Photo credit: Fresh Home
The kitchen for many is the heart of the home. Families gather there on a daily basis to eat, chat about their day, entertain, do homework and laugh. The kitchen is where families grow, so you will want it to be efficient, comfortable and of course beautiful.
When designing your new kitchen or renovating your existing, here are some things you should think about:
- First assess your wants and needs. Ask yourself what it is that will help you to be more efficient in the space. Is it more countertop space, luxury gadgets, storage? At the outset make a list of activities you perform in the kitchen as well as the items you need at your fingertips in the space. Do you need three (3) trash bins, one for trash, one for paper and one for recycling? Do you need an industrial strength range hood because you cook all of your meals? Do you need a prep sink? A butcher block? The possibilities are endless, hence why it is vital to successful kitchen design that you determine all of this before you start.
- Think about hiring a professional. Despite the picture you have in your mind of the dream kitchen, the actual space you have may not be compatible with your ideal. As with any home project, you have to balance practicality with your grandest wishes. The most important step in a successful kitchen project is selecting the right people to work with. Because much kitchen work is structural, it’s essential that the work be performed according to the building code regulations of your area. To be sure all work is done appropriately, you’ll want to hire professionals for every aspect of the job in which you are not personally an expert.
- Space planning is key. Hiring an interior designer is one of the best decisions you can make before embarking upon a new kitchen project. Kitchens come in all shapes and sizes, which accounts for a great deal of their challenge. Once you hire an interior designer, he or she can help you with the layout of the space. You will want to follow some time honored traditions regarding the layout. There are five (5) basic layouts of kitchen designs.
- The working triangle. The three (3) points of the working triangle are the range, the sink and the refrigerator.
- Zone design. A kitchen can be broken up into zones. For example, the prep zone, the cooking zone, the eating zone and the cleaning zone.
- The galley kitchen. Consists of two (2) straight runs. Typically the sink is on one side and the range on the other.
- The L-shape. This shape forces traffic out of the work zone. For more interaction with friends and family, add an island.
- The U-shaped kitchen. This offers an abundance of storage space and a massive expanse of counter space. It is also very flexible
Selecting cutting edge new appliances and beautiful new cabinets is great fun, but first you and your interior designer will need to figure out where those new treasures will be located. Unless your new kitchen is part of a brand-new house, you’ll need to decide how much change to make in the “footprint” of your existing kitchen. For big savings, I advise working within existing load-bearing walls and plumbing lines. Whatever the shape of the kitchen, there’s bound to be a configuration that gives you an efficient work triangle. I will go into more depth regarding space planning considerations in a future blog post in this series.
5. Cabinetry, custom or stock. Once you have determined the special layout of the kitchen, it is time to determine what type of cabinetry to go with. Stock cabinets can be given a unique look with virtually unlimited specialty finishes and a change of hardware. If your budget allows for custom cabinets, your choices are even greater. After determining to select stock or custom cabinets, you then must determine the color and door style. It is helpful to look at photo galleries of finished kitchens to give you an idea of what is visually appealing to you. Your interior designer can help you determine what your style is through concept boards. Do you gravitate towards the modern kitchen, something more traditional, Tuscan, country, French, the possibilities are endless.
6. Appliances. The main appliances you will need are: refrigerator, oven/stove, ventilation system, dishwasher, microwave or convection oven, perhaps a wine refrigerator. Buying kitchen appliances can be a daunting task when you look at all of the options, from energy saving, to high end designer models, to low cost models, how do you choose? Choosing kitchen appliances for your home should be a rewarding experience but also fulfill your lifestyle and aesthetics of your kitchen. I will explore kitchen appliance selection in a future blog post in this series.
7. Finishing materials. Your budget will have a lot to say about materials used in your new kitchen. What type of flooring should be used, countertop materials, backsplashes, wall finishes? I will explore finish selection in a future blog post in this series.
At this point, of course you are eager to get started designing your new kitchen. But heed some advice from the experts and from people who have designed many kitchens. Take your time at the beginning to make sure each decision reflects your taste and meets your needs. You’ll want to live with and love this kitchen for a long time!
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