At some point, just about every homeowner will face the task of creating, redoing or upgrading a kitchen design. Naturally, looking at lots of kitchen pictures is a great way to start, but there are lots of other things to keep in mind, no matter how large or small the project is.
Here we’ve assembled lots of great information about aspects of kitchen design that you’ll need to consider along with lots of kitchen pictures to inspire your new kitchen plans.
Plan Before Your Purchase
It is not possible to overemphasize the importance of good planning in any kitchen design or update. More than just look good, the kitchen has to be supremely functional and serve many purposes for the whole family. Don’t forget — it’s the hub of your home! Don’t buy a single thing for your new kitchen until you have all the necessary plans in place.
Make a list of what’s important.
While it’s a lot of fun to look at kitchen pictures to see what’s new and innovative, the elements you include have to fit your priorities and lifestyle. Inevitably decisions will have to be made to stay within the budget and within the footprint of space available.
Decide which elements you want.
Once you’ve established your priorities in the new kitchen, you have to make a list of all the elements that you want to include in the kitchen. This should encompass everything from cabinets and major appliances to more detailed elements such as types of lighting, cabinet interiors and other extras. This requires a lot of thought and decision-making: Do you want a coffee station? How about a pot filler above the stove? Separate prep sink? The list goes on and on!
Determine what kitchen layout works for you.
There are six basic styles of kitchen layouts — we detail them below — and the choice is mainly driven by the space available for your kitchen, you might have more than one option. This is where looking at lots of kitchen pictures can really help.
What is a Work Triangle?
As already noted, the choice of a kitchen layout is often determined by the specific space you have available for your kitchen, but if there are any unbreakable rules for great kitchen design, it is the Work Triangle. In most kitchens, the main work is done at the cooktop, the sink and the refrigerator.
These three elements form the work triangle of the kitchen and they should be close to each other without any obstacles in between them — with the one-wall kitchen being an exception. The concept got its start with an industrial engineer back in the 1920s in an effort to optimize kitchen layouts.
A few things to know about the Kitchen Work Triangle and general kitchen efficiency:
- No appliances or cabinets should interfere with the flow of the triangle.
- Major household traffic should now flow through the triangle.
- Entry doors should not impede any appliances and the door of one appliance should not interfere with another.
- If your kitchen has only one sink, make sure that you place it across from the cooktop and refrigerator.
- There should be countertop space on each side of your sink, ideally at least 20 inches on one side and about 25 inches on the other.
- The dishwasher should be near the sink.
- There should be countertop space next to or across from the refrigerator and on both sides of the cooktop.
- Every cooktop needs some type of ventilation system, but it should not be installed under an operable window.
- The National Kitchen and Bath Association has guidelines on optimum kitchen spacing of all kinds that you can consult.
The 6 Basic Kitchen Layout Types
Before you choose a specific layout, think about how you and your family tend to use the kitchen. If you have a larger space, you may have more options. Consider not only the kitchen itself but also the way it relates to the rest of the living space around it — if there is any.
- Do you need room for a dining table, or is there one elsewhere in the immediate living space?
- What shape is the existing space you are working with?
- Are there other restrictions on your new space with regard to the configuration or arrangement of your work triangle?
1. One-Wall Kitchen
Typically found in small spaces, the one-wall kitchen is exactly that: Cabinets and appliances arranged across a single wall. Peruse kitchen cabinets pictures and you’ll see how this layout can be very effective in a small home or apartment, especially with an open plan living space.
- This type of kitchen layout is simple and doesn’t take up a lot of space, especially if the design includes both upper and lower cabinetry.
- Since there is usually not a lot of space for this kitchen layout, it’s important to use all the vertical space that you can by extending cabinetry to the ceiling.
- Also, it’s generally most efficient to install the range in the middle and the refrigerator and sink at opposite ends.
2. Galley Kitchen
The Galley kitchen is very common in some older homes and also in urban apartments as well as smaller residences. It is essentially double the footprint of the one-wall kitchen. In a galley kitchen layout, two rows of cabinets face each other across the floor space in two straight lines. This type of layout is super efficient because there are no wasted corners and it makes the most of the space available.
- Galley kitchens offer up more options for storage space.
