With the holidays approaching, many folks will be entertaining guests this Christmas, and, before the guests arrive, aren’t we hopeless optimists in thinking we should try to upgrade the kitchen before they come?

It may not be too late to try as long as you keep it to a few minor changes that can bring about a noticeable and pleasing change. One idea would be to replace the countertops. There are many material choices available to choose from. When performing do-it-yourself projects, it depends on exactly how much of the project you desire to perform personally versus how much you allow someone else to provide.

Between the various countertop materials, such as granite, quartz, solid surface, tile, concrete, glass and laminate, tile and laminate would be the only two that would allow the do-it-yourselfer to handle the majority of the work.

Granite, quartz, solid surface, etc. require skilled craftsmen that must fabricate and install the materials therefore that may “steal the thunder” from the do-it-yourselfer.

If the “thunder” is not important and overseeing the overall job rather than performing the tasks with your own two hands is OK with you, then any of the choices will be fine.

The sink and faucet will need to be considered at this time because they must be removed and either re-installed or replaced with new. One thing to remember when deciding about the sink and faucet is that when compared to the current countertops age, they may look all right, but against the new countertops, they will look older by comparison. So you may as well plan to budget these two items in your plan from the beginning, unless you had recently replaced one or both.

Keep this in mind, after you replace the countertops, you may “see” shortly after the new tops are in place that now the cabinets look older. Remodeling does have a tendency to snowball on you. You may have to delay that project until after the guests have left unless you have planned far enough in advance to tackle the cabinets, as well.

Proper planning cannot be overstated.

If you think you may have to do something with the cabinets after you replace your new tops; you may want to consider that before you change the tops. If the current layout of the cabinetry does not satisfy the user, that fact will not change after new tops are in place. You’ll just be stuck with a kitchen layout that you’re not satisfied with, but the tops sure look nice!

That is probably what birthed the refacing market. Folks would replace their tops only to be dissatisfied with the looks of their cabinets.

After you spend time and money on new tops, you don’t want to waste that investment by tearing out the new tops and replacing the cabinetry.

If the layout of the cabinets are in no need of improvements, you can either reface the exterior of the cabinets or refinish them, depending on the level of skill you possess. Refinishing requires a little less skill than refacing, although either is an option for the do-it-yourselfer.

You’d better get started; the holidays are right around the corner!

For questions or concerns you may email them to jdn.dm@comcast.net.

JD Norris is the owner/operator of DreamMaker Bath&Kitchen and a certified S.C. Master Builder, certified “Aging in Place” Specialist and certified Green Professional.