Mistakes to avoid when upgrading a kitchen: Don’t get sucked into tempting, one-function items

Your household may have grown during the coronavirus pandemic as adult children who lost their jobs returned home. At the same time, your wallet may have become thinner during the economic fallout caused by the global health crisis.

Combine those factors and it’s easy to see that a study by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) found that people want to improve their kitchen, especially with germ-avoiding, touchless technology, while adhering to a tight budget.

An overwhelming 99% of manufacturing, construction, design and retail businesses surveyed by the trade association said more consumers are requesting assistance with small-scale, DIY kitchen projects.

To reduce the risk of getting Covid-19, the survey found people want contact-less products with automatic sensors and antimicrobial surfaces as well as outdoor kitchens, where they can safely entertain while social distancing.

The pandemic also made people aware of the need to prepare for an emergency and store provisions. Improved water and air filtration systems are also part of the plan to hunker down safely at home.

“We’re breathing this air all day now and we’re wondering, ‘What’s in it?’” says Barbara Miller, design director for the Neil Kelly design and remodeling company.

In any size home, people are placing even more value on storage space and pantries to keep surplus food and water. It’s not easy to add cabinets, let alone counters, a sink and electrical outlets, to what’s considered the busiest and most complex room in any house.

Experts are available to advise you at all levels. A design consultation is free at Home Depot, either in the store or virtually. If you haven’t thought about upgrading a kitchen in a while, this is an easy way to be introduced to new materials and approaches.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association maintains a directory of 14,000 of its members. You can ask the policy on a complimentary meeting to discuss a potential project.

Home design and product experts with Neil Kelly will offer ideas and advice during a kitchen design and remodeling webinar starting online at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10. Register at neilkelly.com/events.

For small jobs, TaskRabbit can connect you to people skilled to help with cleaning, furniture assembly and home repairs.

Stephanie Pierce, director of design and trends at MasterBrand Cabinets, offers these five tips to not overspending in the kitchen:

  • Before even starting a remodel, take stock of your current space. Capture “before” pictures and think about the objective of your project.
  • Create a checklist with your priorities including storage and organization, appearance and layout.
  • Avoid unexpected expenses by setting a budget for individual items rather than just the total project.
  • Allocate an amount to spend on the big items like cabinets, countertops and labor, but don’t forget about the hardware, lighting and a percentage held for miscellaneous expenses.
  • Finally, before beginning, it’s important to talk to a design expert. Whether at a showroom or virtually. Discussing plans and designs with an experienced professional is crucial
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