Posted on September 12th 2013
What’s the secret to a successful kitchen remodel? Knowing what mistakes to avoid! Almost everyone who has been through a remodel has a war story to share about what they’d do differently. Whether it’s the neighbor’s never-ending remodel, or the friend of a friend whose contractor couldn’t get along with the architect, keep your dream kitchen from becoming a nightmare by protecting yourself from these common first-timer mistakes.
While it may be true that your appliances are dated or that your countertops are unattractive, most people don’t focus enough on the big picture. It’s essential that you determine the lifestyle objectives you want your kitchen to hone before you choose its design elements. Why? These objectives can determine the exact types of materials, appliances, and layouts that you should and shouldn’t choose. (Soapstone, for example, is a beautiful counter material, but it requires lots of care—and might not be the best choice for young families.)
Bottom line: Determining your desired kitchen lifestyle before choosing the design elements will save you time and money down the line.
“Beware of the ‘what’s in’ kitchen,” says certified kitchen designer Jennifer Reed. The average kitchen renovation should last 12-15 years, so the last thing you want is for it to feel dated before it’s even paid for. Beware of too-trendy colors and shapes that likely have a short shelf life. Extras like wall-mounted pot fillers are probably only necessary for top-of-the-line chefs; trendy chandeliers might make a statement, but they typically don’t provide appropriate lighting for the space. Similarly, don’t fall prey to over-customization.
What works for you today may not work for the next owner of your home—or even your own family as it grows and evolves. “Be true to the bones of the house,” Reed says. So before you commit to fancy bells and whistles, consider long-term consequences.
People often think that doing it yourself is the cheapest route. Not so! Varying aspects of the kitchen require professionals with specific expertise. A kitchen designer is not an architect, an architect is not an interior designer, and a contractor is not a kitchen designer. Hire skilled (and licensed) professionals who not only understands lead times for your selections but can also test-drive your budget to make sure it’s sustainable.
On the note, don’t assume that a big-box retailer offers the most bang for your buck, says certified kitchen designer Jennifer Gilmer. “There’s nothing more satisfying than someone who thinks that they can’t afford design services walks into a showroom and discovers they can redo a kitchen within their budget,” she says. In addition to recommending reputable contractors, savvy design professionals can help homeowners make informed, cost-saving decisions—like swapping a kitchen island for a handsome chef’s table or butcher block—that will keep the aesthetic high, prices low and value priceless.