Over the years the kitchen has gained popularity as the central, most important room in any home. It enjoys, in most cases a round the clock patronage, starting from a very early morning breakfast to a late night snack. The kitchen is a loyal witness to any drama in life that unfolds in every home whether preparing an important meal for a client or surprising a loved one on a special occasion; or a weekend dinner specially made for the grandchildren. So when it comes to planning for a kitchen renovation, there are a lot of things to do and consider so that it will become a room where everybody will feel comfortable and welcome.
First and foremost, set a budget. Decide how much money you are going to spend on your project. To have a budget already set for a specific project will help you decide more easily how far you will go in terms of choosing the materials and design for your kitchen renovation. If possible, price out every item you want to include in your new kitchen, like new appliances, fixtures and accessories. Do not leave anything off your list; as much as possible include even the smallest detail like paints and brushes. There are wide ranges of materials available so you can choose from whichever price range you can afford. Once everything is priced, add 20% onto the cost of the job because you never know when things will go wrong and you suddenly find yourself out of budget.
After all the financing is thought about then you are set to start. Try to have a look at your own existing kitchen. How well do you like it? Is there any part of it that you love and want to retain? Or any part of it that you hate and want to change? Or is there something that you want to add or wish you have? Is the size sufficient enough for your family needs? Or do you need to have a bigger space and more storage? Then think of a style you want for your new kitchen. Taking into consideration the style of your own house and of course your sense of taste. If budget permits you can hire a kitchen design expert who can help you draw out all these things. While still in the planning process it is always necessary to define the space available.
Note any opportunities for space modification. Areas with interesting architectural details should be utilized to their full advantage, as they will accentuate the overall visual interest of the entire room. Today there are a lot of kitchen designs to choose from and in varied themes like old world style, European and American country style, Victorian Kitchens, American Traditional, Shaker style and the list goes on. Choose a design which suits your personality, lifestyle and the style of your house itself. There are at least four basic kitchen layouts than you can choose from and incorporate in your own kitchen.
1. Single-wall Layout: This layout is usually done with small spaces where all the appliances and cabinetry are placed against one wall, where there’s no other place to put it. A full height unit like a refrigerator must be placed at one end while a cooktop should be placed near the sink and never at the end of the run. Otherwise it will create an unsafe environment and at the same time add unnecessary steps to the cooking process.
2. Corridor Layout: A corridor or galley layout is made of two opposing counters which should be at least 42″ apart. This is also a good design layout for small spaces but has the added advantage over the single-wall layout since, the work-triangle principle can be applied here, although this layout sometimes suffers from traffic passing through.
3. L-shaped Layout: An L-shaped layout is usually a more desirable layout for a kitchen with limited space, compared with both the single layout and the corridor layout. The work triangle can be designed in such a way that there will be fewer steps for the cook thus making the cooking experience less arduous. It’s also usually free from traffic snarls compared with the corridor layout. Make sure however, that the counters are not interrupted by the passage door, refrigerator or full length cabinets.
4. U-shaped Layout: The U-shaped layout is by far the most versatile and efficient kitchen layout. If your space and budget can accommodate this type go for it. This type of layout makes the most of the working triangle principle. All the appliances, storage systems and work areas face each other and are directed towards a central point – the kitchen operator.
After deciding on which layout you would like for your kitchen, then it’s time to get down to details. Take into consideration the comfort of the cook. There should be a minimum distance between repetitive chores to save the cook from fatigue therefore adding comfort and pleasure to the entire cooking experience. Lots of pantry storage and pull out drawers for everyday use dishes would be an indispensable part of the kitchen cabinetry. For drawers, the use of full extension drawer slides indicates good quality drawers. This will allow easy access to those hard to reach objects and provides strong and sturdy support for fully loaded and heavy drawers. Consider also the countertop material. Countertop dictates much of the appearance and overall atmosphere of the entire kitchen especially if your kitchen design includes a large uninterrupted counter space. You can choose from a variety of materials like Laminate, Solid surface material sold under such names as Corian, Surrell, Gibraltar etc.., Ceramic tile, Granite and Marble, Stainless steel, Soapstone, Lavastone, Butcher’s Block counters.
A seating area for those who are not actively participating in the cooking process but are there to accompany the cook for lively conversation is an added bonus to any kitchen design. If space is available, adding an island not only creates a good focal point but it also gives an added counter space, a good place for a quick meal or just a place where kids can hang out while mom prepares their favorite meal. The key to a successful kitchen design is the complete understanding of the true needs of the intended user. Once this is achieved, everything else in the design will just follow.
So, are you still fed up with looking at your old worn out kitchen? Then start planning for a renovation now.