Your Complete Kitchen Remodeling Guide for Chicago Homes

As the owners of Planet Cabinets, we’ve had the pleasure of helping countless Chicago families transform their kitchens into the heart of their homes. 

We’ve seen firsthand how a well-designed kitchen can change daily routines, bring families closer, and elevate the overall ambiance of a home. 

One of our favorite memories is of a young couple who came to us with a small, outdated kitchen. By the end of the remodel, their kitchen became a bright, open space where they could cook together and host friends, turning their home into a welcoming haven.


This guide was made to share our wealth of experience and knowledge with you. 

Whether you’re a homeowner dreaming of a stylish kitchen upgrade or a business seeking to modernize your culinary space, our goal is to provide you with valuable insights and practical tips. 

We’ll walk you through each step of the kitchen remodeling process, offering expert advice and highlighting current trends to help you achieve your dream kitchen.

Assessing Your Needs and Setting Goals

Kitchen Remodeling Guide - Assessing Needs and Setting Goals

Understanding Your Lifestyle

Every kitchen remodel should start with a deep understanding of your lifestyle. The way you use your kitchen will heavily influence its design. Do you love cooking elaborate meals? 

Then a spacious countertop and high-quality appliances are a must. If your family is large, think about ample storage and seating areas that accommodate everyone. 

For those who enjoy entertaining, an open layout that allows for easy flow between the kitchen and living areas can make your space a social hub. 

At Planet Cabinets, we take the time to learn about your daily routines and preferences to create a kitchen that truly fits your life.

Setting a Budget

Setting a realistic budget is crucial to a successful kitchen remodel.

 Start by determining what you can comfortably spend and then prioritize your needs. Allocate funds first to essential elements like cabinets, countertops, and appliances. 

Consider cost-saving strategies such as repurposing existing structures or choosing more affordable materials that still offer great quality. 

Remember, a well-planned budget not only keeps you financially secure but also ensures that you get the most value out of every dollar spent. We’re here to help you navigate these decisions and find the perfect balance between cost and quality.

Defining Your Style

Having a clear vision of your desired kitchen style is key to a cohesive and pleasing design. Whether you prefer a sleek modern look, a cozy farmhouse feel, or something in between, your kitchen should reflect your personal taste and complement the rest of your home. 

Browse design magazines, visit showrooms, and create a mood board to gather inspiration. This vision will guide your choices in cabinets, countertops, colors, and finishes. 

At Planet Cabinets, we specialize in turning your style ideas into reality, ensuring your new kitchen is not only functional but also beautifully aligned with your aesthetic preferences.

Planning and Designing Your Dream Kitchen

Kitchen Remodeling Guide - Planning and Designing Your Dream Kitchen

Hiring a Professional Designer

Working with a professional kitchen designer can make a world of difference in your remodeling project. 

A designer brings expertise, creativity, and a keen eye for detail, ensuring your vision is brought to life in the most efficient and stylish way. 

At Planet Cabinets, we collaborate with experienced designers who understand the unique needs of Chicago homeowners. They help you navigate the myriad of choices, from layout to materials, while keeping your budget and style preferences in mind. 

This partnership not only simplifies the process but also enhances the overall outcome, resulting in a kitchen that is both beautiful and functional.

Creating a Functional Layout

The foundation of a great kitchen is a functional layout. One of the key elements to consider is the work triangle, which connects the stove, sink, and refrigerator. 

This classic design principle ensures that these essential areas are easily accessible and optimally positioned for efficiency. 

Adequate storage is another crucial aspect, with solutions like pull-out shelves, deep drawers, and pantry cabinets keeping everything organized and within reach. 

Efficient traffic flow is vital, especially in busy households. Ensure there’s enough space for multiple people to move comfortably without congestion. 

At Planet Cabinets, we focus on creating layouts that enhance your kitchen’s usability and make your daily routines smoother.

Choosing Quality Materials

Selecting durable and stylish materials is essential for a kitchen that stands the test of time. Cabinets, countertops, and flooring are the most prominent features in your kitchen, so it’s important to invest in high-quality options. 

