Interior Designer Robin Wilson, founder and CEO of Robin Wilson Home and author of Clean Design: Wellness for Your Lifestyle, offers these dos and don’ts for a kitchen makeover:
• DON’T remodel your kitchen for a prospective buyer, because you may not get back 100 percent of what you spend. Typical payback is 50 to 80 percent, with the less personal, mass-market renovations (example: neutral colors/white cabinets) receiving the most payback.
• DO create a list of “absolutes” before you walk into a kitchen design meeting. If you are not sure beforehand what you want and do not want, you are likely to be seduced into buying unneeded items.
• DO think about colors and styles before you walk onto a sales floor. Read design magazines and tear out photos in advance, or the sales rep may convince you that there is a certain bestseller that is really a higher-priced choice—it could be the model the salesperson is trying to unload, or he or she is getting a “special promotion” from the manufacturer.
• DON’T design your kitchen with someone else’s life in mind. If you cook frequently and have a busy kitchen full of people, then avoid countertop materials that scratch and stain easily or that need regular maintenance. Likewise, if you hardly ever cook, do you really need a six-burner stove and restaurant-quality range?
• DON’T buy a “faux-pro” model or Professional Series because most mainstream appliances (ranges/refrigerators) perform just as well.
• DON’T choose a range by BTU alone. An extreme BTU number does not guarantee better performance. It is less expensive to find a range with at least one high-BTU burner that you can use if you need high heat quickly.
• DO go by more than price when choosing a contractor. Ask to see a recently installed kitchen, visit an online reference service (like Angie’s List), and ask to see a kitchen that was installed three years ago to see how it has stood the test of time. Be sure to receive a copy of the contractor’s license and insurance information.
• DON’T opt for extended appliance warranties.
• DO expect delays. Ask your contractor for a completion date, but plan for at least two extra weeks to ensure final details.
• DON’T buy a built-in refrigerator ($3,000+) when you can buy a cabinet-depth refrigerator for less and often find more options.