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 to ensure that no important details are left out of the process.
Kitchen style

A kitchen banquette designed by Samantha Gluck Interiors and Salt Coastal Interiors is part of remodel of a 1980s tract home into one that’s modern, casual and family-friendly. Photo by Alison Bernier courtesy of California Art AdvisoryAlison Bernier

Everyone ends up in the kitchen. Instead of hovering around an island, people are installing built-in seating to settle in long after dishes have been cleared.

A kitchen banquette designed by Samantha Gluck Interiors and Salt Coastal Interiors is part of remodel of a 1980s tract home into one that’s modern, casual and family-friendly.

Here are the decor sources for the corner banquette:

Lippa 47-inch square, white dining table from LexMod.com ($558.75, regularly $1,239 plus free shipping).

Midcentury modern molded chair at Overstock.com (various colors and prices).

Swing arm black sconce (15 inches high by 39 inches long by 10 inches wide) at France & Son ($215, regularly $340, receive 10% your first order).

Vitrine art from Davis & Cline Gallery in Ashland (now closed).

27-inch-long teak trough ($37.61) from Uma Enterprises available from Houzz.

Woven wool and leather pillows: Overstock has hundreds of types of pillows on sale with an extra 10% off.

A small change can make a big impact in a kitchen. But before you bring something home, consider its purpose: One-function items — like a crab and lobster tool set or a smoking cloche for a steamy reveal — may be trendy and tempting, but they take up space and are typically forgotten if they are only useful once a year.

Here are practical ideas to add everyday ease and style to a kitchen:

Bed, Bath & Beyond is having a sale on cabinet organizers, cookware, knives and dining sets. Receive 20% off by signing up for emails.

Bloomingdale’s Home has Nespresso products, All-Clad stainless steel cookware and Le Creuset pots on sale. Use the code FRIENDS to take up to 25% off select items.

Build with Ferguson lets you save up to 30% on select kitchen products like faucets, sinks, appliances, water filtration, cabinet hardware, lighting, range hoods and storage through Oct. 31. Receive 5% off your second order.

Cost Plus World Market, which offers artisan goods and handicrafts, has kitchen islands, tables, towels, carts, rugs and chairs in a variety of colors and styles.

Food52, a shop for kitchen, cooking and home products, has Five Two’s everyday soft cotton napkins ($30-$45 for six) and other hard-to-find items.

Frontgate, which offers free phone time with salespeople with design experience, is having a sale up to 20% off tabletop and entertaining items plus free shipping on dining tables and chairs. Bar and counter stools are on clearance.

Hammacher Schlemmer has a unique, 4-inch-wide pullout pantry for a tight space ($129.95). Save $10 on your next purchase over $99 when you sign up for emails.

Houzz, an online source with 20 million interior design photos as well as home decor and decorating ideas and links to home professionals, also sells kitchen fixtures like sinks, faucets, pot fillers, hot water dispensers, water filtration systems and garbage disposals.

Lowe’s maintains an online list of appliance rebates (there are up to $4,456 in rebates available now from GE appliances). Visit energytrust.org for no-cost and low-cost energy-saving tips plus more information on available cash incentives. Some Oregon cities offer debates on energy-efficient improvements, from windows to cooling.

MasterBrand has a Decora Power Pod, a freestanding tower with three electrical sockets and two USB ports. The company also makes secure drawers with a self-locking mechanism by the Master Lock Company and a handy, under-cabinet tablet holder.

Simple Human, which designs and manufactures kitchen, bath and beauty tools, is best known for hands-free trash cans that open with the tap of a foot. A 46-liter can with trash and recycle compartments is $150.

Sur La Table has an anniversary sale with cookware, bakeware, kitchen tools, knives, coffee and teal, and dining items up to 40% off. Take $15 off your first order.

Uncommongoods offers unique kitchen gifts like personalized family mugs (starting at $30), a swivel cheese and tapas board ($80) and a gourmet oil dipping spice kit ($39).

— Janet Eastman | 503-294-4072

[email protected] | @janeteastman

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