The one room of a house that people ask me about most is the kitchen. Kitchen design is a real art – and function is the most critical part of the equation. Having a kitchen that works for you is even more important at this time of year, when you have holiday dinners to plan and treats to prepare.
You really have to have a kitchen that fits your cooking style, and that can be different for each person. Some people like to entertain, but not necessarily create their own dishes. And still others would prefer to cook and bake all day long. To design a kitchen that’s perfect for YOU, here are a few of my favorite tips:
Function First. Too often people jump right into the color of the cabinets and the type of flooring without really considering the layout and function of the kitchen. You’ve probably heard about the “triangle” that’s suggested for efficient work spaces, and you do need to minimize the length between the stove, sink, and refrigerator so your kitchen really works for you. It’s a classic design layout for a reason!
Invest Wisely. Kitchens can be incredibly expensive depending on the materials and options that you choose. You should use your budget as wisely as possible to get the most for your money. I always advise my clients to invest in appliances first – they are the workhorses of the kitchen, so get the very best quality you can afford. My partner company Thermador, for example, has outstanding products that offer innovative ideas for real cooks. They are an investment but if you really are going to be using them daily, they are so worth it!
Cabinetry Counts. The second most important thing to invest in would be your cabinetry so it will stand up to the daily wear-and-tear that comes in a kitchen. One trick that I think is key for a functional kitchen is to be sure the cabinets go all the way up to the the ceiling. You want to take advantage of every square inch of storage, and having an open space between your cabinets and the ceiling does nothing for you but gather dust! A great step stool, or library ladder, will help you reach those top shelves.
Remember the Details. Too often, those little details can spell big trouble if you don’t consider them at the beginning of the design process. For example, where will you store the garbage cans? Where do you need extra outlets? You should also think about how you use your kitchen and what details would be key for you. You could have a storage drawer for baking essentials, counters near wall ovens for placing hot dishes right out of the oven, or even pull-out baskets for fruits and vegetables. Those details will make all the difference.
Lighting! This is the one thing that people often don’t plan correctly in the beginning, and then have to try to correct later. Lighting is critical to a great functioning kitchen. Remember to think about where you need task lighting, how many overhead lights you want, and where you may also need under-the-counter lights and if you want any of these on a dimmer.
Investing in your kitchen is a wise decision! So use these tips and ideas to get the most out of your investment, and to give yourself a gorgeous and functional kitchen for years to come.