Kitchen Remodel Tips For Homeowners

These kitchen remodel tips will get right to the point on the type of options you have.

We won’t explain things like the anatomy of a faucet and part names.  

This page is created to provide homeowners advice on kitchen remodeling and the items you need to choose.

All of our clients work with one of our certified in-house designers to help them pick out all of their kitchen remodel design items to ensure they look good, are quality items, along with fitting your style & functionality needs.

Kitchen Layout Recommendations

Some of these kitchen renovation recommendations will be provided when there are optimal conditions.

Due to restrictions, some of these may not be possible and your remodel contractor should be able to help you figure out what is the best option to align with your current layout, target investment, and several other factors for your kitchen remodel.

This business model is more work for the contractor, but it drastically reduces the risk for the homeowner. 

Design-Build Business Model

We strongly recommend you only work with a Design-Build remodeling company who you pay to plan everything out like the layout, ensure the feasibility, do all of the design, help you pick out all of your items, and get you an updated and accurate proposal after doing all of the upfront work.

Pathways and kitchen spacing

The layout of the kitchen will depend on the current structure of the home, what you are willing to change (budget and length of project are main factors), and what your needs are for the kitchen such as, but not limited to entertaining, how often you cook, any physical limitations someone in the home might have, kids, and pets.

Pathways in the kitchen should be a minimum of 36 inches wide. 

Pathways within the cooking zone should be 42 inches wide for a one-cook kitchen and 48 inches wide for a two-cook configuration. 

A simple piece of advice is to consider things like the fridge doors being open, oven door(s) open, dishwasher door open, and what locations people will spend the majority of their time.

Kitchen remodel tips on spacing

Kid friendly

If there are young children in the home, it is nice to keep the cooktop away from the high traffic areas if possible.  This way hot stoves, pot & pan handles aren’t sticking out, and less chance of spills.

The microwave height can have an impact on kitchens that have younger children.  That’s one of the reasons you see more microwaves below the countertop, in a built-in kitchen cabinet about 3-5 feet high, or as part of a combo appliance that has the microwave and oven together.

kids in kitchen

There are other reasons, but this is one of the factors for parents with younger children, adults that are short, or someone with a physical restriction.

If you have many kids or others in your home, an important kitchen reno tip is having the fridge location away from the main cooking area and towards the entrances or perimeters of the kitchen can be a huge benefit.  This way someone can grab items from the fridge such as beverages, without getting in the way of others in the kitchen.  

This is also another reason some homeowners put a separate smaller beverage fridge in another location in the kitchen. Occasionally homeowners have a second microwave at the edge of the kitchen to accommodate large families.

Another option that is simple to do is having larger drawers for older children to access their commonly used items like utensils, plates, snacks and whatever else you deem safe for them to get to.  

One last minor tip is to have a message board towards the common area of the kitchen if helpful.  This allows older kids to write messages to their parents and vice versa.  Sometimes it also has a kids schedule pinned to it, a notebook, writing utensils, etc.

kitchen advice for beverage fridge

Electronics section

kitchen remodel electronics section

It is becoming common for households to have a lot of different electronic devices.  We often create a kitchen cabinet or a drawer that has extra outlets.  Some have regular outlets with USB ports so you don’t need the charging block.

There are drawers that have outlet strips you can plug several items into.  

You can also find a 3rd party charging dock that can handle 5+ devices which can be placed on a shelf.

These electronics areas are usually on the perimeter of the kitchen area for quick access without impacting people in the cooking area.  It also helps to reduce the chance that people have their electronics near water sources. 

Sometimes all that is needed is more outlets in an island or peninsula so it is easy to be using the device while it is plugged in and charging.

Countertops and landing space

When designing your kitchen, we recommend at least 15 inches of countertop on each side of a cooktop.  It is also nice if that is possible next to the refrigerator but we are noticing many homeowners don’t care about that. Landing space can also be important near the microwave.

Other areas that benefit from countertop space are sections for prepping, countertop appliances, electronics, entertaining, and eating such as seating at a peninsula or island.

We help homeowners with all of these items as part of our refined remodel process.

Kitchen Cabinet Tips

This is one of the larger costs in the kitchen, so it’s a good place to start.  

It is easy for a contractor to offer mediocre cabinets to make their quote look lower, but it can cause a lot of issues for the homeowner.

If something goes wrong with the kitchen cabinets, you have to remove the countertops, which means you have to also uninstall the sink plumbing, and the sink.  

The countertops don’t always come off without breaking, so you may have to get new countertops which is often an additional $5,000 - $15,000 depending on the size of the kitchen, type of materials and other factors.

You’ll usually have to also remove the backsplash if the countertop is removed. Having to remove backsplash tile and redo it will add cost and time that could be avoided.

Removing and reinstalling the appliances will be needed too.

So if the cabinets end up needing to be redone, you’ll be doing close to a full remodel a second time.

Instead of explaining everything about cabinets on this kitchen remodeling tips page, we have a homeowner cabinet buying guide to check out.

Kitchen Cabinet Refinishing or Refacing

Cabinet Refinishing

Cabinet refinishing is where "Paint" or "Stain" the existing cabinets.

