Thinking Through A Kitchen Remodel

By
Real Estate Agent with Maximum One Realty Greater Atlanta

If you have considered selling your home and either concluded that now is not the time or just haven't found a suitable replacement, you might be thinking about a renovation.  You can enjoy the improvements for the next few years and have it more appealing to a buyer when the time is right.  There are several decorating areas to consider- fresh paint and/or new floor coverings are fairly easy and obvious.  Updated bathrooms and kitchens are more costly but certainly add value to your home.  In fact, updated kitchens and baths rank quite high on the wish list of many buyers.  These are both large projects and in most cases should be tackled by professionals.  What would your dream kitchen look like?

A truly successful kitchen remodeling - or new design - project does more than provide functionality for the homeowner.  It has personality!  Your kitchen should become a gathering spot, a cook's oasis, even a mission control for a busy family.  Kitchens are truly a full-fledged living space - deserving of its own memorable style and personality.  Individuality is the earmark of a room with personality.  So, in composing the design elements of a kitchen's style, put your imagination into overdrive and ask some very pertinent questions.

Are you a clean-counter type person, or do you truly enjoy showing off cherished collectibles?  Do you yearn to re-create an era of long ago - one that might be reminiscent of the Victorian or colonial times?  Or are you soothed by the spirit of a homey, comfortable country kitchen?  And perhaps, you prefer a more eclectically designed kitchen space.  The mood of your kitchen should make you and your family happy.  And if you kitchen space is open to other living spaces, it's important that you consider complementing your kitchen style with those rooms as well.

Whatever your style, call on design elements such as color, fabric, surface materials, lighting, art and one of a kind accents to create your own personal touch.  Picking a great color plan is important.  Often, color choices are dictated by the "givens" in your room - flooring, appliances, cabinets and countertops, but if you are remodeling, you have a chance to make a big change.  If you really want a drastic change and your color choices don't blend with your "givens" in the adjoining rooms, consider changing what you can now, and replace other items over time.  What's most important is that your colors be of the same intensity and tone. However, here is a caveat- if you still hope to sell your home and move in a few years, be sure that the colors and overall plan won't run off potential buyers. Stay neutral with the foundation and use color on things that are easy to change or will go with you.

Your first step will be deciding if the current layout of the kitchen is good and still works for you.  If not, make of list of the things that need to change.  Is the overall flow good? Is the space large enough for helpers if you have them? Are there things you have always wished you had in your kitchen? Do you have adequate storage? Counter work space? What really is needed in lighting? Today's new homes have "open" floor plans with the kitchen and the family room open to one another.  If your home predates than plan, is this an option to consider?

You may like what you have and decide to leave the current cabinets and appliances or simply paint them. If you are making a major change like taking down walls or re-arranging cabinets and appliances, you will want to consult a professional before you begin.  Their input can save you dollars in mistakes and offer ideas you might not have thought of.  They can also help you begin to structure a realistic budget for the project.

Once the layout is finalized, you will need to select cabinets, counter surfaces, flooring, lighting, and many other things. It's always best to plan it all out and complete all the selections before any work begins. There are many options today and, depending on your budget, many sources for all these things.

Once the foundation is finalized, you can begin to fill in with the "character" for your kitchen. The backsplash between the upper and lower cabinets is the first place to look. Once very plain or covered with wallpaper, today this is an area for tile, glass, or other hard surfaces.  The wide variety of choices allow you to chose from traditional to contemporary, neutral or full of color, clean and simple or fancy and fun! You can be creative here if you like. Again, if you plan to sell in a few years, make it with universal appeal in mind. Buyers will see it as a permanent fixture.

Next think about your windows. Will they stay open or will you need privacy or sun control? Window treatments for the kitchen are wide and varied in style.  In fact, more and more homeowners are opting for uniquely designed fabric top treatments, usually placed over a privacy treatment like wood blinds, cellular shades or pleated shades.  Kitchen window treatments don't have to be 100% utilitarian.  Pretty, decorative treatments do have their place in the kitchen.  Sometimes a simple scalloped valance in a patterned fabric, edged in a contrasting cording is just enough to add pizazz to a ho-hum room.  Drapery panels are back in style and can be displayed on unique decorative rods to define and soften the windows.

Finally don't forget those little special accents that give any room a total decorative look. You'll need to consider repeating your fabric selection in other areas of your kitchen for a truly coordinated look.  How about adding some upholstered seat cushions, pillows on chairs?  Tablecloths, placemats, table runners and coordinating napkins are also a must! Artwork will complete the picture.  Sometimes today kitchens have very little wall space for these and that will make your selection even more important. Work the colors and the theme or feeling together. Fill in the open space above the cabinets sparingly. The days of that area being filled with lots of plants and decorative pieces are long passed. A few, beautiful items will fill the bill- and cut down on the dust collection!

So have fun with your kitchen!  Just remember to let your cooking personality and color preferences shine through.  Form and function can be beautifully blended and relished in the heart of your home!

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Anne Ortiz

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