Planning a Kitchen Remodel?
From different types of cabinetry, appliances, to flooring, a kitchen remodel can become overwhelming very quickly. With proper planning, you can ensure that the kitchen of your dreams doesn’t turn into a kitchen nightmare. But what are some tips that you should consider when remodeling your kitchen? Here are a couple of things that I’ve seen in homes over the years that you may want to incorporate into your designs.
What a layout!
I have seen some REALLY beautiful kitchens…with some very bad layouts. This is common, especially if you are adding new features to your kitchen but don’t consider your space. Here are the most common types of kitchen layouts that you should consider:
- Pullman Kitchen: Everything is basically located on one wall. This is a great option for tight spaces, open floor plans, or when you have one long wall that you can utilize to the fullest. Some of these kitchens can include an island for additional space and storage.
- Galley Kitchen: A galley kitchen is where you have the kitchen on both sides of you. It’s design is similar to a walk-in closet – where you have different features of the kitchen (appliances/cabinets) on either side of you. This option works well if you have walls that divide the kitchen from living/dining space.
- Horseshoe Kitchen: A horseshoe kitchen is one where you walk into it (like a U-shape) with kitchen features on 3 sides of you. If you want an island, these layouts work best with larger floor plans. However, you can choose this design for smaller areas and omit the island.
- Peninsula Kitchen: Similar to the horseshoe, these kitchens sport a G-shape. They have an attached island that is connected to the rest of the kitchen work surfaces. It’s a great option if you have more limited space but still want an island.
- Corner Kitchen: This kitchen is basically in the corner. It can be an L-shape if you wish for one of the “legs” of the kitchen to be longer than the other. This option works great for open concept areas when you want to maximize space. The design also works well with smaller areas when you want an island.
Location, location, location.
Now that you’ve picked out the layout, where are you putting everything? One of the biggest mistakes that I see people make is keeping the plumbing and appliances in the same locations. This doesn’t always work well with the flow of a kitchen. There are some things that you should really consider when deciding locations:
- Major Purpose: What is the purpose of your kitchen? Do you do a lot of entertaining? Do you spend a lot of family time in the kitchen? Do you rarely use your kitchen? The answers to these questions are going to help you decide where to place your sink and dishwasher, your stove and microwave, and your fridge and pantry. For a home that does a lot of entertaining (with multiple cooks in the kitchen) the traditional “everything should be within 3 steps” rule does not work well. I’ve been to plenty of homes where people are practically stepping on each other to try to get to the sink, fridge, and stove. If this is your situation, try spacing things out so that there’s no congestion.
- Family/Activity Center: If you find that your family frequently huddles in the kitchen, you may want to consider having surface and storage areas that are designated for items used for other purposes. For example, if your kids love working on their homework in the kitchen/dining area, you may want to consider having storage for supplies. Maybe an area that acts as a mail center/activity board/calendar. Or maybe you may need to consider additional work surfaces for homework/crafts/eating. Whatever the reason, plan your space and maximize it accordingly so that you get the most bang for your buck.
- Entertainment Center: If you love to entertain, consider seating in your kitchen. This is important if people may be spectating but not cooking. Islands/bars work great for this purpose because they allow the guest(s) to be able to talk to the host(s) without obstruction.
Have you considered adding features into your kitchen to help make it a lot more functional? Here are a few very cool ideas:
- Pot Filler: A pot filler can be great in a kitchen if you like to cook and hate carrying pots of water to the stove. This feature also works great in larger kitchens when your sink may be further from the stove.
- Secondary Sink: Having a secondary sink, typically on the island, is a great idea if you have multiple hands helping you in the kitchen. This allows multiple people to prep in the kitchen without stepping on one another (or having to mess with dirty dishes).
- Downdraft Ventilation VS Updraft: A lot of people have hoods in their homes that allow for ventilation but have you considered a downdraft system? Sometimes, downdraft systems can work better than updraft systems; especially if you’re considering having the stove/cooktop on a kitchen island and don’t want the hood of an updraft system obstructing your view. This is also a good option if your kitchen has very tall ceilings and an updraft system isn’t conducive.
Storage and More!
