Rule For Good Kitchen Design
Differences Between Quartz and Quartzite Quartz • Pros: Durable; can come in solid colors for a more uniform look; very stain resistant; not prone to etching • Cons: Because it’s an engineered product, sometimes pattern repetition occurs; not as heat resistant or scratch resistant as quartzite Quartzite • Pros: Durable; because it’s a natural stone, there is infinite variation in color and pattern (no two slabs are the same); very heat resistant; not prone to etching; more scratch resistant than quartz • Cons: Not as stain resistant as quartz
*Provide adequate circulation, try to have about 4 feet of space between kitchen countertops, Gordon says. Allow a little more room if there is a thoroughfare leading through the kitchen. “In a small kitchen, [39 inches] would be the minimum amount of space between countertops, but aim for more if you can,” she says. *Lack of planning when it comes to appliances can lead to excessive protrusion from oversize refrigerators. “This can affect the ability to open cabinets and other appliances in your kitchen, and reduce circulation space,” Gordon says. Not measuring small appliances like microwaves, blenders and food processors can be an issue too. Without a proper home, they can end up sitting out on the counter and creating clutter, she says. Solution: Select appliances well in advance, checking the dimensions and the way appliances open to ensure that your kitchen layout can accommodate them in concealed, tailored storage, Gordon says. This also applies to pots and pans. ...
Use Durable Paint If you have painted walls in your kitchen, you’ll need to wipe them down more often than the walls in other rooms. Choosing a hardwearing paint finish will make this job easier. “Use an oil-based eggshell [finish], as you can easily wipe this clean without damaging the paint,”
Position Bins Strategically Where’s the best place in your kitchen for the trash and recycling bins? To ensure that cleaning up is as efficient as possible, they should be beneath the sink, Byrne says. The goal, she says, is to create “minimum distance between sink and bins, which means minimum opportunities for spills and mess.”
How to Mix and Match Your Kitchen Cabinet Hardware: The options for style, size and finish are just so abundant, and many kitchens need a carefully thought-out combination of knobs, handles and other hardware to convey the perfect look. Here’s how you can get your cabinet hardware just right. Why Mix Cabinet Hardware? The two main reasons you may want to use more than one style of cabinet knob and pull are simple: style and function. From a style perspective, mixing different types of hardware can give a kitchen lots of character, adding subtle visual interest. Especially in a larger kitchen, you may want to avoid the repetitiveness of using just one handle for every single door and drawer.
From a functional standpoint, some cabinets are better suited to certain types of hardware than others. For example, this kitchen by Venegas and Co. has round knobs for swinging doors, bin pulls for pullout drawers, a small handle for a flip-up door over the drink station and large handles for the paneled fridge. No single one of these hardware options would be the ideal ergonomic choice for every application, so mixing them just makes practical sense.
Tips for Getting Your Hardware Mix Right: So how do you mix your hardware so that everything makes practical sense but also looks elegant and organized? Ultimately a lot of it will come down to personal opinion and comfort, but here are some guidelines to help simplify the decision-making process. Choose a single finish: Although it’s definitely possible to coordinate cabinet hardware in different finishes, it’s much easier and safer to mix different shapes of knobs and pulls in one matching finish. This automatically gives all the hardware a sense of being coordinated and makes the differences between each style less immediately noticeable. Keep in mind that the “finish” isn’t just the material but also the texture. For example, brushed brass and satin brass are both gold in tone, but they look different because they have different surface textures and therefore different levels of shine. For an even...
Think about the number of drawers and doors. Cabinet hardware will usually look best when used in multiple places so that no single knob or handle is the odd one out. For this reason, it can be easier to make multiple styles of hardware work in a larger kitchen with many doors and drawers. If your kitchen has fewer than 20 doors and drawers, it’s safest to stick to two types of hardware max. In a compact kitchen with fewer than 12 doors and drawers, it’s a good idea to use just one style of handle all over, and introduce interest somewhere else, such as an open shelf. This is certainly not a hard-and-fast rule, but it can help create an organized look.
If at this point you’re thinking that mixing hardware styles isn’t for you, you’re in luck. Simple straight handles in a 3-to-4-inch screw hole spacing will work well enough for most cabinet functions. They work their very best on narrow drawers, but they can work fine for wider drawers (especially when installed in pairs) and swinging cabinets. If you want to use just one type of hardware all over and keep it simple, this is your go-to.
