The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home. It’s a space where families and friends gather, meals are prepared, and memories are made. With open floor plans becoming more popular, kitchens are no longer confined to a single room but often open up into living and dining areas. This increased visibility means the kitchen design requires thoughtful consideration to create an inviting and functional space. Having a “design moment” for your kitchen means taking the time to think through all the elements that make this room work for you. The goal is creating a kitchen that blends form and function into a cohesive space you’ll enjoy using everyday.

Key Elements to Consider for Your Kitchen Design

Layout and Workflow

Take time to consider how you use your kitchen. Make note of traffic patterns between the sink, refrigerator, stove and prep areas. Identify work triangles to optimize your kitchen workflow. Pay attention to where you currently experience bottlenecks or waste time walking back and forth. Use this observation to come up with a smart layout that maximizes efficiency. Think about arranging the space in zones like food prep, cooking, clean-up and storage.


Cabinet selection has a major impact on function and aesthetics. Choices include ready-to-assemble, semi-custom and fully custom cabinetry. Door styles like Shaker, slab, raised panel and glass insert provide different looks. Consider accessibility needs like pull-outs, lazy susans and lift mechanisms. Choose durable finishes that will hold up to moisture and wear and tear. Allocate plenty of storage while minimizing visually bulky upper cabinets.


Countertops need to be durable, easy to clean and complement your cabinetry. Leading choices are quartz, granite, laminate and solid surface. Compare options on pricing, durability, maintenance and visual appeal. Allow enough workspace for meal prepping and baking tasks. Incorporate speciality countertops like butcher block or marble for functionality. Plan counter heights to fit the whole family.


Creative backsplashes lend personality through shape, color and material. Subway tile, glass and mosaic styles make a statement. Coordinate with countertops and cabinets for a cohesive look. Consider ease of cleaning when choosing materials. Limit upper cabinets to maximize the visibility of your backsplash design.


Proper illumination makes the kitchen fully functional and safe. Layer lighting options including overhead fixtures, pendants, undercabinet and accent lighting. Position fixtures over key workstations. Look for energy-efficient LED lights. Provide appropriate task lighting for food prep. Play with dimmers to set the right mood.


Kitchen flooring endures heavy traffic and spills galore. Select a durable, easy to clean material. Choices like tile, stone, vinyl and linoleum withstand rugged use. Add visual interest by varying finishes, patterns and colors. Install slip-resistant flooring for safety, especially if kids use the space. Hard surface flooring also minimizes allergens.


Identify must-have appliances and allocate space accordingly. Measure existing appliances and use dimensions for planning. Explore options like double ovens, steam ovens and induction cooktops. For a streamlined look, choose appliances in matching finishes. Select quiet, energy-efficient models. Allow breathing room around the refrigerator and range. Accommodate small appliances on the counters or in the pantry.

Overall Style

Consider the general style you want for your kitchen from contemporary to classic. Look at kitchen design ideas in magazines or online galleries for inspiration on elements like cabinetry, hardware, lighting fixtures and tile backsplashes. Envision how to incorporate personal touches through art, accent colors and decorative moulding. Your designer can help translate your vision into a practical layout and product specifications.

Key Planning Steps for a Kitchen Remodel

Thorough planning ensures your kitchen remodel stays on time, within budget and aligned with your goals. Follow these steps for a smooth project:

  • Set your budget upfront so you can work within realistic parameters on product selections. Factor in contingency funds to cover surprises.
  • Involve family to understand how everyone uses the existing kitchen. Identify pain points and “wish list” items to address in the redesign.
  • Take detailed measurements of the current kitchen including windows, doors and appliances. Use an online planning tool or graph paper to experiment with layouts. Identify optimal work triangles.
  • Interview contractors and examine portfolios to find the right fit for the project scope and style.
  • Finalize cabinet, countertop, tile, lighting and appliance selections with finishes.
  • Create a project schedule with milestones and contingencies built in. Confirm lead times for cabinetry, countertops and specialty items.
  • Plan for demolition, construction phases and final finishes. Allow drying and curing time for paint and caulk.
  • Before demolition, photograph the existing kitchen from multiple angles to document appliance connections and layout nuances.
  • Remove existing cabinets, countertops, sink, flooring and lighting fixtures per plan.
  • Complete electrical and plumbing rough-ins for new kitchen layout and fixtures.
  • Install cabinets, adjust as needed to ensure proper fit and function.
  • Carefully template countertops; verify measurements. Complete installation and test for proper alignment and overhang.
  • Lay flooring throughout kitchen space.
  • Finish with installation of lighting fixtures, backsplash tile and plumbing fixtures like sink and faucet.
  • Reinstall existing or new kitchen appliances. Confirm proper operation and clearances. Finish cabinet hardware installation.
  • Complete final paint touch ups, caulking and molding installation as needed.
  • Clean space thoroughly and remove construction debris. Enjoy your fresh new kitchen!

