Do's and Don'ts: Planning Your Lehigh Valley Kitchen Renovation

A side-by-side comparison of the before and after appearances of completed residential kitchen renovations.
You've made the call: it's time for a kitchen remodeling project. That renovation will look beautiful, function perfectly, and add value to your home and life. It'll be spectacular—but first you have to create great Lehigh Valley kitchen renovation plans.

Your kitchen is the heart of your house and one of the most complex rooms, so there's a lot you need to remember to do when planning your renovation—and a lot you should absolutely not do. But where and how should you get started with kitchen remodeling?

Our Lehigh Valley handyman experts are here to make sure you have professional guidance for Lehigh Valley kitchen renovations. This guide will give you advice on useful do's and don'ts to inspire your kitchen remodeling project, while helping you avoid common mistakes in the planning process.

DON'T: Prioritize Form Over Function

When you're paging a remodeling magazine, looking at dozens of photos of epic, light-filled, perfectly executed kitchen renovation designs, it might seem like they are all about aesthetics. But your kitchen space is probably the most utilitarian area in your house, and when you're in the middle of cooking a huge meal you'll care a lot more about convenience than appearance. You may love the traditional appeal of that farmhouse sink, but if you are used to using a double sink, it might be frustrating to make the switch to a single basin.

This applies to almost any aspect of your kitchen design. Take the layout for an example. There are thousands of style options available, but the same can't be said of layouts—almost all common kitchen renovation layouts fall into a few tried-and-true standards.

A typical rule of thumb for kitchen remodeling functionality is the "work triangle." This means the locations of the stove, refrigerator, and sink should be situated roughly in a triangle configuration with key appliances or fixtures at each point. That way, there's counter space right next to each fixture. When you're rushing around, it'll feel natural to pivot toward the fixture you need without getting tripped up.

DO: Think About How You'll Use the Room

It may seem obvious, but a lot of people overlook this important step. It's easy to get caught up in planning and fall in love with the idea of a giant double oven-convection range in your favorite shade of teal—only to remember later on that you mainly use your oven as a place to unpack takeout bags.

Whether you're an avid chef or not, you still need somewhere to make food—or eat it. It really pays to tailor that area to your specific needs. After all, custom solutions are one of the biggest advantages of kitchen renovations.

Here are some questions that will help you think about how to use the space you have available for kitchen remodeling:

  • How often do I cook and entertain guests?
  • Do I like to cook and bake multiple dishes at the same time?
  • How many people use the space?
  • Do I need more dining space?
  • What will be the focal point of my room?
  • How can I eliminate wasted space?
  • Am I planning to sell my house in the next few years?

If you answered yes to that last question and you are looking for ways to increase your property value prior to selling, a good way to accomplish that is by choosing neutral, classic kitchen remodel options that encourage prospective buyers to visualize themselves living in the space. When in doubt, go for an all-white kitchen renovation that features white subway tile—but if that feels too stark, consider a 60-30-10 color scheme with neutral colors. That means about 60% of the room is the main color, 30% is a complementary color, and 10% is a matching accent color.

DON'T: Forget About the Small Stuff

When you are planning a kitchen remodel, you're focused on the big picture—and that's a good thing. But remember that even small details make a big change in how you use rooms and how you feel about them. Changing kitchen cabinet handles and drawer pulls, for example. You may be quite surprised by how much those seemingly insignificant little pieces of hardware really alter the overall results of a kitchen remodel. And there are thousands of unique styles available that range from elegant to humorous.

Artwork and decor are further examples of small touches that make all the difference to the space’s style and vibe. Including a living plant or your favorite food-related art print will make your new kitchen remodel feel great from the start, and increase your overall satisfaction with the space. These touches don't have to be huge and elaborate to improve the room and make it feel a lot more welcoming.

DO: Check Out Products and Materials Before Buying

Online shopping may be the "new normal," but when you're choosing materials and products for your Lehigh Valley kitchen renovation, it really helps to see and touch them in person for a few reasons:

1. Photographs are limited in the information they give you, and can also be deceptive (intentionally or not). You might find what you think is the perfect slab of granite online for your countertops, only to realize once it arrives that the color and texture are not what you were expecting—and not what you like.

2. It helps keep your kitchen renovation cost down. Materials are one of the biggest expenses in the cost of kitchen renovations, and seeing your options up close can help you narrow down what you really want and need.

3. Quality is almost impossible to gauge from a photograph alone. Wood cabinets, for example, might look more or less the same in photos, but when you touch them, open and close the doors, and examine the details, you'll notice huge differences in quality.

That's why Mr. Handyman of Easton, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Allentown, and the Lehigh Valley has a showroom conveniently located right off the Lehigh Valley Thruway in Easton, where you can look around, peek into cabinetry, run your hands over material options, and really get a good sense of what you want for your Lehigh Valley kitchen to remodel. We're proud to say that our high-quality cabinets are made in the U.S.A., and we think you'll be pleased with what we have on display.

