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5 kitchen design blunders and what to do instead

Consumer Reports News: March 01, 2013 10:08 AM

Even if you don't expect every last detail of your kitchen renovation to turn out perfectly, you probably plan on coming close, without any major mistakes. Yet remodeling goofs—like boxing in the fridge or mounting the cabinets out of reach—happen more often than you might think. Consumer Reports talk to some kitchen pros on how to avoid five common mistakes.

Don't squeeze in an island
"A 12-foot-wide kitchen is too narrow for an island," says Chelly Wentworth of Craftsman Design and Renovation in Portland, Ore. Yet many people add one anyway and wind up with cramped aisles.

Don't undersize your refrigerator
Cabinet-depth refrigerators, typically 25 to 29 inches deep instead of the standard 30 to 34 inches, don't protrude as far into the room. But less depth also means less capacity. If you want the streamlined look and have a family, consider a wider (and pricier) built-in fridge. To find a cabinet-depth or built-in refrigerator, check the results of our refrigerator reviews which list dimensions and other features and specs.

Is space a premium? Read How To Design The Perfect Small Kitchen.

Don't misplace the microwave

It's a popular convenience, but it often ends up in an inconvenient spot, says Duval Acker of Kitchens by Design in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. Putting one above a range can mean you'll have to reach too high; putting it below a counter means bending. A simpler and cheaper solution is to leave it on a countertop if you have the space. Countertop models typically cost less than over-the-range models. Our 18 top countertop microwave picks range in price from $100 to $380.

Don't cling to trends
"Watch out for the things you're seeing in every magazine," says Curt Schultz, a realtor, architect, and contractor in Pasadena, Calif. As with clothing, you're much safer choosing styles with classic, timeless looks.

Don't ignore the future
To accommodate aging eyes, plan ways to get plenty of light, says Jean Marie Courtney of Creative Designs in Cambridge, Mass. And provide at least one spot where a cook can sit down.

Adapted from Consumer Reports Kitchen Planning & Buying Guide.

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