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6 Horrible Mistakes First-Time Homebuyers Often Make With Their Kitchen and Dining Room

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Few areas of a home make people salivate more than the kitchen—and not just due to the food.

Homebuyers nearly always size up the kitchen first: It’s the centerpiece of cooking, entertaining, and family life. It’s also a place packed with shiny bells and whistles: Induction stoves! Soapstone counters! Look, a Wi-Fi-enabled wine fridge that’ll text you when you’re low on rosé!

Yet first-time homebuyers and homeowners should beware: This heart of the home can be so right or so wrong. And it’s not always easy to see potential pitfalls.

So, before you move in and start decorating (or renovating), check out what these professional home designers have seen in new kitchens and dining rooms that make them lose their appetites.

1. Cereal boxes on top of the fridge

Photo by Epiphany Design Studio 

OK, we’ll start with a really simple one.

“I’ve seen new kitchens ruined with junk like cereal boxes piled atop the fridge, which is very valuable real estate in this room,” says Kara Harms, a lifestyle expert at Whimsy Soul.

Sure, it takes a while to organize an unfamiliar space, but don’t start off life in your own home with a hot mess in this spot. (Everyone can see it!)

“Putting supplies up there causes the whole room to feel chaotic,” says Harms. “So get a large basket to secretly store items here and add a couple of plants—and suddenly your fridge top will not only function for you, you’ll transform the feeling of your kitchen.”

2. A huge dining table no one uses

Photo by Petrina Construction INC 

“You may think you want a fancy table for your kitchen, but wait to find out what your family prefers,” warns Harms. She’s seen these pieces sit idle and collect dust in the homes of first-time buyers because folks tend to rush their purchases.

“In the end, it’s the high-top counter where many people actually end up spending all their time in new homes, eating, doing homework, and just hanging out,” she says.

3. Not adding enough light

Photo by Drury Design’

“I’m shocked when I enter a dim kitchen. Neglecting lighting is a big no-no here,” says Marco Bizzley, an interior designer and consultant at HouseGrail. And without proper task and ambient fixtures, your new space won’t sing.

First-time homebuyers often focus on appliances and counters, but as Bizzley explains, “when designing your new kitchen, you need adequate lights throughout the room, which not only regenerate you but they make cooking much easier.”

4. Going over the top with decor and color

Photo by HUTTON WILKINSON – TONY DUQUETTE INC. 

“Please, approach certain decor concepts with a clear plan and a lot of thought, especially maximalism,” cautions Mona Bavar, the design and lifestyle voice at Dlish. This “anything goes” style has been around for ages, though “it’s not necessarily the belief of excess, but instead about combining colors, textures, patterns, and tones to create an over-the-top setting,” she explains.

And while your kitchen and dining space don’t have to be as serene as the bedroom, channeling a clean, restful vibe in this area isn’t a bad idea, if only for a sense of calm (and easier digestion).

5. Overcrowding the space

Photo by Garret Cord Werner Architects & Interior Designers 

“I can’t take any more black and blue knees, so please make a floor plan or lay out templates in your dining space for the big pieces so you can properly fill the room without crowding it,” says Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs.

Also, view your space critically to decide whether you really need a sideboard, rolling tea cart, and china cabinet, along with your dining table and seating for eight.

The same holds in the kitchen. If you have to shimmy awkwardly around the counter stools you chose, they’re too bulky for your island. If you can’t part with the look, remove a couple since you know four people probably won’t sit down together at the same time.

6. Winging it with special orders

Photo by Bruce Norman Long Interior Design

“One newbie homeowner I knew saved a scrap of very expensive fabric—$1,100 a yard!—for years because she’d always dreamed of using it for dining room drapery,” shares Debra Kling of the eponymous color consultancy. But when the time came to finally put up the curtains, she decided to go solo and try to locate enough of the material herself.

“She wanted to save money, but when the fabric finally arrived from some faraway discount clearinghouse, it was faded in sections and the bolts were mismatched, so clearly not from the same lot,” she explains.

To fix this situation, Kling had to reorder the embroidered silk for her, to the tune of 70% more than the client would have paid had she enlisted Kling’s services in the first place.

“Truly, it does pay to use a pro who enjoys the services of a trade rep from vendors,” Kling says.

The post 6 Horrible Mistakes First-Time Homebuyers Often Make With Their Kitchen and Dining Room appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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