The actual process looks something like this:

  • Remove the doors and drawer fronts
  • Take the doors and drawers offsite to sand them or sand blast the existing paint/stain
  • Sand the cabinet boxes
  • Paint or stain the cabinet boxes, cabinet doors, and drawer fronts
  • Apply clear lacquer to protect the finish
  • Install new cabinet door hinges and install the doors
  • Install the drawer fronts to the drawers
  • Install cabinet handles/pulls /knobs

Cabinet Refacing

Cabinet Refacing is the same process as above but instead of keeping the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, we use new ones.  

This is common for homeowner who have good cabinet boxes, aren't changing their layout, and want to refresh the look of their cabinet doors.

Cabinet refinishing and refacing is a great way to save money.  

The downside is it may not last as long as new cabinets.  You have to also consider that many kitchens in the Phoenix southeast valley are 25+ years old and they may not be in a good enough condition.


Many "A" level contractors will not do cabinet refinishing or refacing because it is difficult, time consuming, and tedious.

We do complete both cabinet refinishing and cabinet refacing, but we do have an exception because the homeowner usually won't be happy and it can create issues for our team:

We do not mix new cabinets with refinishing/refacing cabinets next to each other. 

When you try to take existing cabinets and put new cabinets next to them and then refinish the stain or paint, it creates issues.

Because of this, we do not combine refinishing cabinets and installing new cabinets next to each other.
The one exception is if you want to refinish/reface your perimeter cabinets, and then have your island removed and rebuilt with new cabinets.

We can do that because the island is by itself. 

If you are looking to change the layout of your kitchen like a new kitchen island, then you need to consider new cabinets.

If you are looking to change the type of appliances like going from a regular oven stovetop to a built in double oven, you'll need to choose new cabinets.

If you aren't sure, that is okay because you can schedule a phone consultation with our Admin Manager to review your kitchen renovation needs and see if we are a good fit.  If interested, check out this page to see if we are a good fit and schedule your call.

Kitchen Cabinet Storage Options

One of the things that gets some homeowners excited about their kitchen reno is cabinet storage options.

That can range from wood shelves that slide out from the cabinet doors, to Tupperware lid and container holders, to advanced systems that you can pull down from an upper cabinet that drop down to a lower level to make it easy to access.

kitchen baking pan storage
lazy susan kitchen door
kitchen tupperware storage

Instead of explaining all of that on this page, we have a separate webpage that has 40+ pictures of the different storage options: 

Click here to see the fun & function storage options available for your kitchen.

Kitchen Countertop Advice

Here are the main types of countertops homeowners are considering these days:

Quartz countertops 

Quartz is the most popular right now. It is low maintenance and most quartz doesn’t need to be sealed like granite since it is not a natural stone.  

The downside to Quartz countertops is they are made with a resin that can melt or leave burn marks with excessive heat.  

So you can’t take a pot of boiling water from your stovetop and place it directly on the quartz.  Most people use a trivet, oven pad, or other material to put between the countertop and hot pot, but this is still important to know.

One of the other reasons quartz kitchen countertops are so popular is that it is man made so the veining or patterns within it are more consistent looking. When we provide kitchen makeover tips to homeowners, we tend to suggest quartz, granite, or quartzite.  

quartz countertop tips

Granite countertops

Granite used to be the most popular countertop option in a kitchen, but it is probably around the 2nd - 3rd most popular now.  

Granite is fantastic because it is natural stone that can hold up to heat and other elements.  

Granite is supposed to be sealed every year or two because it is porous. 

One of the best options we can advise on is from a company called HydroShield.  They seal all types of countertops, kitchen backsplash tile, shower tile, shower grout, and other materials you want to seal and protect. Their warranty is 3-5 years depending on the material. 

granite countertops

Quartzite countertops

Quartzite has become popular because it is a natural stone like granite but often has a look which is considered more in style.  It can handle heat like granite but it can stain with wines, mustards, and spices. Lighter colors tend to show more stains or faults.

The downside to quartzite is it is normally 20%-100% more than similar price tiers of quartz or granite.

This is the best option in terms of functionality if it matches the homeowners budget and taste.

kitchen quartzite countertop tip

Marble countertops

Marble is known for being a luxury counter space material but it comes with several downsides, the main one is maintenance.

Marble stains easily and gets etching which are the circles from drinking glasses, and faint marks you can see at a lower angle and can feel when you rub your hand across.

Wood (butcher block) countertops

We do not install butcher block or wood countertops due to warranty issues down the road.  They do not hold up like stone surfaces and therefore we won’t install them.  Our fabricators feel the same way and do not install them either. They are difficult to clean for homeowners and they easily scratch.

We also do not suggest stainless steel countertops or cement poured countertops.  They both have too many issues and that is why we won’t do them for kitchen countertops.

Additional kitchen remodel advice on countertops

Some homeowners are doing different types of countertop materials for the perimeter of their kitchen and their island.  

So the island may have a more colorful pop to it compared to the perimeter or vice versa.

Our in-house certified designer will help you with all of your selections including countertop options.

