It seems that everyone is renovating these days, and one of the most popular choices for a makeover is the kitchen. And for good reason – a kitchen renovation provides one of the highest returns on your investment, and creates an immediate improvement in the look and comfort of your home.
Unfortunately, there are some common errors in judgment that many people make which can actually sabotage their kitchen – making it less functional and even costing more money in the long run.
In redesigning an existing kitchen, there are often factors such as windows, load-bearing walls, and building systems that limit the design. When building a new home, however, you have a wonderful opportunity to plan almost all these elements around your kitchen design (provided, of course, you are building the home yourself or with a custom home builder).
Sadly, many people build the house first, even installing all of their plumbing and electrical, before they plan their kitchen layout. At that point they discover that the sink would have worked better on the island, or that their stove should be moved over a few feet. As a result, they either end up compromising their design in order to accommodate the existing room layout, or making costly changes to the room in order to accommodate the design.
New countertops and flooring are a great way to update your kitchen without having to do a complete demolition.
However, most high-end countertops such as granite and quartz are a long-term commitment.
Before making such a large investment, consider whether the existing cabinetry is in good shape and the layout efficient. If not, you may need to look at replacing your cabinets in the next few years.
Replacing your countertops with granite now will mean limiting your future design to the layout of your existing cabinets. Not to mention the expense involved in having the countertops removed and re-installed at a later date.
The same can be said for flooring. Laying a tile floor now will dictate the layout of your kitchen in the future (unless you’re prepared to tear it up).
Why not look at a less expensive option in the interim? Laminate countertops, for example, come in a wide range of colours and finishes, including some that look like granite or slate. They will make a huge improvement to the look of your kitchen for about a quarter of the cost.
The island has become a very popular addition to modern kitchens. With the trend to open concept homes, the island provides necessary preparation and even seating space, without creating a visual barrier.
Most new homes are designed to embrace this trend. However, an older home often requires major structural changes, or at least the demolition of some non-load bearing walls, in order to create an open-concept kitchen.
Unfortunately, many people believe that an island will fit within the existing walls of their kitchen, when in fact they do not have enough space.
Good kitchen design dictates that a work aisle (i.e. the space between your perimeter counters and your island) be at least 42″ wide.
There are countless homeowners, however, who want to squeeze an island into their kitchen and cannot understand why a work aisle of as little as 24″-30″ will not provide them with sufficient space.
These folks should get together with the homeowners that are desperate to get rid of their island! As they will testify, such a cramped space makes it extremely difficult to move around, or even just to open the fridge.
Of course everyone wants their kitchen to look good, but sometimes too much attention to the look of your kitchen can take your focus off of making it function well for you.
For example, people are often so focused on achieving perfect symmetry that they will use narrow or difficult-to-access cabinets in order to keep their sink perfectly centered on their window. Balance and beauty can be achieved without symmetry!
The most important aspect of planning your kitchen is to do a thorough inventory of the items you need to store in your kitchen, and to examine what activities take place there. Then make sure your first priority is ensuring that the cabinetry and layout will meet your needs.
As much as you will want to develop a detailed timeline for your kitchen renovation, the fact is that it is impossible to control every element, and despite your best efforts, your renovation will probably not go exactly as you planned.
There are many things that can hinder your renovation. The current shortage of skilled tradespeople means that your suppliers may have longer turnaround times. Shipping problems can also set back the arrival of your cabinets.
The worst thing you can do is to try and squeeze in a kitchen renovation prior to a big event. Any delays may cause you to cut corners or make compromises, in order to meet your deadline.
A kitchen renovation is stressful enough without this additional pressure and anxiety!
Be prepared for your renovation to take longer than anticipated. Leave enough time to deal with unexpected delays, so that you don’t end up making rush decisions and compromising on the features that are most important to you.
There are so many options available today for cabinetry, countertops, flooring, fixtures, and appliances, that it can be difficult to know what to choose.
Kitchen planning can also be a complex process. There are a number of building codes that apply to kitchens, and numerous guidelines that have been developed for designing safe and functional kitchens.
An experienced kitchen professional can help you navigate through all of your options, and offer ideas and suggestions for creating a beautiful, and above all, functional, kitchen. Many cabinet suppliers and home improvement stores even offer this service for free.
Taking the time to think through your kitchen renovation, and seeking professional advice, will ensure that your project brings you years of enjoyment, rather than regret.
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