The architect who originally designed your builder kitchen may have only been thinking about possible cooking needs, but today’s kitchens are designed with so much more in mind.
These days many people want a multi-functional space. New influences such as the Gig economy and the desire to entertain at home instead of going out are impacting how people want their kitchens to look and perform.
Where to Start
Good Sight Lines are truly what makes exceptional designs stand out from the crowd. Sight Lines are what you see from any given point in the home, whether you’re standing in a doorway or seated in a room.
Rooms with clear sight lines are calming and you’re more likely to find that’s where you want to spend the majority of your time. It’s tougher to improve sight lines in smaller houses but sometimes it’s possible with planning.
A clear sight line often makes rooms seem as though they flow well together, which leads me to my next point of consideration – Flow.
An organized kitchen saves time, distances, and frustration. Many Kitchen designers plan kitchen layouts using the traditional work triangle, with the refrigerator, range and sink arranged in a roughly triangular formation.
Regardless of your kitchen’s size or layout (L-shaped, galley, U-shaped or island), the sum of all the legs in a work triangle should not be less than 10 feet or greater than 25 feet.
While it can work very well, this classic method also has some limitations, and it doesn’t work for every kitchen. If you desire more than 2 appliances and 1 sink as many of my clients do, you might want to consider zone planning.
Zone planning refers to separate work sites within your kitchen that can be divided into a different task or activity and are arranged in a way that best fits your needs.
The most common zones are the cook zone, the prep zone and wash zone. Depending upon your space and personal preferences, different zones can be set up. These might include a social zone for guests to be near the chef, a zone for pets, a zone for study and work or a zone for surfing the web on your personal device and watching TV.
Industry leader Blum has studied kitchen design for years and has developed the ‘Dynamic Space’ concept based on arranging your layout as task zones designed in a clockwise (or anti-clockwise) route.
For example, inside your Wash zone you could have have the Task of emptying the dishwasher. For this task you would take into consideration where you store your cutlery, how many steps away you keep your plates or where you will store the smoothie containers that are used on a daily basis.
It’s best not to ‘over design’ your kitchen plan. Just as your blend your wardrobe around a few key designer pieces, your kitchen also needs a statement piece.
Get a clear idea of what you want your statement piece to be. This piece doesn’t necessarily need to consume the bulk of your budget – it may simply bring you joy.
Don’t invest in a large professional style range as your statement piece if you don’t cook. This would be a waste of your money. Instead, you would be better choosing a more modest range and spend the difference on another element of the kitchen which is more significant to you.
You may want to use the sight line planning mentioned above to determine where your statement piece will be placed in the layout. Pairing your statement piece with something unexpected is a great way to make it stand out. In the same vein, kitchens are considered lifeless or sterile when poor juxtaposition fails to generate enthusiasm and visual interest.
Lighting consideration needs to be part of your kitchen layout. Adequate natural sunlight in a house reduces lighting and heating bills, brightens your mood, and enhances the quality of the space in which you live, work, and play.
If you have inadequate light and are able, add or enlarge a window as part of your kitchen plan.
An open plan living/dining/kitchen needs to have layered light for the various tasks that might occur combined with dimmers at convenient locations.
For the most effective and attractive kitchen lighting design, plan task lighting first to give you light where you really need it, then add accent lighting (or statement lighting) for visual interest. Add your general lighting last to fill the space with just the right amount of ambient light for a more ‘three-dimensional’ feel.
Upgrading lighting can be one of the most economical ways to update the look of a kitchen. However, when done wrong it can lead to costly mistakes. Don’t be afraid to seek the advice of a professional lighting designer.
The Fifth Wall
When planning your kitchen, don’t fail to consider how your fifth wall – the ceiling – can help enhance and beautify the space. From pretty molding and decorative beams to paint and wallpaper, you can give your common ceilings a boost with some planning.
The lightness or darkness of the ceiling color can create an illusion that the height of the room is higher or lower than its real dimensions.
Today you have many options to cover your ceiling. For example tongue and groove slats are very hot right now. Stained wood slat ceilings can evoke a Mid-Century Modern vibe while painted slat ceilings are popular for Coastal and Modern Farmhouse Interiors. Or, try using wallpaper for an interesting pattern and texture.
Have fun with your kitchen design. If you find yourself having difficulty working out a problem or settling on product options consider hiring a professional kitchen designer. Designers may battle a lot of misconceptions, but their skills and expertise trump all the myths. Paying for the expertise of a designer is well worth it; they have the power to surprise you with results you never imagined were possible.
Contact Me at any time to discuss your Project – whether it’s a turn-key design solution or cabinets only for your DIY project.