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Kitchen Remodel Do's and Don'ts: 15 Mistakes You Shouldn't Ignore

Kitchen Remodel Do's and Don'ts: 15 Mistakes You Shouldn't Ignore


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A kitchen remodel can do a great deal to elevate your space, not only providing you with more storage and functionality but enticing buyers with an updated kitchen remodel. However, there are some kitchen remodel mistakes that can not only impede your own kitchen use but the buyer's interest, too.

To help you make more informed decisions with your next kitchen remodeling project, here are some of the top kitchen remodel mistakes to avoid so you can prevent costly errors and create a kitchen that matches your needs and design. Let's dive right in!

1. Lack of Proper Planning and Budgeting

Before committing to your kitchen remodel plan, it's important to create a detailed plan. Whether you work with an interior designer or attempt to do it on your own, proper planning will help you make efficient use of your resources and avoid costly delays and hiccups.

In addition, you will want to lay out a comprehensive budget. When navigating your budget for the kitchen remodel, don't forget to account for the cost of materials, labor, permits, and any unexpected expenses. This will help you avoid one of the classic kitchen remodeling mistakes where homeowners blow the budget, leading them to miss out on their dream renovation.

2. Ignoring the Kitchen Layout and Workflow

Another common kitchen remodel mistakes is ignoring the existing kitchen layout when creating your design.

No matter what vision you have in mind, you must keep the actual space you're working with in consideration for your design. The existing space may only allow for certain solutions, and in order to have the best possible layout for your workflow, you must consider the space at hand.

While it may be tempting to implement a large island or other kitchen elements, these can have a huge impact on the flow of your space and can cause difficulty down the road that will be costly to fix. Not only should you keep in mind the kitchen workflow, but the traffic flow, too for a more functional home design.

kitchen layout

3. Not Considering Storage and Organization Needs

Beyond the flow of your space, storage, and organization is also essential to the functionality of your kitchen. One of the common kitchen renovation mistakes homeowners make is not thinking about the space they will need for all the elements in their kitchen.

Not only should homeowners consider how many cabinets they need, but also the clearance space required for these cabinets and other kitchen appliances. For instance, refrigerator doors and cabinet doors will need space to open.

4. Overspending on High-End Appliances

When it comes to kitchen remodel dos and don'ts, It's not always the best idea to invest in high-end appliances. While many homeowners may regard expensive appliances as better than other options, opting for high-quality, energy-efficient ones pay off more in the long run.

Not only do energy-efficient appliances, including your stove, refrigerator, and your small kitchen appliances, offer better energy efficiency ratings, but also tend to offer lower repair or replacement expenses due to fewer maintenance requirements. With an investment in these energy-efficient options instead of spending a lot on more expensive ones, you can not only save money but better the environment, too.

5. Neglecting Energy Efficiency Upgrades

By opting for energy-efficient upgrades to your kitchen, you can reduce your energy consumption, lower your utility builds, and create a more environmentally friendly home to support your community. While not every kitchen you see has these elements, they will soon, and neglecting them will only cost you more in the long run.

To help you explore the energy-efficient choices, from LED lighting to low-flow faucets and energy-efficient windows, we are breaking down all the perks of each below.

Energy Efficiency Upgrades Features for Homeowners Estimated Cost Savings for Homeowners
LED Lighting Energy-efficient and long-lasting lighting Up to 75% on lighting energy costs
Energy Star Appliances Energy-saving and environmentally friendly appliances Up to 30% on appliance energy costs
Insulation Improvement Improved temperature control and energy efficiency Up to 20% on heating and cooling costs
Low-Flow Faucets and Fixtures Water conservation and reduced water bills Up to 30% on water usage and bills
Programmable Thermostat Customizable temperature settings for optimal energy use Up to 10% on heating and cooling costs
Energy-Efficient Windows Improved insulation and reduced energy loss Up to 25% on heating and cooling costs
Energy-Efficient Doors Enhanced insulation and reduced drafts Up to 10% on heating and cooling costs
Solar Panels Renewable energy generation and reduced electricity bills Varies based on solar panel system
Smart Home Technology Energy monitoring and automation for efficient usage Varies based on usage and technology
Water Heater Insulation Reduced heat loss and energy consumption Up to 10% on water heating costs

At the end of the day, making these energy-efficient upgrades will pay off greatly in a few years. No matter how old the home or the size of the space, making these small changes and improvements can have cost-saving benefits, and move your home into the future.

