All contractors know that a beautiful kitchen will always be the first thing a potential buyer will fall in love with when they enter a home. But what looks good may be not be functional and can be difficult to work in. Before taking on the task of remodeling your kitchen, make a list of things that you currently would like to change while you are working in your kitchen. Keep that list next to your grocery list…on the fridge or handy by the phone, and make your notes as thorough as possible. Visit your local home improvement center and study the kitchens that hold your interest. Pay attention to sinks (undermounted sinks are “in”), food prep areas, lighting and cabinetry (particularly inside)! These small details will make your future kitchen a dream or a nightmare! Functionality is the key!
Large or small, it’s all about floor plan and layout design. Everything should be arranged so that your meals can be prepared in a minimum amount of space. Carrying large pots across the floor space to the other side of the kitchen should be avoided. Always remember that you want the sink and the stove to be separated by just a few convenient steps. The most important thing to remember about your refrigerator is that it needs to be near the stove and sink. You don’t want to have to travel the kitchen length every time you fix a meal. The important thing about your food prep area is that it does not need to be big. Sometimes large prep areas mean a lot of counter space that needs to be cleaned after a meal, and that can take a lot of your time. Remember that you do need enough to chop your greens and main dish items. Desserts require larger spaces for larger bowls and remember those holiday meals! If you are an avid cook and enjoy cooking more than one course at a time, then you will need a larger, longer counter or two separate spaces.
How you clean your dishware and pots and pans can define your space. If you like to use your dishwasher but always leave a few items to dry on the counter, you may want more counter space if you don’t want to put your dishes away every time you need to use the counter again. The look of your cabinets are important, but MORE importantly, it’s all about what’s inside. Do the cabinets have pullout shelves? Pullouts are an attractive feature and add much resale value to your home (particularly pullouts for pots and pans). Do you remember crawling on the kitchen floor looking for what’s hiding in those deep, dark spaces behind those dusty pots and pans? Those days can a thing of the past with the appropriate pull outs! For a quality drawer box, be sure that you see dovetailed joints at the corners for a durable drawer. Particleboard is always stapled and will not last. Soft action drawer glides are nice and can be side or under mounted depending on the design of the cabinet. The good news is that wood drawers are now making a comeback and can be regularly found by stock cabinetmakers. The cabinet doors can be solid or glass. There are usually many types of see-through glass you can choose from, but ask yourself what your dishes look like and how adamant you are about keeping the inside of your cupboards organized? Can you handle seeing the inside of your cabinets if they are unorganized and messy? Something to think about. The exterior of a cabinet door is impressive, but do not let this be the basis of selecting your cabinet. Functionality may not be something you think about first, but you will wish you did if you choose your cabinets on looks alone. Knob and handle hardware is just as important. When choosing knobs or handles, use your hands and fingers to feel their functionality.
Believe it or not, knobs can pinch or pull fingers when cabinet doors are opened and some are not as “ergonomically” designed as others. Again, some of the best looking knobs and handles can be very difficult to work with. Be sure to match your faucets and hardware to look good together, and you should consider your appliances as well. The hottest trend in lighting in homes today is recessed lighting. Recessed lighting are cans recessed into the ceiling of the kitchen that when properly place, can provide both functional and ambient lighting. You will need both if you want your kitchen to be both functional and beautiful. Consider a dimmer switch on these lights (perhaps on more than one switch), so you can adjust the lighting for your ability to work, and that extra special touch when your guests are over for that holiday dinner party. Additional under the cabinet lighting is a nice feature that can illuminate food preparation areas more easily in addition to adding ambience. Granite Counter tops are another “hot” item these days. You hardly see a model home without them. Does your budget afford you to purchase a solid slab? Slabs are usually the preferred choice. A good rule of thumb to go by is to consider the value of your home when choosing a counter top. Homes that range in the $500,000.00 range and above are suitable for granite slabs. If your home is valued at or below the $500,000.00,you may want to consider granite tiles or synthetic, man-made granite counter tops found at your local home improvement center. This gives the same elegant and updated look (particularly if the grout matches the granite color closely) and can be considerably less expensive to the homeowner. Choose your counter tops wisely. Color is of utmost importance and there are many beautiful granite pieces out there to choose from. Many are unique and can be very colorful.
Ask yourself if you are going to want to look at a “blue” granite slab or tiles for the next 10-15 years if the trends change or your taste changes. Choose something that you are sure to enjoy for a long time and that adds value to your home. The market is becoming saturated with counter top options and a good look at these are worth your attention when you consider the functionality you are looking for as well as what works within your budget.