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Kitchen remodeling is among the most popular of remodeling projects each year, as kitchens have become the center of activity in the home. Remodeling your kitchen is expensive and a lot of work. But a well thought out, detailed plan could produce a kitchen where you will enjoy years of memorable experiences.

Planning

The planning phase of your remodel is the time to keep in mind the "work-triangle". This is the area of the kitchen from the refrigerator to the cooking area to the sink. Connecting these 3 areas should form a triangle. This triangle helps to keep your cooking activities in one area, with everything you need close by.

Under cabinet lighting has become quite popular. And because they free up valuable counter space, under cabinet mounted appliances are also in demand. If you are planning on using under cabinet lighting with under cabinet mounted appliances, or a kitchen cabinet accessory, or paper towel dispenser, decide where each will go in the planning phase.

Hiring A Professional

Unless your talents lie in this area, hiring a professional will save you many headaches as your project unfolds. There are lots of professionals out there - interior designers, contractors and architects. Pick one that specializes in the kitchen.

A knowledgeable designer/planner should discuss how you live. Generally people know what they don't like. However, they may not know what they will like or what may fit in with their lifestyle and how they use the kitchen. For instance, someone that is concerned about cross contamination and unwanted germs in the kitchen might want to consider some of the "no-touch" products available now.

These products include a "no-touch" automatic paper towel dispenser that mounts under your cabinets and uses the same paper towels you use now, a "no-touch" faucet, "no-touch" trash can and a "no-touch" soap dispenser. An avid cook may want to consider refrigerator drawers next to their food prep area, keeping recipe ingredients within easy reach.

While you are remodeling your kitchen, you may want to consider installing a home wet bar somewhere in your house. These are becoming quite popular and as long as you are hiring a designer you can have them come up with a home bar design.

A kitchen planner/designer's focus should be to design for the way a person lives, and asking the right questions will ensure your finished kitchen fits you and your budget.

Consider Cost Vs. Value

Kitchens are becoming more of a showplace and an entertainment area in homes. Remodeling your kitchen may be one of the most important home improvements you can make, and it is the most valuable. More and more people are spending anywhere from $50,000 to $60,000 on kitchen remodels. Even $100,000 is not unheard of for some kitchens.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, updating and remodeling your kitchen will add more value than any other improvement. Not only will you get a beautiful new kitchen, but also your home value will increase dramatically more than the cost of the remodel job.

Appliances

More expensive, commercial type stainless steel appliances have become quite popular. So much so that at the National Kitchen and Bath Association's annual show, one of the major appliance manufacturers referred to stainless steel as "the new primary color".

Another interesting fact about stainless steel is that according to a study done at the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management, stainless steel received the 1st position for cleanliness above five other materials commonly used in kitchens. In other words, after washing and rinsing, stainless steel will have far less bacteria on it than any other material.

In addition to the standard appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, and microwaves there are some slick new appliances available. For your new kitchen consider the stainless steel automatic paper towel dispenser mentioned earlier, an in-sink dishwasher, a flat screen TV

screen mounted under your cabinet, built-in warming drawers or refrigerator drawers to name just a few.

Cabinets and Countertops

The biggest expense of your kitchen remodel will be the cabinets and countertops. Cabinets range from the most expensive custom built, to the "off the shelf" variety available at home centers. Countertops range from the upper end granite and marble type to laminate, the least expensive. Whatever your budget, there is a large variety of cabinets and countertops available that will fit your taste and budget.

Resources

For those of you that have a kitchen remodeling idea of your own, or simply want to educate yourself before contacting a professional, HGTV (Home and Garden Television) and their website http://www.hgtv.com is an invaluable source for any information you may require.

From all the new products available, to design information and tips, you will find it all there.

The National Kitchen and Bath Association's website is another source of information you will not want to miss. There you will find the 31 guidelines for kitchen efficiency, convenience, traffic spaces, distances between items and countertop and cabinet space.

When contemplating a kitchen remodel, remember planning is the key first step. Deciding beforehand what you will need from your kitchen depending on your own unique lifestyle (and budget!) will help to make sure you end up with a kitchen you will enjoy for years to come.

Even if you plan on moving at some point after the remodel, don't forget that kitchen projects add more value to your home than any other improvement.
 

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