• Jill Crowe

Planning Your Kitchen Remodel? How to Get Started Planning an Affordable Kitchen

If you’re planning a kitchen remodel, you’re probably knee deep into researching your options. Or maybe you’re considering a remodel but aren’t sure if it’s a possibility for you. I’ve been there. Let me tell you about how we began the kitchen remodeling process.

When we moved into this house, we knew the kitchen would need to be gutted. The cabinets were in bad shape, the appliances were old, and the layout was totally off.

We were also planning to move in a year, so we weren’t looking to build our DREAM kitchen. However, we didn’t want to skimp on quality either. We wanted to walk that fine line of affordability that looks like we spent a lot of money. That’s how we tend to roll in general ;)

Here’s where we started when beginning to plan our kitchen remodel.

Facebook Groups

There are a ton of Kitchen Remodeling groups on Facebook. I joined this one for people designing all kinds of kitchens. Some work with designers, some DIY it themselves. Some may have your style and others may not. Even if they’re not your style, they still offer advice or insight into possible options out there, which is valuable when you're just starting out. They're also eager to show off their choices or neat features they added.

If you’re considering painting your cabinets, I recommend this group. These people know their stuff. They even have a handbook that outlines the steps to paint them.

There’s also a group for IKEA inspiration that sometimes shows kitchens. If that’s the route you’re headed, join them. It can be really helpful to niche down in your groups. We gathered all of our IKEA kitchen parts during 2021, and there were weeks - maybe even months - where we couldn’t find parts. We were looking online at IKEAs all along the East Coast. This group had some good tips about finding any of your last pieces. I’ll detail that in another post about IKEA kitchens.

These groups are also helpful if you’re completely clueless on where to get cabinets, counters, or hardware. People love to talk about their kitchen remodel, largely because it’s such a personal choic, so they’re eager to share details if you like what they did.

It’s also helpful to see people’s kitchens in real life, without all the fancy lighting and editing that brands show off.

RTA Store Kitchens

I had heard good things about the RTA Store, or “Ready To Assemble” kitchens. They tend to be more affordable than pre-assembled kitchens and the quality tends to be good, at least according to my Facebook group.

I started by browsing their website to select the style of kitchen we wanted. I wanted something that would fit in with the rest of our traditionally-styled house but didn’t feel dated. I ordered a few door samples from them. They really were very nice, so we decided to work with one of their designers to get a quote.

To work with their designers, it’s all via email initially. You tell them the style of cabinet you’d like, send photos of your existing kitchen,and send the room’s dimensions to them. I think because we wanted to change the layout a bit, we also sketched up a quick layout of what we’d like it to look like. Within a few days, they emailed me back a design.

To save money, I opted for their ready-to-assemble cabinets. They would come completely disassembled, and we would need to assemble and install them ourselves.

Their quote came back at $16,000 for our kitchen cabinets alone, which was more than we wanted to spend. And we’d still need to assemble them! Crazy. Also, they will email you endlessly. You’ve been warned.

It was time to consider IKEA.

IKEA Kitchens

So if you’re like us and you’re not looking to spend a ton, you may want to explore IKEA kitchens. Honestly, the cabinets look and feel just like the RTA ones and like any other cabinet I’ve come across in my lifetime. Our Bobdyn's do seem to have a coating to them that makes them easier to wipe down.

IKEA has an online kitchen planner tool to design your kitchen. If you have a free night to yourself, you could do a quick redesign of your kitchen. You’ll need its measurements and to pick a cabinet style you like (we went with Bobdyn in white). From there, use their design tool to build out a quick kitchen for yourself.

You’ll instantly be able to see how much their kitchen will cost you!

IKEA also offers design services at no cost. You schedule an appointment with a kitchen designer on their website and come to the store. We found their online tool fairly easy to navigate, so we designed it ourselves and took it to the store one time to have them look it over.

(I’ll share exact cost details of our kitchen redesign after we sell this house.)

Stay tuned for more tips on IKEA kitchens, like total cost, how to design the actual kitchen, cabinet choices we considered, and more.

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