Designing your own kitchen may be intimidating. After all, what you pick is what you are stuck with for a looong time! But with a bit of research and planning you can have the kitchen of your dreams. Here are 13 design ideas for your kitchen that I couldn’t do without in mine.
Several years ago my husband and I had the opportunity to build our own house. Actually, we didn’t build it, we just designed it. Because I had lived in numerous houses and did pet and house-sitting as side jobs, I had a pretty good idea of my likes and dislikes.
Especially for my kitchen.
Besides sleeping, the kitchen is where I spend most of my time. I love cooking and baking (and fermenting). So I knew it had to be just the way I wanted it.
My husband questioned quite a few of my design ideas but a girl knows what she wants!
Design Ideas for Your Kitchen: Before You Start
As my husband and I were designing our house, a friend brought our attention to a cute little triangle.
In the kitchen, that is.
The triangle goes from the stove to the sink to the fridge. Setting up this triangle to the greatest efficiency can save you time and lots of steps when working in the kitchen. Check out a few triangle options here.
My kitchen triangle is very small. I can reach all three of these locations with a spin and one or two steps.
13 Design Ideas for Your Kitchen
I’d never had a pantry before. Up until now my biggest pantry was a closet and I was in heaven with a whole closet! Thankfully my husband encouraged me to put in a walk-in pantry and it fit flawlessly into our layout.
My aunt has a pantry that houses her toaster oven and microwave. I knew that’s what I wanted because it freed up more counter space. My husband thought this was weird and would be inconvenient.
[She has a microwave!? You may wonder what a microwave is doing in a traditional kitchen. As I mention, I try to keep balance in life. Most of the time we use it once a week, if even.
But when we need it, we love it! I’d rather my husband get a good hot meal of reheated leftovers when I’m gone or laid up. He’s no cook, so toast and lunch meat would be his staples without a microwave.
It is great for heating bottles. I’m going on over one year and counting for bottle feeding my baby. Water hot enough to warm bottles in seconds!]
With this foresight, we were able to have the electrician take necessary measures for that outlet in the pantry to take an extra beating.
I’m still not done in the pantry. I could sing its praises all day!
I also planned the spacing of the shelves to fit my tallest appliance (blender) with an inch or two to spare. The bottom shelf I placed high enough off the floor so I can fit 5-gallon buckets and totes underneath. I keep wheat berries, sugar, flour and oatmeal in these big containers. [Read about how I buy in bulk to save money.]
On the wall opposite my microwave I have another shelf set up to keep my toaster and wheat grinder. The only appliance I have to sacrifice counter space for it the coffee maker (which I gladly make room for!).
3. Baking Counter
Before I met my husband I had shoulder issues. Kneading bread dough and rolling out pie crusts became so painful. Finally I moved all my kitchen shenanigans to the table because the height was just enough lower that it took the horrible pain off my shoulders.
That lower height helped me use my back and whole body more than just my arms and shoulders to work dough and chop veggies.
Even though my shoulders have healed I still enjoy working at that lower height. Then we rented a house that had a baking counter in it. Guess what!? It was the lower height of a dining table!
So in my kitchen I have a baking counter that is 5 1/2 inches lower than the rest of my counters.
Because we did not do custom cabinets in our house, the designer ordered desk drawers and cupboards to go under the counter top. Same height! [I just had to remove the filing hardware!]
4. Drawers vs Cupboards
Also, in our rental house there were no lower cabinets – only drawers. I loved this feature! I could pull open a big drawer and see all my pots and pans stacked. There was no getting down on the floor to peer to the back of the cupboard for that double boiler I use only several times a year.
In my baking counter I was able to get lower drawers (because they are technically desk cabinets). But I couldn’t get lower drawers elsewhere unless we went with custom cabinets.
5. Stove Vent
In most kitchen designs, there is a microwave above the stove. Sure, it has a button you push for ‘vent fan’ but it really doesn’t vent anywhere but back into your kitchen!
