What You Need to Know About Planning a Kitchen Remodel in Orange County

If you’re looking to get the biggest impact out of your home renovation, the kitchen is the best place to start. 

Kitchen remodels can be large-scale projects, especially if you’re changing the layout of the space. Fortunately, there are plenty of skilled general contractors in Orange County who specialize in kitchen remodels. With some planning and budgeting and, of course, help from the right expert, you’ll be on your way to getting the kitchen of your dreams.

Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, and San Diego Counties with reliable contractors, we speak to homeowners every day about planning kitchen remodel – here are some ideas & tips to get you started.

How much does a kitchen remodel cost in Orange County?

Planning a Kitchen Remodel White Home

In Orange County, kitchen remodel costs can run between $30,000 and $100,000+

A number of factors will determine your costs, including the size of your kitchen, the materials needed, and the appliances you choose. Bringing in a kitchen remodel contractor early in your planning can save you money in the long run as they’ll have insight into cost-effective materials and design considerations, which in turn can help you with the budgeting process.   

The biggest factor affecting your budget, though, is whether or not you’ll be changing the layout of the space. Removing load-bearing walls and making changes to the plumbing, wiring, gas, and ventilation will drive up your kitchen renovation costs considerably.

To help you get started on your plans and ensure you’ve taken everything into consideration, we’ve created a handy kitchen remodel checklist.

Kitchen Layout

As we mentioned earlier, sticking with your existing floor plan will save you a considerable amount of money. In this instance, you might be upgrading your cabinets, counters, appliances, and flooring — a straightforward process for an experienced kitchen renovation contractor.

But if you’re not happy with your kitchen’s current footprint — maybe you want an open floor plan or you’re a serious cook who needs more space — it might be a worthwhile investment to reconfigure your kitchen’s layout. Some homeowners will hire an interior designer to plot out plans, but a contractor specializing in kitchen remodels also will have some ideas on the matter. 

Planning a Kitchen Remodel Modern Home

Want to try your own hand? A few basic kitchen design principles to keep in mind:

  • It’s best to keep a square or rectangular shape; odd configurations like L-shapes or T-shapes could prove problematic if you plan to sell your home later on down the road.
  • Arrange your refrigerator, sink, and range in a triangle to get the best “flow.”
  • Any aisles should be at least 36 inches wide to ensure ample room to pass through comfortably.
  • Never underestimate the amount of counter space you need.
  • Keep the fridge far from the oven/range so each can operate optimally.

Additional Kitchen Layout Tips

Planning a Kitchen Remodel Happy Couple

Because the kitchen is a high-traffic area, it’s important to have enough open space for ease of use. That said, you’ll still want to factor in efficiency. If you’re prepping, cooking, and cleaning up every day, you’ll want to have everything arranged in such a manner that doesn’t have you running all over the kitchen.

This video from one of our contractors does a great job explaining the optimal kitchen layout: 

Modern Dark Kitchen | Interior Design Trends 2020 | GreatBuildz Guide - Contractor Series

Most designers recommend deciding first on where to place the kitchen sink, as that’s where we tend to spend most of our time in the kitchen. Beneath a window or as part of an island both are strong options.

If you are planning to incorporate an island into your kitchen remodel, it’s important to allocate the right amount of space between it and your appliances and fixtures. There should be enough room to walk around it easily while staying within easy reach of everything else.

Stoves, meanwhile, should almost always be situated on an exterior wall to allow for easy—read: inexpensive — installation of the ventilation system.

How Much Do New Kitchen Cabinets Cost?

Kitchen cabinets cost $150 – $400+ per lineal foot

Planning a Kitchen Remodel Cabinets

If you’re replacing your cabinets, you have two options.

Semi-custom cabinets also referred to as ready-to-assemble or RTA cabinets, are pre-fabricated units whose components are manufactured in standard dimensions, sold at home improvement retailers like IKEA and Home Depot, and put together by your general contractor once on-site. Costs tend to start at $150 per lineal foot installed, which is calculated by adding the length of the lower and upper cabinets. 

Custom cabinetry, as the name suggests, is built to order and in accordance with your kitchen’s specific dimensions and your own design aesthetic. Custom cabinets tend to start at $250 per lineal foot installed. 

When discussing your options with your contractor, there are a few more things to keep in mind. For example, if you want the upper cabinets to run all the way to the ceiling, it’s important to understand that most ceilings aren’t perfectly level. Your contractor will know the best way to address this issue. If you have a corner upper cabinet, you’ll need to decide whether you want it situated at a 45-degree or a 90-degree angle. Finally, you should discuss with your contractor any specific cabinet features like pull-out shelves, soft-close doors and drawers, and trash drawers.

How Much Do Kitchen Countertops Cost?

