1. Don't get ahead of yourself.
"People often put the cart before the horse," Maykut says. "The homeowner decides to renovate without first defining the goals of the project." Don't let this happen to you! At the outset, be sure to pinpoint the ways in which your current kitchen lets you down. Perhaps there's too little storage, not enough counter space, or an inefficient layout. Or maybe you've never had—but always wanted—an eat-in kitchen. Given the sheer number of details at play, Maykut strongly advises working with an experienced pro. One advantage of working with Sears Home Services: Expert coordinators walk you through every step of the process, from the initial planning stages to the final installation day.
2. Don't budget irresponsibly.
Make no mistake: Kitchen renovation isn't cheap. Typically, homeowners spend 10 to 15 percent of their home's market value. "Basing your budget on the worth of your home helps to prevent over- or underspending," Maykut says. Once you've set a budget (and committed to sticking to it), the next step is to allocate resources carefully. In other words, as Maykut puts it, "You don’t want to spend a small fortune on appliances only to realize that you’ve got nothing left to spend on the backsplash." Finally, Maykut suggests that in any kitchen renovation, but especially when remodeling a kitchen in an older house, it's wise to "build a buffer into the budget for any unexpected surprises encountered during the course of the remodel."
3. Don't covet the latest trends.
The Internet certainly didn't create the "house envy" phenomenon, but now that it's so easy to see how other people have transformed their spaces, we're all almost constantly dreaming up new and exciting possibilities for our own homes. When it comes to the kitchen, Maykut encourages homeowners to seek out inspiration from websites and magazines, but to avoid merely mimicking the latest trends. Instead, he says, it's a safer bet to "favor timeless design choices sure to hold their appeal and their value over the long term." If you simply cannot resist a certain look, embrace it not as a major, permanent feature, but in small, relatively inexpensive accents, such as cushions and window treatments.
4. Don't overlook the layout.
Every kitchen has a trio of key zones—the sink, stove, and refrigerator. When preparing a meal, homeowners circulate back and forth around all three. That's why professionals like Maykut always advocate establishing a "work triangle," ensuring that the layout situates these busy areas conveniently close to one another. "You want your new kitchen to be beautiful," Maykut says, "but it also needs to function well, and ease of use makes all the difference." Further, Maykut suggests including a sufficient number of "landing zones"—countertop surfaces where you can temporarily rest things like dirty dishes, fresh ingredients, and containers full of leftovers.
5. Don't be shortsighted.
Cabinets, countertops, flooring—Maykut says that, in general, the old maxim holds true: "You get what you pay for." Be aware, however, that high cost doesn't always translate into durability. "Many of the most expensive materials are heavy on luxury but light on resilience," Maykut points out. That's not to say marble counters and hardwood floors aren't fine choices. But in the end, a given material is suitable for your project only if it can withstand the sort of wear and tear you anticipate. If you expect your kitchen to endure heavy traffic and hard use, it's only prudent to opt for tough materials that are up to the challenge.
6. Don't try to do it yourself.
Unless you're an ambitious, capable do-it-yourselfer determined to handle the project all on your own, the quality of your kitchen renovation depends almost entirely on the contractors you hire. Don’t just flip open the Yellow Pages and settle on the first company you find in the listings. Instead, do your due diligence and devote care and attention to finding a qualified professional whom you feel comfortable entrusting with one of the biggest and most consequential improvements you may ever undertake in your tenure as owner of your home. Don't know where to begin? You can start by discussing your project with a qualified, experienced pro. Schedule a completely free in-home consultation with Sears Home Services today!
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