Ultimate Kitchen Remodeling Guide

Welcome to Design First Builders Ultimate Kitchen Remodeling Guide, your go-to source for transforming your kitchen into the heart of your home. Here, we’ll walk you through the process, from dreaming up your perfect kitchen, what to expect at the demo stage, and more. Expect practical advice, insider tips, and plenty of inspiration to help you make informed decisions on creating a kitchen that not only meets your needs but exceeds your expectations. Whether you’re looking to update a few key areas or planning a full-scale renovation, the teams at Design First Builders are at your service. 

Finding the Best Kitchen Remodel Ideas

At Design First Builders we think about kitchens obsessively. From swooning over the gorgeous kitchens in a Nancy Myers movie to appreciating the revolutionary work of Lillian Gilbreth (Industrial Engineer), we feel kitchens are not meant to be boring but inspiring. We also know that taking on a kitchen remodel is no small feat especially for the homeowner. 

But where do you start? First off, it’s crucial to have a clear vision. Do you want a kitchen brimming with sleek, stainless steel appliances, or are you more inclined towards a warm, inviting space with a kitchen island as its centerpiece? Do you want open shelving for simplicity or the classic appeal of closed cabinetry.

Discovering what you want your kitchen remodel to achieve requires a bit of exploration. Here’s a few suggestions for ways to find exactly what you want in your kitchen remodel. 

  1. Architects and interior designers
    • Professionals in design will be invaluable in translating your vision into a tangible design. They can guide you through the myriad of choices and help you navigate the complexities of layout, materials, and functionality. 
  2. Pinterest
    • A fantastic way to keep all your ideas in one area is by creating Pinterest boards. Create individual boards for favorite kitchen designs, storage solutions, color schemes, anything you can think of. This visual compilation can serve as a source of inspiration and a useful communication tool when discussing your project with professionals. May we suggest our own Design First Builders Kitchen Remodel Board? It’s packed with our own Chicago kitchen remodels, design ideas and more. 
  3. Books, Movies & Social
    • Head to your nearest bookseller and look through Architectural Digest and other design books and magazines. Follow your favorite designers and influencers on Instagram for ideas. And, yes, movies and television. From Meryl Streep’s stunning kitchen in It’s Complicated to the upper east-side charm of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, movies and television can be an endless source of ideas. 

Remember, the more you explore and identify your preferences, the closer you’ll get to discovering the kitchen that’s not just a part of your home, but a reflection of your style and life.

Kitchen Remodel Budget & Home Improvement Loans

Fast forward and you’ve narrowed down your ideas, talked with an architect and designer and now you’re ready to discuss budget and home improvement loans. We can’t stress enough the importance of preparing a remodeling budget or a financial plan that is meant to: 

  • Prevent overspending
  • Prioritize needs vs. wants
  • Track expenses
  • Aid in decision making process
  • Can give you some peace of mind

Check out the different home improvement loan options and remember to shop around for the best rates and fees. 

City of Chicago Permits

When it comes to kitchen remodeling in Chicago, navigating the city’s permit requirements isn’t always easy. Whether or not you need a permit will depend on the scope of your project. For most larger renovations, especially those involving structural changes, electrical, or plumbing work, the City of Chicago requires homeowners to obtain the proper permits. This ensures that all work complies with local building codes and standards to keep your home, its occupants (and neighbors) safe and sound. 

Don’t want to fight city hall? Leave the bureaucratic challenges to us. We understand Chicago permit applications can be daunting. For our clients, we’ll gladly remove that from your to-do list. Our team handles the permit application from start to finish, ensuring that all the paperwork is in order and compliance with city regulations is met. 

Two resources for you to consider if you want to do this yourself, both from the City of Chicago: 

  • Guide to Building Permits
  • Building Permits Not Required

Find the Right Team

You must know your contractor, no exceptions. Your contractor must be properly licensed and insured. When searching for a contractor, ask these remodeling questions to find the best fit for your project.  

There’s no doubt that the success of your kitchen remodel hinges on the team you choose. Finding the right kitchen contractors and remodeling companies with a proven track record in the Chicago area is crucial. Experience matters because it means your team will have faced—and overcome—a variety of challenges. Our contractors are held to a high standard of craftsmanship and have the skills and experience to tackle complex kitchen remodel projects.

Our decades of kitchen remodel experience in the Chicago area ensures that from the initial design to the final touches, your project is in expert hands. We emphasize clear communication, meticulous planning, and quality craftsmanship, making us the go-to team for your kitchen remodeling needs.

Demo Your Kitchen

“Demo,” short for demolition, is the first physical step (and some say the most fun to watch) in the remodeling process. It involves removing the existing kitchen components to make way for the new design. This stage may look chaotic, but it requires careful planning and execution. 

If you choose Design First Builders as your team, we’ll manage this phase with precision, ensuring everything is done correctly and with minimal disruption (and dust) to your daily life.

After the demo is complete, homeowners who are undergoing a complete kitchen remodel can expect the process to take several stages. These may include: 

  • Plumbing: Updating or installing new plumbing lines as needed.
  • Electrical: Ensuring your kitchen’s electrical system is up to code and meets your future needs.
  • Paint Walls: Bringing your kitchen to life with your chosen color palette.
  • New Flooring: Laying down the foundation of your kitchen’s new floor.
  • Install Cabinets, Appliances, and Finish with Fixtures: The final steps that bring your kitchen together, from functional storage spaces to the appliances and fixtures that add the finishing touches.

You can find more information on our D.R.E.A.M process here!

Design First Builders: Your Kitchen Remodeling Contractors 

As we wrap up this Ultimate Kitchen Remodeling Guide, if you’re considering a budget-friendly update or a luxury transformation in the Chicago area, Design First Builders is your ideal partner. Our years of experience, comprehensive portfolio, testimonials, and dedication to professionalism set us apart. We’re here to bring your dream kitchen to life, managing every detail from permits to polish with expertise and care.

We invite you to reach out and discuss your kitchen remodel project with us. Let’s make your kitchen not just a space for cooking, but a centerpiece of your home. With Design First Builders, your dream kitchen is within reach!

Schedule a Free Consultation


"*" indicates required fields

Type of Project(s)*