Kitchen countertops cost between $50 – $150 per square foot

Planning a Kitchen Remodel Home Decor

As with cabinetry, kitchen countertops are available in either pre-fab or custom slab options. Pre-fab kitchen counters come in a limited variety of sizes and styles, but starting at $50 per square foot they are markedly less expensive. Custom slabs can be cut to any dimension and are available in an endless array of styles.

When exploring your options at a countertop retailer or slab yard, it’s important to seek out a sales associate who is well-versed in all available materials and the pros and cons associated with each. Aside from cost per square foot, you’ll want to consider the durability of various materials as well as any required maintenance. For example, quartz doesn’t require regular sealing like granite and isn’t prone to staining like marble, but it can be damaged through exposure to excessive heat. 

Before ordering, you’ll also want to speak with your contractor about countertop fabrication and installation details. For example, do you want rounded or squared edges? Where do you want the countertop joints, or “seams,” and do you want them to be diagonal or straight? This will inform how your countertop pieces will be cut and seamed.

If you’re purchasing multiple slabs, be sure to check them carefully for variations in color and quality prior to installation. The same slab material can vary greatly from one shipment to the next, so it’s important to make sure what you have is going to match.

How Much Do Kitchen Appliances Cost?

Kitchen appliances can cost between $2,500 – $50,000

Planning a Kitchen Remodel Appliances

If you’re planning to replace your kitchen appliances, it’s best to choose them well in advance of construction to ensure your contractor is able to build cabinets and counters with their dimensions in mind. This also will help guarantee the location of the appliances doesn’t hinder cabinets and drawers from opening and vice versa. 

You can expect to spend between $10,000 and $15,000 for appliances from mid-tier brands like GE and Samsung, though we’ve seen prices range from $2,500 for less-expensive brands to upwards of $50,000 for high-end units. Regardless of what your budget allows, we recommend checking reviews on Consumer Reports or other product-testing organizations.

On the other hand, if your existing appliances are in good working order and you plan to have them re-installed during the kitchen remodel, be sure to let your general contractor know. As a precaution, it’s a good idea to tape a large sign to each appliance that says something along the lines of “DO NOT TRASH – MOVE TO GARAGE” in both English and any other languages your contractor’s crew speaks. This will ensure nothing gets inadvertently hauled off during the demolition process.

Kitchen Lighting and Electrical

Because the kitchen serves so many purposes, you’ll want different types of lighting throughout. Recessed lighting throughout provides a soft, ambient source while task lighting along the counters illuminates your workspace. Accent lighting, which can include anything from under-cabinet track lighting, toe kicks, and beautifully designed pendant lights, add dimension to the overall look.

Planning a Kitchen Remodel Lighting and Electrical

Meanwhile, it’s important to let your contractor know exactly where you’d like light switches and wall outlets. Bear in mind that major appliances will require their own dedicated circuits, so you should be certain about the layout before any electrical work begins. 

How to Find the Best Kitchen Contractor in Orange County

Given the significant costs of remodeling a kitchen, you want to bring in the right professional who has both the skill and the vision to bring your ideas to life. Although there are lots of kitchen contractors in Orange County, they aren’t all created equal and the last thing you want is to hire one at random and encounter a renovation nightmare. Do not make this decision lightly; make sure to meet with at least three kitchen contractors to compare their prices, experience, demeanor, etc. Also, make sure you’re only considering kitchen contractors that have an active General contractor’s license from the state and both General Liability and Worker’s Compensation insurance. 

Ready to find the best kitchen contractor in Orange County? GreatBuildz is here to help. We’ve built a robust network of licensed general contractors specializing in kitchen renovations.

But not just anyone can join. To ensure the quality and professionalism of the contractors we partner with, we’ve developed a rigorous 10-point vetting system that includes a management interview, background check, license, bond and verification, and financial review — among other qualifying factors. Additionally, every GreatBuildz contractor signs a 20-point code of conduct.

When you call our contractor concierge service and tell us about your project and your budget, we’ll match you with the three professionals best suited to the work you described. We highly recommend reaching out to each one for a bid, and that you review each bid carefully to see what is included in the scope of the project. 

Planning a Kitchen Remodel Contractor

If you have any questions about the bids you receive or anything else that pops up during the renovation, we hope you’ll reach out to us. Our service team is here to make sure you’re always satisfied with the work being completed.

GreatBuildz’s contractor-matching service is always free for homeowners, and there’s never any risk or obligation. 

So give us a call today. We look forward to working with you.

When it comes to remodeling your kitchen, you shouldn’t have to go it alone – GreatBuildz can help simplify your renovation experience.


GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura or San Diego with reliable, thoroughly screened general contractors and provides project support from start to finish. Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person about your next remodel project or visit our website for more information: www.greatbuildz.com



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Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.

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