Keep the clutter under control
Your new kitchen never looks more beautiful than the day your contractor packs up and leaves. Why? Because all your kitchen gadgets, knickknacks and doodads are packed up in boxes in the garage.
While some personalization and function-specific machines are nice, be honest about what you do and don’t need when unpacking those boxes. A minimalist kitchen looks clean and stays clean.
Don’t skimp on storage
Along the same lines, the best way to control clutter down the road is to insert ample storage during the design phase.
Compare maintenance needs of different materials
Granite countertops, a copper sink or wood floors are great for your new kitchen’s aesthetics, but it’s important to consider the long-term maintenance needs of some upper-end materials.
If you’re sure you’ll be diligent about maintenance, then go for it. Otherwise consider laminates and other materials that aren’t as labor intensive.
Choose smudge-resistant paint colors
Some color schemes age better than others. Consider how much mess your kitchen is likely to see in any given week and plan accordingly when picking out paint samples.
Similarly, wall coverings are difficult to touch up should they get stained or water damaged. Painted walls are easier to clean, and the worst case scenario is a fresh coat every 4–5 years to bring back that brand new feel.
Keep up on sealants
If your countertops or floors require chemical sealants in order to remain stain and water resistant, be sure to reseal before the base materials are exposed to potential blemishes.
Do your research
Bleach is a great cleaning product for 100% total sanitation, but some building materials react poorly to the chlorine.
Be sure that all surfaces are bleach compatible to avoid fading or other changes in appearance. Baking soda and vinegar are both excellent all-natural alternatives to bleach.
A tile backsplash is a gorgeous addition to any kitchen design but grout stains are an inevitable side effect. Clean grout regularly to avoid permanent discoloration.
Work hard to avoid scratches
Use cutting boards and potholders and do your best to avoid scratches and dings on sinks and countertops. Over time wear and tear is just a fact of life, but care and foresight can minimize the damage.
Don’t neglect cabinetry
Many homeowners misjudge the longevity of wood cabinets. With proper care your cupboards can last for decades, but too much moisture or harsh chemical cleaners will slowly eat away at the wood and can cause it to rot.
It’s not just cleaners, either. No amount of varnish can protect against an excess of water. Never hang wet cloths from door or drawer handles.