Design your ideal kitchen by following these pro tips.

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Q: We are planning to remodel our kitchen. What are some considerations an industry professional thinks of for a successful kitchen renovation?

A: Planning your dream kitchen is a very exciting time with seemingly no limits on what is possible. That said, it can be a bit overwhelming. Here are some key considerations to ensure a successfully designed kitchen that will meet your expectations.

1. Plan your layout

The modern kitchen layout consists of work areas for appliances, prep and clean-up. More than one person is usually in the kitchen at the same time, either working or socializing. During the design phase, account for adequate traffic flow around your work areas and seating to ensure the most efficient and comfortable use of your kitchen.

There are different approaches to preparing a meal, and your approach will dictate your final layout. Considerable counter space and closely located appliances are ideal for those who make an assembly line from the fridge to the stove. Others need plenty of cabinets nearby to allow for easy access to every possible utensil and pan. Still others prefer a clean as they go approach; they need a balance of usable counter space, appliance storage and easily accessible waste containers.

Efficient cleanup is possible! The dishwasher and sink are naturally located together. Don’t forget to locate your waste receptacle near the sink in a dedicated pull-out cabinet. Also, consider a compost receptacle for food waste.

2. Blend aesthetics and practicality

The function of your new kitchen is just as important as its aesthetic quality.

Countertops allow you to put your personal style on display. They also serve as landing spaces for hot dishes, groceries and corded appliances, the last a detail that is at times overlooked in design. The countertop edge also matters. Flat edges, typically standard on slab surfaces, clean easily. Consider a rounded edge for comfortable counter seating. Prior to fabrication, consider rounding corners or adding 45-degree corner cuts to avoid any safety hazards or poor traffic flow.

To gain counter space, consider enlarging or adding an island. Islands can include additional cabinets, a breakfast bar or shelving. Other options that offer extra space are a mobile island, a foldaway cart or counter bump out.

There are four key types of lighting to think of during design. Task lighting helps illuminate a specific work area. Ambient light softens the room by eliminating sharp lines and shadows. Accent lighting highlights a specific item or detail. Decorative lighting is the focal lighting attraction, such as a chandelier.

3. Maximize function and while maintaining safety

Today’s cabinets can be ordered to exact specifications, maximizing drawer and shelf space. Your cabinet designer can tell you about all the bells and whistles available to improve the function of your space. Keep in mind the door swings of cabinets and appliances, as to not block access to something critical to a specific task. Some forethought about where you’ll store what is the detail that will allow you to operate in your new space with ease.

An adequate number of electrical outlets must be considered when remodeling your kitchen. Additional outlets eliminate dangerous situations where cords are stretched across the sink, cooktop or walkways. The convenience and safety of having power nearby will outweigh the cost of a few extra outlets and ensure that your home stays compliant with current building codes.

Time spent prioritizing how you work and live in your kitchen during preconstruction will pay big dividends once your remodel is complete.


Joe Reed is the owner of Home Run Solutions and a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS), and HomeWork is the group’s weekly column. If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBAKS’s nearly 3,000 members, write to