Read up on our top do’s and don’ts of kitchen design before getting started on your remodel.
Redesigning your kitchen? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you decide what your new space is going to look like.
DON’T forgo a professional designer
We’re sure that your cousin who just remodeled his kitchen has lots of advice for you. But unless he’s Nate Berkus, use a pro. “The biggest mistakes come from people who don’t know what they’re doing in one of the most expensive areas in your home,” says Joe Maykut, director of product management for Sears Home Improvement Products.
DO bring your cabinets up to the ceiling
The days of cabinets stopping short and leaving a gap between them and the ceiling are over. Better to use that extra space to store things inside and out of the way, banishing clutter and dust and creating a clean look all at the same time. Also, think twice before installing glass doors on your cabinets. Unless your dishes are perfectly matched and stacked with military precision, displaying the inside of your cabinets can make the room look cluttered and messy.
DON’T do your cabinets and drawers on the cheap
It might be tempting to cut your remodeling costs by choosing low-end cabinetry, but think about how many times in any given day you open and close those doors and drawers. Now multiply that by how many years you’re going to live with that kitchen. See what we’re getting at? You want good-quality wood, strong hinges, sturdy pulls and drawers that glide smoothly.
DO choose your countertops based on durability
The last thing you want is a stain on your new countertop. Before you choose the material, know how to care for it and use it properly. Granite and wood are beautiful but stain easily. Porcelain tile is ultra-durable and won’t stain, but the grout between the tiles does collect grime. It goes without saying that stainless steel won’t stain, but it really shows off fingerprints and can look grubby as a result. Quartz is stain-resistant and antibacterial — but it’s expensive. Solid surface acrylic is similarly durable and low-maintenance, and it has a smaller price tag.
DON’T forget to plan for enough storage space
You don’t want your sleek new countertops cluttered with various small appliances. Make sure you have enough deep cabinets where you can tuck away your Magic Bullet blender and George Foreman Grill.
DO consider the floor
To choose a floor material, use a process similar to your countertop considerations. The main things you want in a kitchen floor are slip-resistance and durability. Hardwood gives the kitchen a warm, homey look, but over time it’s going to show more wear and tear near the fridge, stove and sink. Natural stone is durable and relatively wear-free, but it may require periodic resealing.
DON’T be tied to “the triangle”
The triangle concept — that the stove, fridge and sink are in close proximity for a cook’s easy reach — was developed in the 1940s for small kitchens, where, typically, a single cook in a dress and pearls whirled around getting dinner ready while guests were drinking Manhattans in the living room. Today, the kitchen is a place where people congregate. Instead of worrying about a triangle, set it up in stations: a food prep station, a cooking station and a cleanup station. If space allows, include a spot for guests to perch, like a center island with barstools.
DO consider new major appliances
That set of bisque appliances you bought in the ‘90s has served you well, but it’s probably time to move on. Your beautiful new kitchen deserves beautiful new appliances. Choose the type by thinking about what you like to do best in your kitchen. If you’re a baker, consider a double oven. Gourmet cook? Spring for a high-end stove.