodel.

DON'T: Reduce Storage Space

Pots and pans, dishes, utensils, small appliances and of course, all that food . . . there's a surprising volume of stuff that needs to be stored in your kitchen, so you have it available at your fingertips when you need it—and most of it is better kept tucked away and out of sight. You may not be able to increase cabinet space and other storage options during your Oklahoma City kitchen remodel, but at the very least, don't decrease it. Unless you're that extremely rare person who has more storage in their kitchen than they could possibly use, you'll want to have at least as much storage space as you do now by the time your project is complete.

That being said, there are probably ways you can add some additional storage options if you get creative and think outside your cabinet boxes a bit. Here are a few possible ideas that might work for your kitchen remodel:

  • Hang a rack over your stove or sink for pots and pans.
  • Use hooks, maybe in combination with a pegboard, to hang items such as spatulas, serving spoons, potholders and anything else that can be hung on the wall—most pots, pans and large utensils have a hole on the handle for that exact reason.
  • Install rotating "lazy Susan" shelves or blind-corner pull-outs in difficult-to-reach corner cabinets to maximize space and make it easier to find what you're looking for.
  • Use the space under a portion of the countertop for a pull-out prep station that can be easily tucked back under the counter when it's not needed.
  • Create a pantry to store dry goods—a walk-in pantry is nice, but it doesn't have to be that elaborate if you don't have room. Instead, consider a large, refrigerator-sized pull-out cupboard pantry.

DO: Choose the Right Tile

Almost every kitchen remodel in Oklahoma City features at least some tile—and why not? It's the ideal floor covering for a kitchen or any other high-traffic area that is prone to moisture exposure. Tile comes in a very wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, patterns and materials, which means a new tile installation is the perfect opportunity to really put your stamp on your home and infuse it with your personal sense of style. There's one caveat, though. If you're thinking of selling your OKC property in the next few years, it makes sense to choose a neutral tile style that will help potential future buyers more easily envision their own aesthetics for that area.

Choosing the right tile is about more than just potential buyers though. You also want to make sure you choose an option that is suitable for your kitchen, and for the specific parts of your kitchen where you’ll be installing new tile. For example, while backsplashes, countertops and floors can all be made of tile, the type of tile that’s best suited for those parts of your kitchen isn’t always the same, and sometimes, it’s also best to switch it up simply for the purpose of aesthetics. Classic options for backsplashes include glass tile and white subway tile, while your options for countertops and floors are a little more varied.

Lastly, each type of tile comes with its own specific maintenance requirements, and some types need a lot more maintenance than others. Consider the amount of cleaning and re-sealing you’re willing to do in the future. Something like slate can look flashy, as long as you keep up with the necessary maintenance. A material like porcelain or ceramic can continue to look fantastic for many years without needing as much maintenance as more luxurious options.

DON'T: Forget About Lighting and Ventilation

It's critically important to have ample lighting and ventilation in any kitchen, but they are often overlooked in the planning phase for an Oklahoma City kitchen remodel. Dim or inadequate lighting will make cooking a lot more difficult than it needs to be, and it could even be dangerous when working with heat or sharp tools. There should be at least one large overhead light, or multiple smaller overhead lights, along with task lighting focused on areas such as the stovetop and food prep areas. It can also be really helpful to have LED lights mounted on the bottom of upper cabinets, so they directly illuminate the countertop below.

When you're cooking up a storm, there's a lot of steam, odors—and maybe some smoke. It's important to be able to ventilate the room by opening a window at the very least, but you should also consider adding a range hood above your stove that will use a fan to vent vapors and smoke outdoors.

DO: Add Efficient Appliances and Fixtures

If you currently have older appliances and plumbing fixtures and you're looking for ways to reduce the energy and water costs on your monthly utility bill, an Oklahoma City kitchen remodel is a good opportunity to consider upgrading to more efficient fixtures and appliances. Manufacturers are constantly working to improve the efficiency of their products, so new models are significantly better at reducing energy and water use without sacrificing performance or water pressure. That can cause a noticeable reduction on your utility bill and save you money over time. Not up to the task of installing new appliances like an oven or refrigerator? No problem—our multi-skilled Oklahoma City handyman team can take care of installation for appliances, plumbing fixtures and everything else your kitchen remodel needs.

DON'T: Be Afraid to Open Up the Room

Most new homes in Oklahoma City are being built with an open or semi-open floor plan that typically combines the kitchen, dining room or family room into one large, beautiful space. There's some big advantages to an open layout—it makes the home feel larger, and it's a lot easier to keep an eye on the kids in the family room while you're working in the kitchen or socialize with guests in the dining room while you cook.

If you have an older home, though, your house may feature a more traditional kitchen layout where the kitchen is largely closed off from the rest of the house. If you feel isolated in that current space and want a change, we can make that happen as part of your Oklahoma City kitchen remodel. That may involve removing a non-load bearing wall altogether, but if that's not possible or preferable, we may be able to create a pass-through window in the wall that will make conversation between rooms more pleasant and give you sight lines to other parts of the house.

Is an Oklahoma City Kitchen Remodel Worth the Investment?

You may still be wondering if kitchen renovations are what your Oklahoma City home really needs. Naturally you know your property and household better than anyone, so only you can really make that call. But there are some compelling reasons why an Oklahoma City kitchen remodel could be the right move:

  • Improved Function: No matter how you like to use your kitchen, you need it to be set up in a way that optimally accommodates your style of cooking and cleaning. Have you ever wished your pots and pans could be accessed more easily, or that your utensil drawer was closer to the dishwasher, or that your cabinets went all the way to the ceiling, so you didn't have to dust the top of them? A kitchen remodel is your opportunity to correct those problems and make the space work for you, not against you.
  • Appealing Look: Appearance isn't everything, sure—but it's still important. You and your family spend a lot of time in that one room, so it should be an attractive, inviting space that you actually enjoy spending time in. That doesn't necessarily mean breaking the bank on luxury finishings—the perfect shade of paint or a uniquely charming tile installation can make all the difference.
  • Increased Property Value: If you're thinking of putting your house on the market in the near future, an Oklahoma City kitchen remodel is a great way to increase your selling price and get a good return on investment. A newly remodeled, modern kitchen is high on the wish list for a lot of prospective home buyers, so it will help convince them to seal the deal.

Don’t forget that this project doesn’t have to be the biggest investment you make this year either. Major remodels are great, but you can still get a lot of benefits out of minor kitchen remodels that only focus on a few specific projects, like replacing your cabinet fronts or adding built-in comfy seating around a breakfast nook. There are a lot of things you can do for a minor remodel that will keep your average cost down and still ensure you still get the average return you should. Maybe replacing your current traditional white countertops with something a little more functional and unique, like butcher-block countertops, is all you need to make a difference.

Ready to Get Started On an Oklahoma City Kitchen Remodel? So Are We!

Whether you are in OKC or a nearby community such as The Village or Edmond, you can rely on the team of professionals at Mr. Handyman of North Oklahoma City and Edmond to take care of your kitchen remodel with a wide range of professional kitchen services.

Pick up the phone and give us a call today to schedule an appointment at a convenient time, or to speak with our friendly customer service staff about what we can do to improve your Oklahoma City property and make your life easier. Or, read through some of our online reviews to learn more about Mr. Handyman. We can help with everything from remodeling to seasonal deck repair and major drywall repair.

An old kitchen cooktop being removed from a countertop and the new replacement cooktop after it has been installed by Mr. Handyman.