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  • Writer's pictureHeather Holcombe

Seven Signs It's Time to Remodel Your Kitchen

Remodeling your kitchen can be a costly and time-consuming project, but it can transform your home and lifestyle. Since it's such a high-traffic area of the house, there will be some inconvenience in undertaking such a large project. So, it's unsurprising that many homeowners will delay a kitchen renovation as long as possible. However, that can create uncertainty about when (or if) to start a renovation.

As an experienced interior designer with a kitchen design certification, I have noticed that once homeowners begin questioning whether they should renovate, the answer is usually yes. It's likely time to renovate.

Here are seven signs that it's time to remodel your kitchen. 

Raleigh kitchen renovation

1) Needs Have Changed

If you live in a house long enough, your personal needs will change as you go through different phases of your life. Changes in families, lifestyle, and cooking habits are common throughout life. How we use our kitchens, whether more or less often, will inevitably change with time. Even how you entertain can affect your kitchen use. 

As a family grows, they will find that their kitchen needs to better fit their needs. For example, storage needs and cooking demands can change. Many older kitchens don't have well-designed pantries for efficient storage, sufficient cabinets, or counter space. Older kitchens tend to need more modern conveniences such as spice pullouts, built-in organizers, technological advances, and good task lighting.


2) Old Appliances

Your old appliances keep breaking down. Well, old appliances are holding you back in several ways!  

  • New appliances are far more energy efficient, saving you money on your utility bills. 

  • Technology has completely transformed how homeowners can use their appliances to enhance cooking, save time, and be more efficient. 

  • However, new appliances sometimes won't fit into the space held by an old one, necessitating cabinetry or wall modifications.

3) Poor Layout and Traffic Flow

If you complain often about your kitchen's layout, a remodel is in store. Traffic flow is critical to convenience in today's kitchens, especially if you have a small or large kitchen. The "kitchen triangle" is formed by the distances from the stove to the sink and the refrigerator. Each appliance should sit at the point of a triangle with nothing blocking the path between them. The ideal length of each triangle side should be 4-9 feet long with a total perimeter of 13-26 feet. If any of the sides of the triangle measure less than 4 feet, it will create a bottleneck, hampering the kitchen's traffic flow. (Anything longer than 9 feet means too much walking around and lacks efficiency.) 


4) Closed-off Kitchen

Most older kitchens are closed off from the rest of the home, leaving whoever's cooking separated. Today's homeowners typically prefer larger, open kitchens, which are more inviting for both the cook and the guests. If you're tired of being relegated to the cloistered kitchen away from guests and conversation, consider opening up your kitchen and adding an island with seating. If you like to entertain often, consider adding these features:  

  • Specialty appliances like double ovens, dishwasher drawers, or warming drawers 

  • A coffee bar or beverage station with a built-in coffee maker or drinks fridge

  • Customized pantry space 

5) Lack of Countertop and Niche Storage

One of the most common complaints I hear from clients is the need for countertop space and niche storage. The need for niche storage has grown with the popularity of small appliances such as mixer stands, air fryers, and Instant Pots. Cluttered countertops mean you need more space. Sculleries or large pantries with a countertop area and electrical for small appliances are pretty commonplace with new home plans to keep clutter off the countertops in the primary kitchen and provide a place for a microwave. In my experience, fewer people ask for a double oven or micro/oven combo in kitchens. 


6) Poor Lighting

Our grandmother's kitchens were less well-lit than today's kitchens. For one, Grandma's kitchen was mostly for cooking. By contrast, today's kitchens are a place to cook, bake, do homework, work on a computer, entertain, etc. Adequate lighting is a crucial part of any modern kitchen. These include:

  • Task lighting: Provide directed light to a task area. For example, undercabinet lighting and pendant lighting over the island.

  • Ambient lighting: typically provided by overhead lighting to light the entire room.  

  • Accent lighting: This is more specialty lighting directed at a feature in the room, such as glass-front cabinets holding a collection or art lighting highlighting artwork.

  • Decorative lighting: This is decorative lighting that's a feature in the room, such as a chandelier, sconces, or pendant lighting.  


7) Aging in Place

If you'd like to age in place, a kitchen renovation can improve your ability to navigate the kitchen efficiently and safely. Features that a kitchen renovation can add for safe aging in place:

  • Replacing a large, cumbersome range with a cooktop and wall oven for easier access

  • Make things more accessible in the kitchen by adding more drawers to the lower cabinets or pull-down shelves in the upper ones for easier access. 

  • Widening the floor space to accommodate a walker or wheelchair

  • Removing door curbs


Would you like to learn more about how a kitchen remodel can improve your space? I'd be happy to discuss your needs, evaluate your space, and discuss how a renovation can help.


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