Where to start with kitchen upgrade??

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I want start remodeling my kitchen. I need flooring, cabinets repainted and built-in dishwasher that never had a dishwasher built-in before. I would like an under the cabinet microwave installed as well. I have items that I would like to have upcycle in the kitchen as well. I have a stereo cabinet, bar, and I have wall paneling on the wall that is very shiny I would like to put contact paper over it if possible? This is just for starters.Just to name a few. Any suggestions will help.

q where to start with kitchen upgrade

What's the flooring I would like to still have vinyl tiles on 1/4 of the floor and the carpeting on the rest going into the bathroom and down the stairs.

q where to start with kitchen upgrade

This is the paneling that's on the wall right now. I don't know if I could use a contact paper on it but this is paneling is on three walls of the kitchen.

q where to start with kitchen upgrade

This is the bar that I would like to try to upcycle I don't know if I could use a contact paper? Or what they refer to now is peel-and-stick wallpaper.

q where to start with kitchen upgrade

This is the lower half of the kitchen cabinets. And the portable dishwasher I have in there now.

q where to start with kitchen upgrade

I would like to have a under the cabinet microwave installed.

q where to start with kitchen upgrade

This something I would also like to upcycle or replace with something for my husband's shoes. He can't seem to put them anywhere else that's convenient for him. Cuz he likes them by the door for his workout everyday when he goes out for his walk. So I need a mudroom type area but I don't know where I would put it. That's enough that would be able to stay in the kitchen.

q where to start with kitchen upgrade

This is a stereo cabinet that I would like to upcycle I don't know if I could use a peel and stick wallpaper/ contact paper. LOL

q where to start with kitchen upgrade

This is the bathroom that I would have the carpeting replaced in as well. I know there's a lot to this projects that's why I don't know where to start.

  16 answers
  • Always start from the top down. You don't want to put in new flooring until the footprint of the space is complete. Plus you don't want to ruin brand new floors with all the rest of the work being performed.


    Are you doing the work yourself? Or hiring a licensed contractor?


    The "paneling" can be removed, then I would see what's behind it, possibly install sheetrock and paint. Contact paper is not a good idea, and very difficult to remove. Peel and stick wallpaper in a kitchen can be done, but with all the cooking, I would be leery and install a better backsplash.


    Start with the big stuff first, demo, paint cabinets and walls, install appliances, then flooring. Same for the bathroom, and I would replace all flooring to be consistent and not a hopscotch of different materials.


    https://www.thisoldhouse.com/kitchens/21097083/how-to-paint-your-kitchen-cabinets


    https://www.familyhandyman.com/list/surprising-tips-for-painting-kitchen-cabinets/


    https://modernize.com/homeowner-resources/kitchen/low-cost-ways-to-give-your-kitchen-a-fresh-look


    https://www.thesimpledollar.com/save-money/eight-cheap-ways-to-refresh-your-kitchen-without-a-full-remodel/


    https://legaleaglecontractors.com/kitchen-remodel-order-steps/


    https://www.thisoldhouse.com/kitchens/21015310/the-don-t-get-burned-kitchen-remodeling-guide

    • Karen Karen on Mar 14, 2021

      I'm planning on doing some of it myself like the painting of the wall and the ceiling. I need someone else to strip and stain or paint the cabinets so I would be hiring most of it to be done. I'm doing the rest myself. Not that great at doing most of it. If any of it. LOL I was trying to do something with possibly just maybe paneling over the paneling that's already there because my husband doesn't like to paint that's why he had paneled three of the walls. That was and the 70s and now he's 84 and he's not going to touch it. I was thinking about going with a peel and stick backsplash. I do plan on having the stairway/ doorway and small bathroom done in the same carpeting. As I did before, which was in

      (1994). I also have to have a two of the lower cabinets moved over so I can have the built-in dishwasher. Thank you so much for your input I really appreciate it.