Use one style for upper cabinets and a different style for lower cabinets. A great option for coordinating the look of your hardware is to use one hardware type for the uppers (often a knob because they’re easy to grip when swinging an upper door open) and one for the lowers (often a short handle or pull, which can work for both the lower doors and drawers). If you have pantry doors that are full-height, you can treat them like upper cabinets or lower cabinets, or even split the hardware between their upper and lower halves. However, if you split them they should follow a vertical line at counter height, or else you should pick one style to use on the whole pantry area, so there’s a subtle consistency the eye can pick up on.
Use different styles for each function or door and drawer type. If you love the look of mixing more than two types of hardware or have a large kitchen with many different cabinets and drawers, you should look at choosing different hardware styles for each functional type of door and drawer. In this design by Main Street Kitchens at Botellos, the typical swing doors (on the upper and lower cabinets) have simple round knobs, while most of the drawers have bin pulls. But you can see in this view that apparently one drawer has a handle instead of a bin pull. On closer inspection, this turns out to be a swing-down door that most likely hides a dishwasher. A bin pull could work here, but this handle can be grabbed from more directions and can be a bit easier ergonomically when opening a dishwasher. Plus, it signals a different function. From this angle you can see that similar handles are found on the paneled fridge and freezer, so all of the paneled appliances have the same hardware set. None of the areas are perfectly symmetrical, but the way each handle suits the function of its door front gives its own sense of elegance.
Consider the scale. This tip is closely related to the previous one, and it can apply to mixing two or three styles. Sometimes mixing pieces that look almost the same can create a look that feels “off.” Two handles or knobs that look very similar but not exactly the same can come across as mismatched instead of intentionally coordinated. To avoid this issue, make sure when mixing multiple styles that they’re noticeably different in scale. This kitchen by Robert Paige Cabinetry actually has four sizes, with small latch pulls, bin pulls, medium handles and long handles. The fact that each hardware group has a distinct size gives an unspoken sense of structure that helps your eye make sense of everything. It’s a subtle trick to avoid appearing cluttered even when there’s a lot going on.
Think long-term. Ultimately, the finish and style of your hardware can be changed down the road, or even right away. What can’t be changed so easily are the holes drilled in your cabinets, which is why it’s important to carefully consider all the shapes and sizes available and make a choice that will be functional for you now and later, regardless of what style you find fashionable today. If you do have a situation where you regret the placement of holes (drilled by you or a previous owner), you can avoid having to replace or refinish the doors by choosing new hardware with a coordinating backplate, which will cover the unused holes and add an additional gleaming accent.
Color within the lines. As mentioned before, although it’s helpful to stick to one finish for your hardware, it’s certainly not impossible to mix finishes to create beautiful effects. However, if you’re going to mix materials, consider the following guidelines. * When using hardware with small metal elements (such as a crystal knob that has a metal neck), it’s best to match that metal to your other metal hardware. * Create simple rules for yourself about which type of hardware will go on each cabinet. For example, in this kitchen accent knobs are used just on the upper cabinets, so the change in materials is very obviously planned and rhythmic.
Common Types of Hardware So what types of hardware should you use for different situations? Here are some tips on the major options and how to mix them. * Round knobs. Round knobs (as opposed to square, T-shape or other more rigid shapes) have the major advantage of being comfortable to grab from many directions, making them easy to pull. The major disadvantage of round knobs occurs with wide drawers that can’t easily be pulled from one small central point. If you have a heavy load in a drawer or your drawers aren’t especially high-quality, using a single knob in the center will put a lot of stress on one point. This means you’ll want to use two knobs, which may necessitate having to open the drawer with both hands.
On a drawer this size, a single handle is a bit more functional because it can be pulled with one hand or two. Still, both options can work, so personal style is a big factor. And quality drawers, like the one shown here, that glide easily without much force can overcome the issue altogether.
Even if you aren’t going to use round knobs everywhere, they can be a great option for unusual spots, such as a lone pair of doors in an area with mostly drawers. The apron-front sink in this kitchen by Breathing Room Design has a low pair of doors at a different height from the other panels around it. If those doors had horizontal handles like the others, they wouldn’t line up. Using two little round knobs creates a more elegant solution and suits the contemporary farmhouse charm of the sink.
