Kitchen Design 101
KITCHEN DESIGN PRINCIPLES THAT BLEND BEAUTY AND FUNCTION
We all want our kitchens to be both beautiful and functional. And while you may have an idea of how you want your new kitchen to look, you’ll also want to understand the factors that impact how you feel in the space. We’ve gathered helpful information on kitchen shapes, optimizing functionality and how to ensure a layout works for you and your family.
YOUR LIFESTYLE AND YOUR HOME WILL INFLUENCE YOUR KITCHEN’S SHAPE
Are you an aspiring cook? Do you like to entertain? Is counter space a premium? These are just some of the considerations that will determine which kitchen shape is right for you.
Popular with many cooks, The U-shaped kitchen offers generous counter space and provides an efficient workflow by creating a compact work triangle.
The L-shaped kitchen offers flexibility for both large and small homes — allowing for greater flexibility when placing appliances. Families also benefit from a shape that easily divides the kitchen into cooking and eating areas.
Great for homes with multiple cooks, the G-shape provides ample counter and cabinet space, as well as an ideal center for guest entertaining.
This layout provides an open and airy feeling and is particularly successful in small homes or apartments.
Open on two ends, the Galley requires a minimum corridor width of 48" so that you can easily maneuver when cooking. Appliances are in close proximity to one another making this a great option when space is limited.
EFFICIENCY HAS A SHAPE: THE TRIANGLE
The basic work triangle is comprised of an imaginary line drawn between the kitchen's primary work areas: food storage (refrigerator), food preparation (stove) and cleanup (sink). We recommend your work triangle not exceed 26 linear feet (a total sum of the 3 sides of the triangle) for maximum efficiency.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM YOUR DESIGNER
If you are working with a professional kitchen designer, you can expect to receive the following:
A drawing presenting the relationships between elements of a room viewed from an aerial perspective.
A floor-level drawing that shows a front, side or rear view of a room in a vertical plane, illustrating how elements appear face-to-face in the space.
TESTING THE FIT
With a floor plan in hand, it's time to measure your room with masking tape to gauge how the space plan actually feels when you're standing in the room. With cabinets and appliances outlined on the floor, you can also pin and place material swatches to evaluate how color, texture and light are coming together to realize your overall vision.
Working with a Designer
Working with a Kitchen Cabinet Designer
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM A KITCHEN DESIGNER?
Working with a professional kitchen designer can seem daunting if it's something you haven't done before. How do you select a designer? What do they expect from you? How much should you be involved? The questions can be endless. And while each designer has their own style and process, there are a few basics we've outlined for you, including things you can prepare to ensure the first meeting is a productive one.
WHAT KIND OF DESIGNER DO YOU NEED?
Many of our cabinet dealers offer in-house design services, others partner with interior designers. Depending on a number of factors including the size of your project and your design needs, either scenario could work. If you chose to engage your own interior designer, make sure that they are involved in the process upfront.
WHAT IS THE DESIGNER'S ROLE IN MY PROJECT?
Depending on what type of designer you select and their areas of expertise, the responsibilities can vary. Generally speaking, a designer will provide you a design layout based on a detailed understanding of your needs, cabinet knowledge and expertise, and recommendations on door styles, wood selections and finish treatments. Some designers will coordinate the entire project, while others will simply offer trouble-shooting strategies when and if problems arise.
HOW SHOULD YOU PREPARE FOR THE FIRST MEETING?
Even if you are just beginning to think about renovating your kitchen, there are things you can do to ensure the first design meeting is productive. From clipping images you like and making lists, to measuring the space and outlining a budget, it's important to gather materials that will help communicate your vision to the designer.
VISUALLY COMMUNICATE YOUR IDEAS
Even as you begin to dream about your new space, you can put together a file folder of images that reflect your lifestyle and your vision for the new space. Photos, magazine clippings, ads, articles and samples will help the designer to visually understand your tastes and preferences.
DO SOME HOMEWORK ABOUT YOURSELF
Assessing your current kitchen over a period of time, both its positives and negatives, provides your designer with invaluable information. Likewise, making note of your habits – buying in bulk, number of weekly trips to the grocery, recycling, avid cook – is critical to helping them understand how you live in your kitchen.
IMAGINE YOURSELF IN THE NEW SPACE
How will you use your new kitchen? Is it a social gathering place for family and friends, or an efficient cooking utility? Honest answers to these types of questions will suggest the functional capacities you require.
SELECT YOUR APPLIANCES
Surprisingly, appliance selection is a critical first step. An extra large refrigerator, freestanding freezer and double ovens can dramatically impact space allocation throughout the room and providing these preferences to your designer early is best.
PROVIDE BASIC MEASUREMENTS
While your kitchen designer will take thorough measurements before offering you a binding quote, you should note dimensions of the room, indicating any doors, windows or hallways that impact the space, to facilitate your initial discussions.
