Designing your dream kitchen may seem like a daunting task at first. After all, you want to make certain that your time and money is well utilized. So before you visit the design center and begin selecting counter tops and cabinetry, take a moment to first consider the type of space you will want and – most importantly – need.
Ask yourself: what will the primary function of my kitchen area be? Do you enjoy cooking and/or baking? Are you planning to entertain guests? The more specific you can be with your intent, the more informed of a decision you’ll be capable of making each step of the way. Remember, every preference based on intended usage has the ability to impact the smallest details.
Let’s compare some of the most common primary usages for kitchens!
The Chef & Baker’s Kitchen
Most bakers know all-too-well just how much space is required when you’re dealing with dough, fondant, and large cookie trays. Whether you’re rolling pie crusts or dropping batter onto baking sheets it’s always much easier to accomplish these tasks when there’s room to spare.
1). Large Island – With a wide surface to spread out ingredients and still have ample space to roll, decorate, and mix, a large island is a must-have for any baker.
2). Natural Stone Counters – With all of the hot pans going in and out of the oven, a heat resistant counter top is critical; even one small forgetful moment with a hot pan can lead to permanent damage. Keep in mind that each type of natural stone counter top has its pros and cons (ie: Quartz is more heat resistant but not as harm resistant as Granite).
3). Outlets in the Island – If you do opt for a (hopefully large!) kitchen island, be sure to include outlets on either end. Whether for a stand or hand mixer, blender, electric dough extruder, etc, you will not regret having the convenience of close electrical connections nearby.
4). Double Oven – Convection ovens are a wonderful solution for anyone who doesn’t already have the space to add a double wall oven, but since you’re designing your own from scratch, considering adding it to the plans! Imagine baking twice as many items and saving half of the time; there’s no other way around it, double ovens are incredible time savers. Also, they allow home builders the option of a cooktop VS a range increasing their kitchen storage!
5). Large Cabinetry – Every chef and baker has a large arsenal of tools required for them to create and assemble their culinary masterpieces, some of which can take up quite a bit of space. Consider wide and fairly deep drawers close to your work spaces, such as near the stove and within the island. Items should be placed within close proximity of the location they will be utilized so plan your cabinet and drawer sizes appropriately.
The Large Family’s Kitchen
1). Kitchen Island – Not only are you preparing meals for a larger number of people than the average person, but whether you’re in the infant or teenager phase, chances are that space is going to be greatly needed. From homework and bills to laundry and groceries, opting for a bigger island is a choice you will surely not regret! Also, make certain to consider the type of counter top you decide to place on it, as you’ll want a material that can sustain a fair amount of bumps and roughness, like Granite.
2). Miscellaneous Drawer – There’s no way around it, the more people within a household the more “stuff” that accumulates. Pens, batteries, notepads, gift cards, etc tend to pile up and a “junk drawer” is a great place to organize all these random items that would otherwise pile up on a counter top.
3). High Capacity Refrigerator – Whether you have one child or a dozen, a larger refrigerator will undoubtedly be helpful. With the exception of basic aesthetic qualities, many home buyers neglect to consider their needs when selecting appliances and tend to regret the lack of features later on down the road. In regards to a family, a larger unit will allow space for basic items in addition to bulk purchasing, food prep, and all those extra little snack items for when friends pop on over after school!
4). Large Pantry – A pantry is one of those easily disregarded spaces in a kitchen. A cabinet or standard sized closet will work just fine, right? Consider the types of foods you purchase regularly. Are most of your goods boxed or canned? Do you purchase items in bulk? Thinking about these constant purchases will help you mentally lay out a pantry space that will allow your items to be put away neatly and kept well organized with an abundance of space to spare for additional items as well.
5). Plenty of Counter Space – For anyone with multiple children, you understand the struggle of preference. One child may want a waffle in a toaster iron and the other may want a bagel with cream cheese. So if you’re the type to manage multiple kitchen gadgets on a daily basis you also may understand that storing them each and every time can become a time consuming burden. With the right amount of counter space, however, you can compromise on your ability to leave highly used items out without sacrificing on space or cleanliness.
The Entertainer’s Kitchen
1). No Eat-In Kitchen – For those who want entertaining guests to be the main focus of their room, considering placing the dining room adjacent to the kitchen, in lieu of an eat-in space. This combination creates an open-concept layout where guests are contained within a common area in order to keep conversation moving and everyone close by.
2). Bar/Wine Rack – Many get-togethers involve a favorite beverage of choice, and what better way to start a night other than breaking into a favorite bottle before cooking or relaxing with guests. Having these bottles and glasses in close proximity makes it easier to refill a beverage without breaking away from conversation. It also makes for a wonderful display piece, as well!
3). Room to Move – Consider the way you entertain your guests before completing a final layout. Do your guests sit at a table while they wait? Do they prefer to assist and walk around the kitchen? Would they rather pull up a stool and sit at the island? The answer to these questions can help you determine the size of you island, whether or not you’ll want to incorporate bar stool into the island, the length of the pathways and their width needed to accommodate either a few or many people at a time.
4). Island With Seating – Since entertaining guests usually involves food prep and cooking of some sort, a larger island complete with comfortable seating provides the perfect way to keep guests close by while you complete their meal. It also offers extra seating in the circumstance when a larger quantity of people are in attendance, for example on birthdays and holidays.
5). Pop-Up Outlet – In this digital age, with an abundance of people also comes a need for plenty of cell phone chargers. Instead of unsightly extension cords laying around to provide adequate charging spots, consider pop-up outlets that can conveniently be hidden when not needed and stylishly pop-out when desired.