Ready for a Kitchen Renovation? Follow These Do’s & Don’ts


Does this sound familiar…? You’re ready to swap those outdated kitchen cabinets and laminate countertops for gorgeous new finishes and fixtures. You’re eager to trade a dark, dysfunctional layout for a kitchen that supports your lifestyle. You’ve browsed dozens of inspirational images—and maybe even experienced the new, real-life kitchen of someone close to you—and you’re brimming with ideas and excitement…

However, if you’re like most people, once you dive into the process yourself, that excitement can quickly turn into something else…

When homeowners reach out to work with us, they usually fall into one of two categories: 

  1. They have not started their renovation yet and are coming to us to help them from the beginning
  2. They are stuck somewhere in the initial stages, feeling overwhelmed, and have realized they can’t (or don’t want to) do it alone

The first option is the BEST starting point, and I’m not just saying that because it’s my passion and career. Whether you’re working with us or not, I believe that starting with the design is always the best first step if the look, feel, and functionality of your kitchen is important to you.

But let’s play Devil’s Advocate for a moment here and look at the second category. What happens when you don’t start with an interior designer? Here are 5 do’s and don’ts to help you have a successful kitchen renovation…

beautiful kitchen with herringbone wood floors, blue cabinets, and white walls

Don’t Start with a Builder or Contractor First

When designing a kitchen for your optimal lifestyle and comfort, it’s a designer’s job to ask the important questions and help you answer them. Questions like: What is the best layout for your lifestyle? Which countertop material, flooring, and appliances are right for your family? How can we design your kitchen for everyday life and special occasions? More importantly, these design questions MUST be answered and planned for before any demolition or construction occurs. 

Builders and contractors, while very talented on the construction site, simply don’t specialize in this area. Without a keen eye for design, chances are high that they’ll miss the important details that give your new kitchen the functionality and wow-factor you’re hoping for. 

The other downside to starting with a builder first is that they will ask you for your design decisions in order to proceed. This brings us to my next point…

Don’t Select Materials as You Go

Please, please, please don’t do this. In my opinion, the single biggest mistake anyone can make when designing a space is to select materials one at a time as the project progresses. Whether it’s a kitchen, a living room, or a whole home, making piecemeal decisions will always result in a home that looks, well… piecemeal. I might even go so far as to say that professionally designed spaces look so put-together because we make all selections before any action is taken, and we take our time doing it.

Remember, that selecting materials is already a daunting task for anyone—there are hundreds of decisions to make for a kitchen renovation and thousands of options from which to choose. Believe me when I say that this is literally a full-time job (mine!). Plus, with your own career and responsibilities to manage, you likely don’t have the time, energy, or desire to develop yet another area of expertise. And you shouldn’t have to.

This is where so many homeowners get stuck—and end up reaching out to us! Using our detailed discovery process, we select each and every material before construction ever begins (countertops, cabinetry, flooring, finishes, fixtures, furniture, decor, etc.) and present you with a design concept for approval or fine-tuning. No agonized decision-making is required. No stress or overwhelm. Just the fun part, seeing your dream home come to life!

Do Get Very Clear About Your Investment

Understanding your overall investment and allocating it wisely is an essential part of a successful renovation. While builders and contractors can help you with general budgeting for the overall project, the level of detail simply won’t be the same as it would be with a design professional who understands the intricacies of the interior and how to mix high and low options.

We help you budget for the features you really want: that island with great storage and seating, the pull-out spice rack or walk-in pantry, even things like creating a larger window over the sink, or making sure your investment includes that natural stone backsplash you’ve been eyeing for years. We know all the little details and we can help you plan for them before any of your money zips out the door.

Do Consider Zones & Special Occasions

When it comes to kitchen renovations, it’s essential to consider zones that are perfect for everyday living and special occasions. For example, keeping the spices or utensils in an organized space next to the range will make cooking and entertaining more enjoyable. Or, imagine entering your kitchen on a quiet morning and being greeted by an organized coffee nook with all of the necessities. But…

…these aren’t experiences that builders and contractors plan for, again, not because they aren’t talented, but simply because they aren’t specialists in interior design. An interior design pro will take special time to consider your lifestyle while keeping your family’s specific needs in mind. Whether you work with us or not, I honestly can’t recommend it enough!

Do Start Your Kitchen Renovation with a Design Professional

If you’re ready to maximize your investment and actually enjoy your renovation—all while creating a space that is both stylish and practical for your family—it’s essential to hire a trusted interior design professional first and then move on to hiring the contractor and trades you need. To save you the headache of a Google search, we also have a network of trusted builders, contractors, and trades we’d be happy to recommend for your project.

So, what’s your first step? I suggest researching a few designers whose work and personality appeal to you and set up discovery calls. (You can reach out to us here if we’re on your shortlist!) Then, trust your judgment and let the experts guide you to the joyful, life-affirming experience of a brand new kitchen.

P.S. If you’re on the fence, be sure to download our complimentary guide 5 Things to Ask Yourself Before hiring an Interior Designer

Until next time,


Shop my favourite kitchen accessories

Staci Edwards and her team provide interior design and decorating services to help you create a home that you truly love. 

Founder of Staci Edwards Interior Design

Staci Edwards

complimentary cALL with Staci.

Unsure of Where to begin? Schedule a

© 2010-2022 Staci Edwards Design Inc. Terms and COnditions. Privacy Policy.

Interior design and decorating services to help you create a home you love — serving Toronto, Oakville, Burlington, Mississauga and surrounding areas since 2010. 

422 Pearl Street, Suite 2u
Burlington, Ontario L7R 2N1