New Kitchen Design: A Sensible Approach

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Do you dream of kitchens very different from your own? Do you sometimes dread cooking a big meal, because you know those little hassles are going to eat away at your enjoyment? If you’re tired of walking around a kitchen that just doesn’t seem to fit your house or your personal style, a new kitchen design could be what you need to breathe life into your space.

Source: houzz.com via Alana on Pinterest

New kitchen design: where to begin

Before you start looking for new cabinets or planning out a new floor plan, slow down and take a long, hard look at your existing kitchen. You will make two lists: One a list of what you love, and one a list of what you absolutely despise. Since you’re already chomping at the bit to get to a new kitchen, the “things I despise” list should be the easiest, so let’s start there.

Start your list with what you really hate. Be ruthless! The list could include the little scratches in the countertop that always catch your cleaning rag, that one cabinet that doesn’t close properly and even the way the stove door squeaks when you open it, no matter how many times you adjust it. The purpose of this list is to help you pinpoint not only what must go, but what you must have in a new kitchen. For instance, if you really hate those coils on the stovetop, your new design should include a flat-top range.

kitchen with bamboo cabinets and resin countertops contemporary kitchen

Then make a list of what you love. Now that you have given your kitchen a mental battering, you might be ready to focus on the things you like. Is the light streaming through the window just delightful? Do you adore the way the floor feels under your feet, even if you might not like the color? Make a list of good points that is just as long as the list of bad ones.

Moving forward with more serious kitchen design plans

Now that you have touched on the little things, consider the biggest of them all: the floor plan. Do you have limited countertop space? Are you running from one side of the kitchen to another while you prep? Do you  have to get a whole armful of items from the refrigerator at one time to avoid running back? Is your sink too far away from the range, and is the range too far away from the oven?

Consider not only the prep work you do, but the entertaining as well. Is there an easy flow of traffic around the kitchen? Is there plenty of open space for mingling? Or is there too much space, and you need an island right in the center of it? Sketch out what you think would be the best floor plan for your space.

Kitchen contemporary kitchen

Don’t consider cost until the end of the planning

Now that you have an idea of what you need, you can start to look at budget. Don’t let this cross your mind until then.

If you start out by thinking about that window replacement cost or cringing at the price of that hardwood flooring, you are going to fall into the trap of planning your remodel around your budget, rather than planning your remodel first and then making the budget work. Your initial plan for your kitchen is likely to come in way over your budget, but that’s okay — that is not cause for concern. Your initial kitchen design should be what you really want, not what your budget dictates.

Once your plan is in place, then you can start tweaking it to bring it within budget. Start with the floor and work your way up. Rather than that gorgeous teak flooring, perhaps you could choose something more affordable, like a laminate floor? Rather than opt for new cabinets, consider cabinet refacing instead. Adjust your expectations for appliances and search for those that will bring your project cost down.

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Shannon Dauphin Lee

Shannon Dauphin Lee is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.