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Kitchen Remodel Priorities: What Matters Most to You?

Kitchen Remodel Priorities: What Matters Most to You?

Many new construction homes and even renovations prioritize cookie-cutter kitchen layouts over functionality. This one-size-fits-all approach fails to consider how homeowners will use their kitchens and how it will function for their everyday life. The result is a space that may look great but doesn't meet the homeowner's specific needs and lifestyle.

How do you get a custom kitchen that truly meets your needs? Rather than just heading to Houzz, Pinterest, or Instagram for inspiration, you need to figure out what is and isn’t working for you in your home. First, you must decide what matters to you most. Do you crave more kitchen cabinet storage, a better floor plan for entertaining, or new appliances? Are you wishing for more countertop space, including an island? More seating for family and friends so you can all chat while meal prep is happening?

Defining what is most meaningful for you in a kitchen renovation is the best way to design the right kitchen for you and your family. Here are some top considerations for prioritizing your needs and wants in a kitchen remodel.

What Are The Most Important Factors to Consider When Planning a Kitchen Remodel?

The first step is to define what is not working in the current kitchen layout. What frustrates you daily? It might be constantly bumping into family members as you pack kids’ lunches in the morning. Or are you tripping over a dishwasher while someone unloads it? Waiting to pass by while someone decides why they opened the refrigerator door?

You may store small appliances like an Instant Pot, Crockpot, or Kitchen Aid mixer in hallway closets, the basement, or spare rooms. Maybe you are storing bulk foodstuff in the basement or garage.

Another big driver of kitchen renovation is a lack of countertop space. There’s nothing worse than trying to work and having items fall off kitchen countertops.

Poorly constructed cabinet doors can fall off hinges or slam loudly. Old drawers can fall off track and stay that way. Corner cabinets can be difficult to access and lead to wasted space.

Whether you are experiencing all of the above or a general sense that the kitchen is outdated, you are the best equipped to define what is lacking in the current kitchen design. 

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Functional Priorities: Determine How You Would Like To Use The Space

Now, it’s time to think about how to solve the challenges you’ve identified. To understand how you use the kitchen, here are some helpful questions to ask:

  • How many people typically work in the kitchen at once?
  • Are you the kind of family that tends to gather around the cooking area? 
  • Do you have young children that you'd like to keep an eye on while you’re cooking? Do you need space for children to do homework?
  • Do you have sit-down dinners with your family regularly?
  • Do you love to entertain but lack enough space or the right flow?
  • Do you need better access to small appliances that you use daily?
  • Do you love to cook, and would you like high-end, larger, or customized pieces from somewhere like AGA or Subzero panel-ready appliances?
  • What space will the kitchen connect to? Would you like an open-concept space that looks out into a family room, an adjacent mudroom, or an open dining space? Defining the flow and adjacent space needs in this step is important to planning a successful remodel.

Your design-build partner should be asking these kinds of questions. If you have some of these answers at hand, the process of designing your ideal kitchen will go even more smoothly.

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Design Priorities: How the Space Looks and How it Makes You Feel 

The kitchen needs to be functional, but it also needs to be a place where you want to spend time. That’s what design priorities are all about. Especially if you enjoy cooking and entertaining, you want a kitchen that enhances your experience of the space, along with that of your family and guests. 

We recommend our clients create a Houzz board to help visually define their design inspiration. This information is incredibly helpful to our designers as they look for themes and patterns in the design hopes and dreams you express through the Houzz board. How do you make the most of this resource? Favorite any photos you like, and write a sentence below about what draws you to this picture. Be as specific as possible.

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We consider your ideas and answers about how you use your kitchen to design a functional layout. This layout is then visualized using 3D renderings, which are computer-generated images that give you a realistic idea of what your final kitchen will look like. In the 3D rendering, you can also include existing furniture to ensure the size of a favorite kitchen table or other furnishings will work well in the newly renovated space. This lets you see the final selection choices to ensure they look cohesive in the new kitchen space. 

How do you determine what materials and finishes are the right fit for your kitchen remodel? Considering your daily habits and who lives in the household (including animals) will help you prioritize the types of materials you choose.

Countertops and Backsplashes

There are many options for kitchen countertops and backsplashes, from classic choices like quartz countertops and quartzite to butcher blocks and granite. Marble is stunning and increasingly popular, but it's high-maintenance. Consider your family's lifestyle to ensure the material you choose fits seamlessly into your daily routine without causing unnecessary stress. For instance, a quartz countertop won't be affected by a small spill of red wine, whereas the same spill could stain a marble countertop.

Creating a design focal point with a unique kitchen backsplash material is also popular. If you cook a lot, you may want a solid surface behind your range because it is easier to wipe clean than traditional tile backsplash material with many grout lines.

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Flooring

Do you want natural wood, an engineered material, or tile as flooring in your kitchen? Comparing the durability, maintenance, and ease of cleaning is important when deciding on the right flooring. Does your home have pets or small children? If so, durability and cleanliness will be a high priority. If you chose wood, talk to your contractor about ways to increase the durability of the finish.

Again, working with an experienced design-build general contractor who will help guide you through must-know information on durability, maintenance, ease of use, and what materials will best suit your family’s lifestyle is critical to the success of your kitchen makeover.

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Lighting

A kitchen remodel is the perfect time to update the lighting design. Here are some of the different types of lighting you should consider adding to your kitchen remodel project:

  • Ambient lighting, or ‘diffused lighting,’ is typically used as the primary light source in the space and includes a soft light that evenly fills the space. Examples include recessed ceiling lights, track lighting fixtures, or flush mount lighting. 
  • Accent lighting “sets the mood” of the room and highlights specific areas or architectural features of the kitchen space. Examples include unique pendant lighting over the kitchen island, sconces, toe kick lighting on the lower cabinets, and puck lights in cabinets with glass doors.
  • ‘Task Lighting‘ allows you to see what you’re doing safely. This brighter and more focused light is typically placed in areas where food preparation happens, including above the kitchen island, under-cabinet lighting, and lighting placed above the sink and stove.  
  • As the name suggests, natural light can be increased by adding skylights, windows, solar tubes, doors, etc.

Ideally, your kitchen design will incorporate all of these lighting design elements. You’ll want to work with an interior designer to determine where and how the lighting plan complements the design plan. You might also want to install smart home lighting and switches. These systems can be controlled with your voice, automated schedules, or home automation systems.

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Design Wish List

spice cabinet pull out drawer-min-1Additional features could include smudge-free appliances, which are great for households with children and animals, custom cabinetry, pot filler faucets above the range, a prep sink added to the kitchen island, a custom dry or wet bar with a dedicated beverage refrigerator, appliance garages, custom lighting, and more.

Being honest about your lifestyle and daily habits will help you create a space you’ll enjoy living in rather than one that you must protect and showcase. For example, if you’re not the type of person who wipes down their countertop every day, marble–which tends to stain and mark up easily–is not the best choice.

Putting All Your Priorities Together

Don't settle for a generic kitchen remodel. Invest in a design-build firm that prioritizes understanding your family's habits and routines. Analyzing your daily life upfront will ensure your dream kitchen maximizes both functionality and value.

An experienced design-build company goes beyond simply taking orders. They'll introduce innovative materials and solutions you might not have even thought of. Their proactive approach empowers you to make informed decisions, avoiding a cookie-cutter design that doesn't reflect your unique lifestyle.

To begin planning your kitchen remodel, download the eBook "The Ultimate Step-by-Step Home Renovation Transformation Guide."