Proper storage in a kitchen is so important to ensure maximization of space. Here are some things to consider:
- Large Drawers instead of Cabinets: Cabinets work well for dishes but drawers tend to work better for pots and pans. Consider putting some large drawers in your kitchen for items that don’t stack well or that tend to get thrown/shoved into a cabinet.
- Built-ins: Built-in spice cabinets, racks, and custom cabinets created for cookie sheets/cutting boards are great ideas for the odd items that every kitchen has. I’ve also seen homes with built-in hooks, clips, and organizers for a plethora of different “miscellaneous” kitchen items that tend to end up shoved under the kitchen sink.
- Open Shelves: This is a great idea if you have special items that you’d like showcased in your kitchen. Consider having open space for flowers, pottery, dishes, etc. Having open shelving can also help your kitchen feel more airy and less confined.
- Glass/Frosted Glass Doors: Have you considered some peek-a-book cabinets where the contents are showcased? This is a beautiful idea for a few cabinets to add a unique look or to help tie together a design scheme. Adding all peek-a-book cabinets help make a dark wood color scheme look and feel less confined and more spacious. These cabinets are especially pretty with single color/monochromatic or rainbow dish patterns. Depending on the style of the kitchen, it may work with eclectic/bohemian styled dishes as well.
And an Island to Boot!
Not all kitchen islands are created equally. When considering a kitchen island, there are some really cool features to consider:
- Waterfall Countertops: A waterfall countertop basically means that the material used for the counter continues down the side(s) of the island. This creates a seamless and sharp look in modern design homes.
- Island Sinks: A lot of people put their kitchen sink on the kitchen island to open up the rest of the countertops to be used for other purposes/appliances. This is also a great idea if you love to entertain or have family because dishes can easily be sorted/washed/dried all on one large surface.
- Island Cooktops: Not as popular as island sinks, however, island cooktops have lots of perks. For people who love entertaining and there are multiple people helping, having pots/pans be accessible from all 4 sides tends to be a huge benefit. Just be careful if you have little ones so that they don’t burn themselves on the hot surfaces.
- Island Trash Chute: If you plan to use your island for prep, it may be a good idea to have a trash chute. There are a variety of different chutes to choose from to accommodate most needs.
- Portable Islands: Did you know that your kitchen island doesn’t have to be a non-moveable feature? That’s true. For a house I helped flip a few years back, I designed a kitchen island that was completely moveable. Imagine a large (4’x8′) counter height table. The table base was stained to match the cabinets and included a large self for storage. It then had the same countertop as the rest of the counters and had overhang edges for seating along the long sides. If needed, the island could literally be moved in order to open up the kitchen into a U-shape. The island could also be used as a table to allow for additional seating if needed. Designing the island this way created maximum flexibility in the kitchen and was very well received by everyone who saw the home.
- Pass-through Storage: Having an island that has cabinet doors on both sides that open into the same space means that items can be accessed on both sides. This allows for storage of large/bulky items and allows for people to help grab things without asking you to move. I’ve seen designs with and without partitions. Personally, I am partial to no partitions in these types of setups to allow for storage of random and awkward items (especially important if you are designing a gourmet kitchen and have commercial sized appliances/cookware).
When it comes to considering where to place everything, I’ve seen people design it for the wrong purpose. I’ve seen kitchens designed for the 4-5 times a year when big family dinners happen; however, the kitchen doesn’t function for the family’s daily needs. It’s more important to make sure that the kitchen functions for your daily needs rather than the few times you need it for other purposes. When it comes to deciding, just think of the 80/20 rule. How will you be using it 80% of the time? Make the kitchen function for those purposes.
I hope that this gives you a couple of great tips and ideas to consider when you’re planning your kitchen remodel.
If you need any ideas specific to your project, have any questions about designs, relocating plumbing/duct work, or anything else, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at Cummings Plumbing Heating and Cooling.
About The Author: Nary Vang is the Creative Director at Cummings Plumbing Heating and Cooling. She graduated Summa Cum Laude at the age of 21 from the University of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business with a masters’ degree in Business Management and bachelors’ degree in Human Resources Management. She has held certifications for Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). In addition, she was accepted into MENSA International at the age of 26. Among her proudest moments are graduating college with a 4.2 GPA and opening her own graphic design company in 2009. Although Nary’s background contains extensive Human Resources, executive level administration, and web/graphic design, her true passion is helping others and elevating them to the next level.
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