Top Tips for Designing a Kitchen
Planning the design scheme for a kitchen is a unique challenge. You’ll work with your clients to determine which features of the kitchen they use most and what you should prioritize. At the same time, you’ll be responsible for designing a visually pleasing space that they’ll actually like!
For many people, the kitchen is the central hub of the home. It’s where all the action happens; dinner is cooked, homework is done, laughs are shared, and people are constantly in and out.
Here are 11 tips for designing a great kitchen space!
1. Map it out first
Analyze the shape of the room and how your clients use their kitchen most. Are they home chefs who spend most of their time cooking delicious meals? Do they have a very large family?
Making a floorplan before you choose new pieces is essential. Consider the flow of traffic, how well things can be reached, and whether doors and cupboards have enough room to open without hitting each other, appliances, or people.
Placing the sink, fridge, and stove in a triangular shape with no more than about six feet in between is an effective place to start.
2. Place the essentials within reach
Design a kitchen space that is efficient and avoid layouts that waste time or energy. A client should never have to walk all the way around an island to fetch a strainer for the pot on the stove!
You should also keep safety in mind. Don’t place the sink so far away from the stove so that your clients have to carry a boiling pot of water clear across the room just to strain their pasta!
3. Make it intuitive
Group pieces together in a way that make sense. Visitors to your clients’ kitchen should be able to guess where certain supplies are even if they aren’t familiar with the space.
For example, the cutlery drawer is often placed below where the plates and bowls are stored. Don’t place the custom cutlery drawer with the pull out cutting board around the corner from the rest of the dish cupboards.
Storing dish washing supplies in the cupboard below the sink and the spice rack within arm’s reach of the stove just makes sense!
The kitchen is a storage area for literally hundreds of things! Your clients will need room for more than just their appliances. Utensils, dishes, cookware, spices, food, beverages, cleaning essentials, the dish rack… it all needs to go somewhere!
A lack of storage will leave your clients constantly searching and shifting cupboards, and desperately trying to create counter space to prepare a meal. Lack of storage creates clutter, impedes cooking, and can even be dangerous. Assess how many cupboards and drawers your clients need and place them at a good, reachable height where doors don’t collide.
5. Counter space
Your clients need counter space for coffee machines, microwaves, blenders, knife blocks, bread boxes, dish racks, fruit baskets, making sandwiches, cutting vegetables, and all kinds of meal preparation.
Basically, counter space is essential! Counters should be made of a material that’s stylish but easy to clean and maintain, so avoid countertops that scratch, stain, or catch food in cracks. Include good counter space in your design right from the floorplan phase.
6. Good lighting
Your clients need to be able to see properly while working near the stove and using sharp utensils. Plan to have proper lighting above the stove, above the island, and over large counter spaces. Do your best to light each space from directly above. If the light is positioned behind your client, they’ll cast an annoying shadow on what they’re doing.
Lighting inside cabinets is also a great idea!
7. Power outlets
Every functional kitchen needs a wealth of power outlets in useful places. Nothing is worse than one single outlet in the entire room, especially if it’s in a spot that doesn’t makes sense! Take power outlets into consideration right from the start as you create your floorplan.
Obviously you’ll need to work within the electrical framework of the room, but try not to leave your clients with no choice but to have their microwave on the counter right next to the sink due to outlet availability.
In many homes, the kitchen is a place for preparing meals and socializing! Give your clients seating space for quick meals, visitors, detailed meal prep, and recipe reading. Consider stools at an island or a small table off to one side.
If it’s well placed, seating space can even act as additional counter space for cooking very large meals!
9. Good traffic flow
It’s all well and good to have great appliance and storage organization, but if the walkways in between are narrow or blocked, clients will still have trouble using the space effectively. There should be enough room for clients to open cupboards, drawers, or appliance doors AND maneuver the space without bumping into each other or their guests.
10. Kitchen islands
Not every kitchen has an island but they can be a huge asset!
Analyze the space you have to work with. Is there room for an island or will it just make a small space more crowded? What purpose will the island serve? Islands range in shape and function, providing anything from additional counter space, a seating area, or an alternative space for the stovetop or sink. What will be the most useful to your clients?
11. Overall style and design
Will the kitchen have a theme? Would your clients prefer a rustic country atmosphere or a kitschy vintage feel? Will you coordinate a bright color scheme, keep it simple with black and white, or go modern with stainless steel?
Use your knowledge of décor and design to make the place fashionable and functional.
Where fashion meets function
The kitchen might be the number one place in the house where fashion and function come together. You want the space to be stylish, but practicality is also necessary. Consider your clients priorities, preferences, and style and get creative with transforming the space!