It’s the day you’ve been dreaming of — time to plan your kitchen remodel. Dream big, but make sure you’re not making mistakes that’ll cause you to regret the money you spent and the inconvenience you went through. We’re here to future-proof you from angst by naming the ten simple rules for definitive kitchen features that will retain their beauty, marketability, and value — all while giving you lasting enjoyment.
White as the Dominant Color
Bottom line: White is the most marketable color. You’ll always find it atop the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s annual survey of most popular kitchen colors. It simply doesn’t go out of style. It’s a bright color that reflects light and makes even small kitchens feel larger along with being a neatnik’s dream — dirt has no place to hide. Even better, it’s uber-tolerant of both your budget and taste: A standard color for any manufacturer, you’ll find white cabinets, tile, counters, faucets, sinks, and appliances at any price point.
Hardwood for Flooring
It’s been our love for years. That’s especially true ever since hardwood flooring was mass-produced during the Industrial Revolution, making beautiful flooring readily available at a reasonable cost.Today, more than half of home buyers who purchased a home without hardwood floors say they would have paid an extra $2,080 for them, according to the “2013 Home Features Survey” from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. And among buyers of any age, upwards of 80% say hardwood floors are “somewhat” or “very important.” Why? The love of wood is in our genes. Our nesting instincts know that hardwood has warmth, personality, and makes our homes cozy and inviting. That’s why this clever chameleon pairs well with any kitchen style.
Shaker Style Cabinets
Thank heaven for the Shakers. While they were busy reducing life to its essentials, they made cabinets with clean, simple lines that will forever be in style. Shaker cabinets are an enduring legacy of American style and, like wood flooring, have the knack for looking good in any setting. Their simple frame-and-panel design helps reduce the amount of busyness in a kitchen, making it a soothing, friendly place to be. Those plain, simple, clean lines are a perfect fit for transitional style — a beautiful combo of traditional and contemporary styles.
Subway Tile for the Backsplash
Subway tile goes back to the early 1900s, when it was used to line New York’s first subway tunnels. Classic subway tiles are white, 3-inch-by-6-inch rectangles — a look that became popular in American kitchens and baths, and has stuck around ever since. Now it’s an iconic part of the American design vernacular, destined never to go out of style. In the kitchen, ceramic tile excels as a backsplash, where it guards against moisture, is a snap to clean, lasts forever, and always looks classy.
Adaptability and universal design features mean easy living at any age. A recent survey on kitchens from the American Institute of Architects points to the growing popularity of smart ergonomic design, a sign that kitchen adaptability will stay in vogue. Smart ergonomics simply mean convenience — for young or old, party people or homebodies — a key factor when remodeling a kitchen that will function well, retain its value, and always feel right
Creating a Crowded Kitchen
Your kitchen wish list might be long, but make sure you’re not trying to squeeze too much into the space you have. Installing an island? Make sure it’s surrounded by at least three feet of space on all sides. And make sure you can walk around your dishwasher, even when it’s fully open.
Going Overboard with Open Shelving
Yes, it’s popular. And it can look amazing, especially to show off a stunning collection of cookware, and to make your kitchen look unique. But give some serious thought to which shelves should be open. Open shelves for items you use often, such as plates and coffee cups, are a good idea because you use them often so they’ll stay clean. But if you use open shelves to store things you use infrequently, they’ll quickly become dust collectors. You’ll also want to avoid making your lowest cabinets open. They’re harder to clean and tend to fill with dust faster.
Getting Overly Luxurious
Major kitchen remodels recoup less than 70% of their value upon sale. (A minor kitchen remodel will receive slightly better returns.) Unless you’re planning on staying in your home for a very long time, and having an über-high-end stove is really important to you, don’t waste your time and money on a splurge. Top-of-the-line appliances and other luxury upgrades just lighten your pocketbook — without adding much value.
Forgetting About the Garbage
When “Apartment Therapy” asked its readers for their biggest kitchen design mistakes, there was one unexpectedly common response: forgetting about the trash. There’s little worse — at least in terms of a kitchen remodel — than a gorgeous workspace with no place to discard your garbage. Don’t forget to make room for either a can or compactor in your new kitchen. After all, now’s the time you can design a specific space to hide that ugly plastic box. Whether you stick it under a sink (maybe install a sliding system?) or even custom-cut a hole in your countertop for easy disposal, keep trash in mind when designing a beautiful room.
Neglecting to Properly Vent
Cooking dinner for a family of four can release more than a pint of water into the air — and if you’re using a gas range that number doubles (and adds carbon monoxide). Improperly vented, that liquid seeps into your walls, ceiling, and appliances where it can cause problems with mold and mildew. Make sure your ventilation systems are properly installed and lead outdoors, which keeps your kitchen cleaner and helps protect your home’s structural integrity.