Design Inspiration for Contemporary Kitchen Styles

If you gravitate towards a more modern aesthetic, there are many contemporary kitchen design options that can maximize both form and function. Consider these ideas:

Sleek Finishes

Stainless steel appliances, hardware and surfaces lend an ultra-modern look. Matte finishes on cabinets and fixtures provide an understated elegance.

Hidden Storage

Conceal small appliances, kitchen tools and pantry items in pull-out drawers and cabinets with integrated shelving. This hidden storage keeps counters clutter-free.

Mix Materials

Combine textures like wood plank floors, concrete-look quartz counters, brick or stacked stone backsplashes and reclaimed wood shelves. The blend of natural and industrial materials creates visual interest.

Bold Colors

Use color strategically as accent walls or on kitchen cabinets and islands. Navy blue, emerald green and even black provide dramatic flair. Finish with sleek metal hardware.

Statements Backsplashes

Make the backsplash the focal point with materials like handmade tiles, glass mosaics, metal panels or 3D surfaces. Illuminate with proper undercabinet lighting.

Minimalist Design

Embrace simplicity with slab cabinet fronts minus hardware. Choose seamless countertops and backsplashes. Add warmth with bare wood shelving and open cabinetry.

Bringing the Outdoors In

Outdoor living spaces like patios, decks and pergolas have become extensions of the home. More and more, indoor and outdoor areas are designed to flow together seamlessly. This connection provides aesthetic appeal along with added living space. Try these ideas:

  • Knock down walls and replace with folding glass doors or extra-wide pocket sliders. This allows the kitchen visual and physical access to the outdoor area.
  • Select weather-resistant outdoor furniture that complements the interior style. Durable patio rugs pull the space together.
  • Add atmosphere with hanging lanterns, pathway lighting and even fire features like fire pits or chimineas.
  • Plant greenery and trees to provide shade and reinforce the indoor-outdoor connection. Herb gardens or vegetable planters let you grow ingredients just steps from the kitchen.
  • Outfit the exterior with weather-resistant cabinets, beverage centers and grilling stations for al fresco dining.
  • Run plank flooring from the interior outside onto decks and porches to blur lines between the spaces.
  • Tie interior and exterior color palettes together through strategically placed accent walls or coordinated cushions and pillows.

By erasing boundaries between indoor and outdoor rooms, you can create a wide-open living space perfect for everyday life and entertaining. Careful planning ensures the design maintains harmony while addressing practical factors like weather and durability. The result is a seamless extension of your home into the great outdoors.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kitchen Design

What are some ways to maximize storage in my kitchen remodel?

  • Optimize blind corner cabinet space with specialty pull-out organizers.
  • Take advantage of high ceilings by adding taller cabinetry and full-height pantries.
  • Install rollout trays and shelves in lower cabinets for easy access.
  • Utilize every bit of available space, such as toe-kick areas for spice pull-outs.
  • Consider open shelving for frequently-used items to free up cabinet space.

How do I choose the right countertop?

Consider your lifestyle, budget and style preferences. Leading options each offer pros and cons:

  • Granite resists heat, stains but requires sealing. Has natural beauty.
  • Marble has classic elegance but stains and etches. Needs sealing.
  • Quartz provides durability and easy maintenance. Large pattern options.
  • Laminate costs less but can burn or scratch. Wide variety of patterns and colors.

What design tricks can make a small kitchen more functional?

  • Install shelving on the walls to get items off the counters.
  • Opt for lighter wall colors to visually expand the space.
  • Use glass cabinet doors to prevent a closed-in feeling.
  • Take advantage of sunlight and install larger windows if possible.
  • Multi-function carts provide flexible workspace.
  • Ensure proper lighting throughout the kitchen.

How do I choose appliances for my kitchen?

  • First select standard appliances: refrigerator, range, oven, dishwasher. Measure carefully.
  • Review options like convection ovens, induction cooktops, steam ovens for your needs.
  • Choose quiet, energy-efficient models with good warranties.
  • Select matching finishes to achieve a unified look.
  • Accommodate small appliances like microwaves, toaster ovens on counters or in pantry area.

What mistakes should I avoid in planning a kitchen remodel?

  • Failing to establish a realistic budget for the scope of work desired.
  • Not allowing enough time for demolition, construction and curing of finishes.
  • Neglecting important structural issues like electrical, plumbing, ventilation.
  • Overlooking needed lighting during the design phase. Task, ambient and accent lighting are key.
  • Forgetting to measure (multiple times) during the templating and installation process.
  • Underestimating the impact of seemingly small changes in appliance or cabinet placement.


A kitchen remodel presents a valuable opportunity to transform one of the most important spaces in your home. The key is taking the time for detailed planning. Thoughtfully consider how your family uses the kitchen and your priorities for updating the space. With clear goals, a well-conceived layout and quality materials, your new kitchen can provide years of gracious living and warm memories. Achieve the optimal balance of form and function by focusing first on the practical elements. Then incorporate personal touches through finishes and decorative details to reflect your unique style. Working with an experienced kitchen designer ensures you end up with a cohesive, well-executed space you’ll be happy enjoying each day. With some creativity and careful attention to detail, you can bring your ideal kitchen design to life.