The Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid During an Oakton Kitchen Remodel

A kitchen remodel in Oakton can give you the functional space of your dreams Or, it can be a stressful, nightmarish endeavor that seems to never end—blowing your budget out of the water and creating a kitchen that’s not at all like what you wanted.

However, with a clear plan, supportive contractor and realistic budget, you can design a kitchen that quickly becomes your favorite room in the house. You’ll create a space where making dinner is actually fun. And when you entertain, your friends will be jealous.

There is a wide range of pitfalls to avoid when it comes to completing a kitchen remodel in Oakton, VA. Upon reading this guide, you’ll be familiar with the top 10 most commonly made mistakes to watch for—including pro tips from our expert Oakton handyman team. Bring your ideal kitchen to life by ensuring you avoid the following mistakes.

1. Completing a Kitchen Remodel in Oakton on Your Own

Do you have a passion for DIY projects? Even so, we advise knowing what aspects of an Oakton kitchen remodel you could tackle yourself and when you need help from the experts—such as the team at Mr. Handyman of Fairfax and Eastern Loudoun Counties. For instance, if you’re particularly handy you might enjoy painting your boring walls a stunning new color. Or maybe you feel confident swapping out your current light fixtures for something more modern. Completing small projects and adding finishing touches is certainly enjoyable and will help you feel like you’ve really put a personal stamp on your kitchen remodel.

However, professional designers and contractors are key in executing your kitchen remodel plans. Here’s why:

Even if you don’t hire an interior designer to outfit your kitchen, it’s worthwhile to book a consultation. A designer will be able to give you helpful advice that will make it easier to complete the kitchen remodel and accomplish your unique vision. Interior designers can provide tips like where to source distinct glass tiles for your backsplash, and whether a pizza oven is truly a worthwhile investment. Also, a professional has an eye for modern design trends and could brainstorm ideas you hadn’t thought of—but love!

As for contractors, embarking on an Oakton kitchen remodel is not a good idea without the help of a handyman professional. Tasks like knocking down walls and refitting drywall, installing custom cabinetry and building bespoke tables are a challenge for even the most adept DIYer. Your kitchen remodeling project is going to be a big undertaking, both financially and emotionally. It's an investment to say the least, so you'll want to be certain your home is in good hands. A good contractor will stick to your renovation schedule as much as possible and be transparent about how the project is going. At Mr. Handyman of Fairfax and Eastern Loudoun Counties, each of our technicians has many years of trades experience—with some of our team members specializing in flooring installation, carpentry and more. When you hire our skillful, hardworking and honest contractors, you can have peace of mind that your Oakton kitchen remodel is in the best hands.

2. Neglecting to Gather Inspiration

There is a wide variety of options available for a project like this. It's integral to the success of your Oakton kitchen remodel that you have a clear idea of what you want your space to look like once complete. While perhaps small details might change along the way, ideally you’ll come back to the same aesthetic time and time again.

It’s important to know what you want from your Oakton kitchen remodel, not only so you end up with the space you envisioned to begin with, but also so you can communicate clearly with your Oakton handyman team. To gather inspiration, flip through design magazines, scroll through Pinterest and collect a folder of images that speak to your aesthetic. Once you have an idea of what aesthetic you want to achieve, it will be much easier to choose what kind of countertop you want, whether you’ll paint or stain your cabinets, and if stainless steel appliances are really the right option for your needs.

Armed with your kitchen mood board, you can use it as a communicative tool for both your contractor and designer. This is key for helping keep your team on the same page.

3. Not Sticking to Your Budget

One of the biggest facets of an Oakton kitchen remodel is the budget. Since renovating is such a big decision, it’s important to carefully think about how much you can realistically spend. Before starting such a big project, you've probably already looked at your finances and established what you're willing to spend on an Oakton kitchen remodel. But it's also important to know how the renovation will break down, not just what the lump-sum cost will be.

Firstly, it’s important to always leave a cushion for unexpected costs. Even with help from our expert team, there's a chance that you may face challenges on the way to kitchen perfection. For instance, say your contractor knocks down a wall and discovers a spot of wood rot that needs to be replaced. Even with the best-laid-plan helping you stay on track, it's reasonable to assume you may have a few surprise costs. Thus, right off the top you should put 20% of your total budget away as a “just in case” fund before breaking down your budget.

After saving 20% of your budget for emergencies, a typical breakdown of the average cost for an Oakton kitchen renovation can be found in the table below. You can also use this table to help plan for your project.


Percent of Budget























4. Putting Form Before Function

It's all too easy to get wrapped up in making your dream kitchen remodel pretty, and forget about the practical aspects. While it's important to create a kitchen design that has your personal style written all over it, you also need to make sure the space is laid out for your unique needs. Before you start renovating, ask yourself: What do you like as it is, and what needs to change?

When you and your family use your kitchen, what is its primary function? Naturally, kitchens are where most people in Oakton prepare food. But we all know the room can be used for much more—or less. If you love to cook, you might want extra counter space for food preparation.

