Identify How You Use Your Kitchen

First, you will need to clearly identify how you use your kitchen. To do that, go through the following questions and write down your answers in as much detail as you can. Keep in mind that a clear understanding of what you want in the beginning will give you what you want in the end product - you new kitchen.
  • Why do you want/need a new kitchen? You may be planning to resell the property, your needs may have expanded or reduced, or you may just want to update the space.
  • What do you like and dislike about your current kitchen? Think about storage, layout, space and decorating scheme. Sit in your kitchen while you are working on this. Ask other household members their opinions. Think about daily activities and entertaining guests. What is missing. What have you always wanted.
  • What is your preference for the ‘look’ and ‘feel’ of you new kitchen. Look for pictures of other kitchens that you like. Note the things about them that attract or interest you. Start a notebook with pictures, scraps of material and chips of paint colors that you like. Try not to be too particular in the beginning and let the design start taking on a life of its own. It will.
  • What are your storage needs? Some people prefer a pantry instead of cupboards to store food. Do you have lots of crockery, pots and pans, glassware and appliances that you want to hid away?
  • Do you have special items that you want to displayed and/or protect in the kitchen?
  • What fixed and portable kitchen appliance do you have or will have? How often will you use them? Fixed appliances include: refrigerator, freezer, sink, cooktop/oven, stove, exhaust, dishwasher, microwave... Portable appliances include: espresso machine, toaster, kettle, sandwich press, blender, food processor, wok, ice-cream machine...
  • How many people in your household use the kitchen and how do they use it? The answer to this question will determine how much use your kitchen gets and how much potential traffic there might be at any one time.
  • Do two or more cooks work in the kitchen at the same time? If so, you may want extra counter space, an island, sink and/or other features or work areas.
  • Do you entertain frequently and do you typically have formal or informal gatherings? If you entertain often, you may want to open up the kitchen/living room area into a great room that lets those working in the kitchen be part of the party.
  • What other activities commonly occur in the kitchen? Some houses have a laundry area in the kitchen, a wet bar, a breakfast bar or nook, and/or a desk for writing and computer work.
  • Do you have special needs? Are any users exceptionally short, tall and/or uncomfortable working at standard-height counters for a period of time? Do you have a handicapped or elderly member in the household?
  • What surface materials do you prefer? Think about cupboards and drawers, bench, counter and table tops, splash-backs and the floor.
Everyone will have a slightly different list but the above gives you a good start. Get as many people involved as you are comfortable with. Children come up with interesting and unexpected comments that can be quite insightful. Don’t exclude anyone.
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