8 Mistakes to Avoid When Renovating Your Kitchen

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Those who live on Uber Eats may barely even step foot into their kitchens.

But for most of us, the kitchen is one of the most important spaces in the home.

It’s where we wolf down a quick brekky before work, toil over family dinners, wash up dirty dishes and in many cases – entertain guests.

Trying to decide on how to renovate your kitchen can be tough. Not only is the kitchen a place where we spend a lot of time, it’s also a functional workspace.

And real estate experts agree:

The kitchen is one of the most important factors in determining the value of your home.

The key to a great kitchen is a graceful balancing act: fully maximising your kitchen’s potential while keeping it looking slick.

If you’re getting ready to renovate your kitchen, don’t let the overwhelm get to you. By avoiding these 8 common mistakes, you can avert a renovation disaster.

1. Forgetting what makes a kitchen a kitchen

Swanky real estate magazines and sleek showrooms can put stars in our eyes, and before we know it, we’re forking out thousands of dollars on marbled granite bench tops.

But at the end of the day, a kitchen needs to be practical. Don’t leave appliances like ovens and stovetops to the last minute. These are what ultimately make your kitchen, well… a kitchen.

Interior designers call the perfect placement of kitchen appliances the ‘kitchen triangle’: a refrigerator, sink and stove all within easy access to one another.

Make this your starting point.

2. Not prioritising kitchen space

Gone are the days of the humble toaster and kettle. Many of us now have blenders, juicers, espresso machines and other high-tech appliances contending for room on our countertops.

Ensure you make enough room for your ‘evergreen’ appliances (the things that stay out on the counter) and your ‘sometimes’ appliances (the things that you store in your cupboards.)

It’s also worth remembering that many other objects in your kitchen are better kept hidden away. You’ll need plenty of storage space for clunky units, dirty recycling bins and cleaning tools.

Consider an island for food prep in the centre of your kitchen. This can free up a lot of room, and also create a nice social hub with the help of one or two comfortable stools.

Social is important. A recent real estate survey found that the main item on buyers’ wish-lists was an open-plan living area so that people could chat while cooking.  

3. Not setting a budget

Kitchen expenses can quickly blow out if you don’t plan a firm budget. Do some pricing research and figure out where you’re willing to scrimp and splurge.

An easy way to keep the budget under control is to consider a kitchen upgrade instead of a full kitchen gut-out. Many kitchens are already built to be perfectly functional. The potential for transformation lies in the design.

This will help you to save money on the pricey stuff – like ovens and plumbing – so you can spend more on the pretty stuff – like new tiling for your walls.

4. Skipping the backsplash

It’s unavoidable. Kitchens are moist, warm environments and they get messy fast. Sauce splashes, grease marks and mold can get the better of your kitchen if you don’t install an easily cleanable backsplash behind your stovetop.

Tiles and plastic make for easier surfaces than painted or papered walls, so be smart about the material of the backsplash you splash out on.

It might seem extraneous, but account for this in your budget and you’ll save yourself years of elbow grease.

5. Not including enough electrical outlets

Nothing ruins the look of a neat kitchen like a mess of jumbled wires. Strategic placement of electrical outlets can solve this problem. Plan where you’d like to place certain kitchen appliances on your counter space, and install electrical outlets accordingly.

And remember: nobody likes an overworked power adaptor, for safety and aesthetic reasons. It’s better to have more electrical outlets than less.

A clever idea is to tape wires to the wall safely behind large objects. This will help to maximise the space in your kitchen, as well as improve its visual appeal.

6. Skipping on samples

Just like any other room in your house, the kitchen is an elegant composition.

Each material, colour and shape needs to work seamlessly in with the rest of the design. Those bright red statement cupboard knobs might work great in Ikea, but could spell out a design disaster at home.

Most furniture stores and design suppliers are often willing to let you take home samples so that you can see how something fits into the rest of your design plan.

Avoid rushing into making a spontaneous purchase without being absolutely sure that it’s the right choice for the look you’re trying to go for. Take advantage of playing around with samples.

7. Failing to install proper ventilation

The seafood marinara might have been a hit last night, but your neighbour doesn’t want to smell it when they visit for a cuppa this morning.

Installing a ventilation hood over your stove helps to neutralise odours and keeps your kitchen clean and hygienic.

Simple designs that fulfil this purpose are the smartest way to go.  

8. Not having a design plan

The biggest mistake first-time kitchen renovators often make is failing to come up with a clear vision. If you can’t imagine what your final kitchen looks like, you probably haven’t done enough planning.

Struggling with this? Then why not solicit the help of an interior design expert or even ask a creative family member or friend?

Another’s advice can be invaluable.

Renovating a kitchen doesn’t have to be a nightmare. If you can create a clear plan, follow some simple rules and do the research, you’ll be well on your way to creating the kitchen of your dreams.

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