Kitchen remodeling can turn a ho-hum room into your home's pride and joy. A kitchen is often the central gathering point of any home. The quality of the kitchen will either appeal to buyers or turn them away from buying your home when it is for sale. Most kitchen remodel projects will increase the value of the home. Here are strategies to help your project run smoothly and maximize your return
The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recommends spending at least six months planning your kitchen remodeling project. That way, you won't be tempted to change your mind during construction, create change orders, and inflate construction costs. Here are planning points to cover:
Cooking traffic patterns: A walkway through the kitchen should be at least 36 inches wide. Work aisles should be a minimum of 42 inches wide and at least 48 inches wide for households with multiple cooks. For child safety, avoid sharp, square corners on countertops, and make sure microwave ovens are installed at the proper height. Outside access: If you want easy access to entertaining areas, such as a deck or patio, factor a new exterior door into your plans.
No matter the size and scope of your kitchen remodel, you can protect your budget by maintaining the same footprint: Keep the walls, locate new plumbing fixtures near existing plumbing pipes, and forget bump-outs. Not only will you save on demolition and reconstruction costs, you'll cut the amount of dust and debris your project generates.
It's easy to get carried away during your kitchen remodeling project. A six-burner commercial-grade range and luxury-brand
refrigerator may make eye-catching centerpieces, but they may not fit your cooking needs or lifestyle. High-priced appliances are worth the investment if you're an exceptional cook. Otherwise, save thousands with trusted brands that receive high marks at consumer review websites, like www.ePinions.com and www.amazon.com, and resources such as Consumer Reports.
Good kitchen lighting helps you work safely and efficiently. Install task lighting, such as recessed or track lights, over sinks
and food prep areas; assign at least two fixtures per task to eliminate shadows. Under-cabinet lights illuminate cleanup and are great for reading cookbooks. Pendant lights over counters bring the light source close to work surfaces. Ambient lighting includes flush-mounted ceiling fixtures, wall sconces, and track lights. Pair dimmer switches with ambient lighting to control intensity and mood.
Functionality and durability should be top priorities during kitchen remodeling. Resist low-quality bargains, and choose products that combine low maintenance with long warranty periods. Solid-surface countertops, for instance, may cost a little more, but with the proper care, they'll look great for a long time. If you're planning on moving soon, products with substantial warranties are a selling advantage.
Here's how you can add storage without bumping out walls: Install cabinets that reach the ceiling: They may cost more--and you might need a stepladder--but you'll gain valuable storage space for Christmas platters and other once-a-year items. In addition, you won't have to dust cabinet tops. Hang it up: Mount small shelving units on unused wall areas and inside cabinet doors; hang stock pots and large skillets on a ceiling-mounted rack; and add hooks to the backs of closet doors for aprons, brooms, and mops.
Establishing a good rapport with your construction team is essential for staying on budget. To keep the sweetness in your project drop by the project during work hours. Your presence broadcasts your commitment to quality. Establish a communication routine. Hang a message board on site where you and the project manager can leave daily communication. Give your email address and cell phone number to your team. Set house rules. Be clear about smoking, boom box noise levels, available bathrooms, and appropriate parking.