Consider materials like solid wood or plywood for cabinets, which offer both strength and aesthetic appeal. For countertops, granite, quartz, and marble are popular choices due to their durability and elegant look. 

When it comes to flooring, options like hardwood, tile, or luxury vinyl provide long-lasting beauty and resilience. 

At Planet Cabinets, we pride ourselves on offering top-notch materials that not only meet your design preferences but also withstand the demands of daily use.

Selecting the Right Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen Remodeling Guide - Selecting the Right Kitchen Cabinets

Cabinet Styles and Trends

When it comes to kitchen cabinets, the style you choose sets the tone for the entire space. 

Popular styles include Shaker, with its clean lines and timeless appeal, and contemporary flat-panel cabinets for a sleek, modern look. Traditional raised-panel cabinets add a touch of classic elegance. 

Current trends are leaning towards two-tone cabinets, where upper and lower cabinets feature different colors, and open shelving to display beautiful dishware. 

At Planet Cabinets, we offer a diverse selection of styles to match any design preference. Our showroom features the latest trends, allowing you to visualize how these styles can transform your kitchen.

Material and Finish Options

Choosing the right materials and finishes for your cabinets is crucial for both aesthetics and durability. 

Solid wood cabinets, such as oak, maple, or cherry, offer natural beauty and longevity. Laminate cabinets are a cost-effective alternative, providing a wide range of colors and patterns while being easy to clean. 

Painted finishes are popular for their ability to match any color scheme and offer a smooth, modern appearance. The finish you choose can significantly impact the overall look and feel of your kitchen. 

At Planet Cabinets, we guide you through the selection process, ensuring your cabinets not only look great but also stand up to the rigors of daily use.

Customization and Storage Solutions

Custom cabinets offer unparalleled flexibility and personalization. They are tailored to fit your specific kitchen layout and storage needs, ensuring every inch of space is utilized effectively. 

Innovative storage solutions, such as pull-out pantry shelves, lazy Susans, and built-in spice racks, maximize functionality and keep your kitchen organized. 

With custom cabinets, you can incorporate features like soft-close hinges, under-cabinet lighting, and integrated appliances to enhance usability and aesthetics. 

At Planet Cabinets, our custom options allow you to create a kitchen that perfectly matches your lifestyle and preferences, providing both beauty and practicality.

Choosing Countertops That Combine Beauty and Function

Kitchen Remodeling Guide - Choosing Countertops That Combine Beauty and Function

Material Options

Selecting the right countertop material is essential for combining beauty and functionality in your kitchen. Here are some popular options:

  • GraniteGranite countertops are renowned for their durability and natural beauty. Each slab is unique, offering a variety of colors and patterns. Granite is heat and scratch-resistant but requires periodic sealing to prevent stains.
  • Quartz: Engineered quartz countertops are highly durable and non-porous, making them resistant to stains and bacteria. They come in a wide range of colors and patterns, mimicking the look of natural stone without the need for sealing.
  • Marble: Marble countertops exude luxury and elegance with their distinctive veining. While beautiful, marble is more prone to scratches and stains and requires more maintenance to preserve its appearance.

At Planet Cabinets, we offer a wide selection of these materials to ensure you find the perfect match for your kitchen’s style and needs.

Current Trends

Staying updated with current trends can help you choose countertops that enhance your kitchen’s aesthetic appeal. Some trending designs and colors include:

  • Waterfall Edges: Countertops that extend vertically down the sides of islands or cabinets create a sleek, modern look.
  • Bold Patterns: Dramatic veining and patterns are in vogue, adding a striking focal point to your kitchen.
  • Neutral Tones: Shades of white, gray, and beige remain popular for their versatility and timeless appeal.
  • Mixed Materials: Combining different countertop materials, such as wood and stone, can add depth and interest to your kitchen design.

Explore these trends at our showroom to see how they can transform your kitchen.

Maintenance Tips

Proper maintenance is key to keeping your countertops looking new. Here are some practical tips for different materials:

  • Granite: Clean with a mild detergent and warm water. Avoid acidic or abrasive cleaners. Reseal every 1-2 years to protect against stains.
  • Quartz: Wipe with a damp cloth and mild soap. Avoid harsh chemicals and abrasives. No sealing is required.
  • Marble: Clean spills immediately to prevent stains. Use a soft cloth and pH-neutral cleaner. Reseal regularly to maintain its beauty and prevent etching.

