Category Archives: Kitchen Remodel

Planning a Kitchen Remodel? Here’s Where to Go Neutral and Where to Go for Broke

You’re planning a kitchen remodel. You have a vision. You want a space uniquely yours. And you shall have it! But one caveat: Be careful in the uniqueness. Yes, you have been picturing this kitchen for years, and you’re finally making it a reality. But should you find yourself selling your home, you’ll want a kitchen that’s both something you love to live in now, and that will have appeal to a buyer later. Statistics show the average American moves over 11 times during their lifetime. And that means walking a fine line between uniqueness and neutrality with that kitchen.

This doesn’t mean your new kitchen can’t have your individual stamp on it. Quite the contrary. It only means you need to make sure the mainstays of the kitchen—such as cabinets and appliances—stay on the neutral side while the elements you can change out—such as light fixtures and accessories—are where you express your style.

Where to go neutral with your kitchen remodel
According to, the average kitchen remodel costs $22,117. Some of the biggest expenditures include cabinets, appliances, countertops, and flooring. And these are the areas where you should invest in high quality yet low individuality.

  • Cabinets: Transitional cabinets are extremely versatile, and make a smart choice for any kitchen.
  • Appliances: Although retro and colored appliances are popular, your safe bet is quality yet neutral looking appliances in stainless steel, black or gray.
  • Countertops: Again, quality counts as does neutrality. Choose stone, granite, marble or quartz countertops for a neutral look but plenty of style.
  • Flooring: Flooring is not something you can easily (or cheaply) change out if you are selling your house, so go for kitchen flooring that will stand up to the wear and tear a kitchen gets and offer a neutral backdrop for your kitchen.

For more insight into consumer preferences in the kitchen, see our post on 2018 kitchen design trends.

Where to go crazy kitchen remodel
OK, maybe not crazy, but where you can express yourself… With the foundation pieces of your kitchen, such as your semi-custom cabinets, you’re investing in very good quality but possibly boring basics. When you stay neutral in your choices, you might suspect you’re going to get a blah kitchen, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can express your individual style with those elements that can be changed out should you put your house on the market someday, elements such as:

  • Lighting: Yes, you can hang something funky over the kitchen island…and change it out later to something more basic.
  • Cabinet hardware: Here’s another area where you can express yourself, and then swap out the hardware for something simple later if you need to.
  • Faucets: Same.
  • Wall and ceiling color: Paint is paint. If you want tangerine walls, go for it! You can paint over it later.
  • Accessories like rugs and curtains: Again, very easy to go crazy with, and very easy to change out.
  • Furniture, as in bar stools around the kitchen island: If you love those retro bright red bar stools, buy them! You can swap them out for neutral furniture later when staging your home.

See other advice on remodeling with resale in mind here.

A kitchen remodel is a big investment and of course, you want it to be worth every penny. But that includes the pennies you’ll make or lose should you sell your house later. You can add plenty of individual style to your kitchen while still making a smart investment in that kitchen remodel if you follow these tips.

2018 Kitchen Remodel and Bathroom Remodel Trends

Is 2018 the year you take on your kitchen remodel or bathroom remodel? Then you might want to take a peek at the kitchen and bath trends designers are seeing for the coming year. Kitchen and Bath Design News recently interviewed five industry leaders to discuss the popular kitchen and bath design choices for 2017 and which will carry over into the new year. We offer you the highlights of those predictions below…

Kitchen remodel trends
In the kitchen, it seems the trends continue toward convenience to make kitchens function better than ever for today’s busy families, with:

  • Column or built-in refrigerators, large-capacity refrigerators with water and ice dispensers and specialty drawers, and refrigerators with view-inside features are all predicted to be in high demand for 2018 kitchen remodels.
  • More appliances will be smart appliances enabled with WiFi, including ranges, refrigerators and dishwashers.
  • Dishwashers will offer three racks and steam cleaning.
  • Cooking will involve more induction cooktops as the prices start to come down, and consumers will also opt for steam ovens and sous vide techniques. French door ovens will continue to grow in popularity.
  • Homeowners will continue to choose deep sinks such as farmhouse and under-mount sinks, but will move away from white to choose sinks in matte black, bronze and brushed nickel.
  • Pull-down kitchen faucets with high arcs as well as hands-free and motion-sensor faucets will be popular.
  • Soft-close cabinetry will become the norm, as will, deep, wide cabinet drawers.
  • Storage will continue to be a concern, and consumers will seek out storage features like rollouts, pullouts, cutlery drawers and spice organizers.
  • Lighting inside the cabinets as well as under-cabinet lighting will enhance the kitchen experience.
  • For cabinets, homeowners will continue to be partial to neutral painted Shaker doors, with white and off-whites cabinets dominating. Gray will no longer reign supreme as taupe becomes the new neutral.
  • That said, the trend toward darker kitchen islands will continue.
  • Quartz will be first choice in countertops, followed by granite, butcher block and marble.
  • Consumers will choose wood plank style flooring in porcelain tile and luxury vinyl tile, or large-format tile flooring.
  • Kitchen walls will get a textured look achieved with rustic wood or different tile sheens

