Let’s be perfectly honest. Designing a kitchen can be tough. It’s a major undertaking that requires a lot of planning…and money! The list of decisions is enough to make your head spin. Appliances, countertops, cabinet design and that nagging voice in your head saying “Will I even like this in ten years?”
Bedroom suites are your personal retreat and the powder room is a jewel box for guests. But day in, day out, your kitchen is where the rubber meets the road. It’s a space that must function and function well. But for all its practicality, the kitchen is the very heart of your home. So whether you are building a kitchen from the slab up or starting all over with a renovation, take a deep breath and keep reading.
When we began work on this kitchen renovation, the space was dated and dark. The homeowners wanted a bright, fresh space where they could entertain friends and family. The result was a combination of natural elements, warm neutrals and statement making fixtures. No matter your style, budget or kitchen size, here are some guidelines that will prove helpful when designing a kitchen.
In your kitchen, good lighting is essential as you prepare meals and entertain. We used a variety of lights in this kitchen remodel and you can too:
Also called “can lights,” these lights are recessed into the ceiling. Place them evenly across your ceiling where they will flood the kitchen with light. New LED recessed lights are a fantastic choice. Not only do they put out a lot of light, they use a fraction of the energy traditional recessed lights use and seldom need replacing.
In this kitchen, we opted for a large lantern over one of the islands. The lantern sheds some extra light over the workspace but more importantly it adds texture and weight to the kitchen. It’s a real statement piece. Pendants like this one are your chance to have some fun. Be brave and make an eye-catching selection!
UPPER CABINET LIGHTS
Some kitchens have glass front upper cabinets. This design gives you the chance to add lighting inside those cabinets. The soft glow is especially attractive in the evening hours. Some homeowners even keep upper cabinet lights on all night to serve as a kitchen nightlight.
UNDER CABINET LIGHTS
When you need extra light while working around the kitchen, under cabinet lighting is just what you need. Place them on a separate electrical switch and turn them on for some extra light to shine directly on your countertop.
This is the part that leaves many scratching their heads. How do you mix finishes within your kitchen? Here are some tips:
• Appliances should match. Stainless steel is currently the most popular finish although new finishes are offered all the time. Treat stainless steel like a neutral finish that can be mixed with any other finishes you choose.
• Cabinet knobs and pulls should match throughout your kitchen.
• Faucets can be a different finish than the knobs and pulls. Tip: hard water leaves residue on faucets that is more noticeable on darker finishes. You might consider chrome or brushed nickel faucets instead.
• Decorative lighting is the jewelry of your kitchen. Let its finish pull all the other finishes together.
• If that’s still too confusing, use one dominant finish and throw in one accent finish like we did in this kitchen.
SINK FAUCET brushed nickel finish
APPLIANCES neutral stainless steel finish
KNOBS, PULLS & LIGHT FIXTURE aged steel finish
Your kitchen backsplash should be laid from your countertop to the bottom of your upper cabinets. Don’t leave any drywall exposed. Food splatters and messes can be easily wiped away and your kitchen will remain nice and clean.
Tile backsplash can add texture and color to your kitchen. We used an updated subway tile installed in a herringbone pattern in this kitchen. Be sure the size and scale of your tile choice works well in your kitchen. An oversized tile or vibrant pattern can overwhelm a smaller kitchen.
Want to try something different? Use your countertop material as backsplash for a rich, cohesive look.
There seems to be a wider variety of countertop choices each year. Here are some kitchen friendly options:
Homeowners love it for its classic, timeless look. Watch out though. Unless it’s properly sealed, it will show stains and water marks over time.
For a sleek, uniform look, opt for quartz. This manmade product is heat resistant with a low gloss finish
A popular choice in past years, this durable, natural stone can be budget-friendly.
Super durable with a marble-like look, quartzite doesn’t stain. This super power countertop material can come with a hefty price tag.
As you begin to think about your cabinet design, stand in your existing kitchen and think about how you move about the space. Take stock of what is stored in your cabinets. What do you like? What is inconvenient? Can you reach your cookie sheets? Just how tall is your stock pot? Its questions like this that must be answered to maximize functionality.
Cabinet makers continue to come up with the latest and greatest fittings for custom cabinets. The possibilities are endless with built in spice racks, knife blocks, fitted utensil drawers, deep drawers installed behind cabinet doors and more.
One of my favorite inventions is the appliance cabinet, sometimes called an appliance garage. Appliances like coffee makers and stand mixers remain plugged in and accessible but are hidden behind cabinet doors. This keeps clutter off our countertop and you can stop dragging bulky appliances in and out of storage.
Kitchen trends come and go but with these guidelines, you can design a kitchen that will only get better with time.
By Callie Harris
Photos By Shayli Anne Photography