By following these maintenance tips, you can ensure your countertops remain stunning and functional for years to come.

Incorporating Modern Appliances and Fixtures

Energy-Efficient Appliances

Energy-efficient appliances are a smart investment for any kitchen remodel. 

They offer numerous advantages, including reduced energy consumption, which translates to lower utility bills and a smaller environmental footprint. 

Appliances with the ENERGY STAR label are designed to use less energy and water without compromising performance. For instance, energy-efficient refrigerators and dishwashers can save hundreds of dollars over their lifespan. 

At Planet Cabinets, we recommend incorporating these appliances to create a sustainable and cost-effective kitchen that aligns with your eco-friendly goals.

Stylish Fixtures and Hardware

Modern fixtures and hardware play a crucial role in enhancing the overall design of your kitchen. Sleek, stylish faucets, cabinet handles, and drawer pulls can transform a basic kitchen into a chic, contemporary space. 

Consider options like brushed nickel or matte black finishes for a sophisticated touch. 

Statement lighting fixtures, such as pendant lights over an island or under-cabinet lighting, not only improve functionality but also add a decorative element. 

By carefully selecting stylish fixtures and hardware, you can infuse your kitchen with personality and flair.

Smart Kitchen Technology

The latest trend in kitchen design is the integration of smart technology, which brings convenience and innovation to your culinary space. 

Smart ovens and refrigerators offer features like remote control via smartphone apps, allowing you to preheat your oven or check your fridge’s contents from anywhere. 

Smart lighting systems can be adjusted for brightness and color, enhancing both the ambiance and functionality of your kitchen. Voice-activated assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant can control these devices, making your kitchen experience seamless and efficient. 

At Planet Cabinets, we stay updated with these advancements to help you incorporate cutting-edge technology into your kitchen remodel.

Lighting and Ambiance

Importance of Good Lighting

Proper lighting is essential in creating a functional and inviting kitchen. Good lighting enhances visibility, making food preparation and cooking safer and more efficient. 

It also sets the mood, transforming your kitchen into a warm, welcoming space where family and friends can gather. 

At Planet Cabinets, we believe that thoughtful lighting design is key to elevating your kitchen’s overall aesthetic and functionality.

Types of Lighting

Combining different types of lighting can create a well-lit and balanced kitchen. Here are the three main types of lighting to consider:

  • Task Lighting: This type of lighting is focused on specific areas where detailed work occurs, such as countertops, sinks, and cooking areas. Under-cabinet lights are a popular choice for task lighting, providing direct illumination where you need it most.
  • Ambient Lighting: Ambient lighting provides general illumination for the entire kitchen, ensuring the space is well-lit and comfortable. Ceiling-mounted fixtures, chandeliers, and recessed lighting are common sources of ambient light.
  • Accent Lighting: Accent lighting adds depth and highlights certain features of your kitchen, such as architectural details, artwork, or display cabinets. Strip lights or spotlights can be used to create these focal points.

Combining these three types of lighting ensures your kitchen is both practical and visually appealing.

Current Lighting Trends

Staying updated with current lighting trends can add a modern touch to your kitchen. Some popular trends include:

  • Pendant Lights: These are a stylish and functional choice, often used above kitchen islands or dining areas. They come in various designs, from industrial to elegant, adding a decorative element to your kitchen.
  • Under-Cabinet Lighting: This trend continues to be popular for its practicality and aesthetic appeal. It provides focused task lighting and creates a sleek, modern look.
  • LED Lighting: LED lights are energy-efficient and long-lasting, making them a smart choice for any kitchen. They are available in various color temperatures and can be used in recessed lights, strip lights, and even smart bulbs.

The Kitchen Remodeling Process: From Start to Finish

Initial Consultation and Planning

The journey to your dream kitchen begins with an initial consultation at Planet Cabinets. During this meeting, we take the time to understand your needs, preferences, and lifestyle. 

We’ll discuss your vision, budget, and any specific requirements you have. Our team will then create a detailed design plan tailored to your space, incorporating your ideas and our expert recommendations. 

