Experts Share Kitchen Remodel Dos and Don'ts

Kitchen Remodeling
By Contractors.com Team May 10, 2021

Kitchen remodeling is an exciting opportunity to completely change a focal point of everyday life in your home. It’s time to reimagine your kitchen as a more modern, practical, and functional place where it’s enjoyable to spend time. There are many great ways to completely transform your kitchen with premium countertop materials, energy-efficient appliances, cool new lighting fixtures, and much more. 

But if you are planning to strip out the old and bring in the new, there are some things you should avoid doing. Some wrong decisions could detract from your kitchen’s qualities rather than enhance them, and lead to putting down big bucks for little reward. To help avoid these mistakes and know what to do and what not to do for your next kitchen renovation, we asked two experts to weigh in on kitchen remodeling dos and don’ts so we could fill you in. Knowing what to do and what not to do during your next kitchen renovation will ensure that your kitchen remodeling project ends in success.

The first expert we talked to was Harry H. Knowles, who is part of Fantastic Services, a London-based company and “the one-stop-shop for all home improvement services” founded in 2009. Knowles offered us eight kitchen remodeling dos and don’ts: “The kitchen is one of the most used rooms in the home, and it's no surprise that when it comes time to remodel or update, many people find themselves in a bit of a quandary. It’s tempting to add a whole new set of cabinets when your kitchen gets overcrowded. But you might make some common kitchen remodeling mistakes if you do.”  

We also got some insights from David Shell, the founder, and CEO of TradesmenCosts, a UK-based remodeling publication. Without further ado, here are some of the main takeaways we got from these two remodeling pros. We’ll start off with the dos.

Kitchen Remodel Dos

1. Add a Kitchen Island If You Don’t Have One

Knowles recommends investing in a kitchen island: “Kitchen islands are not a new trend, but they are getting a lot of attention right now. Many people find that they have plenty of room for additional functions in their kitchen, and the kitchen island is an ideal place to do it. They give you extra workspace and usually double as a place to store items that are just too cumbersome to fit in a pantry or cupboard. And if you don’t have the resources to make such investments consider looking into DIY kitchen islands.”

Shell also sees kitchen islands as an important addition to your remodeled kitchen: “Your kitchen is the heart of your home and your island is where you can work and eat. Make sure that it has enough space for you and everyone to sit and prepare meals.” 

Kitchen Remodel Dos and Don'ts

Kitchen Remodel Dos and Don'ts

2. Think About Kitchen Flow 

“A kitchen work triangle is an essential system for organizing your kitchen, maximizing the space, and ensuring you have a great movement flow throughout the area. It provides a visual representation of where everything in your kitchen goes, and how each piece of equipment contributes to the tasks you need to complete cooking, washing, and more.” Knowles further elaborated on the concept of having good movement flow in your kitchen.  

“Take a gander at your floor plan, draw a line from your refrigerator to your baking stove or other cooking appliance, and back to the refrigerator. The result ought to be some form of a triangle. On the off chance that your units aren't forming a triangular pattern, you might need to reevaluate your kitchen design.”

Things to Take Into Account During Your Kitchen Remodel

Things to Take Into Account During Your Kitchen Remodel

3. Make Your Kitchen as Bright as Possible

Knowles emphasized the importance of lighting: “A kitchen is a busy place. You’re often cooking new meals, prepping ingredients, and cleaning up utensils, and that’s why you need to see what you are doing. How are you going to brighten up your kitchen? Are you going to paint it? Or maybe you want to add lighting. Or, perhaps you feel like adding a different color. All of this works, but try not to overdo it. Sometimes it's hard to find the right lighting for your kitchen. You might have a great natural light source, use it to your advantage. If not, use pendant and accent lighting to sit well, usually over the kitchen island, under the floating cupboards, or over the sink.”

Kitchen Remodel Decisions You Won't Regret

Kitchen Remodel Decisions You Won't Regret

Shell also sees lighting as an important component in a successful kitchen remodel project: “DO make sure to have enough lights along with your countertops. Make sure that your workspace has enough lighting. Position your recessed lights around 4 ft. apart along your countertop edge. “  

4. Make Sure That You Have Enough Space

Knowles pointed out the importance of making your kitchen spacious, especially for small kitchen remodels: “With most homeowners opting to do more with less space, there's a need for creative solutions to maximize usable space — and wide kitchen walkways are just as important. “Walk paths in the kitchen ought to be wide enough for you to walk freely. For example, walkways in the cooking zone should be at least 40 inches wide for a single cook and 50 inches wide for two. Think about those ideas when arranging your kitchen premises.”