Kitchen Waterfall Edge Countertops

These have been popular for many years because they provide a sophisticated look while protecting the sides of the kitchen cabinets.  Essentially the countertop is not only above the countertops but is also going down the edge of the cabinet like a waterfall.  

We are big fans of these and the only downside is they cost more for the materials and labor.  Besides that they are a huge win if you have children or pets and are worried about the sides of the cabinets being scratched, damaged, etc.

This video on YouTube does a good job of explaining the different countertop options with images, the only downside is they downplay the downsides but those were explained in the text above.

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Kitchen Backsplash Advice

The main options for countertop backsplash are either tile (or tile like material), countertop material that is about ~4in tall, or countertop material that goes from the countertop to the bottom of the upper cabinets.

Some people like backsplash to provide a pop of color or to be subtle and let other design elements take the spotlight.

One homeowner had a great phrase for describing kitchen backsplash tile: “The backsplash is the jewelry of the kitchen.”

Countertop material became popular for the backsplash but as started to drop in popularity in Phoenix. 

The least expensive option is 4” countertop backsplash, then tile backsplash and the most expensive is countertop material across the entire wall which is usually from the beginning of the countertop to the bottom of the upper kitchen cabinets.

Kitchen backsplash advice

Kitchen Faucet Options

We have one tip for kitchen faucets or any other plumbing fixtures: Delta, Moen, and Kohler are the 3 brands we highly recommend.  

While there are other good brands out there, these 3 have been around for a long time and they are durable. Our #1 recommendation is Delta, #2 Kohler, #3 Moen, but all three of them are good.

The Pull Down Faucet

The pull down kitchen faucet has been the most popular choice for a long time.  There are other faucets that have become quite popular, and we will also discuss those below.

The pull down faucet offers functionality of being able to pull the end of the faucet off the neck and spray the water in different directions.  

This is great for different angles with dishes, washing a pet, or spraying the kiddos if they aren’t listening  j/k 😊 

These come in all the finish colors and styles, that makes this an easy choice for many homeowners.

kitchen pull down faucet

The Pull-Out Faucet

pull out faucet

The pull out faucet is similar to the pull down faucet. 

It allows you to remove part of the faucet to spray in different directions.  

The main difference is the pull out faucet has a longer handle to make gripping it easier.  

Some homeowners don't like how small the "handle" is on the pull down faucets, so they choose one of these pull out faucets

You pull these faucet handles slightly towards you instead of pulling only down for the pull down faucets.

The Industrial Style Faucet

This type of faucet has become quite popular even though it has been popular in the past.

The industrial style faucet is what you have seen in professional kitchens, restaurants, and of course people’s homes. 

As the name explains, these are commercial looking with a longer neck that provides more flexibility to move the faucet handle around.

Many of them have more than one water tap allowing for multiple functions at the same time. 

Homeowners usually choose the industrial style faucet for its functionality and/or style.

industrial style kitchen faucet

The Touchless or Motion Detection Faucets

touchless motion detection kitchen faucet

The touchless or motion detection faucets have a sensor on it so when your hand(s) are close it will turn the water on or when you lightly tap it it will turn on.

Some people like these faucets because it doesn't spread germs, the faucet stays cleaner (especially for chefs or cooks whose hands have a lot on them), or just because it's convenient.

On the opposite side of that are people who do not like these faucets because they don’t always turn on or the sensors aren’t as good as they want them to be.  Or some people just don’t like not using a handle after trying it.

It’s important to mention this because these faucets are usually more expensive and we don’t want someone being disappointed. It's usually good to test them out at a showroom or friends/ family members house to check if you like it first.

Either way you still have a handle to turn them on and adjust the water temperature.

Voice Activated Kitchen Faucet

The newest version of the high tech faucet is the voice activated faucet.  These provide the most functionality by far compared to any other options. 

This faucet has the pull down handle, the touchless motion detection like the faucet mentioned above, and also can be voice activated.

You can say things like turn on the kitchen faucet.

Or “pour 8 cups of water”

So you don’t even need a measuring cup.

Some of these faucets aren’t much more than the motion detection faucet or higher end kitchen faucets.

As of writing this, the average faucet in this category is $400 - $900.

Important kitchen makeover tip to consider with these faucets:

One potential downside is there are more parts involved with this type of faucet, which means there are more things that could go wrong down the road. 

For example these faucets have the same amount of parts as a regular one, plus they have a sensor, microphone, water flow sensor, solenoid, and other electronics that could break down.  Most companies don’t have great warranties and if it is a newer product from a company, that tends to increase the chances of issues.

Voice activated kitchen faucet with parts

Dual-Handle Faucets

dual handle faucet

These are rarely chosen in kitchen remodels because they are considered outdated and less functional.  You may still see them in some businesses but rarely in updated homes. 

For that reason we will make this a short read for you.

These faucets have separate handles for hot and cold water.  

These faucets require three holes fabricated in your countertop since you need one for the hot faucet handle, cold faucet handle, and the water spout.

Since these are rarely chosen as a kitchen faucet, we’ll leave it at that.

The Pot Filler Faucet

The last main type of faucet in a kitchen is the pot filler faucet.

