Design Tips: Kitchens

Here are ten practical tips to remember when planning a new kitchen:

1. Make sure to add some extra space for matching fillers and side panels -- don't plan to squeeze cabinets in too tightly between two walls. Always use a filler between a wall and a cabinet to compensate for any uneven walls, and between the top cabinet and the ceiling. No need to create a dust collection shelf! Don’t forget to use side panels to conceal the sides of refrigerators and the sides of any cabinetry that ends up exposed in the design.   

2. Don't put appliances next to each other whenever possible --the only exception might be a dishwasher, which functions as counter space. In this case, use a dishwasher which will accept a cover panel that matches your cabinetry.

3. Place your refrigerator on the end of the line of cabinets so they don’t bisect counter space. If that is not possible, place it in a nook elsewhere in the room, or on the opposite side of the aisle if it is a galley kitchen.

4. Utilize deep, full extension drawers for pots and pans -- easy access makes them a pleasure to use and more practical than fumbling in the back of base cabinets.

5. If you have the space (33” minimum for the sink cabinet) a double sink with two equal-size bowls is great. This will free up the counterspace that was used as a dish drainer, as you can drain dishes in the second bowl. I always recommend deeper (10”) bowls for any kitchen sinks. 

6. Don’t put stoves or ranges next to walls -- squeeze in at least 12” of counterspace from the wall to the stove so pot handles don’t bump the wall.  

7. Stick with one manufacturer for appliances if possible: The stainless steel, stainless look and whites of different manufacturersrarely match. 

8. When working on the design, check door swings on cabinets and refrigerators, and the position of oven and dishwasher doors when open. Make sure upper cabinets wont interfere with lighting, and that doors won’t hit each other when open. Also, make sure that you will have enough room to move around comfortably with the door open.  This is particularly important in a galley kitchen -- remember that a 36” wide refrigerator (if it’s not french door style) has a very big door which swings out wide when open!

9. Choose countertop materials that fit your lifestyle: Caesarstone and other quarts composites are resilient and require almost no maintainance. Marble and some other natural stones require periodic sealing and are vulnerable to oils and acids (like lemon juice and vinegar). 

10. Before you start demolition, make sure you have your floors and your cabinets ‘in house’ and ready to install. Also choose your countertop and backsplash as well as lighting. Some items may have long lead times, so create a calendar and work backwards from that.