Home improvement projects and home renovation projects are more prevalent than ever. In 2021 alone, around 55 percent of homeowners took on a renovation project.
As usual, kitchen renovations fell high on the list of popular renovation projects. You can probably chalk some of that up to the unusually strong residential real estate market in the last few years. With so many new homeowners, you can expect a lot of renovation work as people try to create their perfect homes.
If you’re in renovation mode and want a perfect kitchen for your needs, keep reading for seven design tips that will help assemble the ideal kitchen.
1. Start with a Budget
Budgets are not exciting, especially when there are more fun and creative elements at play like you see with a kitchen. After all, there are cabinets, hardware, appliances, and paint colors to think about. Even so, you should still start with a budget.
Think of starting with the budget as a pre-emptive sanity check on the whole project. While you may, ultimately, spend a bit more than you originally planned, having the budget forces you to balance financial reality against the vast number of very expensive options available.
In other words, you look at the individual pieces of your kitchen with that relatively firm budget number in the back of your head. It’s a good way for you to avoid emotional buying or emotional decision-making later.
2. Consider Your Needs
Ask anyone what their pain points are in a given room, and they can almost always give you a list. Those are your needs when it comes to your kitchen.
What are the things that constantly aggravate you about your kitchen? Make a list. Some common things are pain points in kitchens include:
- Insufficient storage
- Difficult to clean materials
- Poor organization
Once you have your list, you can incorporate fixing those issues into your overall design. For example, you can use soft-close hinges so that cabinet doors don’t slam every time someone shuts one.
3. Consider Your Workflow
When people talk about poor organization, what they often mean is that the layout of the kitchen doesn’t reflect the actual workflow of the kitchen.
For example, let’s say that you have a kitchen sink with minimal counter space positioned under a window. You wash all of your fruits and vegetables there, but then you must move diagonally in the kitchen to reach a preparation surface. Meanwhile, the range sits off to your right relative to the counter when you prep food.
While the positions of any one of those things don’t raise an eyebrow, their positions as a whole make no sense.
When you decide on the layout of the kitchen, consider how you will move through that space. How much time do you want to spend walking back and forth to get ingredients from the fridge to the stove?
4. Draw It Out
Many homeowners find drawing out their ideas a useful exercise. Even seeing a 2D layout can help expose problems you might otherwise miss.
If you want to get really serious about it, you can find 3D modeling programs that will let you create a digital replica of the space. Home or interior design-specific versions of the programs will often let you put in widely available components, such as cabinets, as well as brand-specific fixtures or appliances.
As with a 2D layout, seeing a 3D model of the space can help you spot and avoid problems you might otherwise miss if you’re just picturing the room in your head.
You can also lean on kitchen professionals to help you and get a 3D design from them. You can see an example of that kind of service at this link.
5. Consider Utilities
Something else you must keep in mind during the design phase is where the electrical and plumbing are in the kitchen. Granted, you can get fresh circuits run for new outlets and a plumber can add new water or gas supply lines. All of that can also drive the price of the project way up.
If you didn’t bake electrician and plumber costs into your budget, the existing outlets, pipes, and gas lines will dictate where you can put certain things.
If you did bake those costs into your budget, consider where you’ll need new utilities to run to make upgrades like a separate oven work.
6. Think About Your Lighting
Lighting often gets overlooked during kitchen design, but it’s more important than you might think. A poorly-lit kitchen can often feel a bit like a dungeon.
Yes, you do need good overhead lighting, but that’s not the only consideration. You will routinely stand between that light and the work surfaces of your counters. That means your own body will cast shadows onto the cutting board while you wield a razor-sharp kitchen knife.
Consider some strategically placed under-cabinet lighting as well to keep the counter and cutting boards well-lit while your work on them.
7. Consider Your Flooring
The flooring matters in every room, but the kitchen puts special demands on its flooring. After all, it’s the room where you are most likely to drop a heavy pot on the floor. It’s also the room where someone is most likely to spill liquids on the floor.
Consider flooring that offers good durability and good water resistance, such as tile or vinyl. If you’re feeling like breaking out of the norm a little, you could even go in for a concrete floor.
Designing Your Perfect Kitchen
Designing your perfect kitchen isn’t about getting all the latest trendy items for your kitchen. It’s about creating a space that works well for your needs.
If you don’t cook much, a commercial-style range is a bad investment. Instead, think about your pain points and design to fix those. Add more storage or pick materials that are easy to clean.
Consider your workflow. Position things so you maximize the value of all of your movements. Plus, don’t forget about the utilities.
Looking for more kitchen upgrades or design ideas? Check out the posts in our Home & Garden section.