Designing your dream home from the ground up is exciting — and daunting. There are thousands of details both great and small that need to be ironed out.
And then there’s the kitchen, which has enough little details that it may as well count as its own dedicated project.
Narrowing down what kitchen style you want to go with is a major hurdle to clear. And once you do that, there’s still the real work of the design to think about.
So to help, we’ve compiled a few key kitchen design tips to narrow your focus. Follow these points, and you’ll find yourself in a kitchen you’ll be happy to use for a lifetime.
1. Use “The Kitchen Triangle” in Your Floorplan
Depending on who you ask, the kitchen may be the most important room in a house bar none, an attitude that’s reflected in the value that an up-to-date kitchen adds to a property.
But it’s not all about the cabinets and the countertops. The function is far and away a more important attribute than form. That means designing a layout that makes the space convenient to use above all else.
In any kitchen, the three most important amenities are the refrigerator, the stove, and the sink. A good layout then will optimize the space to make moving between these three points as quick and easy as possible.
At the same time, though, you want to provide ample space so that more than one person can work at one time. To strike a balance between these two needs, designers use what’s called a work triangle between the fridge, sink, and stove.
So if your kitchen is a standard square or rectangle, you want those three points positioned in a triangle formation around the room, arranged at about a 15-20 degree angle from one another. This is a good rule of thumb to make optimal use of the space so cooking and cleanup is never too egregious a chore.
2. Plan a Multifunctional Space
Unless you’re living in a studio apartment, a kitchen is usually more than a utilitarian cooking space.
Modern kitchens are spaces for entertaining, dining, relaxing, and yes, occasionally cooking. To that end, you’ll want to plan for a variety of uses.
A kitchen island with space for seating is a virtual necessity in a contemporary kitchen. You also want the space to be as open as possible so you can your guests can move about with ease.
3. Plan Cabinet Locations Relative to Workspaces
Cabinets are one aspect where form tends to get more attention than function. But while aesthetics do go a long way, ease of use should be the prime concern.
For example, you wouldn’t want to have pots and pans on the opposite side of the kitchen from the stove. But if you don’t plan accordingly, you could find yourself having to do laps every time you need to use the range.
4. Color-Coordinate the Space Relative to the Light
Having made sure that you’ve set aside ample storage space, you can now start thinking about the aesthetics of the design. Principally, your kitchen’s color palette.
One of the major concerns here is the amount of natural light your kitchen will receive. Largely, this depends on the room’s position relative to the rest of the house, so you may only be able to have limited influence here.
If, for example, you end up building the kitchen in a darker corner of the house with minimal sun exposure, light-colored cabinets and fixtures can help balance out the lack of natural light while making the room feel larger. Conversely, if your kitchen has multiple large windows soaking the space in sunlight, dark cabinetry can make help temper all that light and make the room feel cozier.
And then there’s the third option, going with a bold accent color. This can be a risky proposition, though. While bold, bright colors do add instant personality, it can be a costly mistake to fix if you find out later you’re not as big a fan of that personality as you thought.
5. Match the Counters to the Cabinets
After the cabinetry, the countertops tend to be the next thing that catches the eye. There are a variety of materials to consider here, and which one is right for you depends largely on what style of kitchen you’ve decided on.
Granite is a popular material because it comes in a range of natural patterns that mesh well with most designs. Though it also tends to be one of the more expensive options, and the fact that it’s porous means it has special maintenance and cleaning requirements.
Soapstone is a popular alternative, particularly if you’re going for a more classic, antique look. Though with its deep, dark appearance, it can mesh equally well with modern designs.
Stainless steel is a popular choice in more modern designs and is non-porous so keeping it clean is easier. But it’s also more expensive and more limited in terms of what you can match it with.
Those are just a few popular choices. Whichever one you end up going with, the takeaway is to settle on a choice that compliments the overall design style, and specifically matches the cabinets they’re paired with.
Follow These Kitchen Design Tips to Build a Space That Will Last a Lifetime
In a lot of ways, the kitchen is the heart of a home. Whether entertaining friends and loved ones or just preparing a weeknight meal with the family, it will be an important space in your daily life for decades to come.
Hence why so much value is placed on the kitchen, and why you want to make sure you get it right on your first try. But with these kitchen design tips in your back pocket, you need not worry about a thing and can instead look forward to all of the memories you’ll make in the years to come.
Of course, as important as the kitchen is it’s far from the only consideration you need to keep in mind. Especially if you’re designing a home for the first time. If that’s the position you find yourself in, be sure to check out these five factors to consider as a first-time designer.