From the actual design to installation, we’ve gathered the top 10 most common mistakes DIYers face when remodeling or renovating their kitchen. These are the most common elements that can pop up when re-doing a kitchen in any way, and they’re the ones that our design consultants make sure to help customers avoid.
Keep your dream kitchen from turning into a nightmare by keeping these in mind:
This is an issue when you discover (after installation) that an appliance interferes with your kitchen operation in some way. Like not being able to open a cabinet drawer because the oven handle is in the way. When designing the layout, make sure doors have enough room, appliances can be removed or replaced without fuss, and that the kitchen hotspots (stove, refrigerator, sink, and pantry) are spaced away from each other so that people aren’t bumping into each other constantly. And don’t wait till the end to pick out your appliances.
There are two general rules for kitchen storage: (1) add more than you think you need, and (2) take advantage of every available space. Thinking about storage is especially crucial when replacing cabinets, and you definitely want to make sure you get the most out of them. Installing a new island, for example? Make sure that island space is actually space you can use, as some islands may end up being just for looks and the inside of it becomes unutilized dead space. We tend to dream about a clutter-free kitchen without really remembering all the stuff we actually have. After all, we don’t live in a design magazine.
Demoing a kitchen is fun when it’s no holds barred and everything goes, but what if you’re trying to save parts of your kitchen to reuse or restore? That increases the difficulty of a renovation by quite a bit. So make sure you know what you’re getting into before you start. Know what it takes to restore old pieces and how to protect them from damage during demo and installation.
While you may or may not be doing the actual cutting, you’ll want to double-check that everything is exactly how you want it BEFORE you whip out the power saw. Maybe even triple check. Get a second opinion if it helps. Your goal is to make sure everything works well together. Imagine yourself using the kitchen design before you start work. Like making sure the aisle between islands and cabinets is wide enough for two people. Or like opening your wall cabinet door and smacking it into a low-hanging light fixture that should have been installed farther away.
Expecting the unexpected is how you can have a low-stress reno, and many first-time DIYers don’t account for the random chaos that can happen. Maybe you’ve ordered tiles online and half show up broken. Maybe you didn’t order enough flooring. Maybe your appliances don’t fit. Or maybe even the permit to do the work hasn’t been approved yet. Whatever it is, random wildcards like these will add time to your renovation, as you’ll have to re-order, replace, or spend time fixing things that didn’t go perfectly.
It’s very, very easy to go over budget with a kitchen renovation (which is why we work extra hard to protect customer’s budgets at Cabinets To Go), which is why is a good plan to give yourself a buffer. Plan for more than you think you’ll actually need. Your wallet will thank you later. And if it turns out that you don’t need it, well then you’ve just saved up for some nice new kitchen accessories!
Not all kitchen renovations are 100% DIY. Often times it’s a good idea to get an expert involved for the harder parts (like cabinet installation). If you’re involving some contract help with your renovation, make sure it’s someone who’s professional. A professional will have all the right documentation in place, and it will be someone who you can get along with.
One of the biggest things we counsel homeowners on in a kitchen redesign is the sheer amount of lighting that many kitchens require. Kitchen are active, vibrant spaces that need more light than arguably any other room in the house. Lighting is especially important if you have dark-colored fixtures, like dark cabinets, dark countertops, or dark flooring. Daylight through windows is often not even enough, and many decorative lighting fixtures don’t actually provide a lot of light.
Power outlets might not look pretty on your kitchen walls, but they’re crucial for cooking. Most home cooks use several countertop appliances to bring meals to life, and it’s incredibly frustrating to have only a couple of outlets to choose from. Think about all the things you need to plug in: the coffeemake, the toaster oven or toaster, the stand mixer, the blender, the crockpot, the instant pot, a phone charger, or even your helpful cooking assistant (Alexa or Google Home). That’s a lot — and you’ll find yourself having to plug in many of those at once.
Don’t stress out over trying to order the exact right amount of flooring, tile, or paint. It’s easy to miscalculate amounts, and you never know what kind of surprise circumstances will require you to buy more. Ordering more and having leftovers doesn’t mean you’re being wasteful — you can save the extra pieces for repairs years down the line or even use them to make decorative pieces that match your style.
Those are the top 10 mistakes that fresh DIYers learn from when re-doing their kitchen — have you experienced any of them before? Are there any others that you’ve learned so far? Let us know on social!
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