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What Are the Most Important Things to Consider when Planning a New Kitchen?

What Are the Most Important Things to Consider when Planning a New Kitchen?

Here’s a great article by Timothy Sexton, for the Yahoo! Network, on the most important considerations when planning a kitchen remodel.

By Timothy Sexton, Yahoo! Contributor Network

Planning a new kitchen can very often commence with the sterling silver hope of a lifelong dream only to end up with the dull rusted metal of a nightmare gone way off the tracks. Some mixing of metaphor there, of course, but you get the idea. And if not, here it is spelled out in no uncertain terms: the more precisely you plan ahead for your new kitchen, taking in every possible element of surprise that could occur and come up with at least two backup plans, the more likely your dream kitchen will become a dream reality. You probably cannot begin planning a new kitchen too far ahead of time, but at least give yourself a good six to eight months of time before the first contractor shows up or you make your first trip to the hardware store.

The Layout

Every other decision you will make about your kitchen depends on the layout. You must decide on the floor plan and how you will utilize that space beforehand and commit to it before you start buying up appliances and picking out new countertops. Basically you only have five or six choices and maybe less depending on the space actually available. Your dream kitchen can be constructed to look like the letter “L” or “U” or it can resemble a galley with items on each side of a single corridor down the middle or it can feature that same corridor but with everything on just one side packed in tightly together. Options to amend these basic designs include the addition of a full island or a peninsular counter extension. If you’ve got the ability and finances to draw up a unique plan for the kitchen that veers away from these standard designs, by all means feel free to do so while keeping in mind that most kitchen equipment and décor is mass produced to fit into those strict blueprints and you may unwittingly be setting yourself up for the necessity of buying everything in a customized size or shape.


The dream of most people who are designing and planning their dream kitchen involves at least to some degree freeing themselves from the oppression of the architect who originally designed the kitchen area. Never have enough cabinet space and never will. Keep than in mind when you begin planning for more kitchen cabinetry. No matter how well you plan ahead and think you’ve beaten the odds, you are almost certainly doomed to walking into your newly designed kitchen one day and realizing you didn’t plan for enough cabinet space. Part of the problem is that cabinet building material can quickly start eating away at your budget so you start to tailor away from grandiose dreams of not only more cabinetry, but more appealing cabinetry. Then you’ve got to sit down and think about functionality and how to fit the most functional cabinet design into the overall space available. Do you go with larger cabinets up top or do you choose to place Lazy Susans in each of those along the floor to take full advantage of the limited area down there? Take a look at how high your ceiling in the kitchen reaches and be honest about how efficient choosing cabinets that go all the way to ceiling will be. Are you really going to put stuff in them that you have to use a stool to get to every time or would you just rather place some decorative items on top of the standard sized cabinets and not worry about it? These are primal decisions to consider and the earlier you can commit the better off you will be. Another alternative to seriously give some thought to is how much more efficiently you can run the kitchen by building a pantry in place of extra cabinetry. A pantry may not be nearly as aesthetically pleasing, but it can cut down on money and time that will ultimately be considered wasted.

Changing Power Supplies

If you’ve got access to heating with gas and you’ve been using electricity because that’s what came with the house, then kick the electrical appliances to the curb and replace them with gas versions. You may be putting out more money than you want in the short run, but over the long term not only will you save money cooking with gas, you’ll also benefit from the greater control you have over the exact amount of heat you are using. Trying to figure out exactly how much heat is produced by electrical coils is a crapshoot on a good day, but any kid can tell you when you are wasting gas with a larger than necessary flame beneath a pan.

The Small Touches

Kitchens are by nature packed with a sizable number of small touches that all add up to either increased or decreased efficiency. Consider cabinet doors for example. Doors without handles provide a streamlined decorative touch, but when you’ve got oily fingers from cooking it can be practically impossible to get those doors open. The matter of choosing something as seemingly innocuous as a door hinge can ultimately impact the enjoyment of everything else in the kitchen. Make sure that you choose hinge types that allow doors to easily stay open if you are going to be retrieving food items from inside on a regular basis. By way of contrast is the choice for a door hinge that snaps shut automatically so that it isn’t left there wide open just waiting for you to run into it when you cross back over that way. Highly decorative door pulls and cabinet handles look fantastic on display inside a hardware or home design store. Two years from now when they’ve been subject to greasy fingers, exploding soda bottles and the impact of a countless toys that pretty luster is going to be about as inviting as that Charlie Sheen. Think ahead in all cases about how the kitchen is naturally exposed to more traffic and a greater amount of potential problematic scenarios than something like a bedroom or spare bathroom.


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