Bathroom remodel trends
In the bathroom, experts predict consumers will opt for more style when planning their bathroom remodels

  • Wall-hung toilets, bidets and innovative toilet shapes will be more popular.
  • Consumers will choose sinks made from vessels and non-white neutrals like gray and sand.
  • Tubs will have a satin finish and a matte look, and free-standing tubs will make a comeback.
  • In many bathroom remodels, people will show a preference for tubs over stand-alone showers.
  • In large bathroom suites, however, standalone showers stay strong, and will get rain heads, body sprays and aging-in-place features like a bench.
  • Satin nickel will stay strong as a finish, but there will be more interest in polished chrome paired with gray and white painted cabinetry.
  • Homeowners will opt for darker stains on cabinets or choose color instead of the traditional all-white bathroom.
  • Consumers will want more storage, and customized storage designed specifically for bathrooms.

Of course, the choices you make for your bath or kitchen remodel will be as individual as you are, but it’s important to know what’s trendy so you won’t make design choices that make your new kitchen or bath out-of-date in just a few years!

Consider Quartz Countertops, for a Stone Look but Less Maintenance

If you’re shopping for semi custom cabinets for your new kitchen, that might be due to budget. After all, not everyone can afford the high price of custom cabinets, and with semi custom cabinets, you get the custom look without the custom price.

If you’re being mindful of your kitchen remodeling budget, then you might also be considering alternatives to the granite countertops found in so many of today’s kitchens. And that brings us to quartz.

Why you should consider quartz counters
Quartz countertops are more than a natural stone look-alike that might save you money on your new kitchen remodel. Quartz has one big benefit granite doesn’t, due to the way it is made. Yes, made.

Although they look like natural stone, quartz countertops are “engineered stone,” meaning they aren’t 100% natural materials like a slab of granite. Rather, they are a combination of natural materials (the quartz) and resins. Quartz countertops are about 90% quartz, which is almost all natural as far as the ingredients. But they are manufactured in a factory rather than mined like granite.

Maintenance: Why quartz wins big over granite
That means quartz countertops are more resistant to the inevitable stains that will occur in any busy kitchen. Because granite is all natural, it is—naturally—porous. Granite countertops are sealed to protect them from stains, but you must keep resealing them to keep up with the protection. Quartz countertops, on the other hand, are impervious because they are mostly stone, but not all. The way they are manufactured makes them nonporous and resistant to stains.

That makes quartz countertops easier to maintain as well because you don’t have to reseal these countertops—ever.

But you still get the natural stone look that’s so popular in today’s kitchens remodels. You also get a countertop that’s heat and abrasion resistant, like granite. With quartz countertops, you can get the look (and durability) of stone but without the price and maintenance of granite.

So if budget is a concern when planning your new kitchen remodel and picking out your semi custom cabinets, take a look at quartz for your countertop too.

P.S. If you’re considering quartz for your new kitchen, you might enjoy these eight facts about quartz!

Follow These Kitchen Remodel Budget Tips for a Budget That Won’t Bust Your Bank

A kitchen remodel is a big undertaking not only because the kitchen is a necessary room in your house and it’s a challenge to go without it for weeks, but also because it can be expensive! To make sure your kitchen remodel delivers on your dreams but doesn’t mean a deep dive into debt, make and stick to a kitchen remodel budget, using the advice below.

First, set a reasonable kitchen remodel budget
You probably don’t have a wad of cash in your pocket that will predetermine how much you have to spend on this remodel. Instead, you’ll be figuring out both what it will cost and what you can afford and finding a happy medium. Make it a reasonable medium as well by taking into account how long you’ll be in your home. If you’ll be moving in five years or less, only spend the money you can get back out of the remodel when selling. If you’re planning on staying put, see if you can spend a little more to make your dream kitchen a reality!

Know what to include in that kitchen remodel budget
Oh, but there are many parts to a complete kitchen remodel—more than you might think! When you start on your budget, try to think of as many as you can so you don’t leave anything out. Here’s just a partial list of items to consider in your kitchen remodel budget:

  • Cabinets
  • Labor
  • Appliances
  • Windows
  • Flooring
  • Fixtures
  • Design
  • Countertops
  • Lighting and electrical
  • Doors
  • Hardware
  • Faucets and plumbing
  • Ceiling
  • Backsplash
  • Paint

Know that semi custom cabinets can help the kitchen remodel budget
Depending on which source you use, you will find the breakdown of costs varies between each of the different items listed above. However, the biggest percentage of a kitchen remodel budget, regardless of the source, is always the cabinets. We’ve seen estimates from 29% of the total budget up to 35% of the total budget allocated for the kitchen cabinets alone. For that reason, you should make semi custom cabinets your first choice for your new kitchen remodel!

