Architects & DesignersDesign Ideas

Taking the Mystery Out of Kitchen Design

Years ago, kitchens were considered messy areas for messy work and were hidden away from the rest of the house. Often cramped and plain, it’s no wonder take-out and delivered food have become such a big thing! Attitudes about kitchens have been changing steadily. Each decade, we find we are adding more functions and more style to kitchens.

As a result, kitchen remodeling ranks among the most popular remodeling projects each year. Kitchens have become the functional and social hub for modern families.

With folks busier than ever, conversations among household members increasingly take place in fleeting interactions in the kitchen. Very few people have the time and resources for formal entertaining, but an inviting kitchen can make a great informal entertainment space. Many people are setting up mini-offices in their kitchens to help keep up with life’s ever growing paperwork load.

With people demanding so much from their kitchens, good design has become more important than ever. When you say design, some folks conger up images of la-di-da characters with long silk scarves flurrying about pointing out how atrocious or marvelous everything looks. Others think of mile-wide blueprints packed with a gazillion cryptic lines and notations. Neither image makes most of us feel comfortable.

Kitchen design needn’t be that mysterious. There are basically three elements to it. Many people focus on just one or two and end up with a less than fully satisfying job. To do it right, you have to focus on all three.

The first element in good kitchen design is the one that is the most fun for homeowners and often the most overlooked. It is the process of exploring dreams and possibilities to discover the myriad of options you have when redoing a kitchen. In the stage, you look at magazines, show rooms, builder’s model homes and the homes of neighbors. Some people even go tour homes that are for sale in trendy parts of town to see look for innovative ideas.

Some ideas people commonly overlook are designing capacity for a mud room, a hobby area, a homework space, a computer space, recycling bins, a fire extinguisher, an entertainment center, a phone and answering machine center, a second sink or dishwasher, a display space for fine silver or glass pieces, mood lighting, and natural light. There are many other possibilities to consider.

So, cast off your blinders, dream a little and go digging for some ideas! While you won’t be able to afford them all, you might be surprised by how much is possible. Compile a list along with pictures, drawings, and samples of all the features and functions you want with your new kitchen.

The second aspect of kitchen design is layout. Some call it the battle of the inches (or centimeters if you prefer). Most courses and guides on kitchen design focus on this element. This is where you look at the various features of the kitchen and decide what should go where and how may inches every component should lie from every other related component. For years the key to the design was what they called the work triangle.

This was the arrangement of the refrigerator, sink and stove. With the increasing use of microwaves, many now refer to the work diamond. The majority of kitchen cooking activities relate to sashaying bank and forth between these three or four fixtures.

But kitchens are not just about cooking anymore, so make sure you get professional advice about how to best incorporate as many of the features you came up with in the idea gathering phase. A fully functional and pleasing layout requires looking at a lot more than just the work diamond and how many inches should ideally lie between a refrigerator and a sink.

One thing you’ll inevitably discover is that you’ll want to add space to your kitchen. Actually kitchens have been growing about 50 percent per decade since the fifties. Many people rule out enlarging the kitchen because they are concerned about costs. While costs are always an important consideration, you also need to look at lifestyle improvements and increased resale value.

If more radical changes like moving walls around, makes your family’s day-to-day living easier or more pleasurable, shouldn’t you at least consider it? Making a sixties kitchen into a nineties kitchen costs more than simply sprucing up a sixties kitchen, but it is also much more likely to substantially increase resale value.

The final element in good design is essentially aesthetic. Choosing the right colors, finishes, textures, etc. is important to creating a space that people enjoy being in. Professionals also have a lot to offer on this front. Keep in mind that the fewer the numbers of years you plan live in the house, the more important it is for you to choose atheistic options that are popular.

If you’re going to do something far out, you may find it undermines resale value, even if you absolutely love it.

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