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Renovating your kitchen? Tips to avoid common mistakes

July 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it's also the most popular room to renovate. The average kitchen redo costs about $15,000. But no matter what you're planning to spend, make sure to plan ahead of time to avoid some common mistakes that can cost you plenty.

When you're cooking up a kitchen renovation there are so many places where it's easy to goof. Storage space is one of them. Consumer Reports says don't skimp.

"Carefully plan how much storage you'll need and where to put it," said Consumer Reports' Bob Markovich.

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 store them close to your cooktop. Center islands can be tricky too.

"A common design goof is making the island too big," said Markovich.

The countertop should be 3 feet wide to no more than 10 feet. As for depth, you want one that measures at least 26 inches and up to 48 inches.

"Picking the wrong range hood can also leave you steaming," said Markovich.

You might be tempted to save space by choosing a microwave with built-in venting. But Consumer Reports' tests find they don't clear smoke and steam as well as a good hood.

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

With careful planning and attention to detail you can sidestep these mistakes and get the kitchen you've always wanted. Consumer Reports says plan to take some time, as much as several months, to nail down the details of a kitchen remodel as changing your mind after the work begins adds about $1,500 to the cost.

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