Contrarily, if cooking isn't really your thing but you're a fan of ordering delivery, then having state-of-the-art appliances and counter space for days might be less of a priority. Yet, if you still spend a lot of time in the kitchen relaxing with friends and loved ones, then you may want space for a homework nook for your children, or an island counter bar instead of a big dining room table—perfect for entertaining.

5. Forgetting About Your Backsplash and Ventilation

Your stove and oven are two of the most used appliances in your kitchen. Thus, it's no surprise this region can get more than a little messy. Rice boiling over and steaming up the place. Pasta sauce splattering your backsplash in big red stains. Cupcakes your teenager baked for the first time burnt to a crisp (always remember to set that timer!). Many memories will be made in your kitchen, and you always want them to be good ones. So, it's important to carefully consider your backsplash and ventilation.

Backsplashes are aptly named, given that they catch splashing sauces, oil and wayward ingredients spilling out of their pots. That’s why it’s key to pick a backsplash material, color and (if applicable ) a grout that hides a multitude of stains and is easy to clean.

If you don’t want your fire alarm going off every time you cook, you’ll need a good hood fan. Even if your meal is cooking happily and not burning, the smoke and steam that’s a byproduct from your cooking adventures can cause damage to your walls and ceilings if not properly ventilated.

6. Not Accounting for Additional Storage

Having plenty of storage is essential in the kitchen, and often forgotten about while remodeling. If you have many people living in your home, or absolutely love to cook, then you'll need room for a large fridge, freezer and maybe even a walk-in pantry.

And that's just the basics. Another important storage consideration is where you’re going to put all your pots, pans, rice cookers, deep fryers, cutlery, Grandma’s silverware—the list goes on and on. Take a look at how many appliances, cooking tools and crockery you use right now. Do they all fit in your present cupboards and drawers? Or are your counters crammed full of stuff? You’ll need at least that much space, if not more, after your Oakton kitchen remodel. And if you don’t have enough space, consider adding shelves, cupboards or drawers accordingly.

Planning for how you’ll layout your storage is also an opportunity to get creative with your design elements. For instance, if you love the look of a rustic kitchen you might not mind if mixers, cookbooks and mugs are visible. But if you prefer a tidy, minimalist look, check that all your appliances and crockery can fit in your cupboards and drawers.

7. Not Enough Lighting and Electrical Outlets

Have you tried cooking in the dark? It’s downright impossible, not to mention unsafe. While we’re exaggerating—we're sure you'll remember to add at least one light source during your Oakton kitchen remodel—your lighting does play a big role in both the space's usability and ambiance. For instance, fluorescent lighting might be common in a hospital or boardroom, but it hardly evokes coziness in your kitchen.

To make sure the space is adequately illuminated, so you can cook safely and create an inviting space, a good rule of thumb is to have three light sources in your kitchen:

  • General overhead lighting

  • Task lighting that is more focused for food preparation

  • Accent lighting, such as wall sconces

8. Cutting Corners

As you near the end of your renovation and your budget is fading fast, it can be easy to cut corners on little details like cabinet knobs and fixtures. While installing a lazy Susan or adding pantry pull-outs might not make or break the overall function and design of your kitchen, these small touches can elevate a nice space to an amazing one. If you’re investing a significant amount of time and savings into your Oakton kitchen remodel, and don't plan on doing it again any time soon, you might as well make sure it’s exactly what you want.

9. Choosing Your Appliances Last

The size and shape of your appliances will impact everything else in your kitchen, from your countertop length to how much space you have for storage. Do not wait until midway through the construction process—or even near the end—to select your appliances. This is a massive mistake. Your contractor might have to re-do work that’s already been completed if it turns out your appliances don't actually fit the space.

10. Ignoring the Big Picture

It’s very easy to get tunnel-vision when remodeling your kitchen in Oakton. But, it’s still important to make sure the space suits the rest of your home—especially if you have an open floor plan. While ultimately design decisions are up to you, usually it's advisable to make sure the space flows with the other rooms in your home. Consider what colors, materials and stylistic choices you make in your Oakton kitchen. Even small details, like drawer fronts, can be an opportunity to tie in the room's aesthetic to the rest of your home.

Bonus Tip: Hire Mr. Handyman of Fairfax and Eastern Loudoun Counties!

When it comes to reliable, trustworthy, expert handyman pros, you can’t do better than the team at Mr. Handyman of Fairfax and Eastern Loudoun Counties. Not only are we dedicated to consistent, quality workmanship, but we also always put our customers' satisfaction first. We will take time to answer all your questions, listen to what you need, and will always treat your home with the utmost respect. Our team has helped numerous homeowners with basic home improvements and major projects kitchen and bathroom remodeling. We proudly serve many homeowners in Oakton as well as nearby areas like Reston and Leesburg.

If you’re planning a major kitchen remodel in Oakton, VA and want to hire remodeling contractors you can count on, we invite you to give our courteous staff a call today at 703-962-1202 to get started.