Kitchen Remodeling Tips

Kitchen remodels can be among the most stressful home improvement projects because there are so many elements which must all be coordinated and balanced, starting with function and ending with the tiny design touches that make your kitchen unique. Careful planning and attention to detail can pull all of this together, giving you a kitchen as functional as it is fabulous.

Choose your focal point and design the kitchen around it. This can be an architectural feature such as a large window with a gorgeous view, a functional element like a pressed-copper range hood, or a design feature such as a tile mosaic. The rest of the kitchen should complement this feature rather than compete with it.

Select your materials with an eye toward durability. Marble counters chip so they may not be the best choice for an active household. Cabinet doors should be hardwood with sturdy hinges and hardware that can stand up to constant use. Matte surfaces show fewer fingerprints and smudges while set-in sinks have no outer rim to catch crumbs.

Pick a color scheme that compensates for flaws. Light colors make a small kitchen seem larger while dark colors add warmth to a large, open area. Choose your overall color palette and permanent fixtures first and then match your paint to them because paint can be custom-blended.

Think carefully about how each appliance will interact with the space around them. Place the cooktop out of the main traffic area, especially if you have young children. Set the refrigerator so that family and guests can access it without interfering with the cook. Put the microwave where it can be reached by the shortest person who will be using it; keep in mind that it is dangerous for small children or those in wheelchairs to handle hot food that is up high.

Be sure to plan countertops and appliances so that they work together. For example, unloading the dishwasher is a pain if you have to walk across the room to get the dishes, glasses and flatware put away in their proper places. Unpacking groceries is also difficult with no counter space near the refrigerator. A wall oven set off in a corner by itself may look sleek and functional, but where will you put heavy casseroles or bubbling slow-oven stews if there’s no countertop right next to it?

Remember small appliances and plan for enough counter space and power outlets where they will be used. Group items used at the same time together, such as the coffeemaker, grinder and blender near the refrigerator. Provide counter space and outlets next to the stove to accommodate a Panini press or slow cooker.

Leave enough space to avoid traffic jams and clutter. There should be at least 36 inches of clear walking space outside of the cooking area and 42 inches near the oven, cooktop and prep counters. Add 6 more inches to the cooking area if you routinely cook as a couple or a team. Check door clearance on all cabinets so that drawers and doors do not block appliances or each other when opened.

Place lighting where it is most needed so that you are not trying to measure ingredients in a dark corner. A mix of overhead and under-cabinet lighting allows you to illuminate the kitchen when in use and leave a soft glow to welcome those looking for a late-night snack.

Make the most of each space. Use rotating inserts in corner cabinets and pull-outs in cupboards. Put a shelf above the cooktop for spices, or a deep bin and shallow drawers beneath the work surface to hold plastic containers, their lids. Don’t forget foil, cling wrap and zipper bags for preparing leftovers.

The kitchen experts at Kitchen Encounters remind you that no kitchen is complete without top quality appliances such as the Rangemaster line of cook tops, ovens, ranges and accessories offered at Cookers and Ovens.

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