- For bigger families, it helps to limit the work areas along one wall of the galley to minimize interference from multiple people.
3. L-Shaped Kitchen
Great for any size of space, an L-shaped kitchen is exactly that: cabinets and appliances positioned along two walls that are perpendicular. Look at kitchen pictures and you’ll see that there are lots of options for configuring the work triangle and the other elements of your kitchen.
- L-shaped kitchens are a flexible design, but they do include corner cabinets with can be a challenge and often end up containing wasted space.
- The corner of the L is a good spot for a walk-in pantry.
- L-shaped kitchens are ideal for an island and/or for a breakfast nook opposite the corner.
4. U-Shaped Kitchen
If your space is large enough for a u-shaped kitchen, this is a marvelous layout for ideal workflow and loads of storage. This kitchen design layout typically has cabinetry along three walls and provides a perfect spot for a work triangle that will be out of the way if others are in the kitchen.
- U-shaped kitchens can feel a bit claustrophobic if the cabinetry goes to the ceiling all the way around, so it’s best to do this on just two walls.
- Try to keep the work areas at the opposite end from where the most foot traffic flows.
5. The Island Kitchen
Probably the most common choice for an open plan living space, the island kitchen is ideal because the center island incorporates extra workspace, storage and even appliances. It’s also a great way to incorporate some casual seating in the kitchen by arranging stools along one side.
- The presence of the island helps create a natural traffic flow through the kitchen.
- The island can serve many purposes, from dining or prep space, to a social gathering area or space for serving food and drinks.
- The kitchen has to be large enough to comfortably accommodate the island.
6. Peninsula Kitchen
Similar to an island kitchen, the Peninsula kitchen has a counter that extends out from the rest of the cabinetry or from a wall. This can be a good option for those who want an island but can’t really fit one into the space.
- A peninsula kitchen layout has the same benefits as an island, with more storage and options for use in entertaining and dining.
- In a small kitchen that feels very closed-in, a peninsula can make it feel more open, especially of cabinetry above the counter is eliminated.
Make a Detailed Kitchen Floor Plan
Once you have your lists and desired layout, it’s time to draw up a scaled floorplan for your new kitchen. If you’re not handy with this sort of thing, the kitchen professional or builder you are working with can do this for you this is essential so that the kitchen flows with the rest of the home, especially in an open plan living space.
Of course, looking at lots of kitchen pictures and kitchen cabinets pictures can help guide your floorplan, but so can cutting out scaled pieces of paper or cardboard to plan it out. Or, some people may prefer to go the high-tech route and use one of the many kitchen planning apps or software packages that are available.
Pull Together All Your Ideas
This is where all those kitchen pictures that you’ve been looking at come into play. Whether you have a file of magazine pictures, a Pinterest board or a folder full of website links, this is where you can start choosing the elements and look that you want. It’s also the part where your budget comes into play.
- Make sure that your choices fit with the style of your home and the kitchen look that you want.
- What colors and materials do you want to use?
- Start attaching costs to all the appliances, cabinetry, flooring, lighting and other things you want to have. You may find that you need to compromise on some of your desires to stay within the budget, and the list of priorities you drew up earlier can help guide those choices.
Choose a Kitchen Color Palette
White kitchens are still hugely popular, even if some designers have grown weary of the trend and moved on. That said, color in the kitchen is having a moment and that can be incorporated in a number of places: Painted cabinets, the backsplash or kitchen walls.
- White, off-white and very light gray — These are by far the most popular colors for a kitchen. Light colors help project a clean feel for the kitchen and make it feel bright and cheery. They also provide a neutral base for other decor elements while creating a versatile look that resells well.
- Gray in the rest of the house may be waning, but for the kitchen, it’s still a trend. This hue is a great choice for traditional or contemporary style kitchens — along with the ubiquitous farmhouse style.
- Dark colors are also having their day. Bold and dramatic is a growing trend and can be a good choice for something really different
- Bold colors are a good choice for painted cabinetry. Deep greens and moody blues are showing up more frequently in today’s kitchen renovations.
Choose the Materials and Finishes
Armed with your list of desires and budget, start choosing the materials and finishes that you want in your kitchen. You can get a lot of ideas from kitchen cabinets pictures before you make a final choice.