These are located above your stove top so you can fill water close to where you boil or cook.

These are often considered a luxury item but sometimes it can be a necessity or strong want.

Here are some of the reasons homeowners choose a pot filler faucet:

  • The homeowner can’t carry a heavy pot of water from their sink to their stovetop

  • The homeowner’s sink is far from their stovetop

  • The homeowner can carry it but they don’t want to 

  • The homeowner entertains or cooks a lot and want 2 sources of water in the kitchen

  • The homeowner just thinks it is cool and wants the feature

kitchen pot filler faucet

These increase the price of a kitchen renovation because there are additional costs for a 2nd faucet, the install of the faucet, and running a cold supply line from another location to this faucet in the wall.

Depending on the cost of the pot filler faucet and how far away the nearest cold water supply line is, altogether these usually cost about $1,000 - $2,500 more. Curious about the pros and cons of stainless steel vs chrome kitchen faucets?

Kitchen Sink Advice

Undermount VS top mount sinks

Undermount is what most homeowners are choosing because the top mount is considered outdated and it is much more difficult to keep clean.

Undermount sinks have a more sophisticated look than a top mount.

Undermount sinks also have the benefit of being able to swipe anything that is on the countertop right into the sink, such as water, food scraps, etc.

Top mount stick up above the countertop with gives it a 3 dimensional look.

Most homeowners don't like how they are harder to clean and stuff can get stuck around the edges.


Single basin VS double Basin sink

Single basin sink is where there is no divider.  Many homeowners like this because it can fit larger items like baking pans, large pots, etc.  

It may be better suited for larger capacity houses or for those that cook a lot and/or use more dishes.

There is also only one drain compared to a double basin sink that has two. When there are 2 drains, only one is attached to the garbage disposal.  So if food goes in the non-garbage disposal drain, then the homeowner has to grab it and throw it in the trash or into the other side of the sink.  

single bowl vs double bowl

Double basin sinks used to be more popular before dishwashers because you could fill one side of the dishwasher with soapy water and clean your dishes while leaving the other side of the sink available.  Some people may still do this for certain scenarios and that or any other reason you would want to split your dishes in 2 areas would make it a great idea to install a double basin sink.

Double basin sinks have different configurations including popular options like 50/50 (each side of the bowl is the same size) 60/40 and 70/30.  This way the homeowner can customize the sink to their needs.

If you have a single basin bowl sink, you don’t have a second section for a dry off area.  Many homeowners now have a dish rack next to their sink for this reason.

Farmhouse or Apron sink

Farmhouse or apron sinks are distinguished by their front area of the sink that is like a wall instead of cabinetry. 

These normally come in a single basin and are becoming less popular than they were a few years ago when they were all the rage.

These sinks provide a country style or industrial style which is still very popular.

One potential downside to the farmhouse or apron sink is that there is usually less material between the edge of the sink(countertop edge) and the inside edge of the sink, which can cause more dripping onto the floor in front of the sink.

One of the downsides is the farmhouse sink is more money for the item along with the custom cabinet below it, the bracket to hold the heavier sink, and the install is more.

This isn’t to be negative but to be candid to provide the best advice possible.  

Once something is installed in your home, if someone is not happy with it, they often won’t do another kitchen revamp because of the cost and time involved, so it’s best to know these things upfront.

There is one other potential downside to a farmhouse sink.  If you are looking to refinish/reface your cabinets, you would need a new cabinet to hold the sink and the sink brace.  

Many A level contractors won’t do any type of refinishing or refacing. 

We will do refinishing/refacing as long as we aren’t mixing new cabinets with refinished cabinets. 

So we have to advise homeowners that either we do all new kitchen cabinets in that area or we don’t do a farmhouse sink. 

farmhouse sink advice
apron sink

Drainboard sink 

Drainboard sinks are set up so you have a sink with a countertop level drainboard next to the basin sink that is all one piece.

Drainboard sinks are nice if it won’t be seeing a lot of dishes and you don’t want a separate drainer or don’t have a dishwasher.  

Our remodel guidance on this type of sink…

If you rarely wash dishes by hand, or happen to have a standalone dish drain rack, this option probably won’t be the best fit for your kitchen remodel.

drainboard sink option

If you don’t have a dishwasher or prefer to hand wash your dishes and don’t use a lot of dishes, this can be a great option since the drainboard will move the water right into the sink.

If you don't like the look of a dish rack next to your sink but also hand wash some dishes, this might be the perfect sink for you.

Kitchen Prep sink

For larger homes or those that cook a lot, a prep sink can be useful.

The prep sink is smaller than a regular kitchen sink and often used at a wet bar area, or away from the primary sink.

Having a secondary sink makes it easier for multiple people to prepare at the same time, so if you entertain and/or cook often, this could be a helpful solution.

We have heard some homeowners who have two tell us they don’t use it like they thought they would.

They cost more money too because you have to run a new drain pipe to the location along with the hot and cold water supply lines.  Then there is the cost of the sink, a 2nd faucet, under sink plumbing, and the installation of those items.

kitchen prep sink tips

Most popular kitchen sink materials

When picking a sink material consider what abuse it is going to get, what style you like, and what will go with the other new design elements of your kitchen.

