Updated: Sep 1, 2020
The kitchen. The heart of the home. What used to be merely a functional work horse of the home has evolved into many different faces. Today it functions as a place of meal prep, family gatherings, homework stations, a home office and a design inspiration. That's a lot of hats for one room to wear! How do you know that your kitchen will serve you the way you need it to? Follow these tips to create a kitchen that works for you and your family.
1. Discover Your Overall Style
Before you begin any renovation you need to have an idea of what the final outcome will look like. Do you like warm colors like red and caramel with dark wood as in a country style kitchen or do you rather white and black high contrast like in a modern kitchen? Search for pictures on design sites like HOUZZ and Pinterest to narrow down the style you want your kitchen to have and use these pics as inspiration when choosing your items
You may think a stove is just a stove but you have to make sure you choose the appliances that will work best for you. If you love to cook and have large family gatherings that you host, maybe a large higher end gas range would be a well used investment for you. Maybe you would like to have two dishwashers instead of one. Maybe you only need a small drawer model dishwasher and won't use a microwave at all. These are all important questions to think about and answer them to best suit you instead of going with the standard options
There are tons of options for counters and again it can be easy to go with what the masses are doing but I encourage you to do some research and find the best option for you. Do you like the look of natural stone? What is the maintenance required and will you actually maintain it? Do you want to be able to cut veggies directly on the counter like you would a butcher block? Do you want something heat resistant? Is budget your biggest factor?
Knowing your style (Step 1) will also help narrow down this decision
In the past, kitchen flooring had two options: canvas (or vinyl) roll or ceramic tile for higher end. Now there are many more and better options from engineered hardwood to vinyl plank so this decision requires some thought and research as well. Do you want something that is water resistant? Warm underfoot? Maybe vinyl plank is your best option or ceramic tile with built in radiant heat?
5. Open shelving
Open shelving is definitely on trend right now but before you decide on it, here are some questions to ask. Do you like dusting? Remember with open shelving dust will collect more than in a closed cabinet. Do you have items you want on display? Open shelving is functional in that it can still hold dishes that you will use everyday but you may want to invest in a matching set of dishes or glasses to give a cohesive look. If you're going for a more boho, eclectic look maybe it doesn't matter to you if the items match but rather you want to display your mix-matched collection (again Step 1 will help with this). Perhaps a good option is to confine the open shelving to a certain area like over a coffee bar
When planning a kitchen renovation, you need to plan your kitchen! The best advice I can give you is to plan where you are going to put things and how you plan on storing them. Which cabinets are going to hold what items? If you are putting your pots in a large drawer will you need drawer dividers? What about that utensil drawer? Or the cabinet that everyone has where tupperware goes to die? Does your crock pot, blender, mixer, food processor have a home? Don't forget technology! What about a charging station hidden in a drawer? Planning now will save you so much time and headache in the future!
Ah the pantry. More storage is the most common request from people doing any type of renovation so it's better to plan it in from the start. Some kitchens are large enough to have a separate walk-in pantry or you may be able to renovate a closet into a butler's pantry that holds some appliances as well. Perhaps all you need are some large cabinets for dry goods and a cleaning closest. Assess what you need and go from there.
If you're Catholic no I don't mean stations of the cross ;) (though God knows I send up a few prayers when I'm cooking lol). I'm talking about what areas you need in your kitchen. Some ideas are a coffee bar, wine bar, area for growing your own herbs, homework/office area, even a chalkboard! If you want the farmhouse style chalkboard door or wall, you have to plan for it :)
An island is pretty standard these days in a kitchen but you still need to think of the function it will serve you. If there is a sink in the island will it be a prep sink or a full sink? Maybe you just need an island for meal prep and won't have any stools/overhang needed. Maybe your island will be a place for people to eat and hang out so stools are necessary but a sink isn't. Maybe you need both and have the space for two separate islands!
Lighting is the most important part of a design and the kitchen is no different. You need adequate lighting for chopping food, cooking, washing dishes, and any seating areas of course and you may need extra lighting for late night snacks (think of in drawer lighting or lighting along the toe kick to light your foot path) or glass cabinets that you want to display things in.
Feeling Overwhelmed? I got your back! Find everything you need to know to design the ideal kitchen for you in my Ultimate Kitchen Design Checklist!