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The best thing about a kitchen remodel is the opportunity to remake a space from the ground up. But that’s also the worst thing. Why? Because when you have a thousand choices to make, it’s hard to ensure each one delivers the look, feel, and function you really want. One way to get inspired is to consider how you will use the space day-to-day and also on special occasions when the whole family gathers. On days like that, you need a kitchen that serves all your needs, so a remodel is the best way to build a space that checks all the boxes. To help figure out what those boxes include, we spoke to experts in design, décor, organization, and remodeling from across the country. Take their advice about how family gatherings can inspire your kitchen remodel, and put it to work in your own home.

Plan for the Holidays Now

“The holidays are a great time to get inspired for your next kitchen remodel. Primarily because you may be hosting a lot of guests and be inspired by the need for more seating, built-in garbage/recycling, or a desire for a beverage station. With kitchen remodels comes a lot of choices. Thinking about how you use your kitchen at all times of the year is essential to ensuring you have everything you truly want or need.” – Sherri Monte, owner of Elegant Simplicity, a home organization and decorating company based in Seattle.

Create Space for Everyone

“A family gathering should be held in a space that feels open, welcoming, and conducive to healthy communication among one another. Many color schemes are associated with moods, so before any work is done, brainstorm the mood you want your kitchen to evoke. While families differ in size, the last thing you want when remodeling (keeping family gatherings in mind) is for the kitchen to make people feel cramped, so carefully consider the size of the family gatherings you aspire to host. Ask yourself if the space leaves room for multiple people to cook without bumping into each other.” – Zach Mitchell, assistant to Sean Hayes, General Manager at Hausera.

Control the Clutter

“As an organizer I see how essential it is for the kitchen to be well organized. Our kitchen isn’t big but it’s efficient. If it were cluttered and disorderly we wouldn’t enjoy our time together as much as we do. We can focus on each other and not the mess. Our son can do his homework, our guests can sit and be comfortable, and cleaning is quick. Everyone can pitch in because the systems in the kitchen are well planned.” – Sara Bereika, a Certified Professional Organizer.

Learn from the Past

“The autumn months are the busiest times of year for kitchen and bathroom remodels, because people know the holidays are coming. This usually happens because someone hosted the year before, and their current situation made them realize that something needed to change before they host again. For example, if everyone gathers in the kitchen and there’s no room, then opening the floor plan, expanding the size, or putting in a half wall can make the space more user friendly. If the oven couldn’t keep up with the cooking, then the homeowner may want to consider a new appliance, which could lead to a package deal on all new appliances, which in turn leads to new counters, sink, faucet, etc.” –  Cristina Miguelez, Remodeling Specialist at Fixr.com.

Anticipate the Mess

“Family gatherings are messy. When you’re preparing a large meal for a lot of people, you’re going to have a lot of waste. Things are spilled, food splatters everywhere, and dishes pile up in the sink. You can save yourself a lot of headaches by designing your kitchen for easy cleaning. Get laminated counters instead of raw wood ones so you can easily wipe them down. And if you’re considering granite countertops, get quartz instead. They’re not as porous as other stones, so they don’t stain as easily. Get a double sink instead of a single one. That will allow two people to work on the dishes at the same time, which makes cleaning up much more efficient.” – Heloise Blaure, a chef and kitchen blogger

Think about Form vs. Function

“In remodeling your kitchen, one of the most important elements to consider is the SIZE or number of your family members. Usually our kitchen is the center of the family gathering and parties. You don’t want to see people bumping into each other when it is too crowded and can no longer hold enough space for that occasion. You can definitely play around to remodel your kitchen by considering the space and the kitchen furniture to use. Given that the budget, design and reason to remodel are so interdependent, it is important to have an idea of how many people you usually host.” – Leonard Ang, purchase manager at Aqva Bathrooms

Add an Island

“A well-equipped kitchen island helps us reclaim cooking time for family time. If you have a small kitchen, or a galley kitchen, it can be difficult to participate in conversations and focus on cooking and preparing the meal. Being able to focus on family and meal prep is rewarding and supports very important family bonding time. A kitchen island opens up the space and allows families to enjoy more time together.” – Tiffany Smolick, Showroom Manager, MyHome Design + Remodeling

Great Kitchens Need Great Cabinets

As kitchen cabinet experts, the team at The Door Stop also has some opinions about how family gatherings can inspire your kitchen remodel. Ask yourself: do your cabinets invite people into the kitchen, provide enough storage space, and make the overall design feel warm and welcoming? If the answer is no, then new cabinets should be on your renovation to-do list. Before you spend the time and money replacing the whole cabinets, though, consider replacing just the doors. It’s a low-cost kitchen remodel project that has a big impact on your family gatherings and your everyday routine. Explore all that we can offer on our expansive website.