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Kitchen Design: Start with the Basics

Posted by Devan Kaufman on Aug 30, 2019 2:52:42 PM
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 As the heart of the home, the kitchen is the space most often remodeled, and the one that offers the greatest return on investment.  According to Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report for Des Moines, you will recoup 62.2% of the amount you spend on a major upscale kitchen remodel.  But a full kitchen renovation can also be the most expensive remodeling project, so it's important to design your new kitchen well.


Below, you'll find some suggestions to help you address some basic elements of kitchen design.  Taking care of these questions before you sit down with a remodeling professional will simplify the process later.

Take notes.

First, take note of how you and your family work in your current space.  Do you have have too many cooks in too little square footage?  Are you carrying things back and forth across the kitchen to reach your work area?  Do you entertain or eat at the kitchen island regularly?  Do your pots and pans fit in your sink for cleaning?

Spend some time evaluating how you currently use your space and whether it's efficient and accessible for the way you live.  This will help you determine both what's missing and what's worth replicating in the new design.


Evaluate your storage.

Once you have a sense of how you work in your kitchen, take an honest look at your storage situation.  Do you use all of your existing cabinets?  Do you use everything in your cabinets or are you storing more than you need?

Consider, also, any unique storage needs you might like to address - dishes to display, more accessible spice storage, manageable drawers or cabinets for large cookware, etc.  Redesigning your cabinetry so you can store hundreds of plastic food containers or mismatched dishes may not be the best design plan.  Take the opportunity, as you critique your storage needs, to evaluate what you're storing.

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Maybe part of your redesign could include new, matching dishes on open shelves or a larger pantry area to tuck away grocery items, appliances, and plastic storage containers.



Plan your appliances.

Next, take a look at your appliances.  Would a wider, cabinet-depth refrigerator better meet your needs?  Could you benefit from double ovens, or is that a luxury that's only used a couple times a year?  What about your microwave?  Is it used regularly or just a quick way to heat water and warm up leftovers?  If it's not a key appliance, perhaps tucking it in a cabinet or pantry might be a better use of space.   Another option is to use a speed cook oven which doubles as a microwave and a second oven.

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Also, ask yourself if the current location of your appliances is most efficient for the way you work in your kitchen.  Do you have sufficient work space near the stove and oven?  Is there counter space close to the refrigerator?  Is there enough room to maneuver when the dishwasher or oven door is open?

Your appliance decisions affect more than just your selection of individual units.  You also want to position them in the right location and design an effective work area around them.


Make it your own.

After evaluating your current space and the needs your new design should meet, gather ideas for personalizing the plan.  Incorporate trends without letting them dominate your choice of materials and products.  Collect photos and samples that reflect your tastes, which will help your design team create a look that suits you.

Another key to personalizing your design is incorporating space for your daily "mess."  Whether it's phones to be charged, backpacks for the next day, or work IDs and keys to keep handy, having a dedicated "dumping ground" that can be closed up and tucked out of sight can keep your lovely new kitchen from drifting back into chaos.


With all this in mind, don't over think it.   Sometimes knowing that you don't have answers to some of these questions is just as valuable.  A knowledgeable design partner like Kaufman Construction will walk you through these decisions as you work out your kitchen plan.  But coming to the table with some of the basics in hand will save time and allow you to get down to specifics and into your dream kitchen sooner.


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