OUTLINE YOUR BUDGET
Kitchens come in many shapes and sizes, and range from simple to luxurious. Sharing an initial budget outline with your designer tells them a lot about your project and the parameters they will be working within. When you outline your budget, be sure to factor in installation costs.
Our Budget Calculator is a great guide that can help you transform your vision into tangible numbers.
UNDERSTANDING TIMELINES IS A TWO-WAY STREET
Once your designer measures your space, design development typically takes two to three weeks. Some designers will request a retainer to initiate work, a fee that serves to confirm your place as a current client that is often applied to your order once it is placed. Any scheduling deadlines you may have – a wedding, graduation or holiday, for example – should be communicated at this first meeting so it can be considered as the project timeline is developed.
HOW THE FIRST MEETING ENDS
Your homework is done. Measurements have been taken and appliances selected – this is a lot to cover in a single consultation! Often, your designer will suggest meeting a number of times at the beginning of your relationship in order to thoroughly understand your vision, preferences and needs. Be prepared for each meeting and know that it is always appropriate to ask questions and request samples of door style, wood and finish details before you place a cabinet order.
Kitchen Design Trends
HELPING YOU CREATE A BETTER HOME.
Designing a new kitchen involves more than selecting countertops and appliances. How the kitchen fits and functions within the entire home, and the impacts of technology and sustainability options are as integral to a successful design as selecting an appropriate color palette. To assist your planning, we've gathered information on the latest trends.
DESIGNING A LAYOUT FOR FLOW AND FUNCTION
For many families, the kitchen is the hub of the home, so it is important to acknowledge how the space impacts adjacent rooms and traffic flow. New design features help to customize your space, including the ability to accommodate varying levels of mobility. Technology also comes to the kitchen, bringing energy saving strategies with it.
THE HOME OF THE FUTURE
Current trends indicate that, by 2015, new homes will be smaller, greener and more casual. Open floor plans satisfy a desire for gathering and connecting, and transition easily for multi-purpose uses – integrating foyer, kitchen, dining and living functions.
Dedicated rooms are now devoted to specialized needs such as office, exercise or music
Transforming an existing space with the removal of a wall or other open-floor plan strategy is preferred over significant additions, and trends toward eco-friendly architecture are blending outdoor spaces with the overall home design
Glass walls, sliding doors, and other transparent features open the home to "patio" or "garden" rooms
Home management is facilitated by a dedicated service entry featuring a message center with key racks and mail slots, individual lockers and even dog showers
MAKING YOUR HOME ACCESSIBLE
Smaller homes emphasize flexibility, making it possible to accommodate people of varying levels of mobility and sensory capabilities. Sliding and pocket doors, movable partitions and various automated technologies such as mechanized drawers, make homes more comfortable for people of all ages and abilities. It is expected that by 2015, Inclusive Design features including zero-step entries and showers, widened door and hallways and non-slip flooring will be commonplace.
PERSONALIZING YOUR KITCHEN
Today's streamlined kitchens feature a number of ways to add a personal touch that not only serves a functional purpose but also adds a level of personality to your kitchen. Some of the most popular functional trends include:
Open shelving, cook tops, wall ovens, and under-counter options such as specialized drawers for wine, refrigeration and microwaving
Pull-out faucets and pot fillers remain popular
Brushed nickel finishes for faucets, hardware and lighting (Other popular options include: pewter, polished chrome and antique bronze)
French door and bottom freezer style refrigerators
Efficient dishwashers, steam ovens, induction cooking, under-counter vegetable crispers and dedicated drawers to accommodate savings and lifestyle preferences
GOING GREEN AND INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY
Technology has changed the world – and the home is no exception. Kitchens increasingly serve as the home's control center, a place to manage schedules, charge cell phones and share the day's events. Technology is also bringing green features into kitchen design including low E windows, dual flush toilets and low flow faucets. Make your home smarter with Energy Star rated and Wi-Fi enabled appliances that relay maintenance information to the manufacturer and the owner.
SELECT STYLING YOU’LL LOVE TODAY... AND TOMORROW
Today's styling trends favor "less is more" aesthetics, emphasizing clean lines and simpler mouldings with carefully selected accents to create a strong and easy to maintain space. Some of the most popular ways to create this look include:
Flat-panel, Shaker-style door treatments
Granite countertops partnered with a butcher block, stainless steel appliances
Glossy ceramic, porcelain, granite or glass tile backsplashes
Natural flooring such as ceramic, stone and hardwood; or reclaimed and distressed wood finishes in wider hand scraped planks ranging in color from gray and charcoal to bone and cork
USING COLORS TO TIE THE KITCHEN TO THE REST OF YOUR HOME
Color trends are soft, moving away from stark whites in favor of creamy neutral palettes with just a hint of color such as gold, lavender, blue, green and raisin. Painted, stained and matte finishes are increasingly mixed with wood, usually in earth tones including muted greens, chiffon yellows and deep blues, as well as browns, reds, blacks and grays.