10 Renovation Tips to Keep in Mind for Your Next Home Makeover

We asked top New Jersey design experts for ideas about planning a kitchen renovation. Here are their tips:

Do your research.
“Use websites like Pinterest to search different kitchen styles,” suggests Jennifer Watty, an interior designer in Mountainside. Once you have an idea of what you want, you can add and subtract features based on your budget.

Plan for efficiency.
Your plan should keep essential appliances within arm’s reach. For starters, Anthony Passanante, a certified kitchen designer at Anthony Albert Studios in Waldwick, suggests under-counter refrigerator drawers. “The refrigerator is often out of the way,” Passanante says. “Refrigerator drawers gain back those steps.”

Hire a professional.
“The kitchen is more than a place to prepare food,” says Jack Purvis, an architect in Allenwood. “It’s the center of the home. It requires a design professional to understand all a family requires and to act on those needs.” And, he adds, when moving appliances, opening walls or changing plumbing, working with a professional from the get-go is going to save time and money.

Pick a focal point.
“A great tile backsplash has a big impact,” says Betsy Berner, an interior designer in Red Bank. Or choose a statement range hood. “A massive, custom-made hood in solid iron or black copper makes a great focal point,” says Berner.

Maximize natural light.
Additional windows can open up any kitchen, says interior designer Julie China of Idea Space Architecture + Design in Maplewood. “Consider replacing double-hung windows above kitchen counters with casement-style windows,” she suggests. “This allows for ease of opening.”

Light properly.
This includes task lighting for work spaces and ambient lighting overall. “There’s plenty of good-looking, inexpensive lighting,” says Watty.

Designate a spot for recycling, keep kids’ snacks in low cabinets, plan outlets for charging your devices, and hang a noteboard for grocery lists or a family calendar. Or write your shopping list directly on the wall with Sherwin Williams chalkboard paint.

Pick the right materials.
Choose matte-finish countertops that don’t show crumbs and spills.

Take small risks.
“Introduce color in small doses or in objects that are easily swapped out, such as bar stools,” suggests China.

Splurge wisely.
Ask yourself if you’ll really use that pot filler or the second dishwasher. “It may sound strange, but save on the cabinets and splurge on the hardware,” suggests Watty.



We asked top New Jersey design experts for ideas about planning a kitchen renovation. Here are their tips:
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