When my husband and I created our dream kitchen, we received input from our builder, architect, and contractors. But we were the decision-makers -- and I did all of the shopping. We navigated the many decisions that arise during any major kitchen overhaul. Here are the 10 most critical lessons I learned from the process.
1. I listened to my gut. This is the most important thing I learned. We worked with professionals and experts -- and their advice was invaluable, but when I knew what I wanted I didn't let them sway me. Everyone had an opinion, but the most important one was mine.
2. I went with semi-custom. It offered almost as much flexibility as custom but at a much better price. With seemingly endless options, I was able to find almost any look. Semi-custom kitchen designers offered a ton of drawer and cabinet box options, and they were able to incorporate storage in our space regardless of its size or shape.
3. I opted for the (sometimes-now-impractical) finishes I loved. In my new dream kitchen, the white painted cabinets get dinged and the high-gloss dark hardwood floors get scratches. But I love the look so much I would do it again! (Plus, there are paint and stain correction sticks that work really well.)
4. I'm not immaculate, so I didn't put my main kitchen sink in the island. No one wants to look at dirty dishes in the sink. I found it's much better to put the large sink along a wall. A small and eye-catching prep sink is great for an island and perfect for entertaining or a family -- like ours -- that helps with the cooking.
5. I made my kitchen island and countertop space as generous as possible. I knew I needed that space, and made sure I got it. I didn't want to feel like I didn't have enough counter space once the project was finished.
6. I added seating and storage by using built-ins. I wanted a banquette made of built-in benches on two sides with cabinets above to display our nicer glassware and storage below. Our builder and kitchen designer tried to talk me out of it. Finally one of the carpenters agreed to build it. It is the most useful space and everyone who comes to visit loves it!
7. I almost over-neutralized my kitchen, but found the courage to add some color. Though I liked blue iridescent glass tile, I was afraid to get away from neutrals. I used just a little around the marble mosaic in my backsplash. It adds just enough shimmer and color to make that area pop.
8. I went to the fabricator to layout my granite. Once I decided on the right granite, I went to the fabricator and explained exactly how I wanted my island top and countertops laid out.
9. I brought home samples and lived with them for a few days. Paint colors, floor stains, fixtures, and knobs all have their own personality. I wanted to find the right options for my kitchen and I learned that I didn't have to make those decisions in-store.
10. I bought as much as I could online to save money. I browsed locally and then bought online. I saved thousand of dollars doing this.