The kitchen is a very important space so it’s advisable to get the best quality you can afford. In fact, some of the embellishments in the kitchen can wait until later if there is no room in the budget. Hardware is easy to upgrade and putting in a new faucet is not difficult, so you can always upgrade those types of smaller elements later.
- Start with the big stuff. Choose the cabinets, flooring and countertops first. Everything else will flow from those choices.
- Keep in mind the look and style you’re going for as you make the choices.
- Be mindful about the care that certain surfaces require. Some countertops require more maintenance and caution than others.
Choose a kitchn countertop material.
Kitchen trends come and go, and while you want a fresh look, don’t be a slave to the current trend.
- Choose countertop materials that provide the look you want and the level of maintenance that you’ll be comfortable with. Countertops are an investment and you’ll want to keep them looking like new.
- If your budget doesn’t allow for doing the whole kitchen with your countertop material of choice, consider mixing materials. It’s a common thing to do and you can. find plenty of examples when looking at kitchen pictures.
- Be sure the material you choose works with your style of kitchen.
Quality counts when it comes to kitchen cabinets. These too are a major investment. Each choice has its plusses and minuses and all of them can be beautiful and durable. Your kitchen consultant or cabinetry expert will help you choose the best option for your kitchen and budget.
- Solid wood is the best choice for many kitchens and it can be stained to your choice of finish.
- Engineered wood, like particleboard and MDF, cannot be stained because it has no grain. This type usually has a veneer, can be painted or covered with laminate or thermofoil.
- Particleboard is often used for the interior boxes of cabinetry and for the shelving.
- Plywood is an option and it generally is more expensive than the engineered wood products. Sometimes plywood is used in combination with solid wood for all-wood cabinetry.
- Metal may be less popular, but it can be a good choice for a modern kitchen. This is especially true with stainless steel, which is also found in professional kitchens.
- Laminate is a plastic product of the same variety that you’ll find on countertops. While these can be used for the face of cabinets, more often it is on the inside of the cabinets and doors so that they are easier to clean. Melamine is a similar material.
- Thermofoil is a vinyl film is used to cover cabinet doors, boxes, and the fronts of drawers. Thermofoil cabinetry is typically made of an engineered wood like particleboard or MDF.
The Importance of the Backsplash
More than just decorative, the backsplash serves a really important purpose: Creating a surface behind the cooktop and the workspace that is easy to clean and protects the wall itself. Browse a selection of kitchen backsplash pictures and you can see that there are many ways to design a backsplash. That said, there are generally five main materials that are used for a backsplashhttps://www.homedit.com/top-10-diy-kitchen-backsplash-ideas/.
The traditional choice for a kitchen backsplash material, ceramic is the easiest to care for and cleans up easily. Ceramic tiles are available in a practically endless array of styles, designs and colors.
These tiles are a lot like ceramic because they are easy to clean, but are also pricier. They tend to be shinier and can help make the kitchen seem a little brighter. Like ceramic, there is a wide range of styles, colors, shapes and sizes to choose from.
Stone is a great choice and if you look at kitchen backsplash pictures, you can see that it provides a very textural, organic look in the kitchen. That said, it is porous and will require more maintenance and care to stay looking like new.
Panels made from metal can be used as the backsplash and they generally have interesting designs stamped into the metal. Most often made from brass, stainless steel or copper, they can add some shine and a new type of texture into the kitchen.
Wood can be a completely viable backsplash, especially in a more rustic setting. Whether you choose shiplap or something more rustic, the surface must be properly sealed and maintained to prevent damage from grease or splatters. Be sure to check local building codes first however: Some require a nonflammable backsplash.
Pick Your Flooring
Kitchen flooring has to be durable and. easy to care for, above all. Sure, you want it to look good, but keep maintenance in mind. These are some of the most popular types of kitchen flooring:
- Ceramic or porcelain tile is a good choice because it is durable, easy to clean and does not have to be expensive. It’s strong and resists dirt and moisture, although it can be slippery if wet.
- Natural stone tile is available in a wide range of styles and price points. While it is popular and durable, it can be damaged by dropping heavy items and does require some care.
