A home revolves around its kitchen. Whether you’re eating with your family, hosting your friends or enjoying a quiet cup of coffee, the kitchen is the heart of a house. It’s the place where some of our best memories are made. So shouldn’t yours live up to your expectations?
Many homeowners think so. Kitchens are the most remodeled rooms in houses, and upgraded kitchens increase property value and appeal to home buyers. Whether you’re looking to make an upgrade for yourself or sell your house at a premium, kitchen renovations are a great investment. But if you want to do it well, you need a plan.
That’s why we created this guide to kitchen remodeling. We want to help you turn your space into a household haven and fill it with the luxuries you desire. Let’s get started.
How to Plan for a Kitchen Remodel
Renovations of kitchens don’t start with demolition. They start with dreaming up your ideal space. A kitchen has many moving parts that require you to understand your preferences, lifestyle and aspirations. This kitchen remodeling guide is all about giving you ideas and language to articulate your wants and needs to designers, contractors, architects and artisans. To do that best, you’ll need to start by knowing what you want in a luxury kitchen.
1. Collect Ideas
The first step in your remodel is to imagine your makeover. If you’re planning a renovation, you probably already have some changes in mind. Take a moment to write down some of those ideas in a notebook, on your phone or even with a Pinterest board. Build on these ideas by browsing pictures of kitchens. Look for patterns and ask yourself questions like:
- What are your kitchen must-haves?
- What colors keep popping up?
- What little details are you attracted to?
If you’re having trouble coming up with common themes among your choices, ask someone whose style you admire to review your favorites and see if they notice any trends. This will come in handy as you build out your renovation plan.
2. Consider Flow, Form and Function
Now that you have those ideas, let’s take a broad view of your space. A kitchen is more than counters, cabinets and appliances. It requires careful consideration of flow, or how you move through the kitchen; form, or how it looks; and function, or how you use it. These three factors work together to make a space aesthetically pleasing and functional. Let’s break them down.
Flow: Choosing a Layout
In the spirit of flow, we need to consider the layout of your kitchen. Layout dictates how you’re going to move around the room and use its amenities, like the stove, fridge and sink. These three actually make up something designers call the work triangle. Developed in the early 20th century, the work triangle is still the golden rule of kitchen design. The goal is to streamline the rotation between prepping at the sink, cooking at the stove and food storage in the refrigerator. The work triangle is the basis for some of the most popular kitchen layouts — L-shape, U-shape and G-shape.
L-shape kitchens are a tried-and-true layout due to their versatility and compatibility. True to its name, this layout looks like one long row of cabinetry that sits perpendicular to another shorter row of cabinetry. U-shape, or horseshoe, kitchens are laid out just like their name suggests, with cabinets running around three adjoining walls or by using a peninsula for the third wall. G-shape kitchens expand the U-shape by adding a peninsula to one of the two outer walls of the horseshoe. This creates even more counter and storage space or allows you to add some seating on the outside facing side of the cabinetry.
You may be wondering which of these is an open concept kitchen. The good news is that all these layouts can work well in an open concept home, as long as you use islands and peninsulas to make up some of the structural components of your layout. Another thing that most of these designs can incorporate is an island. Kitchen islands are a great addition to most layouts and can serve as additional space for prep, storage, seating, a second sink or appliances like wine coolers, drawer microwaves or dishwashers. As long as you keep your work triangle in mind, incorporating an island is an excellent way to give your space an added touch of luxury.
Form: Settling on a Style
When it comes to interior design, the list of styles is endless. While it can be good to get specific, it can also be overwhelming. When settling on a style, it’s best to consider what you’re already doing with the rest of your home decor — unless you plan on updating more spaces than this one. You don’t want your new kitchen renovation to stick out like a sore thumb. You want it to shine for the right reasons.
Take a look at the images and ideas you collected to see if any color palettes pop up. According to The Houzz 2021 Kitchen Trend Study, most renovations are favoring neutral colors with hints of grey, though some homeowners are testing out black appliances, gray flooring, colorful backsplashes and blue walls. Any style can create spectacular results. Just remember to keep cohesiveness in mind as your style guide.
Function: Imagining How You’ll Use It
Ultimately, a kitchen is a workspace. As you’re planning a kitchen renovation, think about how you already use it and what you can do to make those tasks easier or more enjoyable. Do you want a baker’s paradise? A chef’s oasis? A grillmaster’s haven? Do you want to try your hand at bread making or host wine tastings? Do you need ample counter space to prepare your annual Thanksgiving feast or the company Christmas party? Even if some of these things are only aspirations, dreaming up a kitchen that could turn them into a reality is worth your time and energy.
As you imagine how you want to use your kitchen, you’ll want to get specific about how much actual space you have to use. The available square footage can help you narrow down your options. A typical kitchen makes up 10% to 15% of a home’s floor plan, but knowing the exact number is important. Measure the room’s length and width, and then multiply those two numbers to get your total square footage. This may be helpful information to share with any professionals you hire.
