Avoid Common Kitchen Remodeling Mistakes

What’s the secret to a wildly successful remodel? Knowing what mistakes to avoid! Almost everyone who has been through a remodel has a story about what they’d do differently. Whether it’s a neighbor’s never ending remodel, or the friend of a friend whose architect didn’t get along with the city planner, keep your dream kitchen from becoming a nightmare by protecting yourself from these first timer mistakes.

#1 Thinking Small before you Think Large
While it may be true that your appliances are dated or that your countertops are unattractive, most people don’t focus enough on the big picture. It’s essential that you determine the lifestyle objectives you want your kitchen to accommodate before you choose its design. Why? These objectives can determine the exact types of materials, appliances, and layout you should or should not choose. For example, marble countertops. Marble can scratch easily, especially when touched for a long period of time by something acidic. A slice of lemon laid down on a polished countertop overnight can leave a mark in the shape of the lemon slice, duller than the surface around it. Marble might not be the best choice for young families.

#2 Pursuing Fad over Function
Beware of the kitchen that’s most trendy. The average kitchen renovation should last 12 to 15 years, so the last thing you want is for it to feel dated before it’s even paid for! Think about how those trendy colors and shapes will most likely have a short life-span. Extras like wall-mounted pot racks are probably only necessary for top-of-the-line chefs; trendy chandeliers might make a statement, but they typically don’t provide appropriate lighting for the space. Similarly, don’t fall prey to over-customization. What works for you today may not work for the next owner of your home—or even your own family as it grows and evolves. Be true to the soul of the house. So before you commit to fancy bells and whistles, consider long-term consequences.

#3 Not Hiring Industry Professionals
People often think that doing it yourself is the cheapest route. Not so! Varying aspects of the kitchen require professionals with specific expertise. A kitchen designer is not an architect, an architect is not an interior designer. Hire skilled (and licensed) professionals who not only understand lead times for your selections but can also test-drive your budget to make sure it’s sustainable. In addition to recommending reputable contractors, savvy contractors and design professionals can help homeowners make informed, cost-saving decisions—like swapping a kitchen island for a handsome chef’s table or butcher block—that will keep the aesthetic high, prices low and value priceless.

#4 Letting Others Make Your Design Decisions for You
Although it’s tempting to delegate all decisions to the experts (decision-making fatigue is quite common in kitchen renovations!), ultimately it’s the homeowners who best understand their own habits. Is the kitchen also your home office, or do you include the kids in dinner preparations? Those activities might dictate choosing a raised island bar versus a flat island. Also important is to visit showrooms, flip through magazines, and educate yourself about materials, fixtures, products and costs, “so you will have authentic opinions” when it comes to decision time with your contractor or design professional.

Bottom line: Assess your real needs—or even better, what you don’t need—and convey them to your contractor with confidence.