- Hardwood is very popular even though it has a higher cost than some other options. It’s durable, looks great and works will all styles of kitchens. Maintenance is simple.
- Cork has price point similar to wood. Buyers love this option because it’s more cushioned underfoot and minimizes noise. Cork is a more delicate material and can scratch or dent, and has to be sealed every four years.
- Bamboo is on par with hardwood with regard to cost, but it is far more sustainable because bamboo grows so quickly.
- Vinyl flooring in the kitchen is a budget-friendly option and you might be shocked when you see the modern offerings. Many look just like wood or tile and cost a fraction of the other choices.
Plan Layered Kitchen Lighting
Look through lots of kitchen pictures and you’ll see that the most attractive and functional kitchens have several different types of lighting. Just as in any other room, a kitchen needs these types of lighting:
- In the kitchen, ambient light needs to be sufficient to work at the prep space with good visibility.
- When it comes to task lighting, a few areas of the kitchen are a must for good illumination: work surfaces, the cooktop and the sink space. In addition to general overhead lighting, under-cabinet lighting is a valuable addition.
- Accent lighting is the fun. stuff: the dramatic fixture over the dining table or the pendants over the island. If you have glass-fronted cabinets, consider adding lighting to those as well.
Planning a new kitchen or a kitchen renovation is really exciting and should not be daunting if you’ve done your research and all the planning outlined above. Unless this is a DIY project, your kitchen professional — contractor or designer — will help you finalize all the things you want along with confirming the items in your budget. Even if you’re not planning a new kitchen right now, it’s fun to look at all the kitchen pictures as you look for ideas and inspiration!
How do You Plan a Kitchen Design?
First, make a list of what’s important. While it’s a lot of fun to look at kitchen pictures to see what’s new and innovative, you have to decide on elements that will stay within your budget and within the space available. Next, What things do you want to have in your kitchen? This list should include everything from specific appliances and pull-out shelving to built-in coffee machines, pot fillers and types of lighting. Finally, pick a kitchen design layout that is suitable for the space you have to work with.
What is a Work Triangle?
In most kitchens, the main work is done at the cooktop, the sink and the refrigerator. These three elements form the work triangle of the kitchen and they should be close to each other without any obstacles in between them — with the one-wall kitchen being an exception.
What are the 6 Basic Kitchen Layouts?
Kitchens generally follow one of six basic layouts. Your choice may be determined by the amount and shape of space that you have available:
- One-wall kitchen, where all the cabinetry and appliances are positioned against a single wall.
- Galley kitchen, which has two rows of cabinets that face each other across the floor space in two straight lines.
- L-Shaped kitchen features cabinets and appliances positioned along two walls that are perpendicular.
- U-shaped kitchen typically has cabinetry along three walls.
- Island kitchen has an island in the middle of the kitchen area.
- Peninsula kitchen has a counter that extends out from the rest of the cabinetry or from a wall.
How Do I Make a Floorplan?
Although the kitchen professional you work with will likely generate a floorplan to scale, many people prefer to make one for themselves and play with it first. This can be done with graph paper and cut-outs of the main appliances and other features or using a design app or software package.
How Do I Choose the Materials and Finishes?
Following your lists and budget, choose the materials and finishes that you want in your kitchen starting with the major elements. By this, we mean the countertops, cabinets and flooring. Your picks for these pieces will drive your choices for all the other parts.
Do I Need a Backsplash?
Absolutely. The backsplash is not just for decoration and serves a really important purpose: Creating a surface behind the cooktop and the workspace that is easy to clean and protects the wall. Look at lots of kitchen backsplash pictures and choose a design and material that works for your look and lifestyle.
How Do I Choose Kitchen Flooring?
Beyond style and budget, a major consideration for flooring is how much care and maintenance a particular surface requires. Be sure to explore all the flooring options and find one that fits with the level of maintenance you are will to devote to its care and cleaning.
What Kind of Lighting Does a Kitchen Need?
A kitchen needs the same kind of layered lighting that the other rooms in the home do. Ambient lighting should be bright enough for kitchen prep work. Task lighting is best over main work areas like the cooktop, sink and some workspaces. Accent lighting provides the kitchen wow factor over the dining area or over the island or peninsula.
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