Tips for a Seamless Kitchen Makeover

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A kitchen makeover will not only add value to your home; it can also take it from drab to fab. But before you take the plunge, our friends at Bender have a few important tips.

Tip number one: Start off by asking yourself one simple question.

“There’s this question that we refer to as the essential question at Bender which is why are you redoing or building a new kitchen, and the answer to that question informs all your choices,” explained Nina Bender, of Bender.

For example, an answer could be you’re redoing your kitchen because you need more storage space, or you just flat out hate the way it looks. Either way, the “essential question” is a jumping off point for finding a design that’s right for you.

“So if you’re a parent and you’ve got kids using the kitchen not just for cooking and traditional ways — you’re doing homework, you’re doing art projects, you’ve got everybody in the kitchen eating together — I would suggest an island or a peninsula,” Nina said.

When it comes to redesigning a kitchen, Nina’s tip number two is to use a designer.

“You do this maybe once or twice in your lifetime,” Nina explained. “The designers do it day in and day out every day, and they’re also trained in the particular cabinet lines that they carry.”

At Bender, you don’t have to look hard for design advice because every sales consultant is a trained designer.

“Many people think working with a designer means you’re hiring a third party which of course is an option, but if you don’t have a designer, you can use ours, and they’re really well educated and can advise you on things you didn’t even know were possible,” Nina said.

Design options like drawers that light up or a dishwasher that’s hidden behind cabinetry.

“Appliances are beautiful but maybe you don’t want to disrupt the design of your cabinetry so instead your designer can help you match the appliance with the cabinet door,” Nina said. “You’re the only person who will know that a dishwasher is there until you go to open it.”

Nina’s third tip for redesigning a kitchen is to set a budget.

“So how do you budget for something when you have no idea how much it’s going to cost?” Nina asked. “What we like to advise people is 10 to 15 percent of the home’s value, and that really informs every decision you make.”

Decisions like which cabinet door style to go with.

“So for a budget savvy renovation — maybe it’s your first home or maybe you’re redoing the home so you can sell it — you want to think of stock to semi-custom cabinets.

Partial cabinet doors, where you can still see the frame on either side of the door, are the most budget-savvy option. That style door is available in stock so you can come pick them up the same day or the next. One step above that is full overlay, where the box is completely covered by the cabinet door. The third or most high-end option are inset cabinet doors.

“And what that means is the door itself goes right into the cabinet box,” Nina explained.

However, if working with a budget you can still get a high end look without breaking the bank.

“When you walk into a kitchen, the first thing you notice is the upper cabinets, so put those inset cabinets at the line of sight, and people will think your whole kitchen is inset cabinetry,” Nina said. “To save on your budget, put a full overlay kitchen cabinet on your lowers and they complement each other.”

Nina’s fourth tip for redesigning a kitchen: If you want to go with one of today’s most popular trends of white cabinets, be sure to choose a high quality product.

“That’s because a low-end white cabinet, the finish is just sort of painted on like a veneer, and over time it’s going to crack or lift,” Nina explained. “But a high end cabinet, that finish is really thick and so over time as humidity comes into the wood, you might see a tiny hairline fracture on the joinery but it’s very minimal.”

Nina says for a more durable cabinet, choose something in between white and traditional wood. She pointed out a display kitchen in the Bender showroom with stained and distressed cabinets.

“What that means it the stain has permeated the wood so it’s throughout,” Nina said.

So it won’t lose its color. Last but not least, Nina says if you like the look of open shelving but hate to lose storage space, get creative.

“Your designer might give you a storage option that comes all the way out and you’re not reaching in the back getting really angry because you can’t reach your pots and pans,” Nina saidm.

With these five fool-proof tips, you can take your kitchen from drab to fab. For more design ideas, stop by the Bender kitchen showroom located at 335 East Street in New Haven or log on to BenderPlumbing.com.

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