  • I would go to a couple of kitchen remodeling stores and see how they have their display rooms set up. You can also talk to someone and select a style cabinet, hardware, backsplash options, countertop, etc. Even if you plan to do it all yourself, it is nice to get a free quote and opinions and they'll even mock up a blueprint of your kitchen and how it would look.

    • Karen Karen on Mar 14, 2021

      Thank you so much for your input. I did not know that kitchen remodel stores would be so helpful. I'm planning on keeping my cabinets I just want to get them stripped and painted. And replace the laminate countertop. And possibly do a peel and stick backsplash. Trying to keep it on a budget which I have no clue of how much that's going to end up being. This is the first time since the early seventies that the kitchen has been remodeled at all.

  • With a big job like this, my advice is to do one thing at a time. If you're keeping the cabinets, clean and paint them the color you want. The backsplash almost looks like shower board. I would remove it and install a backsplash of your choice. I hope that give you a start.

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    • I would contact a few local contractors to look at the job. They can give you estimates and ideas. Good luck with your project!

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Mar 14, 2021

    Yes, agree with the above answers.

    Contact Paper won’t hold up in the kitchen maintenance.

    Before you start at the top:

    Make yourself a Project Management Master Plan because this is a big Starter Project, with File Folders:

    Samples Folder- with the prices marked on the back.

    Budget Folder- quotes, square footages, tools and sundries needed.

    Drawings Folder- helps calc square footages. Also sketch out your Work Triangle.

    Schedules Folder- things like sanding, spray painting or using enamel paint, might be better done in the garage when it warms up.


    • Karen Karen on Mar 14, 2021

      Thank you for your input. This project already has me pulling my hair out. LOL

  • Robyn Garner Robyn Garner on Mar 14, 2021

    Before doing any work at all - plan your layout! You can get free help from a kitchen design store on this or a pc program. If reusing the cabinets, plan where each is going as well as the dishwasher. I would place them where they will be, paint the ceiling and be SURE of the layout before moving on. If you may buy new cabinets in the future, run the new floor underneath them! Paint cabinets - and the existing counter also if you can't afford new right now. Do install a tile backsplash and remove the plasticine wall boards.


    As far as the items to upcycle - I'm not certain they would fit in the kitchen space or design wise. You can plop them in the space to see if they might work but I don't think so. Find other locations and they can be single projects.

    • Karen Karen on Mar 14, 2021

      Thank you for your input, I really appreciate it. I plan on using the kitchen design stores to see what they can offer. Before I go on with my project. Most design stores will not touch my project I don't think because I do not want to replace my cabinets. I prefer to keep my cabinets and just up cycle them. I already know where I want my dishwasher to go so two of the cabinets would have to be moved over so I could put a new built-in dishwasher. So I would need someone to take my countertop off and move the cabinets over. And then paint the cabinets and install my sink back where it is. I want to use my sink which is an overmount sink for laminate countertop to be installed. Install a new faucet and an over-the- oven microwave. And hopefully paint the cabinets I don't know if there's one person or several people I'm going to need what is Project. As far as the upcycling goes I'm not sure what I'm going to do how about that yet. Because I have a television that is sitting on a bar and my husband does not want me to have the television installed on the wall. He said it's going to ruin the drywall. And he's not budging on that. I only wish I could figure out how to send you pictures without losing this email. Thank you so much for your input again.

  • Mogie Mogie on Mar 14, 2021
    This site seems very helpful. Remodeling Your Kitchen—An Order of Steps

    https://www.thespruce.com/steps-to-remodeling-your-kitchen-1798738

  • Dee Dee on Mar 14, 2021

    If it were me the first thing I would do is replace all the floors with waterproof vinyl plank. It will take away the choppiness. I would then either clean and paint the cabinets or if budget allows replace them Home Depot and Lowes have some nice cabinets. Or go to a cabinet store. You may need to have a professional come in and put your dishwasher in because there is plumbing involved.