I’ve been known to smoke up the whole house a time or two with my negligence in the kitchen. I knew I needed an outdoor vented stove hood. You can’t have an outdoor vented hood with a microwave above the stove.[Good thing because I wanted my microwave in the pantry! Plus, I can’t tell you how many times I hit my head on the overhead microwave (at our rental) trying to see in the kettle on the back burner!]
6. Under Mount Sink – I really wanted an under-mounted sink because they are so easy to wipe off the counter into. Plus, you don’t have to worry about water getting under the lip of the sink and wrecking the counter top and leaking below.
At first our designer told me an under-mount sink was only possible with a stone counter top. When I insisted I’d seen them before with a laminate counter top and found some online, he looked into it further.
I love having a smooth transition from the counter top into the sink! Small joys.
7. Pull Out Faucet – I don’t like extra things. So I knew I didn’t want a separate nozzle for the sprayer. I got a faucet that pulls out and doubles as a sprayer with the touch of a button.
8. Garbage Disposal – The plumber tried talking me out of a garbage disposal. He said they just cause problems. I assured him I wanted to splurge on one. I still have a slop bucket under the sink for most of my scraps. But I love having a garbage disposal so I can rinse plates with food still on them. After doing dishes, I don’t have to clean out all that nastiness left in the bottom. I just wash it all down the drain.
9. Sink in the Island – I wanted my sink (and dishwasher) to be in the island so I wouldn’t have my back to family or company while I was doing dishes. Because really, there are always dishes to do.
This way, I can look out to my living room and see my baby and I can visit with whoever is sitting on the other side of the island. My back isn’t to anyone.
10. No Stone Countertops
My husband assured me that I could splurge on stone countertops. I declined again and again. I have stayed in several houses that had some sort of stone countertops. I always felt like I was going to break the dishes when I would set them down. Once I did break a mug when I hit it on the edge of the countertop!
The appeal of not needing hot pads under kettles did not sell me either. Setting hot kettles on a bare countertop is not a habit I want to form. Then when I’m working in someone else’s kitchen I wouldn’t use a hot pad and would risk wrecking their countertop.
For flooring I wanted something that would hold up to me dropping pans and knives and wouldn’t get wrecked if the dishwasher leaks.
We finally settled on luxury vinyl plank flooring. [The glue down type, not the click together type.]
It takes a beating from me dropping things and from my son’s toys. We have also had the dishwasher leak everywhere. Twice.
And the flooring is still beautiful. No gouges. No warping. No scuffs.
12. Open Floor Plan
I love my open floor plan! I can work in the kitchen and see my little boy playing in the living room…or the dining room…or the den.
Company can be sitting on the couch and I can still visit with them.
Sometimes it can be a bit noisy, but we have sliding doors on the den to cut the noise if my husband has a phone call.
13. Distance from the Car
I knew I didn’t want to traipse across the living room and dining room with bags of groceries!
If you can at all control how close your kitchen is to where you park your car – make it close. The last thing you want is muddy or wet shoes going the full length of the house.
Design Ideas for Your Kitchen: My Wish List
I do a. lot. of cooking, canning and freezing. One thing I wanted but couldn’t swing was a cold water faucet over my stove. It would be so convenient to fill canners and kettles for pasta.
But with a pocket door on our pantry and an outdoor vented stove hood there wasn’t room inside the wall. Plus, my husband was not thrilled with the idea of another faucet that could leak.
No-Drip Edge Countertop
I spill a lot of things in the kitchen. One thing we had looked into while building was no-drip edge countertops. Pretty much the rounded edge has a very slight curve up that prevents liquids from hitting the floor immediately.
The price jump from basic edge to no-drip edge was shocking. So I passed it up and opted for my under-mount sink.
If you are building new or remodeling, there are countless choices to make. Figure out what you love most about your kitchen or a kitchen you’ve worked in. Then see how you can replicate those things in your new kitchen. Lay out all the possible design ideas for your kitchen and then make your dream a reality!