Stainless Steel Sinks

Stainless steel sinks are still the most popular option with another option called composite sinks being a close second.

Stainless steel is known for durability, not staining, easy to clean, and long lasting.

It provides a modern look, contemporary, and sleek look.

If you are going to select a stainless steel sink, ensure you go for a 16 gauge or 18 gauge thick sink.  This ensures that the steel is thicker.  

If you work with Phx Home Remodeling, or any company that has a certified in-house designer, they will help you choose all of these options to ensure you get quality products that fit your design style along with matching the look of all the other elements in your kitchen.

stainless steel kitchen sink
Composite sinks
composite kitchen sink option

Composite sinks are one of the most popular options along with stainless steel.

Composite sinks are a blend of stone dust such as quartz or granite and an acrylic resin.  This provides a uniform look, the appeal of stone but without the cost, maintenance, or heavy sink weight.

Composite sinks do not need sealing like stone sinks and they are very durable.  Apparently exposure to extreme heat could damage the sink, but we have never run into that or heard first hand of that being an issue.

We only install quality composite sinks, so maybe that is one reason.

Composite sinks come in a lot of different colors and styles which makes it easy to find one that matches almost everyone’s taste. 

When our designers provide kitchen remodeling tips to homeowners, they often suggest the composite sink or the stainless steel sink not only for the looks, but also the durability and lower maintenance.

Stone sinks

Granite is a popular sink for those that choose stone. There is also marble, onyx, sandstone, soapstone, travertine, and other stone material. Natural stone is extremely durable because of the years spent under immense pressure, so it is very hard to cut or dent.

It also provides a natural look due to the fact that each piece of stone can have different veining, colors, etc.  

Some homeowners like that, and others want to avoid it.

Stone sinks need to be sealed since natural stone is porous.

So you’ll want a professional to come out every few years to inspect and seal your stone sink.

Stone sinks are also heavy and more expensive for the sink itself along with the sink brace and installation.

Our kitchen reno advice on sinks… Those that consider stone sinks, often end up choosing a composite to get the look they want without the maintenance or high cost.

stone sink
Fireclay enamel sinks
Fireclay Enamel Kitchen Sinks

The fireclay enamel is a type of ceramic sink that is formed, porcelain enamel is applied, and then it is heated to around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit for about 24 hours.

This makes the sink customizable in shape and size while fortifying the sinks strength.  The enamel exterior provides great stain and scratch resistance.

Most of these sinks only come in a one basin style, often the farmhouse sink, and their color options are limited to white, off white, and a few more rare colors like black and blue.

One of the downsides to a fireclay enamel sink is they can chip due to cookware and utensils.  Some homeowners get a metal grid for the bottom of their sink to reduce the chance of this.

Our guidance on this type of sink is you can find other materials that are more durable.  We find that the majority of our clients do not want to trade off the looks of a sink for the issues of cracks or chips. 

Acrylic resin solid surface Sinks

One of the benefits to acrylic sinks is they are lighter so they are easier to install and don’t put as much strain on your countertops and/or sink brace.

Some DIY homeowners choose this sink because it is easier to install due to the lightweight and large variety of sizes.

These sinks have a stain resistant surface, but steel wool or other abrasive materials might scratch the sink.

One warning on these sinks is to consider the connection of the garbage disposal to the acrylic sink. “Metal to plastic” connections are subject to vibration, and with a garbage disposal’s action, the connection between the two over time might loosen and cause a leak.

acrylic kitchen sink
Copper sinks
copper kitchen sink

While copper sinks aren’t as popular due to them only fitting a few design styles, it provides a beautiful and unique look to a kitchen.

They are well known for their hammered finish but they also come in a few others like smooth finish.

Another benefit to copper is it kills 99% of all bacteria. While that is an asset, I wonder how much that truly helps because the dish or bacteria would have to touch the sink and the majority of surface space of dishes don’t touch the sink, but I’m no scientist!

Just like with stainless steel sinks, ensure you get one that is 18 or 16 gauge thick.  The less expensive ones are thinner and can damage easier.

This video from Home Depot provides good kitchen sink tips along with pictures, materials, and what to consider depending on your needs:

Kitchen Sink accessories

Many sinks come with accessories such as sink bottom grids, cutting boards, and drying racks.

The sink bottom grids are metal grids that have rubber feet to lay at the bottom of the sink.  This helps with the wear and tear the bottom of the sink often sees from pots, pans, utensils, and other items.  It can also act as a drying rack.

Some sinks come with cutting boards that can fit on the top of the sink.  This allows for the homeowner to cut items and discard the unusable parts right into the sink's disposal. Or to have a water source right next to where you are cutting and prepping.

Another sink accessory some homeowners like is a removable drying rack.  It attaches to the top of the sink just like how the cutting board does.  There’s essentially a groove in the sink that the cutting board or drying rack sits on top.  The drying rack is made of metal bands and a rubber connecting them which allows the drying rack to be rolled up easily for storage when not needed.

kitchen sink accessories

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Kitchen Lighting Remodel Tips & Recommendations

Some homeowners don’t care much about kitchen lighting and others care a lot.  My one remodel tip on kitchen lighting would be this… Not that an actual photograph of your kitchen is important, but when you compare photos of kitchens that have good light, versus mediocre light, there is a noticeable difference.