Cup pulls and bin pulls. Cup and bin pulls are handles that have a cupped shape that fingers can slide into from underneath, as opposed to a handle that can be grabbed from above or below. Pulls are reminiscent of the handles on file cabinets and storage bins and carry a slight retro feel. Bin pulls tend to look best installed centered and running horizontally, and they also function best on drawers and pullouts. For these reasons they’re often confined to drawers. Notice how, in this kitchen by Shalford Interiors, the pairs of knobs on the cabinet doors line up nicely with the bin pulls below. The one stand-alone knob next to the oven is asymmetrical but still elegant. Bin pulls work especially well when dressing a single row of drawers that runs all the way across a set of cabinets or around the entire kitchen, giving a pleasing “cap” to the look without being bulky.
Latch pulls. Latch pulls or cabinet latches have a certain old-world appeal. They literally latch shut and hold the cabinet door closed until they’re unlatched. Depending on the manner of latching, they can take a bit more effort to open than a typical pull, potentially acting as a mild child safety lock or a deterrent for clever pets. But primarily they serve as a style statement. Latch pulls work well to accent a few doors in a transitional, traditional or farmhouse-inspired kitchen, giving a sense of sophistication and a certain visual richness. It should be noted that because latch pulls come as two pieces they can’t be attached to just any door: They need one that’s flush to the frame so the two elements can connect properly. Latch pulls can be combined with simpler knobs for the majority of the doors so that the more commonly opened cabinets don’t require the extra step of unlatching.
What to Think About Before Meeting With Your Kitchen Designer Preferred grasp. Do you like the feel of a knob or a pull better? Would something square or rounded suit you? Maintenance. Shiny polished finishes can take more work to keep clean than brushed finishes. Think about the time you want to spend keeping everything looking good. Drill holes. If you aren’t planning on refinishing your cabinets, you may be stuck with the existing hole locations. For example, if you have pulls that have 3-inch center-to-center screw holes, your new pulls will need to be the same size (unless you find hardware with a backplate that will cover the old holes). Going from knobs to pulls is much easier (for doors) because you simply drill another hole.
1. How Big Should the Island Be? The size of your island is an important consideration. Lengths and depths of islands vary, depending on how you plan to use them, but generally they’re a platform for the sink or the stove. * Wasted Space on a Kitchen Island : Kitchen islands are great for increasing your prep and storage space but will work only if you have the room, Findlay says. If your kitchen is small, an island can be a waste of space. “Placing an island in the wrong spot is another recipe for disaster,” she says. “A poorly positioned island can obstruct the flow of traffic to and from the sink, refrigerator, stove and primary workstations, creating a bottleneck in your kitchen.” Solution: Choose an island only if your kitchen can accommodate it or specify a narrow one. Findlay suggests having about 40 inches on both sides of the island for good traffic flow. “Deciding how big or small your island unit should be will depend on what it needs to house and the proportions of your kitchen,” she says. “I would recommend a minimum width of [about 47 inches] for a kitchen island. But if you don’t plan on...
2. What Should the Countertop Be Like? Instead of trying to conceal a seam, you could make the island countertop a standout feature by mixing and matching different materials. For instance, you could contrast 10 feet of quartz with a wooden breakfast bar or butcher block at one end of the island. Another option is to increase the island’s surface area by wrapping a corner with a contrasting material, as pictured. This extends the island outward and creates a lower seating counter. Similarly, if you wanted to extend the island down the length of a room, you could drop from counter height to table height at the end. Again this could be in a different color or material from the main countertop.
3. Will the Island House Appliances? It boils down to personal preference and how you want to use your kitchen, but including appliances in an island often makes for a more sociable setting. If you choose to include appliances or fixtures, it’s important to communicate that to your builder as early as possible to make sure the necessary electrical or plumbing work will be in place. Doing this retrospectively can prove a lot more expensive or, in some cases, impossible. For your island, you may opt to include a sink, stovetop, oven, microwave, dishwasher or wine fridge. Pop-up outlets also may be warranted if you want to use small appliances like a blender or juicer.
