Creating a kitchen is exciting, fun, and filled with design decisions that merge beauty of form and practicality of function. We have lots of ideas to inspire, tips to tweak plans, and solutions to challenges. Whether you’re purchasing a new construction home with design options, remodeling an existing residence for personal pleasure, or gearing up for the sale of your home, we have information to help. Keep reading, and enjoy!
The Big Design Picture
As you consider your kitchen, keep the overall design concept of your home in mind. You’ll want to think about everything from the architectural style of your home and community to the layout, look and feel of your floor plan. Is your home vintage and historic, elegant and traditional, classically chic, or stylish and modern? How are the rooms of your main living level arranged? How does your kitchen area relate to the main living space? Have your measuring tape handy, and begin with a sketch!
Understanding the Space
Develop a keen understanding of the kitchen space, and how your dream kitchen will work within that space? Prioritize your design elements, both practical and decorative, so that you can build what is most important to you into the plan. Consider the placement and working arrangement of everything from your counters and cabinets to your appliances. Imagine yourself in the kitchen as you hope to enjoy it while cooking, serving meals, or entertaining. Think carefully through the natural flow of your movement throughout the space, and work this flow into the placement of the various features. Balance the space requirements of cabinets and appliances with the need for comfortable movement throughout the kitchen area. While making the most of your space, be sure not to overcrowd it!
Combining Clever Storage and Delightful Display
Today’s kitchen cabinets offer a variety of clever convenience features. Pull out drawers, corner cabinets, built-in pasta bins, and spice racks too. Vertical dividers for cabinets with taller spaces are a great idea for the storage of cake pans, cookie trays, and cooling racks. A corner storage option with Lazy Susan access will help you make the most of corner area storage. Counter top “garage doors” provide for easy access to small appliances and tools – toasters, blenders, mixers, and more – all while keeping your counters neat, clean, and tidy. If your kitchen is fitted into a smaller area, and space is limited, you might even think about a pull-out prep station tucked into the kitchen island. Hoping to stow your trash and recycling? You can build a trash can feature into your cabinetry as well. There are so many practical possibilities from which to draw in the development of your kitchen concept.
Kitchen finishes are fun. There are lots of delightful design ideas, and something for everyone. Wood, metal, stone, ceramic, glass, and even cement are materials beautifully featured in kitchens today. Ideas abound for the use of these in cabinet construction and door facing, counters and work surfaces, and backsplashes. Knobs, handles and pulls are wonderful accents too. You’ll discover a whole host of these in crystal, metal, wood, stone, and yes, leather. Kitchens have always been of central importance in the home. Today they’re also focal points of design and decor. From the floor to the ceiling, and everything in between, the possibilities are almost endless.
From trendy retro ranges and refrigerators in an array of fabulous colors to modern stainless or classic black, appliances are as much a part of your kitchen design as any other feature. Some will stand out. Others are more recessed. Form is followed closely by the latest and greatest updates to function. Your fridge might feature a sliding glass door display. Your oven might be placed above counter height and include French doors for access. Dishwashers may be full sized, 2-in-1 systems, or smaller units to fit smaller spaces. Perhaps you’re hoping for a gourmet gas cook top including its own griddle or grill. Maybe you’re interested in the new induction technology!
Layer your lighting options so that you can adjust the direction and level of light for a variety of needs. Think about placement of recessed lights overhead, pendant fixtures above your kitchen island, breakfast bar or buffet service, a lovely chandelier over your breakfast table. Under counter and under cabinet lights are both functional and lovely. You may also want wall sconces near entryways. Remember! Bright light is helpful over work spaces. Softer lighting is more relaxed for evening meals. When making your lighting choices, be sure to coordinate the design of your fixtures such that these beautifully compliment the look of your kitchen. Have fun shopping the ideas. The marketplace has many fixtures from which to choose yours.
Make the Kitchen Your Very Own with Special Features
Create a kitchen space that’s uniquely your own with the addition of special features. You might want a writing desk, a coffee station, message center or chalk board, built-in television, a sound system, or even a broom closet. If you have flex within the floor plan consider adding or expanding a pantry. For those who enjoy entertaining, dream on the placement of a buffet service, and an island with generous counter height seating. If you’re looking for a warm and cozy feeling, think about an in-kitchen fireplace or decorator wood stove perfect for a teapot.
Variable Features for Flex in Changing Ideas and Tastes
Variable design features deliver flexibility to your kitchen concept. Think rolling island carts for mobile and convenient placement, or accent furnishings upholstered with your favorite fabric, leather covering, or stained wood finish. Include your dish service and kitchen towels in your variable decorator decisions. Add a pot rack to the wall or over the working island. Place a fabulous rug. If you’re looking for a way to add a splash of color or unique style, these are great ways to accomplish the look, and provide you with options to update the ideas along the way. You might even add your paint selection to this grouping of ideas!
Helpful Tips as You Prepare for a Remodeling or Home Improvement Project
If you’re part of a mandatory HOA, be sure to check in with your association and property management team for information, guidance and instructions related to necessary approvals, contractor scheduling, and even elevator access.
Check in with your county and/or city for any permitting required for your project.
If your project requires moving, removing, or modifying any load bearing walls, be sure you include an engineer’s assessment and recommendations in your project planning.
Always work with qualified, experienced, and reputable contractors. Be sure to ask for their input with regard to your ideas and plans. They may have experience that will help improve on your ideas, recommendations related to the best brand name products, and more. Secure a detailed proposal from your contractors to include pricing estimates, estimated completion timelines, your payment commitments for services rendered, warranties, and policies related to dispute resolution.
Touch base with your insurance agent to ask if there is any special insurance consideration related to the work in progress, or updates needed for your coverage on completion.
If you are funding a home improvement project with lender funds, be sure you understand the policies and procedures of the lender related to approval of the project and payment to your contractors.
A home improvement may have property tax implications. Be sure to check with your property tax office for reporting requirements.
Some remodeling projects include the need for access to exterior areas. If your project includes any outside excavation, remember to CALL BEFORE YOU DIG!
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