Homeowners often think they can design their new kitchen on their own but I highly suggest to work with an experienced kitchen designer so you get it right the first time. When remodeling a kitchen, there are many, many details to consider that you might not even be aware of since you’ve never remodeled a kitchen before. I often surprise clients with questions and suggestions they would have never thought of. Below are 10 tips to get your kitchen design right the first time.
Functionality is key. Many homeowners embarking on a kitchen remodeling project are excited about going shopping for cabinets, appliances, flooring, etc... But, before concentrating on color and style, the first consideration in a kitchen should be the functionality of your space. While design details are important, they take a back seat to functionality when it comes to your kitchen. The kitchen is the most-used room in a home, and if it doesn’t provide the needed usability for your needs, it will be a source of constant frustration. There is a wide variety of kitchen cabinets, countertops, and appliances to chose from, so plan for functionality first, and then add the style to your space.
Design trends are fun yet risky . Although it is not necessarily a mistake, choosing the latest kitchen design trends and high-end equipment may not be the best choice. The most stylish color of the season and a trendy design have a short life span and you may never get your return on large investments in the latest kitchenware. Look for kitchen innovations and appliances that are timeless. Plus, they need to fit the style of your home. Add design trends and color with accessories that can easily be exchanged, e.g. pendant lights or backsplash tiles.
Start fresh if you can. Don't reuse appliances or other items from the old kitchen unless e.g. you replaced the dishwasher or fridge not too long ago, it’s in good shape, and fits the finishes of your new kitchen. It may seem as if you're saving money, but an old appliance that doesn’t fit the style of your new kitchen will stick out like a sore thumb. Find other ways to save money, e.g. you don't have to spend a fortune on tiles, countertops, or cabinet door handles. You can achieve a gorgeous look with less costly, look alike materials.
Kitchen storage is prime real estate. It's tempting to spend your money where it will give you some real visual payback, like flooring, countertops, or beautiful appliances instead of highly functional, quality cabinets. The everyday life of a kitchen includes lots of tools and gadgets that contribute to preparing and serving meals. A big part of the enjoyment of your kitchen will be how functional your kitchen is. If you have to go out to the garage every time you want to use your Crockpot, fryer or sandwich maker instead of having them available at your fingertips in your kitchen, you may start to feel annoyed, especially after the excitement of all those shiny, expensive surfaces has worn off. While you're planning your kitchen wish list, take inventory of your small appliances and other kitchen items. Make an assessment of what you really need and decide how accessible each item will have to be. The same goes for drawer space, make an inventory list of your items to decide how many drawers and what size drawers you will need.
A word about the backsplash. Sometimes the backsplash consideration slips to the end of the list. Occasionally, the backsplash area is completely left out of the plan. This might save you money short term, but in the long run costs you a lot of time and effort. Imagine the steam, high humidity, and grease in the kitchen and you will understand why installing a backsplash behind the cook top and extending it above all countertops throughout the kitchen is a smart idea. Also, a beautiful backsplash gives your kitchen the finishing touch and ties your whole design concept together.
Look up and down. Planning for adequate lighting is sometimes overseen during the design phase or not put enough emphasis on. However, it’s very important that your kitchen is well lit and that your lighting is up to the task. When it comes to flooring, there’re different aspects to consider: existing flooring in your home, the design concept, and of course other factors like cost, durability and practicality.
Electrical and plumbing. A great kitchen design doesn’t only show your new, functional layout, it also includes details about your electrical and plumbing needs. This is important for several reasons. When remodeling your kitchen, you’re required to bring electrical and plumbing up to code. It’ll also allow your potential contractors to bid on a complete scope of work and provide you with a realistic quote. Lastly, having all electrical and plumbing details planned out ahead of time will assure your project runs smoothly and without hitting you with additional costs due to bad planning.
What’s in the air? The best kitchen design fades in the presence of bad smelling air. If you’ve ever walked into someone’s home and smelled last night’s dinner lingering around in the air, you’ll understand the importance of a good ventilation hood above your cook top or stove. Inexpensive ventilation hoods simply circulate dirty, stale air, while a good ventilation system will help improve the quality of your indoor air and also help keep your kitchen cleaner. They can be an investment but, if you have an open floor plan they will make life easier, cleaner, and more pleasant for everyone.
Professional design. Taking on a kitchen design project on your own to save money is a myth, ultimately it can cost you more money because you might oversee important details, don’t know where to shop, and you can’t take advantage of designer discounts. It will definitely be much more time consuming for you and thus you waste a lot of energy while most likely ending up with a kitchen that’s less than perfect. Kitchen designers possess in-depth knowledge, have creative design ideas, know products and materials well, and receive discounts at local vendors. They will help you identify your specific needs and then translate these details into a functional kitchen plan according to your lifestyle and personal taste.
Kitchen Studio vs. Independent Kitchen Designer. Most kitchen cabinet stores charge an initial design fee before getting started on your design. If you decide to go that route, shop around first and compare quality, finishes, and pricing before deciding on a kitchen studio to work with. Because, once you pay an initial fee to a certain cabinet store you’re locked in with them or you’ll lose your deposit. But, what if you end up not liking any of their door styles or maybe you like the quality of another cabinet brand better. One way around this is to work with an independent kitchen designer who will work with you to create the perfect kitchen layout for you, independently from any cabinet store or cabinet maker. They have your best interest at heart. Then, you’re free to decide where to buy your cabinets after you have your kitchen plan tailored to your style and needs. This also allows you to shop around to compare prices if you have your kitchen design ready.
I hope these 10 tips will help you get started with your kitchen design. If you need help or guidance, feel free to contact me anytime. I'm happy to make your dream of a beautiful, new kitchen a reality.