DON'T: Keep the Room Closed Off

If you have an older home in the Lehigh Valley, your current kitchen may be completely or partially closed off from other rooms your household uses most, like the living room or family room. That isn't working for you? It doesn't have to stay like that. Removing a wall or creating a pass-through during your kitchen renovation will allow you to keep an eye on the kids while they play in the next room, or socialize with guests who are seated in your living room while you cook. It also makes both areas feel a lot more open and gives a sense of added space. These adjustments could also increase property value because many buyers in the Lehigh Valley are only interested in homes with an open, modern floor plan.

DO: Upgrade Lighting and Ventilation

Dim, inadequate lighting isn't just frustrating, it's potentially unsafe. Make sure you consider your lighting during a Lehigh Valley kitchen remodeling project. You need at least one ceiling light, but there should also be task lighting for high-use areas like the stove and the sections of the counter where you do food prep. You may even want to install cabinet lights in some of your more frequently used storage spaces, especially if you hate rummaging around in dark cupboards.

While poor lighting is definitely something to avoid during kitchen renovations, poor ventilation can be just as bad. You need a way to vent cooking smells and steam—and if you have amateur cooks in your family, the smoke too. It’s a good idea to have a hood fan installed over the stove, and a recessed ceiling fan can help circulate air throughout the area to keep it more comfortable.

DON'T: Get Too Hung Up on Product Trends

It's nice to be trendy, but trends come and go pretty fast and you want your Lehigh Valley kitchen remodel to be fresh for years to come. Trends are also usually dictated by appearances rather than functionality, so you may find yourself with something that looks great—until the next trend comes along—but isn't strong and long-lasting. The trend of using hardwood floors for Lehigh Valley kitchen remodeling pops up now and then, but you can get a similar, classic look with vinyl plank laminate flooring, which is far more durable and waterproof to boot.

One modern kitchen remodeling trend that’s definitely here to stay and well worth investing in is energy-efficient appliances. If you were not planning on upgrading older, less-than-efficient appliances such as your stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher, consider the fact that you may be able to save quite a bit of money over time on your utility bill by putting in new, Energy Star-certified appliances. Even just replacing your old faucet and dishwasher with models that use water more efficiently could reduce your water bill.

DO: Add Storage Space

Whether your space is large or small, storage is a key consideration. You may be tempted to eliminate upper cabinets to make the room feel more open, but you’ll probably regret the lack of storage. Storage additions such as pantries, hanging pot racks and pull-out cutting boards can make your life a lot easier and take your kitchen remodel to the next level. It doesn't have to be incredibly elaborate, either—a separate pantry is nice, but a pantry could be as simple as a large, fridge-sized cabinet for storing non-perishable food.

Here are a few ideas for possible ways to increase storage and overall space with kitchen renovations:

  • Don't have room for an island that is permanently fixed in place? Choose a portable option or even a rolling cart that can be tucked out of the way when you need floor space.
  • Include large cabinets or bins to store small appliances that you don't want sitting out on the countertop all the time, such as a coffee grinder, toaster oven or pressure cooker.
  • Install pot racks over the stove and/or island to hang large pots and pans.
  • Include a pull-out cutting board or spice rack in your customized cabinets to maximize space.
  • If you’re tired of trying to rummage around in big corner cabinets that you can't even reach all the way into, your handyman can install rotating shelves so you can reach everything with a quick turn of the shelf.
  • Do you want dining space, but a table would take up too much room that’s needed for moving around? Consider including a small table or even ledge that can fold down from the wall to create an eating surface.
  • Hooks, or even a pegboard, for everything that can be hung up—most pots, pans and large utensils have a hole on their handle so they can be hung.

DON'T: Hire Multiple Lehigh Valley Kitchen Remodeling Companies and Contractors

You'll need to hire some Lehigh Valley service professionals to work on your kitchen remodeling project. But hiring and managing multiple companies and contractors to take care of various tasks such as plumbing, installing tile, repairing windows, drywall repair, flooring installation, and so on, is a big hassle and can be really stress-inducing.

Luckily, you don't have to deal with that burden. The crew of home renovation experts at Mr. Handyman of Easton, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Allentown, and the Lehigh Valley can take care of kitchen renovations from floor to ceiling. We can truly handle every single thing that's needed to transform the room into your ideal cooking and entertaining space—from lighting and backsplash installation, to designing custom cabinets and cabinet doors, to building a new kitchen island.

We Are Your Lehigh Valley Kitchen Renovation Experts!

We're ready to get started on your dream kitchen renovations! Mr. Handyman of Easton, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Allentown, and the Lehigh Valley has completed dozens of remodels in local homes, and we have the experience and skill to deliver quality workmanship and outstanding customer service for your Lehigh Valley kitchen renovations. We proudly serve many areas in the Lehigh Valley, such as Easton and Nazareth.

Give us a call today to schedule an appointment, or stop by our showroom to check out what we've got—and give Hercules the dog a scratch behind the ears!

 A side-by-side comparison of a completed kitchen remodel from the perspective of the kitchen bar, looking in toward the cabinets, fridge, and island.