The kitchen is the heart of the home and the core of any open floor plan. IDG senior designer Justin Szigeti has helped many families transform their kitchen spaces into beautiful, multi-functional areas that work for all. 

“The kitchen is a space where your family and guests congregate to socialize, eat and cook together,” Justin says. “But it’s no longer just for cooking. It’s also where you might catch up on work, do crafts with the kids or have your morning coffee with a book.”

In an era when kitchens work overtime, nailing the right design is essential. Ready to start the journey? Consider the tips ahead.

The Ritz-Carlton DeckHouse Kitchen

Create Smart Storage

Kitchens come with a lot of gadgets, but when we’re prepping food or helping our little ones with homework, it’s crucial that our counters are clutter-free. 

“The trick is creating ample storage that can house things like small appliances, utensils and cookware,” Justin says. “But it’s important that the storage we create is also accessible and properly programmed.”

Think about the way you cook and the products you use most often. You don’t want to be digging into a deep drawer or have your pots and pans at the top of a tall cupboard.

When you’re in the planning process, ask your designer about options such as rolling shelves or cupboards made specifically to tuck away large items like stand-mixers and juicers. Another hack that’s great for creating more space is having built-in appliances. 

Once you’ve found a home for your biggest kitchen items, don’t forget the small details.

“Spending some time on your drawer organization will help create a much more functional kitchen,” Justin explains. “There are a million cabinet inserts to make your drawers and cupboards more efficient. Consider what you need close by and program your cabinets to fit.”

Britannia Residences Kitchen

Choose Your Appliances Thoughtfully

You may think appliances are the final touch in a kitchen, but they are essential in mapping out the flow of a new space. 

“There are so many appliances to choose from based on function, size and configuration,” Justin says. “But to choose the right ones, you need to think about what’s important to you.”

How big of a fridge do you need? Would you prefer a drawer or vertical freezer? Do you bake a lot or make big meals? Maybe a double oven would be beneficial. Do you want a separate wine fridge or beverage cooler?

Understanding your routine, habits, and the appliances you’ll need from the start will help create a layout that works for your space.

“The dimensions between your appliances or workstations are important,” Justin says. “We want to ensure a good flow between these areas, especially when it comes to the sink, refrigerator and cooktop.” 

Seafire Residences Kitchen

Determine Your Color Palette and Materials

Now that you’ve got the floor plan down pat, it’s time to figure out the look and feel of the space. That includes the finishes on your cabinets and the surfaces for your countertops. 

“There are so many styles to choose from,” Justin says. “But we always recommend sticking with timeless options. Trendy cabinet colors and finishes will inevitably go out of style, so stick with something classic. You can always switch out the hardware for a more playful look.” 

There’s also maintenance to consider. For example, natural countertops, such as marble, travertine and wood, can stain easily and require proper sealing and care. In contrast, a material like quartz is heat-resistant, stain-resistant and super-durable. It’s also good to remember that painted cabinets chip easier than laminate.

“Something we’re seeing more people embrace is panel-ready appliances,” Justin says. “That’s when your appliances blend seamlessly into your cabinetry, giving a clean, cohesive look. If you choose this option, it’s important to ensure the appliances you’re buying are panel-ready.”

Stone Island Kitchen

Don’t Forget About Lighting

Kitchens have a lot of nooks and crannies, so ensure every area has adequate lighting. 

“We recommend integrating LED strips in your upper cabinets so that there are no dark corners,” Justin suggests.

Consider opting for light switches with a dimmer for adaptability. For example, while prepping food and cooking, you’ll want brighter lighting, but you may prefer a softer ambience once the meal is served. 

Pendant lights over an island or breakfast bar can help add personality to your space. Depending on the fixtures you choose, you can match lighting to suit. Whether industrial, coastal or another style, statement lighting can be a brilliant way to evoke different moods in your space.

Stone Island Kitchen

Kitchens are a significant investment, so making the right design choices is crucial. IDG will help you feel confident in your plan – book a complimentary consultation today.

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