Redesigning a Kitchen: Five Things You Need to Know

Kitchen Design

It has been said – “Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.”  This quote rings true as it relates to the process of kitchen design and remodeling a kitchen.

To prepare for that journey, here is a short list of things to consider as you take your first steps – the five things you need to know when designing a kitchen: 

How to set the time frame for doing your kitchen remodel. 

Often there is a specific time constraint imposed on a project. On the happy side, this can be a move-in date to a newly purchased home, a wedding event, etc. On the unhappy side, it could be from a calamity like fire or water damage, having embarked on a new construction project or remodeling project without having made all the necessary design decisions.

You then work backward from these dates and find out what is achievable within the time allotted. Usually, there is less urgency, and the timeframe for the project is determined by how aggressively or leisurely you would like the planning period to be, the availability of materials with the longest lead time to produce (usually cabinetry), and when will it be most convenient to be without a kitchen for a number of weeks?

Regardless, with all of the design decisions that have to be vetted, discussed, drawn, revised and final and plans drawn up, a period of about 3 months needs to be set aside for the design work.

How to prepare to collaborate with a professional kitchen designer

A competent professional kitchen designer will interview you and draw out the information they need to design your project. To be ready for this interview you need to consider your objectives for your project. Make a fair assessment of the existing space, and come up with the major design problems that you want the designer to solve.

Does your current kitchen:

provide a large enough space?

have adequate storage?

incorporate the right cooking equipment?

have enough counter area?

have an inefficient workflow or difficult traffic pattern?

suit your style of cooking or number of cooks?

work with your style of entertaining – holidays, parties, family gatherings..?

A professional designer can help you prioritize all of your ideas, goals and material choices into a final design that meets all of your criteria and budget.

How to choose a style and color scheme for your kitchen design

Some people want to make a “design statement” that is very personal, in which case photographs of these elements will be indispensable to have. Some people wish to be on the leading edge of design trends. Others want to have a timeless look. Yet others wish to be architecturally correct to the home. Some would like an eclectic mix using specific themed items. All can be correct, but there are guidelines on how to do this.

The best thing to do is to collect sufficient illustrations of the most critical kitchen remodeling ideas and design elements you wish to pursue and share these with your designer.  It will be their job to show you how to include the various options and bring them together in a way that makes the most sense to the eye and to your particular lifestyle.

How to set your kitchen remodeling budget expectations

The typical range for expenditure on a full kitchen remodeling project is 10% to 20% of the current market value of your home. How do you know which end of this range best fits your project? If you are radically changing the kitchen layout and design by relocating work centers, are making a number of structural changes to the building, or if the kitchen is proportionately large in relationship to the size of the home, then you will probably be on the high end of this spectrum.

If you are making a short-term investment with plans to relocate in a few years – keeping the basic work center locations where they are, and or the kitchen is relatively small in relationship to the size of the home, then you will probably be on low end of the spectrum.

How to select a kitchen design firm

If your design problem is challenging, then you want a company with highly experienced, professional kitchen designers. If you want to be inspired, then you want a firm that is “idea-rich”, has access to diverse products, and collaborates with talented artisans. You should be able to locate images or articles about projects they have done that show the quality of their design ability, materials and workmanship. You should be able to see the expertise of the firm in a showroom where you can interview them to determine their level of expertise.

Finally, by helping you sort through your ideas and goals a professional kitchen designer’s job is to help you make sure that the material types and products you’re purchasing are the best for your investment.  And, if you’re redesigning your kitchen on a budget (and who isn’t?), your designer can guide you through all of the options and make recommendations in a series of meetings, keeping it all prioritized for you making it a less stressful and worrisome endeavor.