Kitchen Refresh vs. Kitchen Remodel: What’s the Difference?

Many of our San Joaquin or Sacramento County remodeling clients come to us looking for a kitchen remodel, but others simply want a kitchen refresh. What’s the difference between the two? And, perhaps more importantly, when would you choose one option over the other?

What’s the Difference Between a Kitchen Refresh and a Full Kitchen Remodel?

In reality, the answer to this question is quite simple. A kitchen refresh involves updating your kitchen with primarily cosmetic features. The overall layout and floor plan typically stay the same. A simple refresh might be repainting the kitchen walls. A more extensive kitchen refresh could include refinishing existing cabinets, installing a custom range hood, updating cabinet hardware, and changing out the countertop material.

In contrast, a kitchen remodel can include any or all of the following features:

  • A new floor plan
  • Removing load-bearing walls or other features to create additional space
  • Adding new doors or windows
  • Installing new cabinets and/or appliances
  • Reconfiguring gas lines, plumbing, or electrical components

Now that you know the difference between the two terms, how do you know which option is best for your own home? To answer that question, we’ll need to take a closer look at some key factors.

Kitchen Refresh or Kitchen Remodel: 4 Factors to Consider

Before you make the final decision on whether to freshen up your kitchen or go through a full remodel, we recommend working closely with a professional kitchen designer and local remodeling company. They can help you work through the factors listed below, along with other things you may not have considered on your own.

In general, these are the 4 key things to consider when deciding to refresh or remodel your kitchen:

1. How big is your remodeling budget?

Every home renovation project should have a budget. Once you decide exactly how much you have available to spend, a remodeling budget can dictate where and how that money should be spent.

If your budget is small, you won’t get very far with a full kitchen remodel. Instead, you’re better off using the available funds to create a new look and feel with cosmetic changes to your kitchen instead of revamping everything all at once. Another option is to continue saving until you DO have a big enough budget to cover a full remodel.

2. Do you like the layout of your existing kitchen?

If the answer to this question is “yes,” a kitchen refresh could save you a significant amount of time and money. Simply give your kitchen a facelift by updating cosmetic features, and you’ll be enjoying what looks like a whole new space but with a lot less cost.

If the answer to this question is “no,” it’s time to evaluate what works with your current layout and what doesn’t. Do you need more space? If so, walls may need to be relocated or removed to open up an area or create more square footage. If the overall space is okay but traffic flow is not, things may be able to be moved around to create a more efficient layout. Either way, if the current layout doesn’t work, it could be time for a kitchen remodel.

Layout before a kitchen remodel:

Layout before a kitchen remodel

Layout after a kitchen remodel:

Layout after a kitchen remodel

3. Do you like your existing cabinetry, and does it work for you?

Cabinets can make or break a kitchen, both in terms of looks as well as function. Do a thorough evaluation of your existing cabinetry. If your cabinets are in good condition, their layout works, and you have plenty of storage in all the right places, a kitchen refresh could give them a new look with updated finishes and hardware.

On the other hand, if you need more storage space, your cabinets are worn out, or they aren’t arranged properly, they might need to be reconfigured and/or replaced as part of a remodel. Even if they’re still in good condition, you might consider replacing them if the style or material is outdated or no longer appealing to you.

4. Does the size and location of your appliances make sense?

Appliance style and size can change over the years. So can your needs. For example, perhaps you started out in your current home with a small refrigerator that met your and your partner’s needs. Now you have several children, and a large refrigerator and freezer would better meet your needs. Or, maybe you like to entertain, and a chef’s kitchen suits your fancy.

Appliance size and location make a big difference in how well your kitchen functions. If the location is just right, but you simply need to upgrade an appliance, a kitchen refresh could be the answer as long as the new appliance fits into the old space. In situations where the space needs to be reconfigured, or the appliance needs to be moved altogether, a full remodel may be necessary.

Before a kitchen refresh:   

Cabinets and island before a kitchen refresh                                    

After a kitchen refresh:

Updated cabinet finish and island in kitchen refresh


Professional Kitchen Remodeling in Lodi, CA

While upgrading cabinet hardware or repainting the room could possibly be done by a handy homeowner, full scale kitchen remodeling is best left to the experts. That’s because without the right experience and knowledge, it’s easy to make mistakes that will cost you more money, time, and hassle.

Schatz Construction & Restoration is your source for kitchen remodeling in Lodi, CA. We’ve helped clients all over San Joaquin and Sacramento Counties get the quality construction and remodeling services they need and deserve.

Take a look at our online gallery for examples of our recent work. Then, when you’re ready to start planning your own kitchen refresh or kitchen remodel, contact us” to handle all your renovation needs!

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