So we usually provide this advice: If you are going to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a new kitchen remodel, updating the lighting can make a big difference if it isn’t currently well lit.

You can still run recessed lights and other lights after the remodel is done, but it will be more work afterwards.  So it could cost more, and they will have to cut holes in your drywall, fish the lines, patch it up and then repaint your ceiling(s).

Depending on different factors, it could be much more work if the kitchen cabinets are already installed.

Pendant light suggestions

Pendant lights hang from the ceiling by a rod, chain, or wire.

They are usually different from a chandelier in terms of size, and their style is usually not as elaborate as most chandeliers.

kitchen remodel pendant lights

While pendant lights do provide more light to the kitchen, most homeowners choose them mostly for the aesthetics.

They have so many fun styles to choose from and they provide a great three dimensional element to the kitchen.

Our recommendation for kitchen pendant lights is to have them in groups of 2-5  where possible, unless they are large pendants or it is a small space below their location.

kitchen pendant light recommendation

We usually advise the pendant lights be over the island or peninsula if there is one.  

The pendant lights should coordinate and be symmetrical with the section below them.

Pendant lights are fun because they can match the faucet finish, handles, appliances, countertops, other elements of the kitchen, or be completely contrasting and unique to the space.

Chandelier Advice

nice kitchen chandelier
different chandelier for kitchen

Chandeliers are a fantastic way to bring elegance and uniqueness along with a minimalist look, or provide a wow factor to your kitchen.

When people think of chandeliers; they may picture a large crystal chandelier, yet there are so many styles nowadays. 

One of the most important aspects to choosing a chandelier is not only the style to match the rest of the kitchen, but choosing the right size.

This website actually has a calculator you can use to get a rough idea of the size of chandelier that could make sense for your kitchen:

If you choose a home remodeling design-build company that has a designer, then they should have a designer to help you with this.

Chandeliers can be made from different types of materials such as metal, wood, beads, cloth, crystal, and wires.

One of our lighting tips for chandeliers is to pick what other elements of the kitchen you want to match with. 

That could range from the wood on the chandelier matching the wood on your open shelves to the chandelier metal matching with the cabinet handles.  

There isn’t a right or wrong and we suggest considering all the other elements of the space when making that decision.

This is where a designer who specializes in kitchens can be a tremendous help.

You can see more about how we have in-house designers  who help you pick everything and how our Design-Build business model is much better than choosing a general contractor.

Recessed lights 

These are often called can lights due to the can that used to be more common.  The recessed lighting we use now does not have cans.  They are LED, which is great for Phoenix homes in the summer because it doesn’t produce heat like other recessed lighting.  The LED also uses less energy and you don’t see a bulb because they are small LED lights inside a thin casing.

Most of these LED’s have a button on them to switch between 4-5 different light colors 2700k-6500k, such as daylight, warm white, cool white, etc.

The k stands for Kelvin.  A 2700K setting will cast a warm look, making for a more relaxing setting. At or above 5000K means light will be bright, cool, and possibly harsh. At the midrange of around 3500K is natural lighting.

Our certified designers help our clients choose the right setting depending on their space, but our guidance on this is to usually start around 3000k and see what you think.

recessed light comparison
recessed lighting advice before installed

This video shows what these LED recessed lights look like and the switch with the different color settings:

Dimmer switches

We are a big fan of dimmer switches since LED recessed lights are bright.

This way you can have your kitchen lights brighter for tasks that require it, while dimmable to help with ambiance when you want.

Many homeowners choose to have kitchen lighting dimmers for each electrical fixture group (pendants, can lights, chandelier, under cabinet lights, open shelf under lights) to allow for customization.  

The only potential downside to having each electrical fixture category on its own switch is the cost is increased for things like running the wires, especially if it is a long run or hard to fish through your ceiling/walls.

Under Cabinet Lighting Recommendations

Under cabinet lighting is probably the one type of kitchen lighting where homeowners differ more than any other type of lighting.

Most homeowners want can lights and pendant light, but about half of homeowners don’t want under cabinet lighting, while the other half do.

There is obviously no right or wrong here.

The way we sometimes counsel homeowners: Do you find yourself cooking, prepping, or doing other tasks at your countertop where there is a cabinet above and find there isn’t enough light?

Their answer usually provides the solution.  That being said, some homeowners don’t care about that and they just want the lights for ambiance.  There are many under cabinet lighting solutions these days like LED strip lights that allow you to have different colors and you can change it from a remote or your mobile phone. 

undercabinet lighting recommendations

Kitchen Advice On Colors

Colors can be one of the trickiest aspects for homeowners when planning their kitchen design.  

If you are considering doing a kitchen renovation, make sure you work with a design-build remodeling company.

 Otherwise the lack of planning, lack of upfront design work, and several other factors will drastically reduce your chances of being happy with the final outcome.  

You can check out this page that explains much more about the design-build business model and why homeowner love it once they understand the difference.

