The kitchen is perhaps the hardest-working room in the house. Not only is every bit of the food preparation done there, it also hosts most of the food consumption in the house as well as homework, bill paying, and socializing.
As such, the kitchen really needs to be in top condition and peak efficiency. The way your kitchen functions can dramatically impact everything from your utility bills to the comfort level of social functions.
Getting your kitchen to work that well for you will require occasional renovations. When you begin to see poor function from your appliances or notice excess wear on countertops, cabinet doors, flooring, or other heavy-use areas, it is time to start weighing your options for how to move ahead with a renovation.
The first thing you need to decide is just what is on the to-do list. Almost every renovation will call for upgraded kitchen cabinets. Years of use will wear out hinges, handles, and drawer tracks, leaving them binding and squeaking. Drawer fronts and cabinet faces will scratch, fade, and wear, and the features inside the cabinet can be hopelessly outdated regardless of their condition. So go ahead and put cabinets on the list, and go from there.
You’ll also want to give your appliances a hard examination. Since you’re already doing cabinets, you can also reallocate wall space differently for appliances. If the old single oven hasn’t been big enough, think about incorporating a space for a double oven. If you have a double and don’t use it, stop wasting space this time and go back to a single.
Look up while you’re planning. Do you have enough lighting in the right places? Most homes are built by people who never actually live in them, so things like lights are often placed according to generally-used ideas. But if you have a particular countertop appliance that you use frequently, you might want lights just for it. Conversely, if you rarely eat at the bar, you might eliminate the recessed lights above it to permit extra lighting somewhere else.
Next, you’ll want to look down. Is your linoleum marked with a decade’s worth of dropped silverware? Or do you have little ones in the house now, slipping and falling on the old ceramic tile? Could hardwood or laminate be an option for you? Draw on your time in the existing configuration to guide your decisions about what you do this time. This will keep you from repeating old mistakes, and a little input from contractors, sales associates, and friends will help you avoid making a different set of mistakes.
Of course, an aggressive renovation is a messy project. Most of us can’t go completely without a kitchen for a prolonged period, for the sake of both happiness and functionality. In the case of a kitchen, a progressive renovation might help you by breaking the renovation into stages that you can chew up a little at a time instead of biting off the whole thing at once.
A renovation is a great time to go back and get your kitchen a little closer to the perfect setup for your family. Whatever features you take and leave, do it all on paper first. Think about the layout and the flow of traffic inside the new layout. Imagine yourself walking through it doing normal daily activities, and make sure you’ll be happy with the outcome. There are plenty of apps and websites out there that can help you build these simulations with no cost and no mess.
Renovating a kitchen is a big project, but it can reap big rewards. Newer appliances can save you on energy and water, and better cabinets can simplify meal preparation. A little planning can quickly help you create a perfect kitchen for your family.