Also budget for the unexpected and the takeout
In addition to those items listed above and most especially the cabinets, you might have other expenses. Plus you should set aside money for the unexpected (because every remodel involves the unexpected!). Some people advise setting aside as much as 20% for surprises such as rot, asbestos, plumbing issues and other unknowns.

Also take into account that you will not have a kitchen, so you’ll probably eat out more often and eat more convenience foods that can be heated up in a microwave (and eat off of paper plates). All of those expenses will add up as well.

Stick to your kitchen remodel budget!
The most important advice we can give you is to create a kitchen remodel budget and stick to that budget no matter what. That means doing some research ahead of time too. Let’s say you’ve set your kitchen remodel budget and you’re part way through your remodel and then you find the range of your dreams…and it costs far more than the dollars you had set aside for appliances. If you splurge on the range, you’re going to blow your budget unless you make up the difference elsewhere. In the long run, you’ll be better off if you do some shopping and fall in love with that range before you even do the budget! A kitchen remodel is a big deal. Take the time to do the research and the homework. It’s worth it.

Finally, track your kitchen remodel budget
As you’re going through the remodel, pay close attention to your actual expenditures to make sure you’re staying on track. If you don’t, and you have an extra expense here and another one there, several times over, you’re going to go over budget. Tracking expenses can also help you to make adjustments when necessary. Maybe the plumbing cost more than expected but you were able to get a discount price on the countertops, for example, so the expenses evened out.

Does Color Count? When Reselling Your Home, Bathroom Color Counts a Lot!

When you’re thinking about paint colors for your new kitchen or bathroom remodel, you might want to look at Zillow’s report on colors in 2017. It delves into which paint colors helped houses to sell for more vs. which colors decreased a home’s market value.

What color cabinets? Find out first
As we’ve mentioned before in this kitchen cabinets blog, it’s likely you won’t stay put in that home where you’re doing your major kitchen or bathroom remodel, because Americans move on average 11 times in a lifetime. For that reason, you might want to remodel with resale in mind, as discussed here. And now this new information from Zillow can help to guide your color decisions, so you’re adding resale value, not detracting from it, when you choose your cabinet or wall colors.

The big bang of blue bathrooms
The 2017 Color Paint Analysis conducted by Zillow is based on a study of over 32,000 photos of homes that sold. From those photos and the sale prices of the homes, the experts at Zillow were able to quantify the effect of room color on a home’s resale value. For example, a light blue or periwinkle bathroom can increase a home’s resale value significantly (by $5,440 according to the study!), while an off-white or eggshell bathroom can decrease the value by several thousand dollars.

And what about kitchens?
The study looked at kitchens too, although that didn’t find the significant price difference like we see with the bathrooms. According to the study, yellow kitchens will lower price while light blue and soft gray blue kitchens will increase the price (by $1,809 on average). In fact, the study found that in general throughout the house distinct colors like yellow and red will decrease the price although not as much as a total lack of color.

Blue has widespread appeal
Note, however, that the upward or downward effect of the color seems to depend on the room. For example, while blue bathrooms can increase the price, blue living rooms tend to decrease the price.

Yet, with the exception of the living room, blue seems to be an appealing color throughout the house. In addition to blue kitchens and bathrooms increasing appeal and sales prices, blue seems to have a positive effect in bedrooms and dining rooms as well. Keep in mind, however, that these are very specific types of blues, such as light cerulean and slate blue and cadet blue, as well as periwinkle in the bathroom. So not just any blue will do!

Although every color choice is on a case-by-case basis and deeply personal, meaning this study shouldn’t dictate your kitchen or bathroom remodel color schemes, it does reiterate the importance of keeping resale in mind should you plan to move again in the future. Kitchen and bathroom remodels can come with a steep price tag, even when you’re saving money by choosing semi custom cabinets. Make sure you get a return on that investment by making wise color and cabinet choices from the start.

7 Tips for Finding the Best Semi Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Shopping for kitchen cabinets can be like talking to parents about their kids: Everyone thinks their child is the smartest, fastest, strongest, kindest, etc. Parents lack objectivity when it comes to their children, and kitchen cabinet manufacturers lack objectivity when it comes to their products! How do you as the consumer sift through the opinions to find the best semi custom kitchen cabinets?