Due to remodel trends changing and that peoples tastes vary greatly, these color tips will be high level advice to consider.

The first piece of advice on colors is if you have a small kitchen, use light colors.  Dark color schemes shrink the appearance of many kitchen layouts.

So consider using soft shades on kitchen cabinets and add lighting where possible (natural light, recessed lights, pendant lights, etc.

This has to do with more than just color, but find a focal point for your kitchen. 

This will often involve a pop of color, an appliance, or materials that make the area the main focal point of your kitchen.

Contrast is an easy way to give yourself an eye-catching kitchen. Contrast doesn’t have to be as stark as being black and white (although that is beautiful). 

Contrast is easy to create with different colored items such as cabinets, countertops, backsplash, flooring, and appliances. 

Even cabinet handles can be a fun and exciting way to invite color into your kitchen.

Our certified in-house designers help our clients pick out all of their kitchen design items and they also provide kitchen tips and recommendations. 

kitchen remodel advice
tips on kitchen remodeling in Chandler
kitchen remodel tips for ahwatukee homeowners

Appliance Advice

Many remodeling companies including ourselves find it is best to have homeowners pick out their own refrigerator, stovetop, range, built-in oven, and dishwasher. 

We are still involved in several aspects like ensuring they go together for the design, dimensions for the appliances and other requirements like the electrical requirements.

Appliances are very personal for homeowners so they often like to choose those on their own, plus the employees at the appliance stores are more knowledgeable, especially since appliances change often.

Advice on kitchen appliances
appliance packages

It also reduces the risk of dents and reduces overall liability to have the homeowner purchase the appliances from the store and have them deliver it right to the home. 

This way the homeowner gets to inspect their new appliances to ensure there are no scratches or dents before the delivery is completed.  Many appliance stores offer free or reduced free deliveries to entice you to purchase through them. 

That said, we usually like to include items like range hoods, some microwaves, beverage/wine fridges, and a few other appliances as part of what we pick out and purchase for the homeowner. 

It depends on what is the best scenario since there are so many factors.  Regardless, we walk through all of this with homeowners just like all contractors should do for you.

For these reasons, we will keep this section brief with a few tips.

Moving, Splitting, or Adding Appliances and the Impact

Moving an appliance can be a small cost or it could add $2-$6k to each appliance being moved.

The main cost in moving, splitting, or adding appliances is the electrical.  

When you split an appliance you now need a new dedicated electrical circuit which means a new electrical cable from your new appliance to your electrical panel.

That cable has to be run through your home, so either up a wall, through the attic, and down another wall or through numerous walls if there isn’t adequate attic access. 

That means the contractor has to cut holes about every 5 feet to fish the thick electrical cables through the ceiling or wall if they don’t have adequate attic access.

Here are some examples of when you need new electrical lines:

  • Going from a combo stovetop/oven range to a separate stovetop and a separate built in oven/double oven  (Your current stovetop/oven range has one cable from the electrical panel, and now you need two)

  • Changing from a separate microwave to a microwave/oven built-in combo

  • Changing from one oven to a double oven

  • Going from a small/freezer fridge to a large fridge/freezer combo

Sometimes needing a new line has nothing to do with adding an additional appliance or splitting ones. 

Sometimes just replacing like-for-like appliances need a new electrical line because the new appliance has a higher electrical draw then what your old electrical cable can handle.  

Another reason for needing new electrical lines is adding a wine fridge, ice maker, beverage fridge or other new appliance.  Sometimes the contractor can tap into an existing electrical line, but it may not be able to handle the new appliance. 

You don’t want to have your fridge that keeps things cold constantly cutting off along with whatever else is on that same electrical line.  

Don’t forget your house may be 10-40 years old and a lot has changed in that time.

This is serious because installing an appliance or device that pulls more than what the cable can handle could start a house fire.

Any good remodeling contractor in Phoenix will be able to help you with this part. 

That is one of the reasons homeowners like our Design-Build model where they purchase the feasibility, planning, and design package first, so they can figure out everything before committing to doing the construction phase.  

This is where we help the homeowner figure out all electrical requirements, plumbing, feasibility of all construction aspects, everything design related.

That includes our designer helping you pick out all elements of the kitchen, provide a rendering, and then once everything is picked out and planned, you know exactly what it will cost before signing a construction agreement.

Recommendations on choosing appliances:

Stovetop advice

When considering a stovetop, consider an induction cooktop.  Induction cooktops are the safest option available, they are easiest to clean, and they have a few advantages over other options.  

Induction cooking heats a cooking container by electrical induction, instead of by thermal conduction from a flame, or an electrical heating element. 

An induction cook spot contains a coil of copper wire underneath the ceramic plate, and when cookware is placed on top, an alternating electric current is passed through it.

The resulting oscillating magnetic field induces a magnetic flux, producing an eddy current in the ferrous pot, which acts like the secondary winding of a transformer.

The cooking container must be made of or contain a ferromagnetic metal such as cast iron or stainless steel. Heat is coming from within the pan, making this method of cooking a lot more efficient.

induction cooktop benefits
Induction stovetop

Because of this magnetic connection, if you remove the pot from the stovetop, the stovetop will turn off and start to immediately cool down.  This is a huge safety feature for several reasons, such as having young children in the home.

