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Things to Remember When Redesigning a Kitchen

By Brett Freeman
Things to Remember When Redesigning a Kitchen

For many homeowners, the kitchen is where they spend most of their waking hours at home. The kitchen is no longer just a place to cook--it's a place to eat, to socialize, to open mail, and pay bills. When redesigning your kitchen, keep in mind the different things you do in that room so that you end up with a kitchen that not only looks great, but one that functions better as well.

First and Foremost, You Cook in the Kitchen

No matter how great your new kitchen looks, if it's not convenient to cook in, it will drive you crazy over time. Consider all of the different areas you need to access when you cook--the refrigerator, the stove, the sink, the pantry, the garbage can.

A good kitchen layout allows you to stand at your work space and be within two unobstructed steps of all of these areas. The unobstructed part is critical. If something such as a kitchen island juts into the work space, your primary chef can develop a nasty hip bruise level with the countertop.

Let There Be Light

Kitchen lighting can be tricky. Recessed lighting fixtures can illuminate most of the work areas just fine. In work areas not located on a kitchen island, however, you often have cabinets and the body of the chef blocking out any direct light from overhead fixtures. Popular darker colored countertops like granite are beautiful but they absorb rather than reflect light. Under-cabinet lighting may be the answer. That way you are better able to see what you're chopping up with those sharp knives.

Go With a Positive Flow

You don't need to consult a feng shui expert to create the right kind of flow in your kitchen. You just need to be aware of how your family uses the kitchen--then you can all be in there together without getting in each other's way. If your family likes to cook together, make sure there are extra work spaces for your sous chefs, ideally with access to the refrigerator without crossing the primary work space. If this isn't possible, then at least make sure there is plenty of room for people to move past one another. If you like to socialize while cooking, a breakfast bar with stools puts visitors in the kitchen area with you, and at eye level, but also keeps them out of the way while you work.

Is Your Kitchen Also Your Office?

The once ubiquitous home office or den has given way to media rooms and bonus rooms in many modern homes. The result of this is a de facto loss of counter space in the kitchen, as the bills, mail, and paperwork that once would have been tended to in the den now end up awaiting your intention on the kitchen counter. If this is the case in your house, consider putting a small built-in desk in your kitchen. This not only frees up your counter space, but also makes paying bills and managing paperwork easier by giving you a designated work space.

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