A kitchen remodel can be an exciting renovation project that may involve knocking down walls, adding a kitchen island, and selecting everything from flooring to backsplashes to appliances. It’s usually a complex process with many components; you can easily overlook details that can result in major problems down the line—and may cause you to go over budget. So, we spoke with nine experts, including architects, designers, and flooring professionals to find the kitchen renovation mistakes you should avoid. From layout problems to budgeting errors, scroll down for 13 of their kitchen design deal breakers.
Failing to plan
According to Michael Menn, architect, homebuilder, and home remodeler based in Northbrook, Illinois, the biggest mistake that most homeowners make during a kitchen renovation is failing to plan properly. A successful kitchen remodel requires an end goal and vision. Menn explains that he’s not talking about a pretty picture of what you want the kitchen to look like. “Decide what your life—and your family’s life—will look like in this new space, because the kitchen must perform to [meet] those ends.”
As with any home-improvement plan, being realistic is as important of a part of the planning process as anything else. Before you start purchasing elements, or knocking down walls, make sure you’re comfortable with what you can realistically accomplish within your budget and within your existing space. Make sure you’re also being realistic about upkeep—if you have children and know you won’t be able to stand constant fingerprint smudges, maybe stainless steel isn’t the best option even if it is the look you like best.
Underestimating the cost
In addition to planning, Menn says failing to create an accurate budget is another huge mistake. “Whatever you think you want to spend, you will spend more, so have a 15 to 20% contingency,” he warns. “Take the time and do as much research as possible on flooring, countertops, cabinetry, lighting, accessories, appliances, etc., since most people rush when making these decisions.”
Choosing appliances after cabinetry
Real estate broker Egypt Sherrod, one of the hosts of the HGTV show Married to Real Estate, tells us it’s a big mistake to choose your appliances after the cabinetry has already been installed. As she explains, “When it comes to designing a kitchen, measurements are crucial, and a one-to-two-inch difference can make or break an installment.” You need to know your appliance measurements before the cabinet specifications are made. Sherrod adds, “This allows for the specs of the appliances to be properly taken into consideration when laying everything out.”
Plus, having your specific appliances on hand will help you pick out materials and hardware that complement the refrigerator and stove, which regardless on the square footage of your space, do a lot to establish the look of your kitchen. If you’re concerned with how all of your pieces will pair, and you have the budget to spare, choose panel-ready refrigerators that can be fitted with custom cabinet fronts to blend in with the rest of the space.
Installing cabinets before floors
The order of installation is also important as it relates to your cabinetry and floors, and Paul Henthorn, owner of Slaughterbeck Floors in Campbell, California, recommends installing the floors after the cabinetry when possible. “If cabinets are installed on top of a hardwood floor, there are at least two potential problems,” he explains. “The floor loses the ability to expand and contract, making cupping or peaking more of a reality, and it makes it very hard to remove the floor without damaging cabinets, should it need to be replaced or repaired.” Also, he says that installing the floors after cabinets also minimizes the risk that the floors will be damaged from the cabinet installation.