6 Common Kitchen Remodeling Mistakes to Avoid

Written by Kelly K. Tomkies
Updated February 14, 2013
Smart planning can yield a kitchen to make you proud. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Mary V. of Roscoe, Ill.)

There are many details to consider when remodeling a kitchen. It's easy to overlook something or make a mistake. Here are six common mistakes that occur during a kitchen remodel, and tips for avoiding them.

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The kitchen is the heart of any home, and for many homeowners having a warm, inviting space is important, which is why many people choose to remodel. But kitchen remodeling mistakes are easy to make. From countertops and flooring, to appliances and lighting, you have many details, and expenses, to consider. A single mistake could add hundreds of dollars to the cost of your remodel. Here are some common mistakes and ways to avoid them.

Be more timeless than trendy

Don't be too trendy with your material choices or design because the life of most design trends is typically five years. Choosing permanent or hard-to-replace materials, such as countertops and cabinets, with the trendiest finishes could mean having to redo that kitchen again much sooner than intended. It can also date your kitchen and hurt the resale value of the home. Use the latest colors and textures in accent pieces, such as window treatments, cushions, place settings and other accessories. Once the fashion changes, they are much less costly to replace.

Watch the lights

Lighting is an oft overlooked feature but one that can make a big difference to the look and functionality of any room. One common mistake is forgetting to evaluate current and future lighting needs. When reorganizing the kitchen, your existing lighting will likely no longer illuminate the right areas. According to TLC Home, most kitchens lack task lighting. Adding under-cabinet lighting and other task lighting adds value. Think about where your work areas will be and make sure those areas are well lit.

Don't short yourself

Our kitchens contain more electrical appliances today than ever before. The best time to evaluate, change or add the electrical outlets in your home is during a remodel. Look at all work surfaces and locations to ensure there are plenty of outlets available where you need them, and if changes are necessary, consult with an electrician.

Don't be cheap

In some places, less-expensive options may be a good choice (appliances don't always have to be top of the line, for example), and in other places investing in better-quality materials make the most sense. Using high-quality flooring, cabinets and countertops usually provides the most return on investment in a kitchen remodeling project.

Cheap materials that won't last will cost you more in the long run. The same goes for really cheap labor. You'll have to pay more later if the job isn't done right. 

Don't debate, integrate

Blending the new kitchen décor with the rest of the home isn't as difficult as it sounds. Interior decorators recommend using a color family throughout the home in the new kitchen and the same flooring, or you can choose timeless pieces that work with any décor. This way your new kitchen doesn't end up clashing with the rest of the home.

Pad your budget

When it comes to remodeling, it's smart to expect the unexpected, especially if your home is more than 25 years old. It's not uncommon to find wood rot and water damage in a kitchen, both of which can add to the cost of the remodel. If the project includes moving the plumbing, plumbers may also encounter unexpected problems, including having to replace lead pipes with copper to meet current building codes.

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