Kitchen Improvements – A Puzzle Solved

I’ve learned from counseling couples that remodeling can be stressful. Especially the kitchen. A couple needs to balance taste, cost and functionality and do it by choosing from different views, designs and options. Then there are friends, relatives, other homes the couple has seen, travel guides, the internet, TV shows… the sheer variety to choose from is incredible. No wonder so many couples feel stressed, conflicted, hostile and downright confused.

Here are some basic rules to avoid all this.

1. Start with a basic design and customize it with the options, spacing, etc. you decide. At no time should the design reflect anything other than your style and personality; add something to it, but make sure that addition reflects your style and taste. Get the opinion of your friends, designers, experts, neighbors, relatives – but the plan should reflect you and your partner. For example, steer clear of overpriced top quality appliances and gadgets – experts will tell you that this increases the “resale value”. This is not correct, I speak from experience of owning and selling many homes. A kitchen’s selling point is its entry and design – not the furnishings and appliances. Yes, they need to be classy and not look cheap and flighty, but there’s no need to pay huge premiums for some European or designer names. It’s doubtful it can hide a poorly designed kitchen, so that’s where your quest begins and ends. If you ignore it you will regret it and in the meantime you will spend a lot of money without your kitchen necessarily being convenient, friendly and warm or adding any real value.

2. Determine your male-female relationship. You’ll have to live with it – the advice men and TV pundits are long gone. make sure that

3. Make a budget and stick to it.

4. Start with a basic list and add only for clear and agreed purposes.

5. Remember, shop wisely, but don’t be stingy and don’t lose much. A kitchen is a long-term investment. Retrofit it and equip it with high-quality, durable items.

6. You’re likely to grow in your kitchen, so take a long-term view. If you lived at home for the next five years, would you still love your kitchen?

7. Get the opinion of the people most likely to visit your home: close relatives, children, in-laws and friends.

8. Don’t just take advice. Question it – support it. For example, if your friends tell you to only buy a certain brand, ask them why? Do they have experience with this brand and others? Why do they prefer one brand over another? What’s wrong with competing brands. Maybe they force their personal choices on you. Maybe they are snobbish – both are wrong reasons to choose a particular brand.

9. Make a “must have” and “best have” list. This way you stay within budget.

10. It is not a good idea to use porous materials or wood in the kitchen. Marble or high-quality granite bring richness and warmth.

11. As for point 5, leave some room for expansion in the kitchen if possible. For example, don’t buy cabinets that go to the ceiling, you may want to add storage space later.


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