(BPT) - Considering a kitchen renovation but not sure how to get the most out of your space and budget? Expert tips can help you focus your plans so you get the kitchen of your dreams for less money and less stress.
"Redesigning your kitchen is a big investment," says A-list designer Nate Berkus, Artistic Advisor of LG STUDIO line. "It's not just about the money; you're also investing a lot of time and emotion. There are so many decisions to make, and you want them to be the right ones. You also want to create a space that reflects the people who live there. A well-designed kitchen needs to be functional and personalized.'
That's a heavy order, but Berkus offers advice to cut through the confusion by providing seven tips for a smart kitchen renovation that any homeowner can follow.
Be realistic and research
Berkus suggests that homeowners start with a realistic assessment of their budget and a wish list. After nailing those down, spend some time online looking for images that best reflect your personal style.
"There is so much design inspiration out there: Instagram, Pinterest, design blogs, and so many others," says Berkus. "Find out what you are drawn to and what catches your eye. Ask yourself how you want to live in the space and what's most important to you. The design needs to support that."
Invest where it counts
Appliances are expensive, but you want to buy the very best you can afford. Considering how much use they get and how long you want them to last, it's a worthwhile investment. 'The new LG STUDIO line that I helped design features pro-style design elements that instantly make a kitchen feel high-end,' says Berkus.
Stretch your renovation dollars
"It's the old adage, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater," says Berkus. "If your cabinets are in good condition, you can save a ton of money by painting them. When it comes to flooring, don't rip it out if you can refinish. Save where you can and then you can spend more of your budget on things that you really love, and are more important, like the appliances."
Add personal touches
For dressing up your kitchen, shop your home and use things you already own. "Objects from your travels, framed photographs, ceramic bowls or handwoven baskets are all things that personalize a space and make it feel layered," says Berkus.
Enhance small spaces
To maximize small spaces, do something unexpected. "Could the cabinets be painted dark gray or black? Could you use some un-lacquered brass hardware for shine? Can you add a backsplash in antique or aged mirror?" Berkus says.
Divide big spaces into zones
To get the most out of a larger kitchen, Berkus suggests using a zone approach. "For example, the island and its location will determine where the appliances sit," he says. "In addition, a large open kitchen allows the opportunity to add an eat-in area. Why not add a built-in banquette upholstered in easy-to-clean materials like outdoor fabric or leather?"
For an investment that lasts, Berkus says to err on the side of classic elements and finishes like stone, nickel, brass, steel, painted shaker cabinets and subway tile. "One of my go-to's is LG's Black Stainless Steel finish. It's both sophisticated, functional and will up the design ante in any kitchen. It is also fingerprint- and smudge-resistant, making it perfect for families."
Need more renovation inspiration? Check out the LG STUDIO Virtual Designer Tool to experiment with different styles and appliance combinations to create your dream kitchen.