6 Tips When You Remodel your Kitchen

I’ve remodeled a lot of kitchens – for my clients and for myself.  Here are some of the areas that are sometimes overlooked but that make a big difference in the efficiency of your remodeled kitchen.

Use Drawers & Open Shelves in Your Kitchen Remodel
Use Drawers & Open Shelves in Your Kitchen Remodel
  1. 30” base Cabinets with Drawers – I try to specify 30” and 33” base cabinets with drawers whenever possible.  You can fit pots and pans, stacks of dishes, large serving platters, storage containers, almost anything except appliances.  It’s without question the most effective storage in the kitchen.  A 24” cabinet or smaller is too small for many of the items we use regularly and you end up with wasted space.  A 36” cabinet feels unwieldy and can start to bind up under loads.Do note, that a 30” cabinet needs either two pulls or one long pull.   The single long pull allows you to open the cabinet with a single hand.
  2. Open Shelving for daily dishes & glassware – It’s decorative as well as practical.  Whether you daily dinnerware is all white or mix and match, it creates an easy design statement and simplifies setting the table or unloading the dishwasher.  (See also #5, below.)
  3. Dishwasher Location – Plan the kitchen so that all or most of your daily dishes, utensils and glassware are close to the dishwasher and all on the same side of the dishwasher so when in the open position it’s not in your way as you unload it.  This will eliminate daily hassle and banged shins.
  4. Plan for trash and recycle – Many of us put trash under the sink, but today’s deep sinks and large disposals make that area much less useful than it used to be.  Plus, an integrated recycling stream in many communities allows us to use a single bin for all recyclables.  A 15” wide base cabinet near the sink can accommodate one trash bin and one recycle bin.  Also think about a separate bin near where you read the daily paper (if you still get one) or where you open mail.  This small detail can eliminate mounds of paper lying around the house.
  5. Hide the Mess – Today’s kitchens are often open to the family room or living area.  The kitchen has become the family “hearth” where family and friends gather.  But you don’t want to think about or look at the mess while you’re eating or entertaining.  Depending on your cooking habits and tolerance for mess there are many potential solutions.  In the kitchen, top, the extra high eating counter and extra deep, wide sink allows the homeowner to dump all the pots and pans in the sink – hidden from view – while the family and guests are at the dining table.In the kitchen, below, translucent sliding doors (seen pushed all the way to the right between the kitchen and dining room) can completely close off the kitchen or be positioned to block only part of the kitchen and it’s mess from view.

    Translucent Sliding Doors to Hide Kitchen Mess
    Translucent Sliding Doors to Hide Kitchen Mess
  6. A place for everything – Really think through how you use your kitchen.  If you hand-wash daily dishes and set them in a drainer, think about a stainless steel perforated shelf over the sink so that they can drip into the sink.   It’s a common practice in Europe – like this image below.  See others in this thread from poesia-deisgn.
    Kitchen Remodel Drying Rack
    Photo by: Eric Roth Photography

    For a particularly short client, I made sure to include one wall cabinet that touched the countertop so she could easily reach heavy stacks of plates (below).  This could also be accomplished with a 12” deep full height cabinet.

    Low Shelves for Easy Reach in the Kitchen
    Low Shelves for Easy Reach

    Whether it’s an appliance tower, a built-in cutting board or just a place for oils near the cooktop, think through how you use your kitchen so that you’ll have no regrets when your remodel is completed.  The little items that personalize the kitchen don’t need to be expensive or custom – they just need to work for the way you live.

Happy remodeling.  Let me know what tips you would pass on to your friend when they’re ready to remodel.

All images courtesy of Braitman Design/Build unless noted.

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