Kitchen Remodeling: Little Things That Make Big Impacts

Kitchen Remodeling can be a daunting task.  When I am working with a client on a design or remodeling project, I take great pride in being able to suggest a little tip or trick that seems menial, but can really make a big difference in a space. It is so rewarding when a client says, “Wow, I never would have thought of that!”  There are tips for every room of the house, but here are a few key kitchen design tricks to make your space look and function better.

Undercabinet Lighting

If you do not have undercabinet lights in your current kitchen, I hate to say it, but you are missing out!  During the design phase, I have had many clients ask if they really need undercabinet lights and try to shy away from them because they have never had them before. But really, undercabinet lights will change your life! (Okay, maybe that is a little dramatic, but I’m making a point here.)  Undercabinet lighting acts as both task lighting and also as accent or mood lighting in a kitchen. While you are preparing food at your countertops, undercabinet lighting provides more direct and focused light to the work zone than overhead recessed lights.  When you have left the kitchen for the evening, turn off all lights except for the undercabinet lights for some soft and subtle mood lighting.

Kitchen Remodeling, Undercabinet Lights
Undercabinet Lights



While we are on the discussion of lighting, I must emphasize the importance of dimmer switches with all lights.  As Samantha Schoech, a contributor says, there are tons of stops between just on and off with lighting. Dimmers give you control of your lighting, and thus the mood of the space. Maybe a big loud family gathering in the kitchen needs all the lights on all the way. Maybe sharing a romantic glass of wine at the kitchen island only requires the pendant lights on at a low dimmer setting. Even if you use your lights at full brightness for the majority of the time, just having the option to customize the brightness of your lighting fixtures is one little design element that adds value, comfort, and visual appeal.

Lights/Glass Shelves in Decorative Cabinets

Clearly, lighting is a very important element in design, as 3 of my 5 tips today are related to lighting. In many kitchens (certainly in many I design), there are a few cabinet doors that have glass fronts.  Often, these cabinets serve as a place to display decorative china or stemware. To properly display the items, install an LED puck light in the cabinet to accent your collection. Just make sure you change out the shelving in those cabinets; solid wood shelves will not allow the light to flood the entire cabinet, but glass shelves will!

Kitchen Cabinets with glass doors and interior lighting
Glass Kitchen Cabinet Doors


Trash Pull-Out Cabinet

When I design cabinet layouts for new kitchens, I always include a trash cabinet. Sometimes I have clients tell me that they don’t need one and they will just throw a basket under the sink or get a freestanding unit they can put in the corner of the kitchen. This is a big “no no” in my book. Trash under the sink takes up valuable cleaning supply storage, and the task of bending over, opening the door, and pulling the basket out to throw something away can be awkward.  As far as a freestanding unit–well, no one wants to see your trash can in the corner of a brand new kitchen. A designated trash cabinet is a much better alternative.

Kitchen Cabinets Pull Out Trash and Recycling Center
Pull Out Trash and Recycling Center


Soft Close Drawers

This may seem completely unnecessary to some, but soft close drawers and drawers are a relatively inexpensive upgrade to cabinets that will make your cabinets feel just a bit more upscale. There is something so satisfying about pushing a drawer in and then watching it fully close on its own. Added bonuses– little fingers cannot get slammed, and they also become a good feature for resale!

If you have any other little tips and tricks, let me know in the comments below!

Alexandra Yavarow is an interior designer at Masters Touch, a design-build firm in Holliston, Massachusetts.

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