A Chef-Turned-Home-Designer Shares the Biggest Mistake People Make When Renovating Their Kitchen

Home upgrades can be intimidating for many of us, whether we've hired a professional to come in and make big changes or we're taking the DIY approach. Fortunately, experts have plenty of tips on how to make your home improvement project a success, along with things to avoid—like the biggest kitchen renovation mistake, according to a home designer.

Chef-turned-designer and founder of Hedley & Bennett, Ellen Bennett, hosts Tastemade’s new original series, Kitchen Glow Up, where she uses her expertise to help families and individuals transform their kitchens with function and beautiful design in mind. The first five episodes are available to watch on Tastemade's streaming channel.

Bennett recently spoke to Parade about the biggest renovation mistake she sees people making in their kitchen these days, why it's a problem and what she recommends doing instead.

Related: This One Kitchen Upgrade Will Make the Biggest Difference in Home Value—and It's Affordable

The Biggest Kitchen Renovation Mistake, According to a Home Designer

When it comes to things that people shouldn't be doing while working on a kitchen renovation, Bennett is quick to warn against making things "Instagrammable but not functional."

"I definitely see a lot of videos on Instagram where people are doing fancy setups in drawers and spending probably a decent amount of money getting those custom-built and I don't know that you need to do that," Bennett explains. "One I've seen, it's like a skinny drawer and it has three holes and they put their spoons and spatulas or whatever [in there.] They don't need that volume of spoons and spatulas, is the truth. You need a few, right? And those could fit on your top counter or in one drawer." 

That's where the "function" element comes in.

"And so the idea that they spent thousands of dollars to make this thing that pulls out because it looks good on Instagram? That, to me, is a little single use, right?" Bennett continues. "You can't use it for something else and that's where I draw the line. Anything I do in the kitchen, I want it to be universal and able to be used for something else. A drawer can hold spatulas one day and can hold maybe pots and pans another day—it doesn't struggle with interchanging items. And that's the part where I think people go astray. Don't get so custom that you cannot change. Don't do that."

What does she recommend prioritizing in a renovation instead?

"Go for deep drawers—that's where you want to invest money," Bennett suggests. "Nice countertops that are bulletproof and heavy duty, a good sink—those are value drivers. But is someone gonna pay more money because you have a drawer that has a little insets for your spatulas? No."

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