4. Do You Want a Sink in the Island? There’s another reason that the majority of islands we install come with a stovetop instead of a sink, and it’s an aesthetic one. With a sink, it’s too easy to leave unsightly accessories around it — dishes, dishcloths, soap, detergent, tea towels and so on. You don’t want these things spoiling the look of your new kitchen island. However, if you prefer having a sink in your island, there are a few solutions. Some homeowners install drawers underneath the sink for easy access to washing-up paraphernalia. Not having to bend and strain to pull items out of a cabinet every time encourages them to put the things away after each use. Other homeowners deliberately split the level of their island so that they have a raised breakfast bar behind their sink, such as the one in the photo. Besides creating added depth and visual interest, this can act as a screen, obscuring the view of the sink area from the other side of the kitchen.
5. Do You Want Seating? Many homeowners wish to include seating at their island since it makes for a sociable setting and provides a practical space for working or dining. Typically, islands are rectangular, with seating at one of the short sides, along the back or a combination of the two. Ensuring that you have enough space for seating at your island is important. Generally, we allow a width of 19 to 24 inches from the edge of a countertop to the back of a stool, and 12 inches of knee space for an average-size adult. On a 10-foot island, these dimensions would allow for four to six seats, depending on your choice of stools. Some stools have very small backs and narrow bodies, while others have large wingbacks, which prohibit more than four stools around an island of the same size.
6. Does the Design Suit the Whole Family? A lot of the seating we design for islands is intended for children. Where kids are involved, you may want to lower the height of your island’s seating to allow for three or four chairs. If seating is intended for the end of an island, we generally aim to create a drop-down table of 3 by 3 feet, with four chairs around it. But as an alternative, some people prefer to include their lowered table option along the back length of an island, as pictured. This creates a longer table, but it’s important to plan this option carefully, or it can leave quite a small space for comfortable dining.
7. Would an Irregular Shape Work Best? We’ve addressed rectangular kitchen islands a lot here, but islands come in different shapes and sizes. For instance, if the room is big enough (say, 33 by 16 feet), you could create an L-shaped kitchen layout complemented by an L-shaped island. Other designs include round islands, islands with curves or islands with integrated open shelving, which is functional and decorative. Space permitting, you could even include two islands facing each other. With a stovetop in one and a sink in the other, this arrangement creates an intense and focused work zone while still allowing others to walk around the perimeter to reach the oven or fridge. If you’re looking for something a little different and you have the space and the budget, this last idea would certainly make your kitchen stand out.
Steps to take for planning a kitchen: 1. Appliances, Sinks and Lighting: I recommend that clients select appliances and sinks during the preliminary design phase, which often comes before selecting the rest of the finishes and fixtures. This is so the plans can reflect the proper sizes, which will in turn affect the cabinetry layout. Also, I recommend choosing the type and amount of lighting fixtures during this phase: cans, semi-flush mounts, how many pendants over the island and so on, in order to complete the lighting plans so the contractor to provide estimates. Most people haven’t actually picked what style pendant light yet, but at least the decision about number is done. It’s also time to decide whether or not you want a prep sink in addition to your main sink. At this point, by the way, it’s fine if you decide to change from a 36-inch range to a cooktop and wall oven. By the time you get to final construction documents or order cabinets, however, these decisions must be finalized. The nice thing is that there are now a few big decisions th...
2. Cabinets, Countertops and Tile Depending on what type of professional you hired, or if you are doing your own kitchen, you may start the finishes and fixture selection process from a different jumping-off point. Rather than picking the cabinet wood species and finish color by itself, and then picking countertops and tile, I like to have my clients work on an overall palette of materials at the same time. Layer the materials and create collages of patterns, textures and colors to see what works best together. Sure, a client might have the idea that they want a “white kitchen,” meaning white cabinets, but there are many “whites” out there, and what you mix them with really makes a huge impact on what the overall kitchen will look like. For the modernists out there, you would think picking finishes and fixtures would be easier, with less adornment and fewer decisions to make. For some this might be true, but I find that for others this style can be just as challenging. It’s all about restraint and editing, and that’s hard. The small choices in this kitchen include sleek appliances, noninvasive lighting, the full-height backsplash and the waterfall-style island countertop.
