Ten Things to Think About When Renovating Your Kitchen

It’s a new year with new hopes and dreams, and for many, you are dreaming about a brand new or a refreshed kitchen.  I’ve designed many kitchens over the years, including two of my own, and there are definitely some things you will want to consider when taking on a kitchen project.  Some are obvious and some are not, but all are worth thinking about.  Check out my ‘Ten Things to Consider When Designing Your Kitchen’ below:

Tip No. 1: Space Planning

If you’re changing the layout of your kitchen, one of the top things to consider are the traffic flow and your work areas.  Think about your regular tasks such as preparing a meal, making your morning coffee, and putting your dishes away after a run through the dishwasher.  You don’t want to be running around like crazy when doing these tasks.  Sketch out your space and draw lines from place to place as you go through your tasks.  You also want to ensure your passage ways are not too narrow.  For example, between the perimeter and the island you want at least 42”, but if an appliance has a kitchen island directly across from it, make sure there is 48” of space on that side.  Lastly, can you remove a wall to open up your kitchen? Even making a doorway into another room wider makes a huge impact.

Tip No. 2: One or Two Dishwashers

As you know , most kitchens typically have one dishwasher, but have you considered two?  If you have space for two dishwashers, I highly recommend you install two of them, especially if you cook a lot, or you have a family of 5 or more.  The benefit of two dishwashers are countertops free of stacks of dirty dishes and a fairly empty sink.

Tip No. 3: Where to Put the Microwave

When working with clients, a common point of discussion is where to put the microwave.  Most of my clients don’t want a built in microwave.  Many people prefer a countertop top microwave that’s not super huge, and there are many places to put it.  Your microwave can go in a lower counter in the island or peninsula, it can go directly on the countertop, in an opening of a tall cabinet, or it can even go inside a cabinet.  I prefer the microwave to be as out of sight as possible and the in the cabinet or in the island are in my opinion the best spots.

Tip No. 4: Get a Pot Filler

When my husband and I renovated the kitchen in our second home, he insisted on a pot filler.  It was the one thing that he really wanted.  I was in the camp of “yeah it’s nice but not really necessary”.  I still don’t think a pot filler is necessary, but it’s surely handy!  Filing those big pots is much easier when the pot stays on the stovetop.

Tip No. 5: Drawers, Drawers, Drawers

Don’t overlook the ease and beauty of drawers in the kitchen. They are easy to open and close AND when open you can see everything you have in there.  There is no more losing stuff that is stored at the back of a full depth cabinet.  How many of you crouch down in the floor to reach in to the back of a lower cabinet to grab a pot or some other item.  Drawers eliminate this!  Drawers are also a great place to store your plates and everyday glasses, and of course storing all of your Tupperware is a dream when neatly stacked in a drawer.  I even put a basket in the drawer to wrangle in all the lids!

Tip No. 6: Window Over the Sink

If you don’t have a window over your sink, put one in if you can, and have it installed so you have a nice deep window sill.  If you do have a window over the sink, make it bigger if you can and create a deep sill. Why the deep sill?  This is a great spot for plants, your hand soap and other decorative items.  Another tip…run your countertop material up the wall behind the sink AND use that material as your window sill.

Tip No. 7: Consider Open Shelving

Every kitchen I design, there is always discussion around open shelving.  Some of you find open shelving very scary, and I understand you!  There are pros and cons to open shelving, but first, what do you put on your open shelves?  Some of you put only decorative items such as cookbooks, pottery, baskets, canisters, plants and art.  Some of you only store everyday dishes, and some mix dishes in with some decorative items.  In my kitchen I opted for a fair amount of open shelving and I love it, but it does come with some maintenance.  The biggest job is dusting them off, but it’s really not that bad.  I just give them a quick swipe when they are looking a little empty (I use mine for everyday dishes), right before I unload the clean dishes out of the dishwasher, and believe me that happened a lot!  Another concern is what do I put on my shelves if I’m only using them as display?  For this, I suggest a trip to Pinterest.  Look up kitchen shelving and literally closely copy what others have done.  I bet you can even make your shelves beautiful with items you already own.

Tip No. 8: Television in the Kitchen?

The TV in the kitchen is a love/hate for most.  If you entertain a lot, I suggest a TV in the kitchen since that is where most people gather.  I can’t imagine hosting a Super Bowl party and not have the game on in the kitchen.  A TV is also a good idea if you have an eating area in the kitchen.  Its a great spot to sit with your coffee and watch the news.  Also, the TV doesn’t have to be a big one.  You can also consider the Samsung Frame TV which looks like a piece of art when you are not watching it!

Tip No. 9: Use Smart Lighting

The kitchen is a great place for smart technology.  Consider putting in smart recessed lighting.  In kitchens, I’m a huge fan of multiple zones of lighting.  Most kitchens have at least four but sometimes more.  You should at least have one switch for the island lights, one for over the sink, one for over the eating area, and one for the perimeter, but then you can divide up the perimeter into two sections.  One perimeter section is the working space of the kitchen and the other is the area outside of the work area.  Adding smart lighting prevents you from having to run all over the kitchen, flipping light switches, because of course most of these lights will be two way, which means you have  two switches for each section!

Tip No. 10: Hire an Independant Kitchen Designer

Here’s my take on this.  Use a designer BEFORE going to the kitchen showrooms.  Yes, the showrooms can pop cabinets into their software and create a great 3D rendering and they give you advice on where to put cabinets, but they typically don’t dive deep into the use of the kitchen, and they typically don’t explore the entire plan including your backsplash choice, lighting, paint colors, hardware, furniture, etc.  With a designer, like me, you are working with someone to create an entire kitchen plan, with EVERYTHING considered.  After your designer creates your plan, you can then bring that plan to multiple kitchen suppliers for comparable quotes.  This puts you in the drivers seat when it comes to what you buy, where and how much.