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    • Karen Karen on Mar 15, 2021

      Thank you again, for that information. I was told that since there's two coats of gloss on the cabinets they would have to be stripped. I do plan on doing some of the work myself. On the cabinets. I will not be talking to the kitchen design store about keeping my cabinets.LOL at this point I need all the help I can get. I was going to upcycle the bar because right height for the television to sit on and it's good for storage. I really don't want to replace a lot of the furniture if I can help. I'm not good at selling things on Craigslist or wherever.

  • William William on Mar 14, 2021

    Naomie Moore has the right idea. Start from the top down. Flooring always goes last. You don't want any damage to new flooring. That paneling can be painted. Just needs to be cleaned well, primed with a bonding primer, then painted. Cabinets can be cleaned, lightly sanded, also primed and painted. You could hire a handyman to install the dishwasher, countertop, and microwave. You may not need to move any cabinets. Just cut out a cabinet for the dishwasher. Home Depot can help you out. They have a list of contractors/handymen they can recommend to do specific work.

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    • Flipturn Flipturn on Mar 17, 2021

      Hi Karen,

      If you approach a reputable store that designs kitchens or sells kitchen cabinets, they should be able to refer you to carpenters/installers that do their installations, if they don't have staff on site.


      It is very important though to make sure that you have a written contract signed by both you and the installer before any money exchanges hands. This will help protect you from being cheated or swindled. Do not continue with anyone insisting on a 'verbal' agreement or handshake only.

  • William William on Mar 14, 2021

    The paneling look like bath panels to me. The gloss can be roughened up a little with a green kitchen scrubby, then primed and painted. If you have the room for the cabinets to be moved it would need to be done when replacing the countertop. They are screwed to the wall and to each other in the frame. If there is no electric for the dishwasher you would need an electrician for that. An outlet is basically installed inside the sink cabinet. The plumbing can be done easily by anyone. The electric for the microwave may need an electrician also if there is none available close by. The sink would need to be removed before the countertop. It basically sits on top of the counter and is fastened to the countertop from underneath. Disconnect all plumbing first before removing it. Home Depot just wants to sell you a new one. The cabinets have a factory finish and would need to be sanded down to raw wood to refinish them. Painting them is easier. Just some light sanding to remove any gloss, prime and paint. There are a lot of instructions online and Youtube videos for all your projects. Just Google them.

    • Karen Karen on Mar 15, 2021

      Thank you for your input I really appreciate it. Sounds like I really need a painter, electrician and plumber that knows what there doing.

  • Betsy Betsy on Mar 14, 2021

    Hi Karen: Well, what aggravates you the most? I'd start there. Then I'd go to the next thing I didn't care for and do that and then just whittle your grievances with your kitchen away :) But, have a plan and stick to it pretty much :)) Anyway, that's what I'd do.


    Good luck

  • Annie Annie on Mar 15, 2021

    Best way to start would be to draw up a sketch, to scale of your kitchen plan, From there start with the cabinets, perhaps consult with a cabinet installer or go online to a kitchen design site. This sounds like a total re model, so when you are ready to start the demo/construction, it will be easiest to completely gut the kitchen and start from scratch. That way you can do any plumbing or electrical upgrades as well. Good Luck

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Mar 15, 2021

    If you are budget driven, then paint and flooring.

    If not, I would do the appliance changes, paint, wall paneling, then flooring.

    You can definitely put contact paper or wallpaper over the paneling but you will want to fill in the grooves first. You can also paint it.

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    • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Mar 16, 2021

      You can use a deglosser on the paneling and then TSP to prep. That should keep you from sanding. You might have to use something like mineral spirits if it has lacquer on it.

      I painted the paneling in my daughter's room by priming with Original Kilz and then used 2 coats of Behr Premium wall paint after prepping with TSP.

      As for the peel & stick vinyl, make sure you use an adhesive.

  • William William on Mar 15, 2021

    Except for the electrical a good handyman should be able to to the work. You can try Home Advisor, or Thumbtack to find a local electrician and handyman.

    • Karen Karen on Mar 16, 2021

      Thank you for your input, really appreciate it. I was told that home advisors charge 4 people they recommend. Is the thumbtack company similar to home advisors?

