Kitchen remodels, if done very well, can yield good return on your investment as well as provide you with an effective and useful space. If done very poorly, a kitchen remodel can be quite costly resulting in more time and money being invested to correct problems that could have been avoided in the first place. Fortunately, knowing what mistakes to avoid up front will result in a much smoother and more profitable kitchen remodel in the long run.
Not Enough Counter Space: Many times remodelers will look to cut costs by downsizing the amount of counter space that will be available in the kitchen. Counter top materials, such as granite, can be quite costly per foot. Like cabinets, one cannot have too much counter space. Moving a microwave off of a counter top to being mounted over the stove will not provide you that much extra space to cook. Cooking requires preparation (washing, cutting, mixing, cooking, plating, etc.) and preparation requires space. If you believe that you will not have enough counter space, consider adding an island and/or designing your counter into an L-shape.
Being Too Trendy: You may think that an all red kitchen – red appliances, red walls, red cabinets, red flooring, red ceiling – may look fashionable. Others may think differently. Before you invest too much money in very trendy colors, cabinet styles, flooring materials, or lighting options, consider how these will look in three to five more years. Rooms based on very trendy trends usually require a remodel within a few years, simply because they look too unusual.
Not Reorganizing Your Kitchen First: One of the biggest mistakes individuals make is thinking that they need more storage space in their kitchen before they reorganize it. This means emptying all the cabinets (and cleaning them), deciding on what to keep and what to toss or donate, then deciding on what items get stored back in the kitchen and what items can be placed elsewhere in the house. If you complete this one simple exercise, you may find that you do not need additional cabinets, but only needed to have a more organized kitchen.
Number of Chefs in the Kitchen: How many people typically cook and/or are in your kitchen at the same time? The number of people working and being in a kitchen at one time will determine the size of your kitchen, if you are able to have an L-shaped kitchen and/or island, the number of cabinets and size of your countertops, as well as the layout of the kitchen. Nothing can be more challenging than having too many cooks in the kitchen when the kitchen is not laid out properly.
Adding Cabinets When a Pantry Will Do: Kitchen cabinets are expensive and are commonly the most expensive part of any kitchen remodel. If you need more space and if you are considering moving in a few years, instead of investing in cabinets, consider installing a pantry. A pantry can be located in the kitchen, very near the kitchen, or even in the basement. Traditionally a pantry is a place to store nonperishable food such as cans, cereal, pasta, sugar, as well as paper products, such as paper towels and napkins. A pantry can also be used to store small appliances such as a crock-pot or wok. Building one is much cheaper than adding kitchen cabinetry.
The best way to avoid expensive kitchen remodel or new build mistakes is to hire, plan, and budget. If you have never picked up a screwdriver or hammer before, now is not the time to tackle a kitchen remodel. Hire a professional kitchen designer and contractor and work with them side-by-side so that your kitchen is completed per your specifications. Take the time to do the necessary steps of investigating the people you hire to work on your project. This means interviewing them in person, talking to recent clients, and checking with the Better Business Bureau to ensure that the design and construction company are above board. In addition, obtain at least three price quotes on the work you want to have completed. Prices can range widely from contractor-to-contractor. Investing a little time will yield tremendous results and reduce headaches and mistakes in the long run.
Plan, plan, and plan again. Do not agree to the very first plan for your kitchen remodel or new build that you see. For example, as you move the stove to a different location, extend cabinets to the ceiling, and select different flooring options you might find that the sixth or seventh plan suits your needs better than the first. Once you have settled on a final layout of your kitchen, make sure to get detailed blueprints that show the location of everything – appliances, cabinets, island, etc. – and where measurements are provided for every inch of your new space.
And, finally, decide on a budget and stick to it! It is easy to be lured by high-end, high-tech features on a new refrigerator that you really will not use, or decide on expensive luxurious cabinet finishes when a less expensive choice will do. When you have a budget figure in mind, add ten to twenty percent to that figure for overages. It is expected that every project will have unexpected and unanticipated expenses. Better to account for these up front than needing to cut out another part of your project at the end to make your new kitchen work.