The kitchen is one of the most important contributors to the overall look and appeal of the interior of your home. If your kitchen appears less than optimal, your home’s decor will fall flat. Choosing fixtures and finishes that will ensure that your kitchen will pop is key.
Space – At the risk of stating the obvious, a cramped kitchen is a bad kitchen. This doesn’t necessarily involve the square footage of the space but how that space is utilized. Be sure you have “circulation space”. You should be able to get around the kitchen quickly without bumping into someone or something. When your kitchen is designed with this in mind, even with limited space, you’ll have enough room to maneuver even when there is more than one person in the kitchen at the same time.
Workflow – A kitchen that is well thought out and designed efficiently will have a great workflow. In an efficient kitchen, your most often used areas are within reach when cooking and your “cooking” zone should ensure you have quick access to “spice racks” and kitchen tools. As interior designers, we can help you with the best layout for your space.
Appliances – Appliances must be measured based on the actual space you have in your kitchen. Many people go appliance shopping without actually measuring. Not measuring before purchasing your devices can result in everything looking oversized and not fitting into the available space. It’s not only appliances such as refrigerators and stoves that can be a problem. If you have blenders or food processors that are oversized, then they won’t fit into the cabinets, and you’ll have no choice but to leave them on the countertop and, as we all know, that’s not conducive to an aesthetically-pleasing kitchen design.
Poor Lighting – Having your light fixtures in the wrong locations will lead to a very dark kitchen. Lighting should be installed over your countertops, i.e. under the upper cabinets, so that you have adequate lighting when doing meal preps and cleaning. Incorporating accent and task lighting in a kitchen is very important as shown in the diagram below. We install under cabinet lighting in virtually every kitchen project, along with strategically-placed recessed cans in the ceiling and accent lighting over the island and in the eating area. We all know energy-efficient bulbs are the trend right now, but they must emit enough light for your workspace, so it’s imperative to install the correct wattages throughout.
Overall Function – Functionality is critical when designing your kitchen. What are the areas of the kitchen that you use most? What areas do you typically access simultaneously? Ensuring the refrigerator and the stove are not too far apart and easily accessed when cooking will lead to a more functional kitchen. Cabinet doors should not block your workflow when open. Be sure your cabinetry is designed so that it does not interfere with your workspace. You wouldn’t want a cabinet or pantry door banging into your refrigerator door. You may have heard of the kitchen “work triangle” – most believe that having your sink, cooktop/oven and refrigerator in close proximity greatly aids in functionality in your kitchen. You must maintain spacing between the sink and stove as well. There should be an adequate amount of counter space. It helps maintain a streamlined appearance for your kitchen and makes it feel less crowded and cramped.
Wasted Island Space – Islands have become a big part of the modern kitchen and they are great for prepping and even serving. If your kitchen is small, however, it can cramp the space and make your whole room less functional. If the island is taking up the majority of the space in your kitchen, then it’s a problem. When designing, we think 42” of walk space around the island is optimal. An island of at least 48” long x 24 – 30” inches wide is ideal for good prep use.
Cabinets – The cabinets are typically a highlight in the kitchen, especially in this era of fabulous colors that are being introduced in design. All cabinet spaces need to be meticulously measured so that there are no issues with open doors bumping, drawers rolling out into other drawers but also to ensure all appliances fit properly in the space. The rules of optimum space planning around an island, for example, must be planned out before the start of the cabinet build. We like to maximize the space with our cabinet design. Some clients have a small area to work with so maximizing every available foot is critical. If you are one of these people, think about taking your cabinets slightly higher than usual or having some open shelving on the walls. Remember, every bit of space counts, so utilize it to its fullest.
New Layout – And last but certainly not least, is the mistake that most people make and that is not realizing when one needs to start from scratch with a brand new layout. A design with existing layout may look aesthetically pleasing but might be extremely dysfunctional in the end when it’s time to cook. When designing your kitchen, it is essential to think about functionality and practicality. All care must be given to the initial layout and design after taking into consideration how the client will work in the space – and this is different for virtually everyone. Keep the motto “measure twice, cut once” in mind as it definitely will apply to almost every project in your home.
We can help with any and all of your construction needs. Don’t hesitate to contact us today!