Best Practices for Remodeling Your Kitchen

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/28/15 3:31 PM

Topics: Home Ownership

Renovating your kitchen can add ease to your lifestyle and add value to your home, but it can also be a big undertaking. If you are thinking about remodeling your kitchen, remember that there are hundreds of options for every aspect of your renovation so it is easy to get overwhelmed, but the end result will likely be worth the stress. According to Style at Home and Better Homes and Garden, there are some very important things you must consider when you're preparing to update your kitchen, such as:


Image courtesy of Houzz

Add interest, but don't overdo the details. 
Your kitchen should be a reflection of you and your family, not look like something out of a storefront. Before you start your renovation, figure out what your taste is and what features you are drawn to. Remember that the style of your kitchen should be compatible with the décor of the rest of your home so choose colors that coordinate with adjacent rooms. 

Don’t overload your stimuli with too many standout pieces either. Things like splashy tile, fancy floors, sizable range hoods, bright kitchen cabinets, and busy countertop patterns all in one space will be too busy. Find one particular feature you want to make the main focal point of your kitchen and work backwards from there. Try having your focal point be one or two of the following aspects:

  • Cabinets (type, door style, finish and color) and decorative hardware
  • Countertop
  • Appliances
  • Kitchen sink and faucet features
  • Light fixtures
  • Flooring
  • Backsplash

You can then add more subtle, gentle accents around the focal point to complement that area.

Determine cabinet heights. 
Depending on the height of your ceilings,  you can choose cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling if they are eight feet or under. These will give you more storage and allow for extra wall space. If you have higher than eight foot ceilings then you may want to leave some space above the cabinets to make them accessible. Once you determine the height, then you need to pick your finishes. You can choose from stained-wood, brush-painted or any combination of the two. You can avoid any dullness you may feel with adding interesting details such as glass doors or unique handles. If you have a smaller kitchen, be sure to use light colors since dark color schemes will shrink an already small space and make it less inviting. Soft shades on kitchen cabinets and natural light will help to visually expand a small room.  

Select an elegant countertop. 
When designing the layout of your kitchen, be sure to leave 15 inches of countertop on each side of a cooktop, oven, microwave and refrigerator. When choosing the material for a counter, be sure to find one that compliments your cabinetry and also is durable.  Granite, quartz, stained wood, marble, slate, limestone and high-end laminate are all suitable options and come in a variety of colors to match your design scheme. People who tend to cook regularly may desire more counter space than those who do not as frequently. To add visual interest and extra functionality, try putting in two different countertop heights to keep kids involved in meal preparation and have separate eating areas.

Install an island that works. 
Islands are great for creating more counter space and also add extra dining space, but be sure to beware of placing a bulky cube in the middle of your kitchen. Create an exposed, airy look that makes the whole room seem more open. Add extra sinks for prep stations smartly places appliances for functionality. If you do want to cook and eat on your kitchen island, be sure to have enough space so the cooktop and dining area are safely divvied. Also, remember to make the refrigerator accessible to both passersby and people who are cooking and utilizing cleanup areas, functionality is the most important aspect of an island.

Use quality materials and appliances.
For cabinet interiors, wood veneer is usually the most durable and choose good-quality drawer slides and hinges so cabinet doors will stay closed and drawers won't stick. Stay away from drawers that are stapled together or made of particleboard since they are probably not well made. For flooring, choose natural surfaces with inherent texture like slate, terra-cotta, brick, hardwood or high-level laminate. 

Stainless steel appliances are popular in most modern kitchens. They tend to be attractive but also can be hard to keep smudge-free.  Instead of many stainless-steel appliances, opt for a large range that makes an interesting focal point and also takes up less space than separate wall ovens and a cooktop. Many kitchens can also design the refrigerator to look like part of the cabinets which makes them easier to clean. Be sure not to clutter your counters with too many gadgets, but for the smaller countertop appliances you do have, make sure that you have installed multiple outlets along the back of the walls and on the island so that you have electricity wherever you need it.

Have you redone a kitchen and have other great ideas?  Feel free to leave comments or, for more tips, check out our Rehab & Construction Guide or Pinterest Page to see more!

Download: Rehab & Construction Guide


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