Consider whether you plan to open up your space as well. Is your current kitchen too small for the design you’re dreaming up? You’ll want to bring in an architect if you plan to make any structural changes. But if you’re worried about space and expansion isn’t an option, remember that luxury isn’t always about size. Luxury is often found in your attention to detail.
Details of a Luxury Kitchen Renovation
You can add opulent touches to your space in several different ways. From high-end appliances to beautiful islands and organized storage, the opportunities are abundant. We’ve broken down some key kitchen details to help you expand your renovation plan and add a splash of luxury.
One of the cornerstones of a luxury kitchen remodel is appliances. When looking for your ideal appliances, think about factors like energy efficiency, special features, professional quality and style. Smart home and wireless technology are on the rise and worth investigating if you’re already using smart home tools like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home.
Here is a checklist of main appliances you’ll want to incorporate, as well as some tips for choosing the best one for you:
- Refrigerators: When considering this staple appliance, storage capacity is an important factor. Side-by-side or French door refrigerators tend to be more spacious compared to traditional fridges. Some modern smart refrigerators contain great features like tablet integration — they can even help you make a grocery list. If you have the space, you may even consider a walk-in fridge.
- Stoves and ranges: When considering a stove, you’ll have to decide between gas or electric. Most professional chefs cook with gas, making it a popular choice for luxury kitchens. Be sure to speak to your contractor about whether your house is set up to use gas or how to incorporate it in your remodel.
- Ovens: One of the best parts of a luxury kitchen is having room for multiple ovens. This is an essential feature for any host planning large gatherings. It’s also beneficial to have multiple options that can serve different purposes as you cook foods at various settings and temperatures.
Some kitchen designers will incorporate two or more of these key appliances, such as a main fridge paired with a drink fridge or a gas stove, as well as an electric countertop burner. But these are just the mainstays of the modern kitchen. Your choices expand when you think about adding high-end options. Some other built-in appliances worth considering are:
- Range hoods
- Coffee makers
- Wine fridges or reserves
- Pot fillers
When it comes to styling your appliances, stainless steel is a timeless, professional-quality choice. If you’re looking for something more unique, just make sure the rest of your appliances coordinate.
Another cornerstone of a luxury kitchen is cabinetry. Cabinets take up the most space in your kitchen and can make a statement about your home. When choosing cabinet colors, think about how the color will affect the ambiance. Dark woods can make a kitchen seem smaller if there isn’t adequate lighting. You’ll also want to consider which fixtures will match your style, as these can be excellent statement pieces too. High-quality, hand-crafted cabinetry can add character to any home kitchen.
3. Counters and Backsplashes
Counters also take up a lot of room and can be a main focal point. Since you’ll be doing all your prep on them, you’ll want to consider the right material for the job. For instance, marble is scratch-resistant, heat-tolerant and classic.
Since colorful backsplashes are in style, this could be the place to add that extra touch of luxury you’re looking for. Marble inlays are an excellent way to make a statement while also incorporating something unique. Since you can choose from many marble colors, you could incorporate a custom inlay in any style and color palette. Certain designs, such as the timeless medallion, can add a subtle yet stately flourish to any kitchen.
4. Sinks and Faucets
According to “What Home Buyers Really Want, 2021 Edition” from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), a double sink was the most desired kitchen feature, so plan your space accordingly. High-tech faucets are also popular, especially no-touch options. A second sink can also be a handy feature to add to your island for hand washing and additional prep space.
5. Lighting and Flooring
Lighting and flooring are two great ways to serve your senses. The right lighting can highlight the best parts of your new kitchen, while fixtures serve as statement pieces. Light can influence the room’s atmosphere, so consider fixture placement and dimmable bulbs to give your kitchen an elegant treatment.
Flooring, on the other hand, helps to ground you in a space both literally and aesthetically. It ties your room together top to bottom. Consider luxury upgrades like radiant heat or a custom marble inlay. As with countertops, the flooring material is a critical factor when choosing what’s best for your space since it affects the floor’s durability, color options and how easy it will be to clean.
6. Tables and Seating
Since the kitchen is a natural gathering space, adding some flair to your seating could be another way to incorporate luxurious details. Leather or hand-crafted chairs can bring natural textures and tones to your space. Including a signature tabletop can tie the kitchen together with a breakfast nook or dining area and serve as a visual bridge between your new remodel and an adjacent room.
Who to Hire for Your Kitchen Renovation
Now that our kitchen remodeling guide has helped you create your vision, it’s time to turn that dream into a reality. Hiring the right people to remodel your home can turn a big project into a seamless experience. Whether you want hand-built cabinetry or beautiful marble inlays, choosing the right artisan can also make all the difference. Finding experienced professionals whose attention to detail is only rivaled by their customer service can turn your kitchen into a showpiece for years to come.
At Aalto Marble Inlay, we specialize in creating memorable marble inlays for homeowners, designers and builders with sophisticated tastes. We know how to partner with our customers to make their visions come to life. Whether you want a signature backsplash, a beautiful table, elegant flooring or a unique countertop, we can help you add these touches of luxury to your kitchen, as well as many other places in your home.
Call us today to tell us more about your renovation, or fill out our online contact form to get started on the kitchen of your dreams.