While many of us decide to remodel for aesthetic reasons, there’s typically a lot of room for functional improvement to our kitchens as well. So before you jump to the fun part and pick out countertops and paint colors, give some thought to the layout and function of existing elements.
First – take your time! It’s often one of the first thing homeowners want to tackle when moving into a new house, but waiting 6 months or so can have a huge impact on how happy you are with your remodel in the long run. You’ll learn things about the way you live how you use the space that will help you determine where everything should be and how it should work. Maybe the island that seemed like such a great idea will actually just get in the way, or the track lighting doesn’t fit the space and needs to be redone. It can take time to figure out the nuances of your space!
Second – reconsider the layout. Even if you’re not completely gutting the kitchen it’s often surprisingly easy to move things around so that they work for you. We’re in the middle of remodeling our kitchen (for the second time! It’s a long story…) and we realized that while the position of the refrigerator made sense on paper, in real life it made it difficult to use the two feet of counter space next to it and it kept us from opening the cupboards to the left. By moving our fridge across the room and rearranging our breakfast bar we made our kitchen a hundred times more functional. As an added bonus, it looks much more open and inviting! Don’t be afraid to ask your contractor how difficult it would be to move appliances or fixtures. It’s often easier than you think and it can mean the difference between a good remodel and a dynamite remodel.
Finally, get inspired! Take a stroll through some kitchen stores and designer magazines to see what you might want to add to your kitchen. Maybe it’s a pull-out pantry or an in-cabinet garbage can. Do you want a built-in fridge? Or maybe drawers instead of lower cabinets? How about a stove-top pot filler? Ask lots of questions and dream a little! Even with a limited budget you can often make an upgrade or two that you’ll end up loving. Once the functional part of the kitchen is in place the aesthetics are even more fun to pull together.
Nick and Cindy Germann are young DIY-ers living in St. Paul, Minnesota with their two English Springer Spaniels and one feisty rabbit. They blog at The Flipping Couple, where they talk a lot about messy projects and old houses while posting pictures of their four-legged pets. They’re turning their 86-year-old Craftsman into a beautiful home one overdue project and smashed finger at a time, all while dreaming of finished walls and clean floors.