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5 Tips for Choosing Kitchen Finishes in Your Remodel 

June 24, 2021


When you remodel your kitchen, one of the biggest hurdles can be selecting which finishes to use. Often, homeowners don’t know where to start and can feel lost. While they may have a crystal-clear idea of the new layout and appliances they want for their kitchen, they struggle to visualize aspects such as flooring, countertops, cabinets, backsplash, walls and more.  

The best way to confidently make finish selections is to make the selections in the correct order. Start with the item for which you have the least options and work up to the item for which you have the most options available. Not only does this method eliminate distractions from too many choices, but it also helps to confidently make decisions while building on each selection so that everything is cohesive.  

Before you begin, look for inspiration photos from Pinterest or Houzz so you can better pinpoint the style of finishes you like. Think about what draws you to each photo. Make notes on the items you like about the photo, and show them to each vendor along the way so that they can show you finishes that look similar. You can stay focused on your vision for your kitchen remodel by referencing your inspiration photos along the way.  

  1. Cabinets 

Cabinets are the first thing you notice when you enter a kitchen, and they are commonly the most expensive investment within the project. Cabinets also usually have the longest lead time. There is a wide price range for cabinets, from the most basic options at the lower end to completely custom builds on the high end. Most people have a general idea of the budget they’d like to stick to, but your cabinet vendor will be able to tell you what sort of options are within that budget. The major decisions are door style (center panel and edges of the door), finish (paint or stain color), top and bottom trim, decorative handles or pulls and deciding what will be housed inside each cabinet and what works. Cabinet Vendors provide floor plan and elevation details of the cabinets you select. This becomes the communication tool to help you decide on the final touches and overall look of the entire kitchen. 

  1. Countertops

Rely on your cabinet choices to select your new kitchen countertops. There are many options to choose from for countertops – from natural granite to engineered stones like quartz to warm wood butcher block. Using your cabinet sample alongside countertop samples, you’ll be able to visualize your kitchen renovation coming together. Make one or two selections of your favorite countertops, and bring the samples home to view in your own lighting. With your cabinet and countertop samples, you can preview the final look alongside existing finishes that you do not plan to change. Seeing the bigger picture should help you select which countertops you like best, but if you’re still uncertain, choose several you like best and move onto your backsplash selection.  

  1. Backsplash Tile

Take your cabinet color sample and any countertop contenders to the tile vendor. You’ll notice that many of the options don’t pair well with your cabinet and countertop selections. This makes it easier for you to narrow down your choices. Hone in on the few that you like and work with your designer or a showroom consultant to get the right mix of tiles to complete the cabinet, countertop and tile selections. Selecting tile can be exciting since there are so many options, but remember to never start with tile. There are simply too many choices, and you will inevitably end up frustrated and lost since you don’t have your main finishes selected yet.  

  1. Flooring

Typically, you want your flooring to contrast with the finishes in your kitchen. This means going either lighter or darker than the cabinets so that they don’t all blend together when you step back view the space as a whole. Some people prefer the warmth of hardwood, while others like a more durable surface such as tile or easy-to-clean laminate. Remember, coordinating with the cabinets doesn’t mean they have to match your floors. 

  1. Paint

Always select your paint color last, and make a sample board containing all the other samples of finishes you’ve chosen if you are having trouble figuring out what paint color you like. In regard to brand, colors and sheen, it’s best to have an idea of what you think you’d like to choose, but wait to make the final color selection once your cabinets, countertops and tile are installed inside your home with your lighting. If you still can’t decide, buy sample pots and paint each on a piece of poster board. You can move the boards around your kitchen to see how the colors will look in different areas and in different light levels throughout the day. You won’t regret spending a few more dollars on samples if it means you won’t waste time and money on re-painting the room so late in the project. 

Selecting your kitchen finishes in the order above will typically make the process smoother and less stressful for you. When you go in this order, you’re less likely to have regrets. Ultimately, the best thing you can do to ensure your remodeled kitchen will look exactly the way you want it is to hire a skilled renovations contractor who can assist you with making material selections. Reputable home renovation companies have relationships with the best materials suppliers and often offer the services of design specialists who can show you different options and guide you towards your final vision.  

RSU Contractors has over 35 years of experience in home renovations. We are proud of our high customer satisfaction rate and work hard to exceed expectations on every project we complete. Call (615) 269-3906 today for a virtual or in-home consultation to help start you on the path toward your kitchen renovation.