The kitchen is truly the heart of a home. It is the room where we gather together to prepare and share food and talk about our day. My own kitchen is one of the smallest rooms in my house, yet when I have a party that’s where we all cram in. We have all seen the stats which show that kitchens and baths sell homes; they provide the highest return for money spent because a well-planned kitchen or bathroom renovation will increase the value of the home. If you are considering a kitchen renovation, here are the important variables to consider.
- Reconsider the layout of the room. Does it allow easy food preparation, storage and clean up? Do you need to bring the three points of fridge, stove and sink closer together?
- Plan space for secondary functions, such as an eating area and a desk area.
- If you don’t like your existing cabinets, compare the cost of refinishing or painting, installing new fronts, or replacing. If your budget allows new, find out about the wonderful new cabinetry features available. Do you crave lovely deep pot drawers, a pantry with easily accessed sliding shelves, or a recycling centre? These extras will increase your cost so proceed with caution
- If you have room, consider an island to add interest, countertop space, a place to eat and chat, and/or a place to use the laptop. Free standing islands are readily available these days in a variety of styles, or a cabinet maker can create something custom for you.
- Take stock of your kitchen flooring. Is it time to replace or refinish? The flooring is an important part of the design of the room. If choosing new, take care to choose a style and colour that both fits well and will stay current for a long time.
- Consider new appliances as you make cabinetry and countertop decisions. Fridges have gotten bigger and now often have water and ice dispensers which require a water connection. Traditional stoves are now often replaced with countertop cooktops, slide-in stoves which do not have a raised back, or gas stoves. If you are an avid cook, you may want to spend a little extra on appliances, where you truly get what you pay for.
- Change the look of your kitchen by using colour, fabrics, hardware, countertop, lighting, appliances, backsplash and/or trim. Even if you do not change the layout or the cabinetry, you can create a “new” kitchen for a fraction of the cost by changing these. Relatively easy changes include placing glass in a few of your upper cabinet doors and dressing them with your prettiest glassware; adding trim to the top of your cupboards; adding under counter lighting for both task and ambiance lighting, and a gorgeous pendant light over the island or the kitchen sink; adding a showpiece granite or butcher-block top to your island.
- An easy flow from room to room feels best in a home, so take care to create a kitchen that fits with the adjoining rooms. Consider whether the kitchen should feel formal or casual, classic or contemporary, warm or cool, adult or child friendly, as well as how much natural light the room receives. Colours and finishes should flow from these.