Kitchens are, according to the old saying, the heart of the home. In many cases, that’s true. It’s where we gather with family, prepare and share meals, enjoy an early morning cup of coffee and sometimes do homework. However, while most people agree that the kitchen plays a big role in their lives, that role can vary from one family to the next. Here are a few lifestyle renovation factors to consider when remodeling your kitchen or designing a new home build:
Do You Cook?
In most cases, a chef’s kitchen is a big selling point for a home, even if the person who will use it is only a novice cook. A kitchen adequately stocked with premium appliances and cooking features is sure to impress your family and friends. But remodeling a space is about you and your lifestyle, not everyone else. One of the most common kitchen remodeling mistakes is overspending to fit features that aren't a priority.
Do you really want to tear up your current kitchen and turn it into a professional restaurant-style kitchen? Does that really fit your day-to-day lifestyle? Will you be fixing gourmet meals regularly? If you’re serious about it—you should do it. But make sure your kitchen fits the lifestyle you actually have. If you aren’t going to use features like gas ranges and expansive granite countertops, it might be worth allocating that budget elsewhere.
What’s Your Entertaining Style?
Some people like to gather in the kitchen, chatting and entertaining while they cook, and involving their guests in the process. Others prefer to keep their dishes hidden and their kitchens off limits to their guests. If you’re the former, then an open concept design with a large eat-in space is ideal. If you’re the latter, a formal dining room and closed-off layout may be a better option. Figure out how you like to entertain in your home before you design your kitchen!
Is This Your Forever Kitchen?
Kitchens, like homes, can be designed to be “good enough for now” or with the future in mind. If you’re in a starter home, have small kids and are planning to move sometime in the future, you might want to make design choices that are better suited to functionality in the short term than for the sake of beauty in the long term. That doesn’t mean you should settle for an outdated kitchen, just that you should make smart choices about fixtures, appliances and finishes given your current needs.
Sometimes homeowners lose sight of the fact that their families are changing. If you remodel your kitchen to accommodate small children, you should keep in mind that they won’t be small forever. A built-in highchair may be cool for a short period of time, but will quickly outlive its usefulness. And don’t forget that your physical capabilities could change over time as well.
However, if there is something about your kitchen that’s really been bugging you, NOW is the time to think about changing it. If the workflow of your kitchen is wrong, remodeling is the time to change that—even if it takes more work and costs a bit more. It will never be easier (or cheaper) to do it. Don’t be too timid. Take time to think through your plan, but don’t be afraid to push it a little bit.
What Is Most Important to You: Form or Function?
A pristine, minimalist, stainless steel kitchen with high-gloss countertops is beautiful. But it won’t work for many lifestyles. If your kitchen has to accommodate kids, teenagers, pets and family enchilada dinners, you’d spend your life cleaning those immaculate surfaces just to maintain the look.
Your kitchen should reflect your personality. That means it should have some touches that are uniquely you. But be a bit cautious when it comes to “pushing the envelope”. Sometimes there are reasons people haven’t tried certain ideas—because they are incredibly expensive or they simply aren’t practical. And bear in mind that once you pursue an idea, you may be stuck with it for a long time. Or you may have to spend a lot of money to change it.
While you want your kitchen to be beautiful, you also need to make design choices that suit your lifestyle and your family’s needs. Consider how much time you have to devote to cleaning, how much clutter and gadgetry you’re likely to have in your kitchen and any other lifestyle factors before you make final design choices.
Remember, You Can Change Things Later
If you can’t have your dream kitchen today because it just doesn’t fit into your lifestyle, remember that the kitchen you choose today doesn’t have to be your forever kitchen. Even if you design your kitchen to be the best choice for the next 10 or 15 years, you can still plan ahead for a time when you can create the beautiful space of your dreams!
Speak to your contractor or remodeler about how to design both for now and for the future, and make smart choices to get the best of both worlds.