Designing a new kitchen? Don't do anything until you read this

If you are planning on renovating your kitchen, you’ve probably already realised what a huge undertaking it is. A significant amount of decision making needs to go in to the process, and as your kitchen is often the epicentre of your home with friends and family gathering at times throughout the day, it’s important to get it right.

While you want your kitchen to look good aesthetically, you need to make sure that it is versatile and does everything that you want it to do. There is no point renovating your kitchen if you are going to be left frustrated with lack of storage or bench space. If you’re doing the renovation yourself, you need to keep on top of things and ensure that everything goes together correctly, deciding on finishings, appliances and storage space.

It is definitely not a project that should be rushed into. You should take a couple of months to really understand what it is that you want and need out of a new kitchen, and pull together ideas for layout, style and appliance placement.
With some planning and thought about what it is exactly that you need, you will be able to create the kitchen of your dreams.

First things first.

GET A NOTEBOOK

The first step in planning your new kitchen is getting yourself a notebook. This notebook is going to be where you put all your ideas and notes down about your dream kitchen so that you can easily refer to it when you need and will ultimately become your wish list.

It’s a good idea to keep this notebook in your kitchen so you can jot down anything that may come to mind while you are in there. Make notes about any problems that come up such as being unable to reach things, cupboards not opening the right way or anything that makes your cooking time difficult.

LOOK FOR IDEAS IN MAGAZINES

Throughout your kitchen planning process, take the time to look through magazines for ideas and start gathering things that you love. If you see something that you like, tear it out and put it in your notebook.

Think about all the different parts of your kitchen that you will be redesigning. Look for appliances that you like and haven’t been able to have before. Look at finishings such as tiles, bench tops and cabinetry.

Anything you like, tear it out and put it in your notebook. Even if you end up with dozens of different ideas, you can narrow these down at a later date. Some of the things you like may be completely out of your budget, but it’s good to have something to work with so you can develop the style that you want and get a better idea of how you want your finished kitchen to look. You can always compromise later.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

Once you have your notebook, you can start to think about the answers to these questions. Write your thoughts down so you can refer to them later.

How do you like to live in your kitchen?

Probably one of the most important steps when creating a new kitchen is knowing how you like to live in it.

Do you like to use your kitchen for cooking only? Or is it more of a place for social gatherings, where family can sit and eat their breakfast or do some work? Write down exactly what goes on in your kitchen from day to day, and don’t forget to think about your pets and if they utilize it too.

Your kitchen needs to reflect your lifestyle with ample space to prepare and cook whilst accommodating your family’s needs. Knowing how you like to live in your kitchen is key to deciding about how to best use the space.

What do you like about your current kitchen?

While you are preparing meals in your kitchen at different times of the day, think about what you really like about your current kitchen. Do you like how much storage space you have? Do you like how easy it is to access the oven or fridge?
Renovating your kitchen doesn’t have to mean a complete revamp, so if there are some elements of your kitchen that you love, make a note of it.

What would you like to change about your current kitchen?

If your current kitchen was perfect, then you wouldn’t be thinking about renovating it. Once you get your notebook, you can probably already make a list of things off the top of your head that you want to change.

When you are cooking, keep adding to this list as things come up. Do you need a bigger fridge? Do you need more bench space?

There will be nothing worse than creating a new kitchen and having the same problems that you have now, so making a comprehensive list of the things you don’t like is going to be beneficial to achieving the kitchen that you want.

What do you like or dislike about other people’s kitchens?

When visiting friends or family, take note about what works well in their kitchens. Talking to others about how they feel about their kitchen layout and functionality can provide you with new insight on what you need for your dream kitchen.

What appliances do you need, and how do you want them to work?

With so many incredible kitchen appliances these days, you’ll want to make sure that you have what you need to make your time in the kitchen more convenient. You will want to choose items that are going to look stylish yet make good use of space. Think about what kind of oven you want – do you want freestanding or a wall oven and separate elements? Have you always dreamed of having a dishwasher but never had the space?

Deciding what appliances are going to work well is a big part of designing your kitchen space so that it is practical for your needs.

YOUR WISH LIST

After a month or so of noting down thoughts and ripping out pictures from magazines, you are going to end up with a long wish list. Go back through your wish list and see if there is anything that you have changed your mind about, and if you can narrow down your ideas to a manageable list that you can work with to make decisions about different aspects of your dream kitchen. Ask a friend or family member for advice if you need, it’s always good to get a second opinion.

BUDGET WISELY

Your ultimate dream kitchen with all the bells and whistles is more than likely going to be out of your financial reach, so make sure to set a realistic budget and keep this in mind throughout the planning process. While you may love the look of a certain kind of tile, think whether you can really stretch your budget for it, or if there is a cheaper alternative which could give you a similar look.
Going over budget is stressful for any home renovation, so do be prepared to compromise to ensure that you get a fantastic functional kitchen that doesn’t cost the earth.

Finally…

The planning stage of your new kitchen is just as critical as the actual renovation, so taking the time to decide about what it is you really want before committing to plans or purchasing items is going to be well worth it.

You’ll probably change your mind a dozen times so that’s why it’s important not to rush and be able to design the kitchen of your dreams.

Can you think of any other useful tips when it comes to planning a new kitchen? Please share them in the comments below.