How Much Kitchen Do You Need?
Get the most value from your kitchen remodeling project.
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9 Tips for Picking the Right Kitchen for Your Home
1. Don't outspend the neighborhood. While having the most to-die-for kitchen on the street is definitely cool, is it worth losing a bundle when you sell? A $75,000 kitchen in a $100,000 neighborhood clearly won't pay off when you move on. Keep upgrades in line with the homes around you.
2. Match the kitchen to the house. Install futuristic, all-metal cabinets and the latest gadgets in a Victorian or tuck a tiny galley-style kitchen into a sprawling 3,000-square-foot home and the only thing you'll succeed in is running potential buyers away. Choose a look that isn't out of place.
3. Avoid quirky personal touches. Shades of hot pink and neon lemon-lime might be your favorite colors, but chances are prospective buyers won't find them irresistible. "If the kitchen is too personalized, the next owner will probably want to start over," says Susan Nilsson, American Society of Interior Designers, from Asheville, N.C. Most buyers prefer a look they can live with for a while, thus Susan says to forget the personalized mural over the cooktop or risk buyers forgetting about your house.
4. Balance your needs versus your wants. You want warming drawers, but if you only cook occasionally and think entertaining means a night on the town, do you really need them? Be realistic about what you will and won't use, and cut down on costs.
5. Evaluate your future before you start. Ask yourself where you plan to be in five, 10 or 15 years. If you see a move in your immediate future, do a spruce-up remodel, not a down-to-the-studs overhaul. And even if you have no plans of ever moving, remember that neighborhoods and circumstances change over time. The perfect place to raise a family today might not be so perfect when you hit retirement. There's always that surprise job opportunity across the country to consider.
6. Don't put a fresh new kitchen into a faded and out-of-date home. San Francisco kitchen designer Peggy Deras suggests thinking about refreshing the rest of your home when jumping into a kitchen remodeling project. "Too often remodels focus on a single room, in this case the kitchen, without examining the relationship (with) the surrounding rooms," Peggy says.
7. Don't blow your budget on one big item and go cheap on the rest. You wouldn't wear flip-flops with an Armani suit or Harry Winston diamond earrings with an old T-shirt, so don't put an ultra-expensive professional range into a 1970s tract house with the original cabinets. One or two high-end items in a low-priced remodeling job only make the rest of the redo look cheap.
8. Simply put, simplicity sells. We all want tons of extra cabinet space and lust after a huge work island, but if you've ever been in a home with more furniture than space, you know overcrowding is a very bad idea.
9. Test-drive the layout and adjust accordingly. This is where imagination and a good tape measure come in handy. Pretend you've pulled up in the driveway with enough groceries to feed a football team. It's raining buckets and you have to carry all that stuff inside. How far do you have to walk to be able to put the groceries down? Where is that in relation to the pantry and refrigerator? What about the kitchen traffic pattern in general? People like to congregate in a kitchen. If you're a frequent entertainer, will your new kitchen accommodate friends? And if it's too big, will you have to walk a football field to feed that football team?
Swap dated laminate for a classic butcher-block countertop. Unlike stone or solid surface, butcher block can be fabricated in a...