Kitchen remodeling mistakes to avoid

June 21, 2011 9:13:43 PM PDT
The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it's the most popular room to renovate.

The average kitchen redo costs about $15,000, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association. But no matter what you're planning to spend, Consumer Reports can help you steer clear of some common mistakes that can cost you plenty.

Storage space is one of them. Consumer Reports says, don't skimp! Carefully plan how much storage you'll need and decide where to put it. For instance, dishes and glasses need 4 to 6 linear feet of cabinet space above or near the sink and dishwasher. Pots and pans need the same, and they should be stored close to your cooktop.

Center islands can be tricky, too. A common design goof is making the island too big. The countertop should be 3 to 10 feet wide and between 26 and 48 inches deep.

Picking the wrong range hood can also leave you steaming. You might be tempted to save space by choosing a microwave with built-in venting. But Consumer Reports tests find that they don't clear smoke and steam as well as a good hood.

As for countertops, choosing one that stains is another mistake people make. Skip oil-rubbed butcher block for kitchen counters. It's one of the surfaces that stains easily.

Consumer Reports says plan to take some time-as long as several months-to nail down the details of a kitchen-remodeling project. Changing your mind after the work begins adds about $1,500 to the cost, according to a Consumer Reports reader survey.