This phase is crucial as it sets the foundation for a successful remodel, ensuring every aspect is thoughtfully planned and aligned with your goals.

Demolition and Preparation

Once the design plan is finalized, we move on to the demolition and preparation phase. 

This involves removing old cabinets, countertops, appliances, and any other elements that need to be replaced. Proper preparation is essential to ensure a smooth installation process. 

We take care to protect the rest of your home from dust and debris, minimizing disruption to your daily life. 

Our team handles all necessary structural adjustments and plumbing or electrical work, preparing the space for the new installations.

Installation and Finishing Touches

With the space prepped and ready, we proceed to the installation phase. Our skilled craftsmen install your new cabinets, countertops, and appliances with precision and care. 

Each component is meticulously fitted to ensure a perfect match with the design plan. After the main installations are complete, we focus on the finishing touches. 

This includes installing hardware, lighting, and any custom features you’ve selected. 

Final inspections are conducted to ensure everything meets our high standards and your satisfaction. 

The result is a beautifully remodeled kitchen that’s ready to enjoy.

Ensuring a Smooth Kitchen Remodeling Experience

Communication and Collaboration

Clear communication and collaboration between homeowners and contractors are essential for a successful kitchen remodel. At Planet Cabinets, we prioritize open and honest dialogue throughout the entire process. Regular updates and meetings ensure that everyone is on the same page, from the initial design to the final installation. This collaborative approach helps to address any concerns promptly and ensures that your vision is accurately realized. By working closely together, we can make adjustments as needed and create a kitchen that perfectly suits your needs and preferences.

Handling Unexpected Challenges

Even with meticulous planning, unexpected challenges can arise during a remodel. The key to managing these situations is staying flexible and maintaining a positive attitude. If an issue occurs, we address it promptly and find the best possible solution. Here are a few tips for handling challenges:

  • Stay Calm and Patient: Understand that delays and changes can happen. Keeping a calm demeanor helps everyone involved.
  • Trust Your Contractor: Rely on the expertise of your contractors to navigate and resolve issues efficiently.
  • Be Open to Alternatives: Sometimes, alternative solutions can lead to even better outcomes than originally planned.

At Planet Cabinets, we are committed to overcoming any obstacles and ensuring your kitchen remodeling experience remains positive.

Post-Remodeling Maintenance

Maintaining your newly remodeled kitchen is crucial for its longevity and continued enjoyment. Here are some tips to keep your kitchen looking and functioning at its best:

  • Regular Cleaning: Clean surfaces regularly with appropriate cleaners to prevent buildup and stains. This includes countertops, cabinets, and appliances.
  • Routine Inspections: Periodically check for any signs of wear or damage and address them promptly to avoid bigger issues later.
  • Careful Use: Treat your kitchen with care. Use cutting boards to protect countertops, avoid slamming cabinet doors, and follow manufacturer guidelines for appliance use.

By following these maintenance tips, you can ensure that your remodeled kitchen remains a beautiful and functional space for years to come. At Planet Cabinets, we are always here to provide additional guidance and support as needed.

Summarizing Key Points

In this guide, we’ve covered the essential steps for a successful kitchen remodel in Chicago, from assessing your needs and setting goals to planning, designing, and selecting the right materials. 

A well-planned kitchen remodel not only enhances the functionality and beauty of your home but also adds significant value. 

By choosing high-quality materials, incorporating modern appliances and fixtures, and maintaining clear communication with your contractors, you can achieve a kitchen that meets all your needs and exceeds your expectations.

We invite you to visit Planet Cabinets for a free in-store estimate and personalized consultation. 

Our team of experienced designers and craftsmen is dedicated to helping you create the kitchen of your dreams. 

Whether you’re looking for inspiration, need expert advice, or are ready to start your remodeling project, we’re here to assist you every step of the way.

Ready to get started on your kitchen remodel? Contact us today to schedule your free consultation

Visit our showroom to explore our wide selection of cabinets, countertops, and other kitchen essentials.

We look forward to working with you and turning your kitchen remodeling dreams into reality.

Don’t wait—reach out today and take the first step towards your new kitchen!

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