When it comes to home improvement projects, a kitchen remodel is often the most sought-after project taken by families across the USA. And for good reason too. The kitchen is the true workhorse in every house: it takes the most amount of traffic, abuse and delivers for years, every day. A kitchen renovation/ remodeling can be seen either as a necessary investment or a much-cherished indulgence.
Nevertheless, there is a chance it can go horribly wrong, and prove to be extremely expensive if done haphazardly. From our years of experience, we have seen plenty of homeowners make these and regret later on.
1. Renovating Without a Plan
Every once in a while. you hear of people who one day decided to sell all their belongings, bought a bicycle and went on a world tour. There is no doubt that some decisions taken in the spur of the moment can be life-changing, but kitchen renovation is NOT one of them.
In fact, the planning process should be as long, if not longer, than the time taken to do the actual renovation. And here’s why: The first, rather straightforward reason, is that you do not plan a kitchen renovation every year. So, it only makes sense that you give adequate attention and ensure that there are no gaps in the planning process. Secondly, it helps you allocate your resources properly. Rushing into the project almost inevitably leads to production delays and unwanted expenses.
The Solution: Renovate on a plan, not on a whim.
How Planning Early Saves You Money
Planning early also results in maximizing your cost-saving. Take, for example, the material you have to buy for a renovation project. From rather boring items like pipes and plumbing equipment to more exciting items like countertop material and new appliances, every item is available at a lower price during sales. If you plan in advance, you can procure these at a much cheaper price.
Planning early also gives you enough time to make changes to your plans if you so wish. You might want an oversized countertop; your partner might argue otherwise. But if you start planning early, you have enough time to argue (and fight) and arrive at a conclusion. You can make a thousand changes to the plan between you both; just ensure that there are no changes made once the planning process is complete.
Late changes are one of the most assured ways to escalate costs.
Planning in advance also helps in putting an end to smaller issues that can crop up when renovation work begins. For example, you can always start consulting with the professionals at the planning stage and make a rough list of all things that are going to be absolutely necessary. They can then be ordered in advance so that you leave no room for delivery delays once work begins. Remember, professionals will charge by the hour once they arrive so any delay in the arrival of goods will only increase your costs.
2. Choosing Looks Over Functionality
Let us put it this way: This is the kitchen remodel version of getting drunk and marrying a stripper in Vegas.
Well, who doesn’t want a kitchen that looks like a million bucks? But only a handful would literally want to spend a million bucks to get there. The point is: We have budget restraints to work with and we can’t work on a whim; we must work on priorities.
Take the emerging trend of having High Cabinets, for instance. They do have a very pleasing aesthetic quality to them — but what is the point of it if you can’t access it with ease at all? Similarly, a countertop made of exotic material, or a unique texture (corrugated, for example) may be different from others, but maintaining it may be far from easy.
The Solution: We recommend taking a long hard look at your lifestyle before choosing ANYTHING in your kitchen. Things like ease of maintenance, long shelf-life, and improved efficiency are important factors. In most cases, practical trumps fancy any given day.
How Practical Choices Make Your Life Easier
Remember, a kitchen renovation is, first and foremost, an attempt to make changes in the kitchen that will make your life easy. Modern appliances, for example, work more efficiently and consume less electricity than older appliances. You should prioritize that over premium cabinetry.
But if, say, storage is a bigger concern in your kitchen, then your priorities should lie with cabinetry. Similarly, if your countertop is cluttered, you might want to work on that before anything else. That way, you spend less time decluttering and more time actually cooking. By working on the problem areas of your kitchen before your ‘wants’ — you plan the budget in a way that works in the long run.
Here’s a useful tip: If you move into a new house, wait for up to a year before renovating the kitchen. That way, you will have a much better idea of what works and what doesn’t — and you can plan your remodel accordingly.
3. Depending on Discussions/Sketches Alone
Yes, we all appreciate a meticulously-made sketch of the new-look kitchen but does it allow us to picture it fully?
Three-Dimensional Designs or Kitchen Simulators allow you to test your choices to see what the final outcome will be. That will help you create an inspired space, while also alerting you of any potential flaws in your design before work even begins.
For example, let’s say you plan to install a larger refrigerator. The Kitchen Simulator shows you if the new model will interfere with the free space in the kitchen, and whether your kitchen can make the clearance for it or not. Several such issues can come up when you use 3-D Design.
The Solution: Ask for a 3-D model of your kitchen or see if they have a software that allows you to view your purchases in your kitchen in real-time
4. Not Consulting Professionals
In the modern era, as long as you have the time and the inclination, you can learn any skill/vocation with the help of online tools. However, knowing something is not the same as being an expert in the area.
Experts exist because they follow the profession on an everyday basis: whether it is the latest material, the latest techniques and the effective ways to finish projects. At the end of the day, “knowing” something is not the same as being an expert on it.
Consulting experts will ensure that you actually have someone who you can hold accountable when work begins. Of course, make sure you have a say in the final design process — but do consult a designer to understand how your kitchen design can fulfill your demands. An expert ensures that all matters are dealt with professionally; whether it is the cost factor, the design or the finishing process.
5. Choosing the Wrong Contractor
The ‘cheapest’ option is good when buying a burger in an emergency; it can be disastrous when choosing expert professionals for kitchen remodeling.
It is important to check if they have insurance, state license, and other required documents and approvals. You can’t just believe what they say — you have to do a little digging. Look what the reviewers have to say and how their experience was. If you have a friend or a relative who had their kitchen renovated, ask them for recommendations.
No matter how good the material you buy and how good your planning is, it will be of little use to you if the ‘expert’ isn’t good enough. Just as planning is important, you need to allocate due time to pick your professional too. A good professional will also guide you through unexpected delays and ensure that the experience is both satisfying and within your budget. We cannot stress this enough: Work with an expert that can help you throughout every stage of the remodeling process; from the initial planning until the final nail is in place.