Kitchen Design Planning

Kitchen design planning is the foundation of any new kitchen.

There are three important basics to contemplate in planning your new kitchen design:

What do you want?

What do you need?

What can you afford?

In kitchen design planning, making all three work together will help you create the ideal kitchen for you! Let's take them in the order of their importance...

What can you afford?

This is the place to start your planning. Sure, you've read that you'll recover 100% of your costs when you remodel a kitchen, BUT...

  • If you plan to sell your house soon, this may not be true. Spend with caution! Buy higher-end appliances and fixtures (they help sell a house!), but look for ways to conserve, such as avoiding expensive specialty cabinets. (See Cheap Kitchen Makeovers for lots of cost-cutting ideas.)
  • If you plan to stay in your house for another 10 years or more, throw caution to the winds!

What do you need?

Well, sure, the obvious answer - new appliances, cabinets, countertops.

But good kitchen design planning includes sweating the small stuff: think about small, practical needs like adding extra outlets.

Consider the future, might want to run TV cable now, for a little TV you might add later.

Also...assess your stuff! You're planning a kitchen design to house all your stuff, so...

  • Open your cabinets. Is there a bunch of junk in there you never use?
  • Look at your countertops. If you want more counter space, consider where in your new kitchen you might stow away countertop hogs like canisters.
  • Will you be buying new dishes or small appliances? Think about changing where you keep things now. Is there a better way?

What do you want?

This can be the toughest decision of all. Maybe you don't KNOW what you just know you don't want the kitchen you've got now!

  • Either way, buy a notebook. A plain 3-ring binder with plastic insert pages to hold clippings and notes. This notebook will become your friend, diary, inspiration, and decision-helper - an integral part of kitchen design planning.
  • Cut clippings from kitchen and home magazines. Look for a style that's you - fits your house, lifestyle and makes your heart go pitty-pat.

This kitchen's owner got the idea for stainless steel "tiles" for her backsplash from an HG-TV show.

  • Go window shopping...hit kitchen showrooms, home centers. Look through drawers in the sample kitchens and you’ll usually come across a stack of cabinet manufacturers’ style books. Ask if you can take some home.

REMEMBER: Design for who you are today.

Is there kitchen “baggage” you’ve been carrying around since who knows when? Rethink that phrase, "I've always wanted a ____." Is this your taste TODAY?

Kitchen design planning can get, well, emotional

When in doubt...LISTEN TO YOUR HEART. In design, the big picture can start with just one item!

Is there something you’d LOVE to have in your new kitchen...and everyone is trying to talk you out of it?

I’m different from most kitchen designers. I won’t try to talk you out of your heartfelt desire for something so crazy no one else will take you seriously and everyone says you shouldn’t go there.

I say...


Pink retro appliances?

Why not?

Well, of course, there are drawbacks to any idea. And rest assured, everyone you know will LOVE pointing them out to you!

    "You’ll never re-sell this house with pink appliances. You’ll never be able to design a kitchen around pink. You’ll regret it one day. You’ll get tired of it. You won’t be happy with it." Yada yada yada.

Look, if you know the pros and the cons of any decision, and you still want what you want, then...


Now if your spouse says absolutely NO to pink appliances, you’ll have to work that one out between you.

But here’s a case in point:

My friend Sherri wanted to remodel her kitchen, and fell in love with a huge 100-year old woodworker’s workbench. She wanted to use it as an island, but the thing was a behemoth! It would only fit against a wall, making it impossible to have more cabinets than she had now.

"Open your cabinets and let’s see what’s inside," I said. She did. We gasped.

There was space to spare! In fact, she had a skinny cabinet next to her stove she’d never even opened, didn’t realize it was a cabinet!

We laughed.

"You DO have room for the bench because you don’t need a lot of cabinet space," I told her. We were both happy as clams.

Here’s Sherri’s workbench – the ULTIMATE in workspace.

The trough in back holds small appliances. The bottom shelf holds metal bins for cookware and miscellany.

Check out the rest of Sherri's unique kitchen at Eclectic Kitchen Design.

So if your heart is set on something you really, really, really want…

GET WHAT YOU WANT. Your design can flow from this starting point. You’ll be happy. And that's the whole idea, isn't it?

Now that we've covered Kitchen Design Planning, let's go on to the next step: kitchen drawing.

Kitchen Drawing

Kitchen Cabinet Sizes

Kitchen Design Basics

Order Kitchen Cabinets

Back to Design MY Kitchen

Return to Home Page from Kitchen Design Planning

Thinking of remodeling?

Keep a notebook or scrapbook of notes, clippings and ideas.

Kitchen magazines are expensive - look through them in the grocery checkout line. If you see pix of a kitchen you really like, buy that magazine.

Stop in at home centers and pick up any free cabinet manufacturers' catalogs.

See our DIY section...

...for how-to on kitchen remodeling - including
How To Tile a Backsplash.