10 Essential Tips for Planning a New Kitchen

10 Essential Tips For Planning a New Kitchen:

1.    Budget and Importance of Investment:
A kitchen defines your house; a kitchen’s personality has direct affect to the comfort, feel and value of your house.  Most real estate agents will scale the value of your kitchen at around 15% to 20% of the overall value of your house.  20% is a good baseline to aim for when determining what is appropriate to spend for your kitchen cabinets and remodeling.  This does not mean that 20% of the value of your house should be allocated for a kitchen renovation project. Some projects require more work than others and spending money on new kitchen cabinets, counter tops and accessories can be an inexpensive way to increase the value of your home.  It is prudent to carry a 10% to 15% contingency to allow for unforeseen issues once walls are opened up, such as water damage, mold, poorly done framing and or electrical work.

2.    Preparing For a Kitchen Renovation:
Have you considered how long a kitchen renovation might take and how you will function without a kitchen during the remodeling process?  Depending on how extensive the kitchen renovation is, it may be necessary to set up a temporary kitchen in a spot such as laundry room where you will have running water and available electricity.  Relocate appliances such as your microwave and a fridge, maximize the use of your outdoor barbecue to save on limited indoor cooking space.  Protect your house during construction by placing mats in high traffic areas between the front door and kitchen, cover your furniture and cover your return air vent with plastic to protect it from construction dust.  Plan to change your furnace filter more frequently to help mitigate dust collection in your supply ducts.  During heavy sawing try to keep the furnace fan off and windows open when possible.

3.    Inspiration and Ideas:
A great place to start looking for ideas are by signing up to local renovation shows, purchasing magazines and visiting model homes.  Take pictures of designs you like, this will help explain your concept to a kitchen contractor. You can also download our kitchen planning guide, this is an extensive guide with a number of layout styles to help you choose a theme for your kitchen cabinets. [Download kitchen planning guide here]

4.    Typical Layouts:
There are 5 different basic kitchen layouts: Corridor, U Shape, L Shape, G Shape and One Wall.  A Corridor layout is a walk through kitchen, everything in the kitchen remains on the left and right of you.  A Corridor layout will keep your kitchen hidden in your house.  A U Shape layout is similar to a corridor layout, but there is a dead end and one point of entry.  An L Shape is just as it sounds; the oven, fridge and cabinets together make an “L” shape.  Usually in a modern kitchen an L Shape kitchen will have a dishwasher island in the middle making this is a great option for entertaining.  A G Shape layout is a compacted version of an L Shape with an appliance located off to the side of the cabinets creating a G shape.  A One Wall layout offers large clearances and keeps the kitchen open; in this arrangement all appliances and cabinets in a kitchen are laid out against a single wall.

5.    Accessibility:
Sometimes it’s the simple things that make the difference in functionality.  Installing a kitchen faucet with a removable hose in the spout makes cleaning easier.  Installing self closing drawers and hinges helps you move around the kitchen faster.  Installing a lazy-suzan in a cornered cabinet will not only improve storage space but improve access to stored items.

6.    Wish Lists and Essentials:
When doing a major kitchen renovation, think carefully about absolute necessities and what you would like to have in your kitchen.  The baseline for necessities should consist of items that you are used to having in a kitchen, i.e. fridge, dishwasher, sink, number of drawers, cabinet space, etc.  After developing a list of requirements, create a list of task items necessary to facilitate the list of requirements – i.e. gas line for a stove, range hood, central vacuum in the base of the millwork to help clean the floor, wine rack integrated into the cabinets, electrical points etc.  Everything has its price and benefit, depending on budget, the task items might make it cost prohibitive to have everything on your wish list.

7.    Clearances and Safety:
In tight spaces appliances may be cornered against each other preventing two different appliance doors from being opened at the same time.  It is important to keep appliances spread apart not only for functionality but for safety.  Certain appliances such as dishwashers and ovens have doors that open low to the floor.  Having appliances close to each other while working in the kitchen creates high traffic areas.  This can create danger as these types of doors are tripping hazards.

8.    Lighting:
Lighting adds character and functionality to a kitchen; bright, well placed and aesthetic lighting are all very important things to consider.  One place which tends to be overlooked is task lighting underneath kitchen cabinets.  When working on a counter top underneath an overhead cabinet, shadowing is created when the overhead lighting is behind you.

9.    Flooring:
There are several different types of available flooring materials used in kitchens. Vinyl, engineered wood, ceramic tiles and hardwood flooring to name a few.  It is common to have a different floor type in your kitchen from your main floor area, so it may not always be necessary to replace the complete flooring in an open-plan kitchen/dining/living space.

10.    Phases:
If financing a project is a concern and time isn’t, consider phasing the work in your kitchen.  A kitchen renovation can involve anything from a basic cosmetic project, such as replacing kitchen cabinets or even just cabinet doors, to a full-blown renovation. In some instances it may prove advantageous to do the work in carefully planned phases, minimizing disruption as much as possible.