A homeowner’s guide to the complete kitchen punch list.
If you’re nearing the end of your kitchen remodel, you might be grappling with the concept of a punch list: a list of tasks to be completed before the renovation can be officially considered complete.
There is no “right way” to finish up your project — just as there’s no singular punch list that will fit every kitchen remodel. But whether you’ve spent $6,000 or $60,000, there are a handful of final steps you can take to make your kitchen remodel that much better. Think of it as you would the final few strides as you cross the finish line.
These are the aesthetic details you’ll want to keep in mind as you’re wrapping things up. Some jobs, like cleaning up paint splatters on the floor or countertops and removing sawdust or utility tape, might be fairly visibly obvious. There are equally important tasks you’ll find less noticeable, though. Make sure kitchen cabinet doors are exactly aligned (misalignment can become more obvious with time and use); ensuring that any tile has been properly installed, and caulking has been smoothed over (once it’s dried, approach cautiously by cutting away loose pieces or lightly sanding.)
Ensuring working order.
More important than appearance, of course, is functionality. Does the lighting work as it should? Is the plumbing functional? Does your cold water stay cold and your hot water hot? Has water pressure been maintained or improved? Have you checked the consistency of the tiling, cabinet or counter installation? Are your oven, microwave and refrigerator operational?
In creating your punch list, it’s important to consider even the smallest of details: has the sink been dented or chipped during installation? do your drawers pull out appropriately? Are knobs centered? Do cabinet or closet doors open and close easily? (The same should be asked of any windows or doors included in the remodel.)
The ideal set of finishing touches should go beyond the obvious — ultimately, your goal here is to bring your renovation to the next level. Assessing the role of simple technology in your kitchen can make exactly that difference. It’s best not to go too flashy — overly stylistic choices could date your remodel down the road. Simpler additions like touch-free faucets, recess and trim lighting, or high-functioning garbage disposals add not just charm but value to your remodel.
Keep thinking storage.
Storage, of course, is not just something you’ve considered as a finishing touch. No doubt it’s been on your mind continually as you’ve assessed cabinetry and counter top space alike. But because the kitchen tends to be home for a number of individual items — sometimes everything from cookware to office supplies — it’s important to keep considering how you can incorporate storage through the final stages of your remodel.
If you’re noticing your pots and pans are crammed into lower level cabinets even post-remodel (maybe they’ve always been that way?) you might consider free-hanging pot racks or “chandeliers,” which double as a stylistic touch and a way to free up more space. Likewise, if you’ve been blessed with lots of free space on your walls, your kitchen might benefit from a hanging spice or wine glass rack.
Work with the space you have.
Knowing the size limitations of your new space is a crucial part of making your kitchen look its best, whether or not your remodel included an expansion. You might choose to decorate differently, hold back on bulky appliances (looking at you, airfryers).
You may not often think about the role the right furniture can play in a kitchen, for example, but larger spaces (or kitchens that open up into dining rooms) might benefit from additions like floating islands or a large, family-style kitchen table. Smaller kitchens, then, might do best without an island — and with a bar-level table and chairs.
Remodeling your kitchen can be a draining process, and keeping your eye on the big picture while juggling the ground level details is no small task. But the moment you declare your kitchen remodel finished should be a triumphant one — and it will be, as long as you’re considering our list above.