Keeping Up with the Joneses – 8 Things That Matter in Your Kitchen Remodel

Everybody wants to show off a new remodeling project – especially in their kitchens. They didn’t just sink thousands of dollars into a kitchen sink to make it more efficient to use – no, they definitely want to have bragging rights. If you’re planning a kitchen remodel yourself, you’ll be anxious to see the neighbor’s results and determine whether you should get the same fancy, expensive double oven combination or not. Before you go broke trying to keep up with the Joneses, pause a moment and consider what really matters in your kitchen remodel. Take it from an experienced builder who has seen it all – when the shine wears off your neighbor’s marble countertop, you’ll be happily enjoying your new kitchen for years to come. Here’s what counts:

8 things that matters in kitchen remodeling


Utility – Your kitchen should match your lifestyle. If you aren’t a gourmet cook, you don’t need the industrial¬-sized stove with gigantic burners or the triple oven with warming drawer. You need the basic cook top and convection oven that will cook a Thanksgiving turkey and make clean-up easier.

Space – If your kitchen is the centerpiece of your home, space is important. Make good use of your existing space or bump out a wall to create the illusion of more space. The change will be worth it next time you have 20 people for dinner. Which will serve you better – a larger kitchen or a hanger for copper pots?

Storage – Some of the highest end kitchens have their amenities hidden away under counters or behind closed doors. Storage space for boxes, non-perishables and canned goods is imperative, as is a place to stash your dishes, pots, pans and small appliances. Drawers inside kitchen cabinets are a wonderful touch of convenience and organization. A roomy pantry is always useful and quite the envy of friends and neighbors. Work with your custom builder to customize your storage opportunities.

Center Island – Nothing says you must have a center island in your kitchen. In a smaller kitchen, it may simply take up valuable floor space. However, it can supply valuable counter space. It is also a great addition to kitchens that are used for entertaining. It gives people a central location to call “home base” during their visit, and it’s a great place to serve the food and refreshments. It also helps direct the flow of traffic. The island doesn’t have to be large, either. It can even be put on casters and made portable and movable. Consider how you would use a center island in your kitchen. The possibilities are many – from a built-in grill with overhead hood to a deep sink for extra maintenance needs. The countertop can contrast or complement the rest of the countertops in the kitchen. Butcher block or stone are contrasting materials that can enrich the look of the entire kitchen. Your island can be a unit unto itself with drawers and cupboards for under-counter storage, or it can simply be a base for a perfectly beautiful centerpiece of the kitchen. Your custom remodeler can advise you based on the size of your room.

Lighting – The amount of light in any room can make a huge difference in comfort and efficiency, but the kitchen is the place you want to get it right. A combination of direct lighting, task lighting and ambient lighting is ideal. Add under-counter illumination, and you can show off your kitchen in a whole new light. Task lighting is probably most important for chopping, washing and mixing in the workspace of your kitchen. Putting dimmer switches on lights also adds a coziness to the room and gives the room more flexibility for every day use and for special occasions.

Sinks – If the kitchen is the central room of the home, the kitchen sink is the center of the kitchen – maybe not literally, but figuratively. Think about it. Where do people go if they want to help you in the kitchen? The sink. They are comfortable washing dishes, drying dishes, washing or chopping vegetables. They also need to wash their hands. The sink is probably also the most-used fixture in the kitchen. Explore your options for this, because it will make a difference in the functionality of your entire kitchen. Consider number of bowls, type of material, depth and location. Then decide on faucets that meet your personal lifestyle and preferences. A faucet with a removable sprayer is always a convenience and an upgrade to a standard faucet that isn’t overly expensive.

Cabinetry – If your kitchen cabinets are in good shape, consider keeping them and simply making some updates. Replacing cabinets can be up to 50 percent of your expense in a kitchen remodeling project. What can you do to update them? Try adding or changing handles and hardware; paint them; reface them; re-purpose the insides for storage opportunities.

Final Budget – Remember, you’re pouring your hard-earned money into this remodel. You don’t have to keep up with the Joneses, but you should commit to buying the best quality that you can afford. The adage that you get what you pay for is true. Make decisions based on quality and the value the item will bring to your lifestyle. It doesn’t matter what value it brings to the Joneses.

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