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Kitchen Remodeling Mistakes You Need to Avoid

There’s perhaps no other room in a house that looks better after it gets remodeled than a kitchen. For starters, it’s a place where you spend a lot of your time. Whether it’s cooking meals, entertaining guests or baking treats on a cold winter day – there are so many occasions for spending time in this part of your home. Consequently, if the kitchen is starting to get old and look tired, you have made the first step in realizing it could use a change.

The second step is to decide how and what you want to remodel. Most people will start first with new appliances, but also might replace the flooring, counters or cabinets while at it. There’s really no shortage of things you can do in a kitchen remodel. Any upgrade is always a positive thing, however, there are some common kitchen remodeling mistakes that you should be aware of and avoid.

Start with a Good, Clear Plan

kitchen natural light
Large spacious kitchen design with white kitchen cabinets white kitchen island with lots of storage white Granite countertops subway tiles and stainless steel appliances. Northwest USA . Northwest USA

The problem with kitchen remodels is while it looks really nice after getting completed, it can also be a little heavy on the wallet. The kitchen is one of the most expensive interior rooms in a house to remodel. Therefore, you must have a clear and strong plan before you start the renovation. The easiest way to end up spending more money than you originally planned is going into the project without a clear direction. Perhaps you start just by wanting to upgrade the refrigerator. Then, before you know it you’re ripping up flooring tile. It’s easy to see how your budget can get out of hand, and quickly. So before you begin, take the time to walk through the kitchen and decide exactly what you need. Then decide what you would like.

First, price the items that you realize you need to remodel. After figuring out an estimate, do the same research and quotes for things you would like to get. Can you afford to replace both what you need and what you’d like? If not, you need to take the time to decide what’s the most important. Additionally, since the kitchen is going to get torn apart and be unavailable for a certain amount of time, is now the opportunity to make it just right? If the answer to that question is ‘yes,’ you may need to consider finding additional funds elsewhere. It’s worth it if you only have to remodel the kitchen on one occasion as opposed to breaking it up into segments over many years.

Avoid Wasting Space

Space is, and will always remain at a premium for homeowners when it comes to their kitchen. Regardless of the size of the space, it always feels like the room could be bigger. Do you share this concern? If so, you need to double check, and then triple check during the planning process that you maximize kitchen space as opposed to making it even smaller than it was previously. The design in the kitchen is incredibly important. If appliances are placed in the right proximity to each other with the correct amount of counter space, and in relation to a sink – it can save homeowners from walking a mile to make a meal. The room is a delicate space and needs to get treated accordingly. Overcrowded kitchens are a constant headache and impractical. Meanwhile, a kitchen with too much open space just feels like wasted opportunity. If you’re already spending thousands on the kitchen remodel, you might as well take the time now to organize it exactly how it makes sense to the primary cook of the household. Take the time here to draw up a few different designs and consider the pros and cons of each option. You should ultimately settle on a design that makes perfect sense for your cooking and kitchen use habits.

Create Clean & Wide Aisles

kitchen remodeling mistakes
Modern kitchen with brown kitchen cabinets, oversized kitchen island with bar stools, granite countertops, huge refrigerator and beige backsplash. Northwest, USA

How many times have you been in another home helping a friend or family member cook, only to discover you almost run over each other every time you shuffle around the kitchen? Though home kitchens aren’t commercial-grade facilities that have so much room to work with, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on the aisles. If your kitchen wasn’t already designed and constructed to create clean and clear lanes, now is the time to adjust the layout. Kitchen aisles should remain wide enough to accommodate all that takes place in the setting. It should provide clearance for multiple cooks carrying oversized items. As a result, all aisles between walls, appliances, islands, etc. should be at least 42 to 48 inches wide.

NOTE: You can also maximize aisles if you plan to use the kitchen for big events with multiple cooks by offsetting certain kitchen features like sinks and cooking ranges, far apart from each other.

 Functionality vs. Style

kitchen remodeling
Kitchen in luxury home with cherry wood cabinetry

 Though we do get that most homeowners want their kitchens to shine – especially those that spend a lot of time entertaining guests in it – the style of it should never trump its functionality. A kitchen should look stylish and beautiful, but only to an extent where it doesn’t hamper on how it functions. So when you plan the space, always consider the size and direction of appliances, how the doors open and close, cabinet locations and every other measure of functionality you can dream up. One of the most frustrating steps in a kitchen remodel is to spend hours researching, pricing and studying new refrigerators and the new one doesn’t fit. When the refrigerator arrives and is set in its new location, you realize the doors don’t fully open because it smacks up against something else, like the island. Or, it blocks one aisle completely every time the door is cracked open. These are the kinds of practical, functional procedures you need to consider in order to avoid common kitchen remodeling mistakes.

Neglecting Natural Light

Many homeowners are often obsessed with the appliances, flooring, countertops, etc. While those things are the main features of a kitchen remodel, there’s one thing that can’t be forgotten. Natural light. Having enough windows and sunlight in your kitchen does wonders to the visual appeal of the area. Plus, natural light has been proven to make rooms seem bigger than they really are. Consider replacement windows for your kitchen remodeling project. For example, a garden window above the sink area is a great way to bring in maximum sunlight and ventilation. Garden windows extend beyond your home’s façade and have windows on 4 sides. Plus, with all the appliance running in that area, it wouldn’t hurt to let in some sunlight to help decrease energy costs on artificial lighting. Natural light also helps improve mood and productivity – both of which are important while cooking.

Keep the Island Reasonable

 It seems like homeowners have a love/hate relationship with kitchen islands. Some people could never envision a kitchen without one, while others can’t wait to get rid of one quick enough. Regardless, kitchen islands are only practical when they don’t get oversized or overloaded. By making sure your island doesn’t violate one of these cardinal “O” rules, you can make sure the space is being used correctly. For example, in a large kitchen, often two smaller islands are more practical than a massive one that takes up half the kitchen space. Anything longer than 10 feet is usually unnecessary. On the other hand, overcrowded islands are annoying. If you like to place certain kitchen features on top of the island, make sure you have enough space on it to have it serve its primary purpose – a place to prepare a meal.

Avoid Making Changes Halfway Through

 It’s a common trend. Homeowners start with a design and layout in mind, then halfway through the remodel decide to completely abandon ship and change the entire plan. Unless you realize you made a big blunder during the initial planning (which is rare, since you thought it out), there should be no change to abandon your original plans. At least not a major change. When you decide to adjust the remodel halfway through, your costs associated with the project are going to get out of control quickly. Since your kitchen is already halfway gutted, there’s really no turning back. So unless you firmly believe you made a huge mistake with the original plans, do your best to stick to the original script. Everything is going to turn out just fine.

Avoid Kitchen Remodeling Mistakes, Avoid Major Headaches

 Space, functionality, storage. If you can constantly remind yourself of these three vital principles related to the room, then you can save yourself from many of the biggest kitchen remodeling mistakes.

This is a contributed post by Kevin Carroll

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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