7 kitchen renovation mistakes (and how to avoid them)

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Here are seven common mistakes people make when upgrading their kitchen. Make sure you plan NOT to make them with your kitchen renovation project!

1. Not planning kitchen layout

Even if you’re going to fit the kitchen yourself, it’s a wise idea to have your home kitchen remodelling plans checked by a kitchen designer before you start. Advice from a professional will be very helpful. They may have some time saving tips or recommend some ideas you hadn’t thought of.

Make sure there’s enough space to walk between the units and that the cupboard handles don’t interfere with the walkway.

Place the oven, sink and fridge carefully: many designers refer to this as the kitchen 'work triangle,' as the most efficient way to position these is in a triangle shape.

Choose any new appliances first, especially large integral appliances such as ovens, fridges etc. It’s easier to buy units that fit around the appliances than try to buy appliances that fit in the units’ spaces.

Fit drawers or shelves with appropriate storage spaces for integral rubbish bins, recycling bins, cleaning equipment and all the other easily forgotten, but essential equipment.

Select built-in storage space savers as these can be hard to retrofit if you decide you need them later. Especially useful are pantry drawers, spice and herb shelves as well as rotating drawer inserts for pots and pans.

Ensure that you have included enough work surface in your kitchen design. For added width, use shelving supports to create extra wide sections of work surface.

Install enough power sockets just above work surface height to be able to plug in all your gadgets that will be constantly in use. You could also install some power sockets inside open shelving units, or underneath the work surface on a kitchen island.

Check your design for cupboards that will open out onto each other, such as in a 90 degree corner. A handy way to avoid cupboard door clashes can be to install open shelves in one of the cupboards, or a Lazy Susan rotating shelf inside the cupboard.

Don’t forget somewhere to house your cookery books and build in a tablet/device rest on the shelf at eye height for browsing recipes on Pinterest.

2. Moving plumbing

Unless you have decided to remodel the kitchen entirely, it saves time and money if your new kitchen layout has the sink, washing machine and dishwasher in the same positions as before, to avoid having to move the plumbing. 

3. Not installing enough lighting

Kitchen designers recommend installing three types of kitchen lighting during a new kitchen installation:

  • Overhead for general illumination.
  • Spot lighting to light up specific areas where you perform tasks, such as over the kitchen island and over the sink.
  • Accent lighting to highlight the best designed features in your kitchen, such as under cabinet track lighting to highlight the work surface and splashback.

Lightbulbs are important too, whilst you’re spending money on your renovation, splash out on some long-lasting LED bulbs, some of the brands claim to last up to 15 years!

4. Not setting a budget for the renovation project

Decide which parts of the kitchen are the most important and allocate money according to priority. A kitchen renovation project can start at about £2,000 but the average kitchen remodel cost is approx. £10,000. Note that the units tend to cost about a third of the total kitchen renovation bill.

If you’re planning on selling your home after the kitchen renovation is complete, bear in mind that if you spend less than 5% of the value of the property on the new kitchen you are most likely to make the kitchen renovation cost back when you sell.

5. Not protecting other areas from the renovation mess

Renovations in the home are always messy! Dust and debris seems to get everywhere, especially if you have pets and small children. Take some time at the beginning of the project to separate the kitchen area from the rest of the house using tarpaulin ground sheets and dust sheets taped up around doorways.

It’s advisable to take up carpets from hallways and neighbouring rooms during the renovation to prevent damage, or to cover them with self-adhesive carpet protection film. This is especially important if the builders have to dispose of debris by taking it through the property to the front door or down shared hallways if you live in apartment building.

6. Not having a plan of how to feed the family during renovations

holiday home second homeKitchen renovation projects can take many months to complete. Even if you hope to have it all finished in six weeks, things can go wrong and take longer than you had expected.

Many people advise creating a 'mini-kitchen' in another room whilst the renovation works are happening. To make this work, you’ll typically need a counter-top mini oven, a microwave, toaster and kettle. If you have a toaster sandwich press, a slow cooker or a rice cooker, these can really help you when you’re living without a kitchen, they take up little space and provide a bit of variety. No-one wants to eat microwave meals and toast every night!

Washing up may have to be done in the bathroom sink, so keep this to a minimum by buying a bulk load of disposable paper plates, bowls, knives and forks before work starts.

Before your old kitchen is dismantled, prepare some of your family’s favourite meals and freeze as much as you can fit in the freezer.

If your kitchen renovation project is in summer, make the most of the warmer weather and use a BBQ to cook up some meals. You can even cook a great weekend fried breakfast on a BBQ!

Of course, most families end up interspersing meals prepared in a makeshift kitchen with take aways and meals out. But not many people could stomach eating fish and chips or pizza every night for six weeks.

The most organised and experienced renovators prepare a rolling, three-week meal plan before work starts, rotating through the options if the renovation takes longer than expected.

7. Not telling your home insurance company

Make sure you let your home insurance provider know that you are about to start a kitchen installation project to make sure you remain covered during the building works. Most insurance companies will want to know some details about the renovation to provide the right cover.

Typical questions include: how long do you think the renovation project will take, what is the kitchen renovation cost (to give an idea of the scale of the project), will the property be extended as a result of the project, are you moving out of the home during the works, are you employing a builder to do the work and if so have you signed a contract with him.

Without the right insurance in place, if there was a fire or escape of water at the property during the building works, you wouldn’t be covered.

HomeProtect offers easy online quotes to cover homes under renovation, including kitchen renovation projects. Get your renovation home insurance quote online.

Bonus tip: Small kitchen remodelling projects

renovation work estimateIf you are limited for space in the kitchen, remodelling a small kitchen can be tricky and will require careful planning beforehand to make sure you fit the most important features of the kitchen in the space you have available.

Installing space saving in-cupboard shelves, drawer inserts and pantry cupboards are very important in small kitchens.

If the kitchen opens out into an open plan lounge or dining area, you could invest in a portable kitchen island with cupboards and drawers on both sides and hanging rails on each end. These units provide vital extra work surface and handy storage for everyday utensils and equipment.

Narrow galley kitchens can be difficult to remodel, so make the most of the space you have by installing narrow work surfaces on both sides. Install narrow shelves on the wall without cupboards to store jars, bottles and other daily needs.

Decorators would recommend using light colours for the units, splashback and flooring to make the space seem larger and more airy, although pale floors also require more frequent washing to remain attractive.

And finally, we recommend you browse Pinterest to see loads of inventive small kitchen design ideas, you’ll find some inspiration there.

I needed some urgent insurance for a house renovation project. I was able to complete the whole process very quickly without problem Thursday, 09 February 2017

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