A kitchen renovation is arguably the most expensive investment you will ever make in the design of your home. It cannot be a trial and error experiment, where you learn as you go along. Design mistakes cost dearly, and regrets should never be the end result.
Many homeowners opt to go it alone without seeking the help of an interior designer. They see it as a valuable savings that they could put towards the remodel itself.
You’d be surprised how many decisions need to be made and how time consuming it can be. Cabinetry. Countertops. Appliances. Flooring. Backsplash. Hardware. Lighting. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. The process is extremely complicated and working with an interior designer is the best way to ensure success.
A kitchen design needs strategic planning and a clear vision. I don’t mean an image that has been posted on Pinterest or Instagram, as inspiring as that may be. It doesn’t give you instructions on how to achieve the look, and moreover, it might not be the right aesthetic for your kitchen space or meet the needs of your family’s lifestyle.
I mean a comprehensive design plan that functions well and provides adequate storage and counter space with good workflow for all the family members. A timeless design scheme where all the selected elements combine beautifully together to create a kitchen that is a smart investment in the value of your home. A space to love and enjoy without regrets, for many years to come.
Here are the 6 most common mistakes that I see people make when undertaking a kitchen remodel without the guidance of a skilled interior designer –
1. CHOOSING YOUR APPLIANCES LAST
Before an exact kitchen layout can be developed, you need to know what appliances you intend to include in the space, together with their specific dimensions. Choosing the exact models ahead of time makes for a smoother and faster cabinetry design process.
Too many homeowners leave this as the last decision, after a cabinetry plan has been agreed upon, only to discover that additional revisions need to be made once the appliances are selected. Sizes differ and sometimes there are last minute additions for those must have pieces that the homeowner didn’t realize that they needed.
2. POOR KITCHEN LAYOUT
There’s a mathematical equation when it comes to kitchen design: refrigerator + stove + sink = the work triangle. These are the three most important work zones in the kitchen, and it is essential to ensure that there is adequate space and circulation between these points.
Counter space around these areas is key. I like to recommend at least four feet of space in between each of the three work zones. It’s especially important if you intend to have more than one cook in the kitchen at a given time.
Kitchen islands have never been more popular, but not all kitchens are wide enough to accommodate one. It is pointless to include an island that ends up being more of an obstacle to the workflow of the space.
Aim to have 42 inches of space around an island in order for the kitchen to function well. Remember that you need to be able to open up your appliances – the dishwasher for example – so that they don’t bang into the cabinetry. If space is lacking, a peninsula or a U-shaped kitchen design might be a better option.
3. CHOOSING CABINETRY BASED ON PRICE RATHER THAN QUALITY
Cabinetry is arguably your most expensive purchase in the remodel of your kitchen space. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the cost, but your focus should be on the value you are getting for what you are buying.
Every cabinet line has a price tag, and a lower price tag offers less than a higher priced cabinet line. Pay attention to the level of construction, inserts, hinges, slides, wood species and thickness, hardware, and customization options.
This is a long-term investment. It might make more sense to upgrade and purchase a higher quality to avoid disappointment later on.
4. DESIGNING FOR THE NEIGHBORS
When designing a kitchen, a timeless aesthetic – as opposed to following the trends of the day – is preferable. Resale value is a huge consideration when it comes to making those all-important decisions. However, in the quest to appeal to the tastes of a future buyer, you don’t want to sacrifice your own personality and needs – resulting in a flat, uninviting, and generic design.
A kitchen remodel should address your needs and tastes first and foremost. My advice is to stay somewhat classic for the big-ticket items in the space, but to get creative and have fun with the more decorative elements that won’t be as difficult and as expensive to alter down the line.
There are plenty of opportunities to inject some color, texture, and pattern in a kitchen. Barstools, dining seating, window treatments, lighting, hardware, wallpaper, and paint make the kitchen truly yours and a place that you enjoy spending time in.
5. INADEQUATE LIGHTING
The right lighting is not only crucial to helping a kitchen function properly, but it also enhances and highlights the overall design scheme. Good overhead lighting is a must; and there are wonderful LED options in today’s marketplace.
Definitely don’t skimp on the under-cabinet lighting, as it makes a huge difference in food preparation in the kitchen space. Interior cabinetry lighting is a beautiful accent, as it can not only highlight beautiful serving pieces, but can draw attention to contrasting interior finishes within the cabinet.
Angled wall sconces and pendant lights, which provide much needed task lighting, can be your “jewelry” pieces in the kitchen. Their visual impact is huge, so you want to avoid making mistakes that will turn them into an eyesore.
The wrong size pendant – too skinny or too big – over a kitchen island is one such mistake. Incorrect placement or hanging them at an incorrect height, is another common pitfall.
A pendant fixture should not appear to be floating overhead too high up but should relate to the surface beneath it without being an obstacle.
6. THE WRONG COUNTERTOP
Do NOT choose a countertop based on what’s trending today. Instead, select a classic material that can stand the test of time and that will fit your needs.
Be honest with yourself
Think: Will there be multiple cooks in the kitchen? Are you an avid cook? A sloppy cook? Do you take out food for the most part? These are important considerations when it comes to selecting the right countertop material.
Marble countertops have been gaining popularity over the last years due to technical advances in stone protection. For example, Tuffskin is a special adhesive coating – comes in a matte or shiny finish – that can be applied to marble and other delicate surfaces to prevent etching and staining. It is warrantied for 10 years and is removable and replaceable.
Quartz countertops are also hugely popular. It’s a non-porous, natural material with added polymers, resins, and pigments, engineered by man. It is extremely durable and hygienic. However, if you like to place hot pans and dishes directly onto the countertop, this would not be the appropriate choice for you. Quartz is prone to permanent heat damage due to the resins present in the material. It is not recommended for outdoor use either, due to the effects of UV light exposure.
Then there is granite. You may be familiar with the speckled granite options, which were very popular in the past. But believe me, there’s so much more to it.
For one, granite is usually well-priced and extremely durable. It also comes in a variety of patterns and colors – from solid and subdued to bold and fantastical.
Finally, there’s quartzite. It’s another fabulous option but can vary in durability due to its composition. Some quartzites are dolomites – a hybrid of marble and quartzite elements – which are softer and more delicate. Other quartzites are, by contrast, extremely hard and durable – making them an excellent choice for a kitchen countertop. There are many variations and the choices are exquisite.
MY PROMISE TO YOU
When it comes to a kitchen remodel, the collaborative relationship that I establish with my clients is a real game changer. I pay great attention to their requirements, tastes, and personalities to establish an aesthetic that makes their hearts sing.
You can rest assured that you are in safe hands. I work with a team of professionals who are top in their class of service and skill. My appliance vendor will give you expert advice on the best brands to buy and provide great after service. You can be confident in the price you are paying with a price match guarantee should you find lower elsewhere.
I work with a variety of custom and semi-custom cabinet makers offering different levels of cabinetry construction at different price points with excellent customer care should any issues arise. You will receive computer generated elevations and 3D drawings so that you will be able to visualize the end result with all the details customized to your specific needs.
I work with multiple stone yards that will source the best slabs for your countertop needs. There are incredible choices available and because each slab is unique, I am very selective when it comes to making the perfect choice. I have expert stone fabricators and installers who can generate digital computer drawings which map out how the stone will be laid and where the seams need to be.
I’m here to help you avoid unpleasant surprises and ensure that you invest smartly in a new kitchen that adds value and becomes the centerpiece of your home design. Let’s bring your kitchen dreams to life and realize the potential within your home. Book a complimentary discovery call to begin the design process.