The kitchen is the center of a home; the place with the most activity throughout the day.
It’s also one of the most requested remodeling projects in the industry. Real estate agents will tell you that a great kitchen design can sell a home quicker than any other room in the home. If you remodel it the right way, you can easily recoup up to 85 percent or more of the costs you put into the project.
But if you start asking friends and family about their own kitchen remodeling projects, you’ll find a decent number of horror stories to go along with them. You’ll hear about contractors that did everything wrong, a design that did everything but make your life easier, and even costs that spiraled so far out of control the project had to be shut down indefinitely.
All of that is enough to make you stop planning your kitchen remodel long before you begin.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, in some cases, you can learn as much from listening to friends’ and families’ mistakes you would from listening to an expert home designer.
Here’s a list of some of the most common kitchen remodeling mistakes and how you can avoid them in your own project.
Mistake #1: Giving your Contractor too much Authority
Your kitchen is the hub of your home. It’s used multiple times daily and during the holiday seasons, it’s us the centerpiece for friends and family to gather around. And while there may be a slew of things you love about your kitchen, it’s the little things you don’t like that always catch your eye. In many cases, those little things are the details the homeowner left up to the contractor to decide upon, rather than making the final decision themselves.
Never allow your contractor to make decisions on your behalf. It’s one thing to listen to an opinion, but another to let it be the dominant voice in your project. The placement of a light switch does matter. Moving an appliance to a different side of the layout can disrupt your life. While it may take more time to have to be called in for every last detail, it will save you the disappointment of knowing your contractor made a decision without your knowledge, and that one decision wound up being your biggest disappointment with the entire project.
Mistake #2: Designing a Kitchen without your Cooking Style in Mind
Have you ever watched a cooking show that takes place in a gourmet kitchen? Or maybe you’ve walked through a Parade Of Homes admiring the latest technology. A fancy oven, talking refrigerator, or high-tech gadget may seem cool, but is it practical for the way you live? Will you use it in your kitchen? Will it help with the way that you cook on a regular basis? Nothing can be more frustrating than knowing you’ve spent a great deal of money to install “the best,” only to have it be the one thing you regret the most.
Mistake #3: Choosing the Wrong Appliances
Appliances tend to be one of the most expensive purchases you’ll choose for your kitchen remodeling project. So it’s the one area where people look for ways to cut corners. Some homeowners may choose to keep an old refrigerator because it was purchased in the past few years. Or they may remove a long desired double oven to reduce space constraints.
Appliances matter in your overall design. Your choices should reflect how you’ll use them, not how to best save money. Upgrading to a quiet dishwasher can give you the noise reduction you’ve longed for. Upgrading to a larger refrigerator can improve how much food you can store. Changing your oven can change the way your family cooks and eats. Use this opportunity to pick appliances that work for your lifestyle.
Mistake #4: Installing the Wrong Lighting
Lighting can make rooms feel larger or the room feel darker.You can accentuate your layout or shadow it from view. Lighting accomplishes all of this and more.
There is an art form to perfect lighting; it’s worth considering bringing in a lighting consultant to help you make the right choices for your new design. They can help you decide on choosing the correct wattage, the right number of lights, and even make suggestions your contractor has never thought of.
Mistake #5: Selecting the Least Expensive Options
Sure, you may have loved the cherry cabinets, but the oak will do. The upgraded refrigerator offered a lot of features, but you’ll probably be happy downsizing anyway. The more expensive contractor had some great ideas, but the less expensive contractor will work better for your budget.
We all make decisions based on our pocketbooks; yet if we choose solely based on finances, we usually find it’s our biggest regret. We always yearn for the upgrades, for the better options, and for the things we don’t have. And in some cases choosing the least expensive option can be your most costly mistake, especially if you have to take the time and energy to fix it shortly down the road.
Remember, when it comes to large expenses, break it down as a “Cost Per Use” system. If you purchase an expensive microwave, but you spend most your days using the oven or stovetop, then you’re not using it often enough for it to be worthwhile. Meanwhile, paying more for the expensive refrigerator you use everyday will pay for itself.
Mistake #6: Choosing the Wrong Floor
Your flooring sets the stage for your entire kitchen remodeling project. The contractor may push you towards the green alternative; but if you hate it, you’ll live with it for many years to come. Or maybe he’ll sway you from choosing the hardwoods you’ve dreamed of, suggesting tile or vinyl instead.
Flooring is as much a personal choice as it is one for durability and easy maintenance. Your floors set the stage for the rest of your design. If you have your heart set on a certain style, investigate its strengths and weaknesses, and make your final selection based on the best choice for you.