Remodeling a kitchen may include anything from repainting the walls to redesigning the entire structure of the house. Space limitations prohibit covering every issue you might have to deal with, but this document will cover the basic principles of design, as well as the general considerations involved in planning a new kitchen.
The process of planning a kitchen is basically one of determining how you use your kitchen (the answer involves more than just “cooking”) and what features you’d like, then deciding on your priorities so you can fit as many features as possible into your budget. Virtually anything can be done to a kitchen – walls can be moved, plumbing can be changed and electrical service can be added. But the less you spend on major structural or mechanical work, the more money you’ll have to put into better cabinets, higher-grade flooring and more stylish and functional fixtures.
The following list of questions will lead you through some of the issues you’ll have to resolve before you’re ready to design your new kitchen. There are no right or wrong answers – only your preferences. Carefully consider each question; make notes as you go, and don’t be shy about changing your mind. A kitchen is the most complex and the most used workshop in the house, and it’s important that your remodeled kitchen matches your needs and lifestyle as closely as possible.
CONSIDER HOW YOU USE YOUR KITCHEN
How many people are in your household who use the kitchen? The answer to this question will determine how much use your kitchen gets, and how much traffic there is likely to be in the kitchen at any one time.
- Do two or more cooks typically work at the same time? If so, you may want extra counter space and/or an extra sink.
- Do you entertain frequently–and do you typically have formal or informal gatherings? If you entertain a lot, you may want to open up the kitchen/living room area into a great room that lets you be part of the party while you’re working.
- What other activities commonly occur in the kitchen? Some houses have a laundry closet in the kitchen. Some people want a wet bar, a breakfast bar or even a desk for writing or computer work.
- Do you have any special needs? Is a user exceptionally short or tall and uncomfortable working at standard-height counters for long periods of time? Do you have a disabled or elderly household member who may have special needs?
This, obviously, is not a complete list of the general considerations in kitchen planning–the list is nearly infinite. But before you begin designing, think about who uses the kitchen and how they use it.