4 things homeowners want from a kitchen remodelWhen first planning to refurbish or totally redo a kitchen, homeowners often find themselves studying ones in friends’ homes and gathering ideas from magazines and online blog posts. All are good ideas.

Yet although photographs of remodeling projects may give you ideas, they can’t tell you what you want from undertaking this major change to the heart of your home. Before fixating on appliance brands or finishes pause to think about the big picture of what is important to you.

How do you want your kitchen to function, and how should everyone feel when spending time there?

Whether or not you know it, deep down you likely want four key types of improvement that can help you create a kitchen with a welcoming atmosphere and efficient workspace. These improvements concern circulation and placement of appliances, natural and artificial lighting, counter and storage space and colors that please you.

Circulation and Appliance Location Kitchens are centers for multitasking and for the ebb and flow of family and friends. You may be cooking and cleaning while supervising your children playing and doing homework nearby. Or you may be chatting with neighbors as you finish preparations for a holiday dinner or party.

Location of entries to the kitchen as well as counters, cabinetry and appliances affect your ability to work and socialize comfortably. Some architects refer to the efficient layout of the work area as the cook’s triangle, which allows you to move easily from refrigerator to sink to stove and oven.

Dining and seating areas should be outside of this area to avoid awkward interactions. As Forbes notes, many current remodels are based on an “open” plan in which walls are removed and the kitchen is easily accessible to family or dining rooms. This creates a more spacious atmosphere and easier circulation.

Artificial and Natural Lighting Gone are the days when homeowners were satisfied with a single overhead lighting fixture in the kitchen and, perhaps, a single window. Improving your kitchen’s atmosphere may depend on more than increasing wattage.

Lift the mood in your kitchen by adding track and under counter lighting as well as larger, brighter fixtures. Also, consider whether more natural lighting would be beneficial, and identify locations for adding additional windows and skylights. The Kitchn website demonstrates the cheerful brightening that can come from the addition of a single window.

Of course, although extra windows and open floor plans create an airy feel, they eliminate wall space once occupied by cabinets.

Sufficient Storage and Counters In recent years, consumers have moved toward more kitchen windows and lighter use of overhead cabinetry. To accommodate this change and to avoid cluttered counters, kitchen designs now include more storage under counters, including dish drawers.

Clever use of what once might have been dead space is especially important in small kitchens. As the website Improvenet points out, some good options include slide-out units for storing trash bins or narrow spice racks and mini-pantries.

A sufficient amount of drawers and pullout units means that counter space can be maximized for cooking by storing cooking utensils and small appliances where they are easily accessible but out of sight.

Enlarging a kitchen by moving a wall may make it possible to add an island for preparing food and dining.  When placed correctly, an island can improve circulation by dividing the work and social areas of the kitchen. It also can be designed to provide additional under counter storage.

Color, Color, Color In a kitchen remodel, finishes say a lot about your taste. Just because websites tell us that white, black, greys and other neutral shades are the current trend, it doesn’t mean you need to limit yourself to those colors in wall paint, cabinet finishes, flooring or appliances.

So before you get swept up in what’s trending, before you meet with your architect or interior designer, before you let sales associates tell you what is popular, do the hard work of thinking about what you like. After all, it’s your kitchen.


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