How to Know If It’s Time to Remodel


Remodel or Renew? That is the question

Spending time at home gives you the chance to take a good look around and see where your house might need some remodeling work. When it comes to the kitchen you have a big choice to make: Re-Do or Re-New. I do a lot of work with Faux Time Design in Hillsdale, NJ. They are my go-to for custom paint finishes for my clients, but they also do a great job with chalk paint and “repurposing” client’s furniture and even kitchen cabinets.  I was invited to present a lunch and learn about kitchens, and how to know if remodel or a renew  was the way to go. Here are the tips from that day. 

How do you know if it is worth the investment to “re-new” which means paint the cabinets you have or if you should bite the bullet and “re-do” with a remodel? I have created a check list so you can keep score. At the end we can tally up the results and see what makes the most sense for your home.

Download the checklist for free.

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Let’s start with the layout: Love it or Hate it?

Think about your kitchen. How does it “work” for you? Is there enough counter space for important activities like food preparation and clean up? How about storage?  Do you have enough cabinet space? Are the cabinets arranged so that pots and pans have a place to call home near the cooking centers? Where are the dishes and glassware located? Are they convenient to the dishwasher for storage and to eating areas for easy access? Don’t forget the traffic patterns. Is there a direct route through the middle of the kitchen to the rest of the house? These are important factors in deciding if the layout works or not. Many times, we simply adapt to the situation and forget there may be a better solution like a remodel. If you have a very functional design, renew may be for you.

What About the Cabinets? Remodel or Renew?:

Are the cabinets in great shape or have they seen better days? Take a good look at the quality of the cabinets. Are the drawers in good working condition or do they only partially close or open?  How about the cabinet doors and drawer heads? Do they need a quick pick me up with some color or are they cracked, broken or maybe missing entirely? What are the shelves like? Are they adjustable? Can you fit plates, dishes and cookware inside the cabinets? Maybe the cabinets are in great shape but could use some interior accessories. They can easily be added to the cabinets. If not…. might be time to rethink and redo.

Counter Tops: The Work Surface

Counter tops are an easy fix. We have replaced counter tops without removing existing cabinets. We did have to make some concessions with seams, but it did work. That said, what is the condition of the tops? Are they cut and scratched down to the subsurface? That can be a sure bet place for bacteria to grow. If there are existing stone counters, can they be resurfaced? Like refinishing wood floors, they can be brought back to life. 

 How about the Design Vibe?

Does the kitchen still have a current look or is it past its prime? If the quality of the cabinets are good, you can just change the hardware and change the color to update the look. A new counter top and back splash is a great update and you can just renew. If you are missing cabinets or have a kitchen straight out of Little House on the Prairie, you might want to redo.

Appliances:  Cooking with Fire or Down to One Burner

What shape are the appliances in?  If you are you a passionate baker but the oven doesn’t keep constant temperature, a new range can be an easy fix. If you really want a pro style range but don’t have the space a redo is for you. Is there enough room for a refrigerator with storage capacity for your family or do you have extra refrigerators and freezers to keep everything you need? This makes it hard to keep track of your food supply as well as additional operating costs. Do you really want a kitchen designed for cooking but the space you have cannot accommodate what you need? Might be time to redo.

Moving Up or Moving Out?

How long are you planning on staying in the home? Is this a short-term investment or are you in for the long haul? This is a very important question.  Consider what the impact on the value of the home will be. You may want to check my article “How Do Kitchens and Bathrooms Sell Houses?” We investigated just how much you can recoup on a remodel and if it will increase the appeal of your home.  This should help sway you toward redoing or renewing.

Let’s Not Forget the Budget

Last but not least is what available funds you have for the project. If you are looking for a quick fix, renewing the kitchen might be the best option. If you are looking for a long-term investment, plan for a remodel.  Work with a professional designer and develop a realistic budget so you can determine your timeline for the project.

The Final Tally Is?

So what is the score? These simple questions  will help you develop a game plan for the next step. If you need help with the different types of kitchen layouts, click here for the Secrets of the Kitchen Work Triangle.

If you have any other questions. please contact us. We are here to help. 


Sharon L Sherman ASID CID CKD is a designer and Reiki Master located in New Jersey. Her award-winning designs and editorial comments have been featured in Woman’s Day, Country Decorating, Design NJ, Family Circle, 201 Magazine, The Best of Bergen, Savvy Living, The Record, The Star Ledger, Bergen Magazine and Aspire as well as several books. Her Blog “Tips for the Trade” has appeared in digital form on She has also appeared on HGTV’s My Big Amazing Renovation and episodes of House Smarts with Lou Manfredini.  


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remodeling hints


Sharon sherman

My award-winning designs haven been featured in multiple magazines, industry publications and on television. That’s nice affirmation, to be sure.

But perhaps the greatest accolade I’ve received is the repeat engagements with so many clients, project after project, year after year.

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remodeling hints