When it comes to home renovations, the kitchen is perhaps the first thing that most homeowners want to tackle. And after all, it makes sense because the kitchen has become the focal point of the home, and an updated modern kitchen can add tremendous value to a home. What are the biggest dos and don’ts of kitchen remodeling?
Interior Designer Robin Wilson, founder and CEO of Robin Wilson Home and author of Clean Design: Wellness for Your Lifestyle, offers these dos and don’ts for a kitchen makeover:
- DON’T remodel your kitchen for a prospective buyer, because you may not get back 100 percent of what you spend. Typical payback is 50 to 80 percent, with the less personal, mass-market renovations (example: neutral colors/white cabinets) receiving the most payback.
- DO create a list of “absolutes” before you walk into a kitchen design meeting. If you are not sure beforehand what you want and do not want, you are likely to be seduced into buying unneeded items.
- DO think about colors and styles before you walk onto a sales floor. Read design magazines and tear out photos in advance, or the sales rep may convince you that there is a certain bestseller that is really a higher-priced choice—it could be the model the salesperson is trying to unload, or he or she is getting a “special promotion” from the manufacturer.
- DON’T design your kitchen with someone else’s life in mind. If you cook frequently and have a busy kitchen full of people, then avoid countertop materials that scratch and stain easily or that need regular maintenance. Likewise, if you hardly ever cook, do you really need a six-burner stove and restaurant-quality range?
- DON’T buy a “faux-pro” model or Professional Series because most mainstream appliances (ranges/refrigerators) perform just as well.
- DON’T choose a range by BTU alone. An extreme BTU number does not guarantee better performance. It is less expensive to find a range with at least one high-BTU burner that you can use if you need high heat quickly.
- DO go by more than price when choosing a contractor. Ask to see a recently installed kitchen, visit an online reference service (like Angie’s List), and ask to see a kitchen that was installed three years ago to see how it has stood the test of time. Be sure to receive a copy of the contractor’s license and insurance information.
- DON’T opt for extended appliance warranties.
- DO expect delays. Ask your contractor for a completion date, but plan for at least two extra weeks to ensure final details.
- DON’T buy a built-in refrigerator ($3,000+) when you can buy a cabinet-depth refrigerator for less and often find more options.