Ask Samantha: Any quick renovation tips for kitchens and baths?

Kitchens and bathrooms are among the most used rooms in the house and they’re often the first to show signs of wear and tear. Most homeowners want these spaces to feel modern and up to date, to reflect their taste and their lifestyle.

How exactly should you prepare for a renovation? Samantha from Heritage Home Hardware recommends considering the following.

Your lifestyle

Start by thinking about any problems your current kitchen poses. If you like to entertain, if there enough room to do so? Is there space for more than one cook in the kitchen? For some, the existing layout may be just fine; for others, a whole overhaul could be needed. Determine which of the two camps you fall into.

Think about your bathroom in a similar way. Are you all about basic functionality or do you dream of a luxurious spa-like retreat? Figuring out how you’ll use the space will help you plan the details.

Get organized

Put all of your thoughts and ideas in one place. Lists help, just make sure to keep everything together, neatly organized, so you don’t misplace any important elements. Organize your material by project and determine which ones require a contractor and which ones you can DIY. Some can be done more quickly while others will likely take longer. Ordering your plans this way can help you figure out where to start.

Think about timing

Outline your expected deadlines, whether you’re doing the work yourself or working with a contractor. A detailed calendar will help you stay on track, especially if you’re tackling the reno yourself. Don’t finalize any dates until you’ve confirmed how long any special orders might take to arrive or you know the average time required to complete specific tasks.

Also, take advantage of the latest deals on the products/supplies you need to help you stay within budget. 

A contractor will want to know exactly what your project entails; it’s the only way they can inform you of an expected timeline. Be sure to choose one who is responsive—a good clue is to note how long it takes them to respond to your requests.

Hiring help or going the DIY route?

It’s important to know what you can realistically do yourself and what you may need the services of a professional for. Call the store and talk to one of their consultants; they can help with your plan, any measurements and more. Look at their pre-designed rooms and saved designs, even rent tools and equipment.

Samantha always recommends asking for advice before you begin, especially if you plan on doing the whole renovation yourself. You need to know exactly what you’re doing, have access to the proper tools and have the skills you’ll need.

If instead you plan to work with a contractor, take as much time as you need to ensure that you’re hiring the right one for the job. Learn as much as you can about the work you are asking them to do, so you can ask the right questions and understand the work as it unfolds. You may need to hire a general contractor who can handle any task or maybe you just need a specialized trade. Do your research: ask to see a portfolio of previous projects, as well as recent customer testimonials.

A signed contract is a must! Don’t start any job with a contractor without one.


Your city or municipality may require permits to be in place before you remodel. If there are any electrical or plumbing changes to be made, a permit will be needed. Your contractor will know which ones are required for your kitchen or bathroom renovation.

Structural and exterior work

Expect your renovation to take longer if any structural elements are involved. These include jobs like removing walls, replacing windows, venting and doorway installation. You’re looking at at least 10-12 weeks—and this doesn’t take into account the planning and design phases of the project.

Your style

Know what your preferred aesthetic is: is your style modern, rustic, industrial or farmhouse? Deciding this will help create a cohesive look, which is the goal of any good renovation. This style will determine all of the accents that you use, from the tiles, faucet finishes, hardware and cabinetry style to flooring and appliances.


If you didn’t have enough storage beforehand, here’s your chance to remedy that. Kitchens in particular require a lot of storage space, so make note of the areas where you feel you need more. It could mean you need to create a separate pantry or to install a kitchen island with built-in room underneath. If you’re considering adding a banquette in your kitchen, you might think about using kitchen cabinetry to add storage below.

Lighting and electrical requirements

Even in the planning stages you’ll need a licensed electrical contractor to ensure your electrical is up to code. Samantha also recommends talking to one of Heritage Home Hardware’s consultants about your requirements.

Start by evaluating your space and determining your needs. Where are the electrical outlets? How do you plan to use your kitchen or bathroom? What condition is your home in—particularly the ceiling and walls? Come up with a lighting plan that will work for you. Most include multiple layers of lighting.

Wants vs. needs

Nothing can be quite so humbling as embarking on a renovation and quickly tallying up how much each of the individual elements will cost. Be realistic about must-haves vs. nice-to-haves because this can help you stay within your budget.

Know your budget

Working with a professional can show you what’s actually realistic; they will break down costs and the timelines for payment required. Focus on your priorities, making sure these get done. It’s also a good idea to set aside an extra 10-15% for any unforeseen issues that may come up.

Demo details

Demolition isn’t as easy as it sounds; you need to know who is responsible for removing waste and what can be recycled and how. A contractor can help. Also visit your local waste management or city website for information that is specific to your neighbourhood. Most areas have drop-off depots nearby but if not, you can always call a junk removal company.

While work is going on in your home, try to keep the air as clear as possible. Watch out for dust accumulation—you may even want to consider having your ducts cleaned.

Enjoy the process

Set yourself up for success by staying organized, sticking to a clear vision and getting great advice along the way. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying your newly renovated space.

For more information about your kitchen or bathroom renovation project, visit Heritage Home Hardware or call 705-759-5101.

For the latest Home Hardware deals, check out this week’s flyer. 

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