20 Kitchen Remodeling Tips

A kitchen is more than just a stunning backsplash and gorgeous cabinets. Integrate these thoughtful tips when planning your kitchen remodel for a space that is functional and easy to work and live in.

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    Eliminate Wasted Steps

    Think about how and where you use kitchen items. Store breakfast foods and bowls near the breakfast table. Keep wraps and plastic containers in one handy spot near a work surface for wrapping leftovers. Locate dishware and flatware near the dishwasher to ease the process of unloading.

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    Design Wide Walkways

    Paths throughout a kitchen should be at least 36 inches wide. Paths within the cooking zone should be 42 inches wide for a one-cook kitchen and 48 inches wide for a two-cook configuration. When planning, adjust kitchen islands and peninsulas accordingly.

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    Direct Traffic

    For kid-friendly kitchen designs, keep the cooktop out of traffic areas so children don't catch handles and cause spills when running through. Also, make the refrigerator accessible to both passersby and people working in cooking and cleanup areas.

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    Find the Right Height for the Microwave

    The best height and location for a microwave oven depends on the chef and the degree of kid-friendliness desired in the kitchen. For adults, 15 inches above countertop level is a good microwave height. For kids, a below-countertop setup might be safer and more suitable.

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    Stay Clear of Corners

    To make cabinet and appliance doors fully functional, plan space for the door's clearance and swing direction in your kitchen design. Keep appliances away from corners, and make sure doors won't bang into each other if open at the same time.

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    Determine the Island's Function

    When it comes to kitchen islands, form follows function. If you want to cook and eat on kitchen islands, plan enough space so the cooktop is safely separated from the dining area.

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    Plan Landing Space

    When designing your kitchen, allow 15 inches of countertop on each side of a cooktop and refrigerator. Landing space is also important near the microwave.

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    Consider the Countertops

    Those who cook frequently require more counter space -- ideally between the range and sink -- than those who cook infrequently or who prepare simple meals. Incorporating two countertop heights makes baking easy and helps kids who are involved in meal preparation.

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    Double Up

    A second microwave oven and a mini refrigerator or refrigerator drawer positioned at the edge of the kitchen work center can keep guests and family members in the kitchen but out of the cook's way. A bar with stools doubles as an after-school spot for kids and as a gathering spot for dinner guests.

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    Arrange the Range

    Place a shelf beside or behind the range to keep cooking oils, utensils, and spices handy. Place S hooks on the side of the range hood to hang frequently used pots and pans.

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    Fill It Up

    Tired of lugging water-filled pots from the sink to the cooktop? A swing-out tap -- also called a pot filler -- installed near the cooktop fills pots near where you heat them. Or you can install an extra-long hose attachment on your main faucet to fill pots on the cooktop.

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    Be Sharp When Storing Knives

    Have a designated spot for knives. This makes it easy to spot the right knife for a job and keeps dangerous items out of children's reach. A knife drawer such as this one has slots that hold knives in place and sheath the sharp blades.

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    Make Recycling Easy

    Equip a cabinet with separate containers for glass, plastic, and metal. A spare drawer could hold old newspapers.

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    Easy Reach

    Put kids' favorite dishes and snack foods on shelves or in drawers they can reach.

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    Add a Message Center

    Establish a message center near the kitchen telephone. Put a bulletin board, chalkboard, or whiteboard on the wall, and store a calendar, notebook, and writing utensils in a nearby drawer.

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    Plug It In

    Install multiple outlets along the backsplash and on the island so you'll have electricity wherever you need it.

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    Cut Cleaning Time

    Careful design decisions make cleaning easy. Glass refrigerator shelves catch spills that wire shelves let through. Flush-set or undermount sinks don't have a crumb-catching rim to worry about. Matte finishes don't show dirt as much as glossy ones do.

  • Break Up Cabinetry Blocks 18 of 21

    Break Up Cabinetry Blocks

    Avoid boring, heavy blocks of doors and drawers by adding interesting details such as glass doors and display shelving. Or try wine storage or windows.

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    Use Light Colors in a Small Kitchen

    Dark color schemes shrink an already small space and make it less inviting. Use soft shades on kitchen cabinets and natural light to visually expand a small room.

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    Find a Focal Point

    Splashy tile, fancy floors, sizable range hoods, bright kitchen cabinets, and busy countertop patterns give the eye too much to look at. Pick one focal point in your kitchen design and complement that area with a few other quieter, eye-pleasing details.

  • Next Slideshow 16 Kitchen Trends That Are Here to Stay

    16 Kitchen Trends That Are Here to Stay

    Just because it's trending doesn't mean it's not timeless. These gorgeous kitchen trends -- including minimal upper cabinetry, sparkling quartz counters, and one-of-a-kind ceiling treatments -- are guaranteed to stand the test of time.
    Begin Slideshow »
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