  • William William on Mar 16, 2021

    HomeAdvisor is free to the public. They charge the contractors an annual fee and a fee for every lead. Thumbtack works about the same. Free to the public.

  • Sharon Sharon on Mar 16, 2021

    I would get a really good contractor or handyman with experience doing kitchen remodels.... tell him what your willing to do and get bids for the adding the dishwasher next to sink, installing microwave above oven, and replacing the counter, and doing the flooring.


    I would add the same flooring throughout the whole area to make it look more cohesive.... this is done after all the painting and cabinetry is done. Luxury vinyl plank would look great....


    I would remove everything from the kitchen that is not built in, it looks cluttered and mismatched right now..... if you have a garage, I would set up a painting area to do the cupboards and if you are going to add some of these pieces.... I would paint them to match. Remove all the kitchen doors and drawers to the garage for painting, number each one and create a diagram where the go. Remove all the hardware, and sand to remove any gloss. Fill any dents or dinks, and sand again. Prime with a stain-blocking primer like Zinseer Bullseye, I would use a satin paint as it can be cleaned but is more subtle than glossy paint unless the surfaces are perfect. If you plan to change the type of hardware (handles or pulls) you might need to fill the old holes, before painting, and drill new ones - make a template so they all match.

    Then after allowing everything to cure well, put everything back together and your new hardware. Tips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QG3qEKhYEVs


    Paint the walls while the cupboards are curing. Again, I would opt for a satin finish or a semi-gloss. I would not use contact paper or removable wall paper in the kitchen.... it rarely comes out well or lasts. And paint is cheaper also. Instead opt for a nice backsplash.


    Now have the counter people or handyman get and install your new counters.... after the dishwasher is installed.

    Get your microwave installed over the oven, I would go for one with a built in fan unit and light, and you will need the bracket to hang it.... and have the handyman redo that switch


    Then add your flooring.... and the room will look so much larger if its all one type.


    You could try to create a mini mud room by the back door for hubby.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCEI2kJkPyY


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    • Karen Karen on Mar 16, 2021

      What is the difference in vinyl plank flooring, and the luxury plank flooring?

      And the vinyl planks flooring seem to have a texture to them.

      I'm planning on going with vinyl peel and stick tiles because they don't seem to be as firm to walk on & a smoother texture. I'm hoping to find a gray wood grain look. I'm also looking for a gray Berber carpeting for the dining room area landing and small bathroom. Looking for a Berber because I have wheels on my chairs.

      (Also my husband is (84) and he does yoga stretches before he goes for his daily walks). In the dining room. I don't know if you could imagine this or not but (he's very set in his ways). LOL There is no space for a mudroom the landing is only 3x4ft. I have hooks for his coats that are on the back stairs. But there's no place for shoes or any kind of mud room. I also send a picture of a bar that a television sits on he insist that I keep the bar because he likes the television at that height for him to watch it. I told him it could go on the wall and he does not like that idea he thinks it's going to mess up the wall. Thank you again for your time. Have a good night!🙏😴


  • Flipturn Flipturn on Mar 17, 2021

    Hi Karen,


    If you want to keep the cabinets, but would like an updated look for the doors, I would suggest that you consider getting the cabinets refaced instead of hiring someone to repaint them. The term Refacing means purchasing new doors and installing them on to the older cabinets.


    Although some folks have successfully repainted cabinets, proper preparation, patience, and using high quality paint and materials are all keys to achieving the best outcome, which sometimes, unfortunately does not meet with expectations. Some other considerations with repainting or refinishing cabinet doors include the space needed to accomplish this, how the project interferes with the rest of the activities in the home, and the length of 'down time' in the kitchen.

    • Karen Karen on Mar 17, 2021

      Thank you so much for your input, I really appreciate it. Looked at refacing the doors but I would not have the molding design that I have on cabinet doors that I have right now. That's why I'm planning on just having my cabinets painted. I'm just praying that I can find the right person to do the job right.LOL I have no clue about the downtime. So I don't know but I don't know. LOL😕

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