FIRST THINGS FIRST
1. What is your budget?
Designing a new kitchen is a big, long-term investment. Costs tend to pile up quickly when you bring together cabinetry, appliances, backsplashes, countertops, flooring, and lighting. Plumbing, electrical and structural work might also be required, depending on the existing conditions. It is therefore important to have a clear idea of what you can afford.
2. What do you like and what don’t you like about your existing kitchen?
You should be able to list what works and what doesn’t in your current kitchen, as a point of reference for the designer. Keep in mind whether there are things that are going to be changing in your lifestyle, which will call for changes in the way you utilize your kitchen. Things that work now might not apply in the future if, say, you plan on modifying your entertaining habits, new family members are going to be moving in, and so on.
3. Do you consider the kitchen as just another room in the house or is it more of a living space and the heart of the home, where you and your family will spend most of your time?
The preference will determine major decisions like space and layout of the kitchen.
4. How many people are going to be using the kitchen?
Decisions about the kitchen’s design will be dictated by factors like whether there are kids or elderly in the household who will be using the kitchen, and whether there will always be only one cook at a time or more than one person working together.
5. Do you want space for ‘dining’ in the kitchen?
If so, is it going to be “casual” (i.e. island seating) or “formal”, like a separate dining table? How many people will you need to accommodate on a regular basis?
6. Are you going to do a lot of entertaining in the kitchen?
Think about how many people you will likely host, on average, at your social gatherings. Also, what type of entertaining are you most likely to do: casual or more formal?
7. Will you be using the kitchen for activities outside of cooking and preparing meals?
This question is linked to #3 above: the more you think of your kitchen as an all-around living space, the more extra activities will take place there; things like kids doing their homework or playing and adults using the kitchen as a satellite office space.
8. What type of storage do you require?
Decisions on kitchen storage will likely stem from other questions, like how much you’re going to entertain, how many people will cook at the same time, and your grocery shopping patterns. You should take inventory of the kitchenware you have and its frequency of use. Also, factor in non-kitchen items that you’d like to keep in the kitchen. Finally, the presence of elderly and children will influence storage solutions.
9. What are your appliance preferences?
Think gas vs. electric cooking, additional refrigeration, double ovens, integrated appliances, smart appliances that can be regulated remotely, commercial-looking appliances such as those from Wolf or Viking or the more streamlined style of European brands like Miele and Gaggenau.
10. What are your shopping preferences?
Do you usually shop every couple of days, once a week, less frequently? Do you stack up on durable supplies once a month and buy fresh ingredients a couple of times per week? This will help determine your storage and refrigeration needs.
11. How do you like to cook?
Do you mostly make quick meals or prepare elaborate recipes that require a lot of preparation and cleaning afterwards? Do you do a lot of reheating? Do you cook a lot of ethnic foods?
12. What kind of style do you want?
Is it contemporary, modern, traditional, or transitional? Do you want something minimalistic or richer and eclectic? Don’t limit yourself to the existing style of the home. Just think of what you would like to have: different styles can be brought together to complement each other and the designer will help you accomplish that.
13. What color palette do you prefer?
Having a general idea of the colors you want to have in your kitchen might help choose the cabinetry, as not all models might be available in the color range you want. 1
4. What kinds of material do you like?
Woods, lacquers, natural stones, glass, tiles, metal? Do you prefer a more polished, shinier look or do you want to gravitate towards materials that look more raw and textured?
15. What other style requirements do you have?
Think of elements such as particular space you might need to display art or other objects, extra elements you might want to incorporate (like a big TV or bookshelves), and any lighting preferences you might have.