Kitchen renovations are one of the most popular, and profitable, home improvement projects. But they can quickly get complicated and turn your dream renovation into a pile of delays and stress. Having the right contractor is key, but the actual design and materials used in your kitchen remodeling project play a major part. Check out these top ten tips and plan for a smoother remodel and a more valuable finished space.
Tip 1 — Use High Quality Materials
You may be tempted to opt for bargain basement materials when planning for a renovation of this size. But that choice is bound to leave you disappointed and will shorten the lifespan of your remodeling project considerably. Top quality materials are more reliable, easier to work with and highly durable. It's best to stick with only the top brand names for small components like drawer slides and cabinet hardware. In fact, the cabinets should be made entirely from high quality materials, if at all possible.
There are places were you can scrimp and save (such as skipping the designer plumbing fixtures and opting for something a little more utilitarian), but in general buy the best materials you can afford. You won't regret it.
Tip 2 — Create an Airy Island
Gone are the days of bulky kitchen cubes that were nicknamed islands. Today's kitchens include multi-leveled storage spaces that feature built in breakfast bars, wine racks, wash sinks and even a range. Use your imagination and make the best use of the space in the middle of the room.
Islands can also be adapted into peninsulas, allowing you to create more efficient traffic patterns and streamline the counter space. In any case, avoid bulk and design for some open shelving, interesting shapes and a few deep drawers for easy storage of those large kitchen items.
Tip 3 — Cabinet Height is Determined By Ceiling Height
The ceiling height in your kitchen is very important. Typical eight-foot ceilings will feature kitchens with cabinetry installed snugly against the ceiling (or bulkhead). This makes the best use of space and provides a clean look.
If your kitchen has been designed with higher ceilings you should think about having an open space above your cabinets. Consider glass doors on cabinets above that eight-foot height, allowing for built in display cases. Or simply trim the top of your cabinets with heavy molding and use the area above as an open shelf. Many homeowners place sculpture, baskets, and other knick knacks in that out of the way spot, personalizing their kitchen and accentuating the beautifully high ceilings.
Tip 4 — Beautiful and Functional Countertops
The type of countertop you choose will make a major difference to both the look and the function of your kitchen. Opting for a high maintenance material (one that needs to be sealed regularly) may be more than you bargained for. But many of the natural materials available provide exceptionally beautiful counters.
Think about whether concrete countertops will suit your style. Or investigate the smooth charm of Carrara marble, the rugged beauty of slate and limestone or the impressive appearance of soapstone. If you are leaning towards plastic laminate consider trimming the counters with natural wood for an upper class style.
Tip 5 - Keep the Details Under Control
Many designers go overboard on the details when sketching up a new kitchen. But they don't have to live in the rooms they design. What you want is a well laid out kitchen space that includes a sprinkling of details and a heaping pile of functional, durable features.
â€¨Make sure those details in the kitchen coordinate well with the rest of your home. Try not to have this room stand out from the crowd, but rather design it to compliment and blend in with your living space.
Tip 6 - Consider Your Tolerance for Maintenance
There are many gorgeous materials commonly used in kitchen remodeling projects that will make your head hurt with high maintenance demands.
Stainless steel is hot and modern, but try getting the smudges out on a daily basis. Marble and other light colored surfaces are smooth and clean, but show every splatter and crumb. Natural materials may be forgiving and help to camouflage your mess, but without sealing them you are looking at a maintenance nightmare.
Do your research and decide how much work you want to do. Choose products that match those preferences.
Tip 7 - Consider the Appliances Carefully
You may be tempted to go for a separate range and built in oven combination, but think twice. What will your family use? What will make your life truly simpler and which models are made with too much flash and not enough substance? Buying appliances is a little like buying a car - you need something reliable with enough power and space to suit your family. The choice is nearly limitless; let your needs dictate your investments, not the latest trends.
Tip 8 - Let the Dining Room Speak
Your dining room should echo the kitchen, and vice versa. Both spaces need to be well designed and decorated. Look to the dining area for inspiration, including textures, lighting, color schemes and furniture.
Tip 9 - Incorporate Interesting Furniture
Kitchens are made up of cabinets and counters, with an appliance tucked in here and there. Take that boring stereotype and jazz it up by incorporating a favorite piece of furniture into the kitchen design.
Perhaps an antique desk could sidle up to the counter, which would include complimentary storage. Or maybe you have a piece of art that will make the ideal focal point of your wall space. Think outside the box and include elements that may not traditionally belong in a kitchen.
Tip 10 - Be Personal
When completed, your kitchen remodeling project should look like part of your home, not a corner in a retailer's showroom. Make it yours with personal touches and decor. Try not to go overboard and always keep resale value in mind, but personalized space will go a long way towards creating the comfort you want out of this investment.
Your kitchen remodeling project will go much more smoothly when these ten tips are followed. From materials to design elements, appliances and maintenance concerns, there is a lot to think about when tackling this major home improvement project.