6. Choosing Trendy Materials that Quickly Go Out of Style

When it comes to kitchen remodel mistakes, committing too heavily to trends is a big one.

While embracing the latest trends in your house is fun, it's best to avoid doing so with more expensive, long-lasting materials and elements in your kitchen. Let's face it - trends go out of style, and when elevating spaces in your home, you don't want to have to redo the costly elements every few years.

To avoid this, opt for the durability and longevity of classic materials, like natural stone, stainless steel, or hardwood flooring. While they are classic, they are still stylish and can be elevated with trendy accessories that can be swapped out as styles change.

7. Skipping Professional Design and Consultation

Another fatal mistake homeowners make when investing in kitchen remodels is skipping consultation with professional designers and contractors.

Creating a kitchen design can be complicated, not only embracing your personal style, but functionality, too. With this in mind, having a principal designer involved in the process is essential to ensure your new kitchen is beautiful and functional. Ultimately, interior designers have a lot of experience and can do a great deal to maximize your square footage while avoiding costly mistakes and inefficiencies.

And a principal designer is well worth investing in. Not only can they help avoid making a huge mistake with your design, but they can help minimize waste, prevent unnecessary construction delays, and optimize energy efficiency, creating a more functional and affordable kitchen (and aesthetic one, too).

8. Poor Lighting Design and Inadequate Task Lighting

From task lighting and pendant lights to chandeliers over the kitchen island, there are several lighting fixtures available, and choosing the right amount to light your space is essential to the functionality and ambiance.

By investing in a quality lighting design, you can eliminate the need to retrofit or add additional lighting to your home. Plus, with ample lighting, you can boost the functionality of your space, allowing you to boost the ambiance and usability. This way, there are no shadowy areas, eliminating ineffective lighting sources (and your energy bill).

For ample lighting, look into adding layered lighting and strategic placement of fixtures to ensure every light placed is effective in your space.

kitchen lighting

9. Overlooking the Importance of Ventilation and Exhaust Systems

Your kitchen design should be about more than the overall aesthetic. Essential to a kitchen space, you will need an exhaust system. Most homeowners can forget this element, but it's important to remove orders, steam, and pollutants for a healthier indoor environment. In addition, this ventilation system helps prevent damage to kitchen surfaces and cabinetry, too, with a better-ventilated space.

There are safety concerns involved in skipping the ventilation system. In fact, this can lead to mold growth, excessive moisture causing rot or damage, poor indoor air quality, and increased energy costs without an Efficient ventilation system.

Homeowners forget to include ventilation and exhaust needs in their budget. This will need to be accounted for, including installing range hoods, exhaust vans, or ventilation systems to meet local building codes.

10. Cutting Corners on Quality Materials and Workmanship

Often what leads to a bad kitchen remodel is cutting corners on quality materials and workmanship. Ultimately, by investing in long-lasting materials and the right team to implement them, you can achieve the beautiful kitchen you dreamed of, limiting issues and improper implementation.

While low-cost materials and workmanship will save money initially, it will lead to costly repairs down the line. This can include premature wear and tear, frequent repairs, and sometimes, an entire renovation. So, it's worth investing upfront and working with a team that will help you find the balance between quality and affordability.

11. Underestimating the Impact of Plumbing

Before starting a renovation on any kitchen items and elements, plumbing must be taken into account, whether you are adding a new sink, working with an old house, or simply bringing your plumbing up to code.

