Design and Planning
WHERE TO START
Getting a new kitchen can feel a little overwhelming. You've probably seen beautiful kitchens online or in magazines but you don't know how to make it work with your space, or what the costs are. Before you get overwhelmed, we recommend starting with some basic steps.
ANALYZE YOUR SPACE
Today kitchens are used for so much more that just cooking. Is this a place you would like to host parties, do homework or crafts, or just hangout and relax? Most people spend more active time in their kitchens than anywhere else in the home. Kitchens are really the heart and soul of the home so it's important to take the time to consider what you want and need out of your kitchen. The first thing you need to do is see what space is available. I know this sounds obvious but remember to consider things like windows, doors, and walkways. Don't try to squeeze an island into a room that's too small, doing so will only cause frustrations later. For a larger kitchen try not to space appliances and surfaces too far apart. Consider other rooms and the flow from room to room. You want your kitchen to stand out but it's important to create a relaxing flow as well. Remember that you can add small touches of decorations to help blend and unify things later on as well. If you're remodeling an old kitchen make sure to look around and make notes of things you like and dislike about your current kitchen.
Before you get thinking too much about the aesthetics think about the way you use your kitchen now and what you would like to do in your new kitchen that you can't already. How do you prepare your food and socialize? Are you mostly going to use your kitchen for cooking or do you like to study, work, socialize and play? You may want to consider adding a homework desk, or a breakfast bar, or maybe extra storage. It's easier to decide on extra features if you know they'll be used regularly. Will you be socializing while cooking? Adding an island is a great way to add a place where people can sit and socializing so that you can still get things done without feeling excluded. Islands also generally create a more and inviting environment.
EASE OF CLEANING
Sometimes we forget the process of cleaning. Yes, the cabinets will look beautiful once they are installed but what happens when you have a disaster and food is splashed all over your cabinets? Do you have children that will be making messes often? If so, consider something more durable with flat easy to clean surfaces. It's good to remember that your kitchen will not be clean all the time, that's just a reality of life, so consider where you'll place extra dishes and homework or projects so that those small things won't feel overly cluttered.
Consider appliances and think about functionality before anything else. Will you want to upgrade appliances in the near future? It's much easier to design your kitchen around appliances than it is to find appliances with specific requirements. You don't necessarily have to buy the appliances before hand but know what you're looking for when considering your design. Will you have a double oven or large fridge? All appliances need working space around them. You need to be able to open appliances like fridges and ovens and still be able get around them. It's also a good idea to have extra counter top space near your appliances so that you can easily put things down before and after using the appliance. Having an island is usually a great way to add extra landing space.
If you have kids you'll want to keep the chaos contained. Things like the sink and stove should be located so that they are protected from the main walkways if possible. If people will be socializing in your kitchen try to designate a space that allows people to linger without getting in the way or stepping into dangerous zones.
THE WORK TRIANGLE
The work triangle is one of the most important steps when designing your kitchen. The work triangle helps to maximize and flow and efficiency so that you can get things done easily without any extra stress. The Kitchen Triangle is the shape made by imaginary lines that connect your sink(A), cooktop(B), and fridge(C). At the center of that triangle is roughly where you'll naturally stand for doing most of your food prep. A kitchen with a smaller triangle will be more efficient but feel more cramped where as a larger triangle will have a little more walking but feel more spacious and give you more room to work. It's up to you to decide what you prefer but tut try to keep your main areas within the triangle. You should be able to move seamlessly between the three work stations during cooking and cleaning in order to make your kitchen experience more pleasant. You can also have several work triangles if needed to fit your unique needs.
Will you want lots of closed cabinets to hide away your dishes and small appliances or do you like open shelving where you can have things on display. Do you need extra storage in your island? Do you have an alcove or inset where you can add a pantry? This can be nice to store food, small kitchen appliances allowing you to free up counter stop space. If you don't have a built-in pantry consider adding floor to ceiling cabinets that will work in the same manner. Will children be accessing your cupboards? What needs to be stored where children can access.
LIGHTING AND POWER
It's important to have enough light in your kitchen to easily see around and in all corners and spacing. Do you have lots of natural light? Or do you need lighting to brighten things up. What style of lighting do you like, can lights, chandeliers, pendant lights? Today we need access to power every where we go. Remember that not only do you need power for all of your large and small appliances but you'll likely need power for your personal devices as well, including everyone else in your home.
Setting a budget can help you make decisions and keep your project moving. If you're having a hard time picking out items think about what you want most and prioritize those items. Setting a budget working within your financial means doesn't mean you have to scrap all of your big goals. Be realistic with your budget, don't compare new cabinets with what you can find at a restore and be willing to invest in something that will last a long time. It's a good idea to add 20% to your budget. 10% for unexpected costs and 10% for when you find something you're going to want to splurge on. Set a realistic budget and remember that your kitchen is usually the focal point of the home.
COLORS AND DESIGN
Consider creating a material mood board where if the materials don't look good together as a set, they aren't likely to look good in a larger context. You can make your kitchen feel more coherent by subtly adding items to blend finishes and colors. For instance, upholstering the seats of your chairs to tie in with your backsplash or adding handles to your cabinetry, these can make a huge difference to transform a simple white theme. You don't want your kitchen to look outdated in a couple of years so it's a good idea to pick something simple that you can add to and change in order to give your kitchen a new look and feel. Depending on your kitchen size is usually a good idea to pick one or two items as a focus point and have everything else blend together. You can create good focus points with things like a range hood or an island or even your backsplash. Remember though, If you have too much going on your space will feel cluttered and disorganized.
MAKE SURE IT REFLECTS YOU
Fortunately there is no wrong design or style for a kitchen so make it yours. Whichever design style you select think about ways to make yours unique and reflect your personality. Adding those personal touches will make you and guests feel more at home.