Start by making a wish list and prioritizing the items on your list.  This will help you make better choices, ensuring that you get the most out of your design. 

Pick a style.  Purchase design magazines, try your local book store and check out popular design websites to get ideas and help you determine what design style is right for you. Keep photos and clippings in a folder so you can refer to them throughout the design process.

Finally, determine a budget.  Think about what you are willing to spend the most on - the least on - and everything in between.  This will save you time when going through the decision making process. It will also help ensure that your priorities are maintained and the overall outcome will be a success.  


Create a space that caters to your lifestyle



Convenience is the name of the game when it comes to cooking.  Consider large preparation areas for chopping, dicing, rolling and staging food. Adding a second sink in the work area will allow tasks like straining pasta or rinsing vegetables to be done without interrupting use of the primary sink. Incorporating a double wall oven and a separate cooktop in the kitchen is a dream come true for most chefs and for the gourmet entertainer. Planning cabinetry to house baking sheets, broiling pans, dutch ovens, oven mittens, etc. in close proximity to a range or wall oven is a must.  Choosing cabinetry that can store spices and cooking utensils near the cook top will make cooking a breeze.  


The Parent

Eat in kitchens are ideal for families with children, but if space is tight consider incorporating an eating area with an island or peninsula.  This area can also serve as an extra work space while keeping your children in full view.  An under the counter refrigerator or drawers are perfect for keeping snacks and juice boxes within easy reach.   

Managing a family household can be a formidable task.  Having a place to write out bills, make telephone calls, take messages, store mail and keep busy family schedules is essential if organization is the name of the game. A built in desk area in the kitchen is sure to help keep you on track with daily activities and keep clutter to a minimum.

The Entertainer

Do you entertain often?  If so, you might want to consider incorporating large preparation areas, separate cooking stations, large capacity dishwashers or the notion of duplicating kitchen equipment.  While some prefer the kitchen to be totally isolated from the dining area when entertaining; others enjoy socializing with their guests while preparing a meal.  Consider the possibility of opening up the kitchen to the dining area if accessibility to your guests is a priority.  If you want the best of both worlds, think about situating an island between the kitchen and the dining area.  

The couple who eats out

Today, the professional single or couple often prefer their time in the kitchen to be quick and efficient; and may not necessarily use their kitchen on an everyday basis.  Microwaves and microwave convection appliances cut down on cooking time and are available as freestanding, built in or over the range units.  If you prefer to go the traditional route, opt for one of the new high speed ovens which can cook a complete meal in a fraction of the time compared to a convection oven.  Other gadgets like instant hot and water filtration systems are also available as time saving items of convenience.

Another concern with kitchens that are not used on an everyday basis is the obvious dilemma of deciding when to wash the dishes. 



Get Measuring

Before you begin the design process, know your measurements in order to obtain the most accurate estimates.  Here are some helpful steps and guidelines to help you obtain the most accurate measurements.  

Draw a rough outline of your kitchen.

Measure the overall inside perimeter of the room.  **Keep the measurements in inches (industry standard). Be sure to include measurements of windows and doorways including the existing or desired trim, existing appliances to remain and available wall space.  

Finally, measure from the ceiling to the floor at various points around the room for an estimated ceiling height.  It is recommended, however, to use the lowest ceiling height and the highest floor height to get an average as reference.   Using a laser level is the most accurate way to get the overall floor to ceiling height of your room.  



Establishing a budget will help you determine what you can and should spend on your kitchen.  First consider how long you plan to own your home.  

Do you plan to keep your home long term or are you planning to sell in the near future?  The value of your home should be a major factor in determining your kitchen budget.  If you plan on selling, think about the return on your investment -- too small of a budget can lower the resale value of your home - too large of an investment might be difficult to recuperate.  A helpful rule of thumb:  the cost of your kitchen project should equal approximately 10% of your homes value (never less than 5% and never more than 15%).  If you plan to keep you home long term, obviously the level of investment is at your discretion.  

Once you have determined the amount of your investment, allocate how much you want to spend on the major components of the kitchen such as the cabinets, appliances, countertops, etc. 

Keep in mind, cabinets make up approximately 50% of the total cost of the kitchen.  Set priorities.  Decide what you are going to spend and where there is room for flexibility.