6 signs your kitchen needs a remodel – according to designers

If you’re looking for an excuse to remodel your kitchen, look for these signs in your space

Painted Shaker Kitchen with stunning Arabescato worktop. Painted in Little Greene Obsidian Green. Corston Kilburn Furniture knobs and handles in Antique Brass finish. Rangemaster cooker with induction top.
(Image credit: Higham Furniture)

Kitchens are the workhorse of the home and, as a result, they can quickly fall apart or look tired. For a space we use so frequently, however, our kitchens must continue to rise to meet our needs. 

While quick fixes and revamps such as painting kitchen cabinets or adding kitchen shelving will help to make the space feel fresh, sometimes it's time to admit defeat and opt for a full kitchen remodel instead. 

We asked interior designers and kitchen planners about the signs your kitchen needs a remodel so you have the perfect excuse to curate your ideal cook space. 

Signs your kitchen needs a remodel

Like many signs you need a new bathroom, there are always ways to instantly elevate a kitchen without replacing it, but they are often short-term answers to long-term problems. 

These six common old kitchen problems are clear signs you should consider a complete revamp.

1. The walls and floor are showing age

things that make a kitchen look cheap, grey blue kitchen with white, fluted tiled backsplash, matching floor, glazed wall units, pendant lights, view from dining room

(Image credit: Gunter & Co)

Kitchen floors and walls are often some of the first spaces to show signs of wear. The floor receives a constant flow of high traffic, and the walls are regularly subjected to moisture, grease, and fluctuating temperatures. As such, as these start to give out, you could consider a kitchen remodel, says Nina Lichtenstein, interior designer and owner of Custom Home Design:

‘Worn-out aesthetics, such as peeling wallpaper and faded or chipped paint, are clear indicators that your kitchen is showing its age. These blemishes not only compromise the visual appeal but also hint at the need for a fresh start. Worn-out flooring poses both safety and aesthetic concerns,’ she adds. ‘Cracked or outdated flooring should be replaced to ensure a kitchen that is both safe and visually appealing.’

2. Outdated aesthetics

kitchen with natural wood fabric covered cabinets

(Image credit: Jenn Verrier)

On the subject of aesthetics, an old-looking kitchen may work perfectly well, but may not make you happy or excited to cook or host. If your kitchen decor is getting you down, it is a more than good enough excuse to plan and design a kitchen from scratch, assures Artem Kropovinsky, interior designer and owner of Arsight:

‘Kitchen aesthetics impact the whole atmosphere of a home. A dated or shabby look not only affects the beauty but also the soul of the space. So, if the colors fade, materials begin to wear or the style is out of place with the rest of the home, a renovation can bring the kitchen back in alignment with current interior design trends while keeping it timeless and elegant.’

3. Insufficient storage

A white kitchen pantry with pull out shelves

(Image credit: Brakes & Kropp)

'On a more practical note, limited kitchen storage is a big sign you need to remodel the room,' continues Nina Lichtenstein, interior designer. While there are some great ways to maximize kitchen storage without new cabinets, nothing will look as good or work as well as bespoke joinery.

‘Limited storage space can lead to a cluttered and disorganized kitchen. Thin pantries, inefficient storage solutions, and lack of counter space all impede organization, and cabinets that do not reach the ceiling waste vertical space.’

The Perfect Kitchen, Barbara Sallick | View at Amazon

The Perfect Kitchen, Barbara Sallick | View at Amazon
Learn more about the fundamentals of kitchen design in this bestselling book. Find practical advice as well as hundreds of images to inspire your own remodel

4. The layout doesn't work for you

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(Image credit: Kara Childress/Julie Soefer)

One of the biggest signs your kitchen needs a remodel is if the layout isn't working for you. Your kitchen could look great, but if you are constantly tripping over yourself or others in the kitchen when you try to cook, a rearrangement may be in order. 

‘Small, semi-circular sinks and poorly designed layouts create functional challenges in dishwashing and meal preparation,’ agrees Nina Lichtenstein, interior designer. ‘A revamped kitchen layout is essential for a kitchen that supports seamless workflow. A poorly designed layout disrupts the ease of meal preparation and cooking. A kitchen renovation can address workflow issues and enhance the overall efficiency of the space.’ 

5. The appliances keep breaking

'While many kitchen appliances can be removed and replaced, if multiple appliances are beginning to fail around the same time, it can be a better idea to replace them all during a remodel,' suggests Shlomo Cherniak, professional handyman and owner of Cherniak Home Services.

Replacing your kitchen appliances all at once in a remodel helps you make better kitchen purchases as you have a set budget, and you can consider built-in options that help your kitchen flow seamlessly. What’s more, a whole kitchen refit means you can pick energy-efficient options that can cut your energy bills over the long run.

6. It doesn't meet your needs

modern japandi kitchen with large dining table

(Image credit: Emily Lauren Interiors / Photography Madeline Harper)

Sometimes, even with updated kitchen cabinets and a good workflow, your kitchen might not fit with your lifestyle. 

‘Maybe you love to cook, but your kitchen is outdated and cramped, zapping joy out of the process – or perhaps you frequently host guests, but lack a designated gathering area,’ says Andrea Liston-Jones, Director of Design with Liston Design Build. ‘Maybe you envision a bright, welcoming area to call home, and your needs are purely aesthetic.’

Long story short, your kitchen doesn't need to be falling apart to consider replacing it, Andrea assures. These are all good reasons to redesign the space.

FAQs

How often should a kitchen be remodeled?  

On average, a kitchen remodel lasts 10 to 15 years before fittings and appliances start to wear down and look tired, or your lifestyle changes in a way that means the kitchen doesn't work as well for you. A kitchen that is well fitted and well looked after in this time could easily last longer, however, with infrequent upgrades to keep it up to date and practical. 

How much should I spend on a kitchen remodel?  

When remodeling a kitchen, it is generally advised to budget between 3-15% of your home’s value. This will help you to increase your property value and ensure a good ROI. Any lower, and your kitchen will suffer, any higher, and you might be okay but your wallet will take a disproportionate hit. 


No matter the reason you are upgrading your kitchen, one of the most important kitchen renovation rules to follow is to ensure your new space makes you happy, concludes Andrea Liston-Jones, designer:

‘The spaces we call home impact the way we feel. After all, our homes are where some of life’s major events take place. As such, it’s important to consider the long-term impact a renovation will have – both emotionally and financially. How your project will stand the test of time should be a major consideration, no matter if you plan to stay in your home or plan to sell when the time is right.

‘If you find yourself longing for a better space or wanting to move, that alone can be enough to seriously consider a renovation that will allow you to stay in your home and love it for years to come.’ 

Chiana Dickson
Writer

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.