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How to design a kitchen and incorporate your own kitchen design ideas

There are many ways to begin when you decide you’re going to design your own new kitchen. Here, you’ll find some of those ways, and maybe get some new kitchen design ideas.

The Kitchen Floor Plan

For people who care most about how their kitchen works

If you’re someone to whom function is most important, then you can start by laying out a variety of possible kitchen floor plans. To begin with, you don’t need to make this a carefully-measured scale drawing – indeed, it’s better if you don’t. A sketch plan of your room with the doors and windows and the existing positions of gas, water and power lines is a great starting point.

The first items to place are the points of the classic work triangle: the fridge, cooktop (or range or stove) and sink. These partly correspond with today’s idea of “work centers”: the food-storage center, cooking center, and cleanup center. However, nowadays kitchens can have more than one sink, more than one cooking location, and even more than one dishwasher, so play with multiples if you want to.

Try making paper cutouts of these (or use one of the many planning kits which provide them) and move them around on your floor plan to make different arrangements. Make sketches of arrangements you think might be useful, or take a quick photo with a digital camera.

Some questions to think about as you play:

  • Where do we eat? Which work center should be closest? Should it be the fridge for quick snacks and drinks, the range to serve cooked meals, or the sink to gather dirty dishes?
  • How much fresh food do we use? What path does it take through the kitchen?
  • What else happens in the kitchen as well as cooking? Where should it happen, and who is involved?
  • What’s the main traffic flow through the kitchen, and can we re-route it outside the main work triangle?
  • How many people cook together? Do we need two work triangles? Two sinks?
  • Does any one with special needs use the kitchen? Kids? Seniors? People with disabilities?

Kitchen Decorating

For people who care most about how the kitchen looks

Another way to begin your kitchen designs – yes, it’s better to come up with more than one at the beginning! – is to start with how it looks. What’s your favorite style?

Professional: huge stainless-steel gas range; open shelving racks; array of shining pans and utensils; super-hardwearing and cleanable surfaces …

Country: wood everywhere; open shelving, buffets and hutches; rough finishes and natural materials; round handles…

Euro: smooth cabinet-fronts, closed storage, minimalist color schemes, integrated appliances, stainless steel, tile floors …

Traditional: Dark wood paneled cabinets; patterned fabrics; wood floors; discreet appliances in plain colors …

Retro: pick your decade and go wild with laminate patterns, dinette sets, rounded appliances, and metal edgings …

Historic: Cabinets with face frames and inset doors, freestanding furniture, old-fashioned (but new featured!) appliances, porcelain sinks, bin pull handles, wooden counter tops …

Contemporary: Clean lines; stainless-steel appliances; glass tile backsplash; granite counters; undermount sinks …

Of course, all of these styles have sub-styles within them, and you can also mix together styles for your very own eclectic style.

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