When remodeling, evaluating plumbing requirements can help avoid unexpected expenses, as plumbing needs can have costly changes and delays. By working with a licensed plumber in the planning phase, you can help ensure the proper placement of fixtures, as well as make essential decisions about plumbing upgrades and money-saving opportunities that will pay off in the long run.

When considering plumbing-related expenses, consider everything from pipe replacements to fixture upgrades and any other modifications a new kitchen will need, and get a few quotes from a local plumber.

kitchen plumbing

12. DIY Overreach and Lack of Experience

While DIY spaces grow in popularity, overdoing it with your DIY projects is one of the top kitchen remodeling mistakes. Let's face it - kitchen remodels are complex, and they require a certain skill level to master the work and avoid costly mistakes. For this reason, hiring professionals for certain elements of your renovation will help save you money in the long run.

For the DIY lover, focus on options like painting or installing cabinet hardware. Leave it to the professionals to install flooring, electrical, or plumbing elements to ensure a seamless design.

13. Ignoring Permits and Building Codes

While many people focus on the design, permits and building codes should never be forgotten. Ignoring these codes and rules can lead to legal issues, penalties, and potential safety hazards that can be costly to solve. By obtaining the right permits and meeting codes, you can guarantee the long-term success of your renovation.

Keep in mind, failing to meet these requirements can lead to both fines and delays. This is easy to avoid and can help prevent further financial burden.

14. Failing to Research and Hire Reliable Contractors

To avoid common kitchen remodeling mistakes, always do your research and hire a reliable contractor. There are a lot of partners you can work with on your kitchen and other rooms, but finding the right one for your project can help ensure better results

When exploring contractors, you want to vet them to avoid scams, poor workmanship, and other necessary expenses. To ensure you land on the right contractor, look at online reviews, get references when you can, and verify any licenses and insurance. This will help minimize your risk and save money.

15. Not Considering Long-Term Resale Value and Market Trends

No matter if you're considering selling now or not, always keep the market in mind and your resale value. With this in account, avoiding especially unique or trendy elements is essential, ensuring your space remains beautiful and timeless through the years as the market changes and evolves.

While a timeless kitchen may sound boring, you can embrace the trends with accessories and removable features, elevating your style over the years as you please. This way, you can have the ideal balance between unique, personal style elements and a timeless background.

Unlock Your Dream Kitchen with Zen Renovations' Expert Services

From proper planning to energy efficiency and space optimization, there are a number of kitchen remodel dos and don'ts to take into. account before diving into your next project. Whether you have it all figured out or are just beginning, it's important to avoid these common mistakes in order to avoid pricey alternations and maintain a functional kitchen environment.

Not sure where to begin? We've got your back. At Zen Renovations, we offer both interior designers and contractors to complete your space. Contact us to learn more today.

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Kevin Harris

Kevin Harris

Company owner
Kevin earned his Master's at the University of Maryland School of Architecture in 1998, and has dedicated the last 30 years to renovating homes in his community. He also led a construction training program for high school dropouts.


What should I consider when planning the layout of my new kitchen?

When redesigning a kitchen, always keep functionality and workflow in mind. You want to ensure that you can make efficient use of your space, taking into account your needs, lifestyle, and cooking habits when placing appliances and storage areas. An interior designer can help you better plan if needed, too!

How can I maximize the storage space in my remodeled kitchen?

There are different ways to maximize storage space, one of the top ones being adding tall cabinets to take advantage of vertical space. Even in a small kitchen, there is space above the standard cabinet height that can be used for added drawers and cabinets, allowing you to store away accessories for more space and organization.

What should I prioritize when selecting kitchen appliances for a remodel?

For the most budget-friendly, long-lasting kitchen design, it's best to choose appliances that focus on energy efficiency to reduce your utility bills and environmental impact. There are many appliances today that take energy efficiency into account, offering functionality and features to match your cooking habits.

How can I prevent overspending on my kitchen renovation?

To prevent overspending, It's best to set a budget in advance and make as thorough a plan as possible. You should take into account labor and unexpected costs when planning your budget, and opt for budget-friendly materials when you can, or even refurbish items in your kitchen to save money further.