You learn what to look for…

When you’re searching for the best semi custom kitchen cabinets, here are seven things to look for to help you rise above the subjectivity and make an informed decision for your new kitchen:

  1. Look for choice: This is your dream kitchen, after all, so look for a kitchen cabinet manufacturer that offers plenty of choices in door styles, stains, colors and finishes. That way you’ll find exactly the kind of cabinet you’re searching for. (Some like Wellborn Forest also offer custom color matching services, so you can literally get the exact color you want!)
  2. Look for quality: This should perhaps go without saying, but not every homeowner knows what quality looks like when comparing kitchen cabinets. All those cabinets can be lovely on the outside, but you need to know how they are put together too, because what’s on the inside will determine how well your semi custom cabinets stand the test of time in your busy kitchen.
  3. Look for extras: Even with the cost savings of semi custom (vs. custom) kitchen cabinets, you’ll still spend a large chunk of your remodeling budget on the cabinets. So look for cabinets that give you a little extra, such as soft-close hinges and drawers that fully extend.
  4. Look for durability: Semi custom cabinets are built with either framed or frameless construction. Framed cabinet construction tends to be sturdier. At Wellborn Forest, for example, we only build framed cabinets with concealed hinges. Also check for sturdier 3/4-inch shelves on the insides of the cabinets, and see if the wood used in plywood or furniture board.
  5. Look for American-made: Semi custom cabinets made in the USA tend to be of a higher quality and built of better materials, while also ensuring the workers making the cabinets do so in safe conditions and earn a decent wage. Buying cabinets made elsewhere is risky in comparison. And besides those practical reasons, buying American-made is one of the best ways for you to do your part to improve the economy and job climate.
  6. Look for longevity: When businesses last, it means they are doing something right. Wellborn Forest has a history stretching back to 1961. That kind of longevity is proof of quality construction and design!
  7. Look for warranties: You want a kitchen cabinet manufacturer that will stand behind their products, both the cabinets and the details such as hinges. Look for warranties as proof of the best semi custom kitchen cabinets.

Once you know what to look for, you’ll be able to find the best semi custom kitchen cabinet manufacturers and then start the fun part: finding the cabinets you love!

Make the Most of Your New Kitchen Design: Remodel With Resale in Mind

When you’re contemplating your kitchen remodel, keep in mind that you might not be the only homeowner to cook in that kitchen. The average American moves over 11 times in a lifetime. That means chances are high that it’s not your forever home, and that means you might want to remodel with an idea to resale.

Not that you should base your new kitchen remodel on resale value and appeal alone, but a new kitchen is a big investment, and making sure that investment will pay off in the future when you sell your home only makes financial sense. In addition, experts say your kitchen remodel should cost 6-10% of your home’s value in order for you to recoup most of that investment later, so keep that number in mind.

How much return on investment you’ll see from a kitchen remodel depends in part on where in the U.S. you live, your home’s value and your neighborhood. Obviously it will also depend on the state of the housing market and economy in the future when you are planning to move, and no one can predict either of those.

So create the kitchen you want, but keep future appeal in mind. It is possible to personalize the kitchen to reflect your style while still creating a room that will appeal to others as well. Here are three tips to help you do so…

Tip 1: Choose transitional style semi custom cabinets
At Wellborn Forest, we build semi custom cabinets for transitional style kitchens. If you’re not sure what “transitional” means, it’s essentially a way to describe kitchens that successfully combine traditional and contemporary elements.

Transitional kitchen cabinets are usually more contemporary than traditional, but not modern or streamlined looking. That means they work in a traditional kitchen or a modern one, or something in between. For example, Shaker cabinets look great in a traditional kitchen or in a contemporary one, so we consider them to be “transitional.”

And why semi custom cabinets? Because they will reduce the cost of your kitchen remodel yet still give you a beautiful, quality look. Keeping the cost of your kitchen remodel in check matters when considering resale value later. But it also matters because you will want to invest in quality appliances and stone countertops.

Tip 2: Invest in quality appliances and stone countertops
When homebuyers walk into your kitchen, the appliances will be one of the first things they notice. When you’re remodeling your kitchen, choose higher-end appliances if you can. You don’t have to invest in a top-of-the-line range and refrigerator, but don’t go for the low-end either. In addition, invest in stone countertops. Just about every expert out there will tell you to get granite countertops for better resale value, but some other kinds of stone countertops are appealing as well. And when you choose semi custom cabinets over custom, you’ll have room in your budget for these higher-end appliances and countertops!

Tip 3: Go for kitchen convenience
Homebuyers love to see convenient features in kitchens, and you’ll love cooking in a kitchen that makes your tasks easier, so this is a win-win. When choosing your cabinets, consider clever storage options such as bread drawers, pantry drawers, pull-out drawers and cabinets, and organizers. Also make sure your semi custom cabinets come with soft close drawers and doors.

Most importantly, create a kitchen you’ll love living with, but just in case this home isn’t your forever home, keep that next homeowner in mind.