Remodeling a kitchen requires a lot of effort (and a lot of cash). Avoid making costly mistakes with these expert tips. We'll walk you through the most common mistakes homeowners make, and offer tips for avoiding them. We have ideas for every aspect of the kitchen, from islands to floor plans and everything in between.
1. Wasting Space (and Steps)
Even in big kitchens, create a compact step-saving work core. You don't want to walk a mile to make a meal, or even worse, generate dead space within the room. Pick areas that will work hard during meal prep, dining, and family time. A breakfast nook, for example, is the perfect way to add style without sacrificing too many steps.
2. Making Aisles Too Tight
Kitchen aisles need to be wide enough to accommodate all that goes on in a kitchen. Clearance helps multiple cooks navigate the space and maneuver around each other. When designing your new kitchen, make sure all aisles—such as those between islands, walls, and appliances—are between 42 and 48 inches wide. Also consider offsetting the placement of key features, such as sinks and the range, so two cooks don't bump into one another.
3. Not Thinking in 3-D
Your kitchen needs to be beautiful, yes. But more important, it needs to be functional. When planning the space, consider the size and direction of doors, appliances, and cabinets. Fridges often need wide clearance, as do ovens. Take a walk through the space and plan door openings to ensure that you don't create a cramped kitchen.
4. Overloading and Oversizing Islands
In a big room, two islands are often better than one. It's a mistake to supersize an island, because anything longer than 10 feet is hard to walk around. And if an island is more than 4 feet deep, it's hard to reach the middle. Overstuffing an island with dinnerware, baskets, and other items creates a similar problem. Make sure no island storage extends beyond the rim of the countertop.
5. Overwhelming a Small Space
In a small kitchen, a small peninsula often works better than an island. Keep your space in mind every step of the way to ensure the best remodel possible. Don't overwhelm a small space, as there are plenty of options available for a variety of sizes and layouts.
6. Making Changes After the Work Begins
Get all your ducks in a row before you begin your kitchen remodel, because delays and changes midstream can send costs soaring. Do your homework and think through every choice ahead of time. Then be sure to check that everything has arrived before the contractor is ready to install.
7. Not Planning Enough Storage
You can't just string up boxes. A good design tailors storage to fit items used in specific areas. And between open storage, cabinets, shelves, and more, there are hundreds of different storage options available. Also consider the goal of the remodel. If you are going for a sleek look and choose glass door cabinets, keep the contents streamlined and unfussy as well.
8. Forgetting Friends
Whatever a kitchen's size, expect friends and family to congregate there. People are drawn to other people, and your guests don't want to be hanging out in the living room while you're preparing dinner. People like to be about 60 inches from the cook or host. Plan for interactive space in your new kitchen—whether that be a corner nook, island with seating, or a banquette.
9. Making Impulsive Design Decisions
Materials can look a lot different in a showroom than they do in your actual space. Don't commit to any major design element—such as flooring or countertop materials—until you've brought the samples home to look at them in the space you're remodeling. You may also want to consider testing the samples under lighting similar to what will be used in the new space.