The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Renovation

the ultimate guide to kitchen renovation, Contact Renovations blog

So this is the year—the year you will actually bring that kitchen you’ve been dreaming about into reality. It’s time to renovate your kitchen and give it a fresh (and functional!) new look. But what do you need to know before you dive in? Keep reading for all the details you might not have considered about a kitchen renovation. Knowing these details will help you know what to talk to your contractor about. I’ve covered a lot of these topics on the blog before, so there will be lots of links to resources and videos as well.

Kitchen Layout

The first thing you’ll need to consider is what kind of layout you want. In this stage, it’s important to think through what you want your kitchen to be for. List everything you hope to use it for: cooking, entertaining, hanging out as a family, eating, etc. Then consider how this can become possible in the space that you have. Here are a few key questions you should ask yourself when picking a kitchen layout:
  1. Do you want it to be the focal point of your home, or do you want to hide the mess?
  2. How will you use your kitchen? Do you require a large prep space or a double oven?
  3. Who will be in your kitchen? Will you use it to mainly cook, or will you also entertain large groups?
Doing a kitchen renovation might be your chance to make some big changes. This might be your chance to convert your kitchen into an open concept, for example. But if you want to open it up, you’ll have to plan ahead because it will mean reconfiguration of walls, electrical, plumbing and possibly other home systems as well. So the first step is to decide what kind of layout will work for you! We’ve got some great advice for opening up your kitchen here, or in the video below:

And here:

The next part of your kitchen layout is your kitchen cabinet configuration. Cabinet colours and hardware are some of the last details you will get into—you’ll want to start with where in the kitchen you’ll want your cabinets to be, and the sizes and types of them. The layout of your cabinets will have a huge effect on how functional your kitchen is, as well as how spacious (or how cluttered) it will feel.

To get all the details about cabinet layout, we interviewed Gerry Dixon of Iconic Cabinets in this video here:

Kitchen Design/Aesthetic

A big part of the dream kitchen you have in your head is probably the design aesthetic—what it will look like. Kitchens can fit in a wide range of styles from minimalistic, modern, rustic, farmhouse, glamorous, and more. Think about what look draws you in the most.

If you need some guidance on how to know what your style is—and not all of us have actually stopped to think about how to define “our style” before!—check out How to Find Your Personal Home Style, with great advice from interior designer Rosalyn Lazaruk. One tip is to start collecting pictures of elements you love, whether on Pinterest or Houzz or pinning them to a bulletin board.

You probably don’t want to go too trendy here, because your kitchen design is something you will live with for a long time. But why not incorporate some of those design details which you really love and which will elevate your kitchen?

Here are some design details that can level up your kitchen, which you may not have thought of:

Kitchen Islands

If you want a kitchen island, it will be a major feature of your kitchen. We have a great guide to making the most of your kitchen island here: Kitchen Island Design.


Another big element of your kitchen is the countertop. What kind of countertop should you choose? What is the maintenance like on these products? Fortunately, we’ve covered this topic as well!

Some common countertops are laminate, quartz, and granite. You might be drawn to the look of one of these types, but there are also other details to consider. For example, granite counters should be sealed annually. The challenge with quartz countertops is heat, which means you need to be mindful when cooking, but otherwise it is very low maintenance! And laminate can scratch and de-laminate over time.

To learn all about countertops, check out our resource here.


Your backsplash will be a very visible element of your kitchen. There are so many styles to choose from, from simple subway tile to intricate arabesque or lantern shapes. Here are a few details you might not have considered. First, the more grout you have, the more grout you will have to keep clean. Second, white is not the only colour of grout you can choose—look into tan or dark grey for something a little different.

Want to hear more about what advice tile experts have for you? We have an interview with Aaron Brown of River City Tile Company that dives into all the details:


No one wants to cook in the dark! There are a couple of different types of lighting to consider for your kitchen. First, you need focused task lighting for areas you will be working or eating in. Second, lighting is a great way to bring in a design element into your space, and you can incorporate lighting that is both beautiful and functional. LED pot lights are one way to ensure that light is evenly distributed across your kitchen. Another way to ensure the right spaces are lit properly is to use under-cabinet lighting. These can focus right on your work area. Pendant lights over a kitchen island can also bring the light closer to the surface that needs lighting up. Functional lights like pot lights or under-cabinet lighting won’t change the look of your kitchen enormously, but a pendant light or other central light fixture certainly can! You might want one show-stopping feature, or you might go with a row of several more minimalistic pendants over your island or your table. Another way to use lighting is to highlight a feature of your kitchen with it. For example, you can have lights inside your glass-fronted cabinets, or lights under your floating shelves to highlight display pieces on the shelf below. I’ve covered a few topics about lighting which might be helpful for your kitchen situation:


Were you just going to default to stainless steel faucets and hardware? Did you know there is an endless range of options? The most recent kitchen renovation we featured incorporated a black faucet, and brass hardware on the cabinets. There is nothing wrong with stainless steel, but you might also fall in love with another type of finish entirely. black faucet, Contact Renovations blog


While dreaming is the fun part, you will have to consider your budget in order to get your kitchen done! Fortunately, we’ve covered budgets in our Kitchen Cost Breakdown video. Check it out to learn all the details:

Bringing It All Together: Your Kitchen Renovation

Feeling a little overwhelmed? A kitchen renovation is a complex project with many areas to consider. But you don’t have to do it on your own. A good contractor will advise you and walk you through the process. You can also reach out to interior designers or companies that specialize in products like tile or kitchen cabinets to learn more. By reaching out for expert advice, you’ll benefit from their experience and avoid the pitfalls that commonly come with kitchen renovation projects. Want to see more kitchen renovations that Contact Renovations has completed? Check out the kitchen portfolio here. And reach out if you have more questions about that kitchen you’ve been dreaming of.

Need a little professional advice as you plan your dream kitchen renovation?

We have much more to share! Send us an email at and we’d love to help you make your dream home a reality. 

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About Contact Renovations & Custom Homes

At Contact Renovations and Custom Homes, our client-first philosophy has made us a top Edmonton Design Build Contractor for over ten years. We pride ourselves on high quality renovations that speaks for itself. 

Click here to learn more about how we can help you bring your vision to life. 

We are thrilled to win a 2024 CHBA Edmonton Excellence in Housing award!