The Ultimate Kitchen Design Guide

Even if you’re working closely with an interior designer or a kitchen design firm, understanding what goes into a kitchen design is an integral part of the process. Before working with a design professional, it’s helpful for you to understand the different components that go into the planning stages of designing a kitchen to ensure the process is as seamless as possible. If you have a kitchen redesign planned soon, read on to learn more about everything that goes into a kitchen design project.

Make a List of What You Want
Assess your current kitchen, and make a list of all the missing features and functions. For example, if you entertain often, perhaps you need an additional prep sink or a second dishwasher. Or, if you love getting the newest kitchen appliance, you may need extra storage to conceal these larger appliances. If you have a busy household, maybe you need warming drawers built-in to the cabinetry to keep everyone’s meals warm. Or, if your family tends to gather around the island, perhaps you need more creative seating options. Whatever you feel like your kitchen is missing, write it down. It’s easier to scale back than add to your list once the design process begins.

Set the Budget
No matter how high-end your kitchen is, every project has a budget. This will make the project easier to design and implement, giving your designer better insight into selecting materials. Plumbing, electric, appliances, materials and labor all go into the kitchen design budget. To cover any unexpected costs, it’s wise to build in an extra 10-20% into your overall budget.

Visualize the Layout
While your design professional will create the layout for you, it’s your job to thoroughly think through how you use your kitchen. For example, if you and your partner like to cook together, you’ll need ample space for two cooks. If you have younger children who like to be in the kitchen with you, you’ll require plenty of room to move around. The working triangle is a long-standing guide to laying out the kitchen. This means the sink, refrigerator and oven range are in a triangular shape and help create a more seamless cooking experience. 

Factor in Lighting
Don’t let lighting become an afterthought. As you plan the layout and cabinetry design, consider where you want light sources. For example, you’ll likely want recessed lighting in the ceiling in addition to pendants over the island. You may also want to include sconces and picture lights into your design to add a visual element.

Think Through the Creative
Gathering as many inspirational photos as possible is the best first step to take so you can start to shape your kitchen’s design vision. Whether you prefer white, colored or natural wood cabinetry, selecting the cabinet color is the best place to begin to determine your kitchen’s design aesthetic. The cabinet color will help guide your decisions on the wall color, flooring, the countertop material and shade, the backsplash material, the hardware finish and the lighting options. 


How to Transform Your Kitchen Without a Complete Remodel

If your kitchen is looking outdated or unattractive, you may think that you have to remodel it. That’s a project that can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars. Some simple and relatively inexpensive upgrades may be enough to transform your kitchen. 

Repaint the Walls
One of the simplest ways to spruce up a room is to paint the walls. A fresh coat of paint can make your kitchen look brighter, larger or more modern. If you want to make the kitchen look completely different, changing the paint color on the walls is a good place to start. 

Upgrade the Cabinets
If your cabinets are old and damaged, you can replace them. If that’s not in your budget, you may be able to keep the frames and just install new doors. If the cabinets are in good condition and just need a little freshening up, a new coat of paint and some more modern hardware can do the trick.

Replace the Countertops
Kitchen counters can get scratched and stained from daily use. Installing new counters can make your kitchen look clean and appealing. You don’t have to buy expensive countertops. Laminate is both attractive and functional. If you have room in your budget, you may prefer another material, such as quartz or granite.

Change the Sink
If your sink is old and damaged, you can replace it when you install new countertops. If the sink is still in good condition but looks outdated, replacing the faucet is a simple way to modernize it.

Install a Backsplash
A backsplash can be a focal point and a way to add a bit of color and style to the kitchen. Installing a tile backsplash is a simple DIY project. If you have never installed a backsplash before, you can find instructional videos online. 

Replace the Flooring
Kitchen flooring that’s outdated or damaged can attract negative attention. You can install new flooring made of tile, vinyl or another material and instantly transform your kitchen. You may even be able to replace the flooring yourself if you have the right skills and tools.

Improve the Lighting
Having enough light is important in any room, but especially in the kitchen. If the room looks dark and dreary, or if you don’t have sufficient lighting in work areas, installing one or more new fixtures can make a dramatic difference. Replacing an outdated fixture with a more modern one can change the entire character of the room. 

Replace Appliances
Dingy or outdated appliances can be an eyesore. If your kitchen has one or more appliances that have seen better days, consider replacing them with new ones. Stainless steel and white can work in virtually any kitchen.

Upgrade Your Kitchen and Stick to Your Budget
When people think about revamping their kitchen, they often imagine a full remodel, but that’s expensive and may be unnecessary. Some simple and affordable changes can revitalize the space.

The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are member’s of CREA. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by CREA and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.