Another benefit is induction cooktops boil water about 2 times faster than other methods including gas stovetops.  

Many people that are “die-hard” fans of gas stovetops end up liking the fact that induction cooks evenly and fast.  If cooking fast is not a good scenario, they can obviously be adjusted with the knob just like other cooktops.

Induction cooktops are easier to clean than gas cooktops because the induction cooktop is flat.  Gas cooktops are tedious and time consuming to clean due to having many parts, plus the large open areas for food and debri to collect and get charred by the flames.

One of the downsides to an induction cooktop is if you don’t have the proper electrical wiring, you have to do a new home run of running an electrical cable from the stovetop location to the electrical panel.

As mentioned above, it is common to need new wiring if you are moving any appliances, so this may not change the total cost, but it could have an impact, so it is worth mentioning.

Another downside is that you need the right cookware to create the proper magnetic connection to create the heat.  You may have the right ones already and not know it. 

Simply put a magnet to the bottom of your cookware to see if it sticks and if it is magnetic it should work on an induction stove.  If not, homeowners usually find it is a good time to get new cookware.  

If not, you can buy a flat metal device with a handle that you can put between the stovetop and your cooking device.  This way you don’t need all new cookware.

Apparently the magnetic field of an induction cooktop can interfere with a digital meat thermometer, so you may need an analog thermometer—an old-fashioned solution to a modern problem.


Refrigerators have made more progress than many other appliances in the last few years.  They often have wifi connectivity, glass doors so you can see into the fridge, mini doors to grab the most accessed items, and much more.

Since there is so much information on refrigerators, and this page is long, we will offer this guide here you can review if interested: 


Microwaves come in many options. Whirlpool has a fantastic article on the 8 types of microwaves and picking which one is best for you so instead of recreating the wheel, here is the link: 

Range Hoods

Range hoods are a great way to add functionality but also a nice design aesthetic and possible focal point to your kitchen

Range hoods come in a few varieties. 

The most popular type of range hood is the wall mount version.  This is the type you see in many magazines and photos, often consisting of stainless steel.  

One of the advantages to these is they usually have the range hood insert which has the blower in it, along with the exterior part.  This reduces the cost of the range hood along and the labor to install it.

They also come in many styles and shapes, helping homeowners find one that fits their style.

One aspect that some homeowners may find as a downside is if your ceiling is tall and you are continuing the range hood vent section to your ceiling, you’ll need an extender. 

While it doesn’t add a lot to the cost, you can see the extender and some homeowners may not like the aesthetics.  While most of our clients like it, it's worth mentioning so you can see for yourself before making that decision.

There is also a custom option where you have the range hood insert or the “guts” of the actual mechanism separate from the exterior section you see.  These are also referred to as custom range hoods.

These custom range hoods are a lot more money and they tend to match with other elements of the kitchen.

The 2 most common are matching with the cabinets or with the wall paint color.  

A custom range hood is often $3,000 -$10,000 more than a regular wall mount stainless steel range hood.

That depends on how large and/or powerful of an insert you choose, the material of the exterior, and the overall build out of the range hood structure.

range hood
range hood with extender
custom kitchen range hood

Another version is often called an island range hood.  These are usually in an island as the name implies, but really it's a range hood that comes down from the ceiling and is not attached to a wall.  So these are above an island or a long peninsula.  

This is the most expensive option for a range hood for these reasons:

  • There is rarely an HVAC line already in the ceiling, so you have to create one from that location to an exterior location for venting.
  • You often have to run a new electrical line from the range hood to the electrical panel.
  • Due to the weight of the range hood and that it isn’t attached to a wall, there is more work to secure it to the ceiling.
  • The cost of the range hood itself is more money because it is usually for higher end homes with more features, there's more materials, and more parts to put together, along with other reasons.
  • The labor in general is much more extensive for putting together and installing these island range hoods.

It usually costs $7k - $15k altogether for an island range hood.

These range hoods provide a high end look to a kitchen and also increase the functionality of cooking. 

It also allows the chef to cook while facing others instead of facing a wall.  

island range hood
nice island range hood
Get Expert Help On Your Remodeling

Use the blue button below to pick a time to talk with our remodel expert. By scheduling the phone consultation, it ensures everyone gets a call back at an exact time that works for both parties.

Our Consultation Manager will review your remodel needs, provide advice, answer your questions, and provide a price estimate.  If it s a good fit at the end of the call, we schedule the in-home evaluation and then provide a written proposal.

Wrapping up these kitchen remodel Advice…

We could provide 2x3 times as much information as this page has, but we have to be respectful of your time and factor in what is most important for the average homeowner to know.

When you choose a company to help you with your kitchen renovation, ensure that they at least have a certified in-house designer, a dedicated project coordinator for the construction phase, and a good remodel process.

We hope these kitchen remodeling tips were helpful!

Phoenix Home Remodeling offers kitchen remodeling services in Ahwatukee, Chandler, Sun Lakes, Gilbert, & Tempe.

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