If you’re getting new cabinets but want to keep your old refrigerator, leave enough space between cabinets so you can replace your fridge with a wider model later. (Most refrigerators are 32 to 36 in. wide.) Install filler strips or panels to fill up the extra space. You can install shelving between the panels over the top of the fridge or install top cabinets. Order the filler strips and panels with your cabinets so they match.
Make your kitchen as safe and family-friendly as possible by planning for good visibility to backyard and indoor play areas from the cooking area, suggests Dorothy Bell, a home safety expert. Also consider such safety-conscious elements as rounded countertops, slip-resistant flooring and ovens located at adult height to minimize the chances of accidental burns. (For more tips, visit usa.safekids.org.)
We're really digging the alternating black and gray stained wood cabinets in this deVOL kitchen. The varied tones (plus texture) adds interest to a neutral space. The sandy beige walls keep things neutral but warms thing a little more than a crisp white or super light gray. The shearling chair cover warms up, too, and the interior window creates flow and spreads the light.

Maintaining your existing plumbing is an excellent way to reduce costs. You can still invest in new appliances, sinks and faucets as long as you install them in the current plumbing positions. If your remodeling design requires the installation of new pipes or you're changing your kitchen's floor plan, be prepared to pay a plumber for labor and the necessary plumbing parts.

If you want more counter and storage space, then adding a center island may be worth the cost. But an island can limit the number of people working in the kitchen, reduce traffic flow to one-way with no passing, and make for cramped quarters. Try out an island before committing to one. Slap together a full-scale model out of cardboard or plywood and live with it for a few days. Make sure you can open your stove and refrigerator doors. No space for an island? Consider a kitchen trolley instead.
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