Important Elements of a Well-Designed Kitchen

Important Elements of a Well-Designed Kitchen

Shell advises to “have a pull-out wastebasket cabinet. A wastebasket cabinet is not only neat and clean but also convenient. You can easily place it on your lower cabinet where you can easily reach it.” This is especially true for galley kitchens where space can be at an even bigger premium.    

Kitchen Remodel Don’ts

1. Don’t Try With Less Counter Space

Choosing counters that are too small is a common mistake Knowles believed should be avoided: “For homeowners, counter space is an essential part of the kitchen design. Many factors affect how much counter space you need, but the biggest one is the number of products and appliances you plan to use. Broaden your counter space by utilizing beautifying cabinets, floating shelving, and other rackings to make up more room. Try not to agree to less!” 

Shell also pointed out the importance of having spacious countertops: “Your counter space houses some of your appliances permanently, make sure that you still have enough to work on.” 

Things to Avoid In a Kitchen Remodel

Things to Avoid In a Kitchen Remodel

2. Don’t Place Appliances Too Close to Walls

Knowles also gave some advice with regards to appliance configuration to avoid. “Remember to keep your fridge and cooker some distance away from walls so that doors can open as far as possible. Take into consideration enough workspace on each side for cleaning and other tasks. Positioning the back of the fridge, for instance, very close to a wall can disrupt airflow, preventing cooling of the appliance. Without the proper cooling, the fridge overheats and gradually breaks down throughout time.”. 

Kitchen Remodel Don'ts to Note

Kitchen Remodel Don'ts to Note

3. Don’t Place Appliances Too Close to Each Other       

Knowles advised that: “If you live in an apartment or a home with a small kitchen, it's vital to be careful with the distance between appliances. Refrigerator, oven, and dishwasher placement shouldn’t be too close together. Placing a heat source right next to your fridge will force the compressor to work harder, shortening its life.”

In a similar vein, Shell had some advice about lighting: “Don’t place your recessed lights too far away from your countertops. You don’t want to end up slicing your fingers just because you don’t have enough lights on your countertops.” 

How to Design a Kitchen That Works for You

How to Design a Kitchen That Works for You

4. Don’t Forget About Your Budget

Knowles highlighted the importance of keeping a budget: “Don't let the thought of spending money keep you from kitchen remodeling but don’t go over your budget, as this may become damaging to your finances. There’s nothing more frustrating than being amid your kitchen remodeling project when you realize your budget is out of control. Failing to plan can lead to many problems, but if you strategize ahead and try to keep your budget in mind, you can make it right before the project is over. Contrary to what some people think, remodeling your kitchen doesn't have to cost a fortune. And even if you can't afford to give your kitchen a complete overhaul, there are many minor improvements you can make with minimal expense. There are a lot of cost-efficient DIY projects that can be done on a small budget.”

Shell agreed with the importance of a budget but also stressed the importance of spending the money on good-quality materials: “Renovating your kitchen can be quite pricey. However, it’s not an excuse for you to purchase low-quality appliances.”

Tips for a Smooth Kitchen Remodel

Tips for a Smooth Kitchen Remodel

Bonus Tips:

Shell had some extra kitchen remodeling tips to give on how to successfully remodel a kitchen. These recommendations are based on avoiding common mistakes shell has seen kitchen remodelers make over the course of his career: 

  • Have Enough Ventilation: “Even if you have the best layout, if you don’t have enough ventilation it will end up smelling funky. You don’t want your kitchen to smell like your last night’s meal.”
  • Don’t Always Follow The Latest Trends: “Following what’s new and always buying high-end equipment is not always the best choice. Trends generally have a short lifespan and you may never see a return on your investment.” In other words, Shell stresses the importance of being strategic in your decision to follow kitchen trends.   
  • Don’t Pick Weak Materials: “Don’t purchase materials just because they look ‘pretty.’ Make sure that you pick equipment that is durable and will last long.”

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team