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Five common kitchen renovation mistakes

Avoid these blunders when planning your new kitchen. Photo: Houzz
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The thought of a gleaming new kitchen is an enticing one, especially if your current cooking zone has seen better days or is driving you mad.

Rushing into a kitchen renovation is never advisable and can lead to costly and – worse still – annoying mistakes you regret for years to come.

These common bloopers are the place to start to make sure your new kitchen is everything you want it to be.

1. Going for pretty over practical

It’s easy to be seduced by images of stunning designer kitchens, but would they really fit in at your house?

First, be sure the colours, style and materials will suit the surrounding areas.

A Shaker-style kitchen in an otherwise minimalist home can look out of place, for example.

Second, ask yourself if the size of your proposed kitchen is practical.

Cramming a large, luxury kitchen into a compact living/dining area can make the whole space feel cramped.

2. Forgetting to factor in the realities

Functionality is key when it comes to planning a new kitchen, and it pays not to rush through the process.

Ask yourself what your household would most value in a kitchen, and be honest.

Try not to imagine an ideal situation over what actually happens at your house.

While in a perfect world, each family member would be baking biscuits from scratch and preparing the week’s lunches ahead of time, if the reality is a grab-and-go breakfast and reheated take-away Thai, that’s probably not going to change much just because you have a new kitchen.

Or at least not for long.

Think about where appliances should go based on your cooking habits, whether the kitchen needs to serve as a gathering place for family and friends as well as a place to cook, and how many people will be using the kitchen at once.

Make your decisions from there.

3. Spending in all the wrong places

Most of us have a finite budget when it comes to a kitchen renovation, so it pays to consider where you’re willing to spend and where it’s wise to save.

Allocating a significant chunk of the budget to splashback tiles, for example, when more should be spent on quality hinges, soft-close runners and pull-out corner units is never a good idea.

Shopping around for less-expensive tile options could result in a better end product overall.

4. Letting your kitchen down with poor lighting

By the time all the major decisions have been made – the sink, taps, tiles and appliances – many home owners start to suffer from decision fatigue.

Lighting choices made last minute and without enough thought can soon be cause for regret.

Think about where you need lighting most and for what – work zones need bright lighting, for example, while a gathering hub around an island bench might call for a more subdued mood.

Dimmable lights give you the most flexibility, and warm light globes over white in social zones will make them more inviting.

The worst decision you can make is to try to save budget dollars by having fewer lights. Preparing meals when the light isn’t bright enough can be seriously frustrating.

5. Deciding to DIY when you should hire a pro

The dollars that can be saved by building and designing a kitchen yourself are real, but so is the fact that it will probably take far longer than you anticipate and have potentially disappointing results.

Expert designers, cabinet makers and installers have the knowhow to adapt a design and installation to a household’s needs and the foibles that become apparent in a house or apartment only at the time of installation.

It’s worth outsourcing some or all of the project to a pro who knows.

Houzz is the biggest residential renovating and design community online – it’s the 21st-century way to design your home.

Visit Houzz to see the portfolios and reviews of local architects, designers and tradespeople to help you find the best pro for your project.