Tip: Order current samples of the materials you’re considering. Get a door sample with your style and finish for final approval. Make sure you go to the stone supplier and view and tag the actual slab of marble for your countertops, and make sure to order a current control sample of tile for your backsplash. All these extra steps will cut down on costly mistakes. Using decorative tile in the kitchen is a great way to express your personality and style, but proportion and scale are critical. Tile is a pretty permanent decision; once it’s up, it’s expensive to change. You or your designer should do color studies and pattern studies, and look at them alongside photos and samples to be absolutely sure you’re making the right choices.
3. Flooring: If you're doing tile or stone floors, work on picking those materials at the same time as cabinets, backsplash and countertops. The relationships among these materials is critical. It's tough to mix different types of stone and tile unless you want your kitchen to look like a showroom.
4. Paint Colors: Once I've worked with the client to pick the collage of materials for the kitchen, we lay these out to focus on paint color. The reason this phase often comes bit later is that the kitchen might be under construction and still have the old paint color on the walls. The floors may be covered in that pinkish-red rosin paper, which can affect the look of the color on the walls. When looking at your paint swatches, be sure your walls are primed white. If you plan to paint your window and door casings, prime them white too. If you're keeping them as they are, make sure they are free of dust. Any amount of color in the room can throw off the new wall color sample tests. Pick your paint colors next to the other materials, including pulling back a section of the protective floor covering to get a good sense of how the colors work with the new stain color.
5. Decorative Details: Details like shaped cabinet doors, niches for spices and oils, and decorative lighting should all be considered while working on the design development and finish and fixture selection. 6. Furnishings and Accessories: Choosing bar stools and tables and chairs for an eat-in kitchen usually comes at the end, but this is also important, so don’t just mail it in at this point. Think about adding patina and texture through vintage pieces if you can find them. And don’t forget about items like decorative plate racks, artwork and area rugs or runners. Small touches like this can add much character to a new kitchen.
An efficient transitional-style kitchen has closed storage lining every wall. The number of people and cooks in your household will drive many of your kitchen storage choices. Consider four common scenarios: • The Minimalist: Those with efficient and concise lifestyles, such as urban dwellers and singles • The Starter Home: Those just beginning homemaking and still adding to housewares • The Empty Nester: Those who downsize but still have plenty of things they want to keep • The Big Family: Those with a houseful of children of all ages, lots of stuff to stow or a resident gourmet cook
Consider the three-center concept flexible, and use it as a starting point to organize your kitchen depending on how you plan to use it. For example, you may want to have a spot in the kitchen for young children to safely contribute, or you may set up your space to suit multiple cooks. The key is to organize items so that they are placed in an obvious location and can be easily accessed for the coordinating activity.
Cooking surfaces. While a New York City apartment dweller may be able to get by with a tiny 12-inch-wide two-burner cooktop, big families will need at least 36-inch-wide ranges or cooktops, and some may go as wide as 60 inches. Microwaves. These ovens can be found in 24-inch widths for minimalists, while some units are built into double-oven arrangements that need 30 inches in width. Cookware, bakeware and small appliances. Small abodes need at least 24 inches in width of wall and base cabinets, while big families begin with at least 60 inches in width. Serving pieces, tableware and table linens. Minimalists need at least a 12-inch width in base cabinets, while a big household needs at least 36 inches in width.
Spice storage, pots and pans, and cooking utensils placed immediately around cooking equipment ensure convenient and intuitive access to the tools and staples you need in meal preparation. Personal preference determines whether you want to place these items in upper shelves or cabinets, as in the previous photo, or in drawers and pullout cabinets that are below eye level, as shown here. Either can work, so decide what is best for you and conforms to your design aesthetic.
Consider dedicating a cabinet for cookware frequently used on the stovetop, and another cabinet with cookware more commonly used in the oven. Place warming appliances in this area to allow convenient transfer of food to your serving dishes. Breadboards and bread binswork well in the range center. Small appliances that belong in the range zone include toasters, waffle irons, bread makers and portable grills.
3. The Range Center Two configurations, a range or a cooktop with wall ovens, comprise the range center, where cooking food and preparation for serving takes place. Place these functions toward or near the dining room. Anything that involves the cooking process needs to be within the range center. Ovens with ample countertop space next to or closely across from them provide a spot to set down hot items quickly. In immediate and obvious proximity to the range center, put potholders and other items that aid in handling hot cookware. Also use this location to transfer cooked food to serving dishes. Plan to store platters, bowls and other equipment used to get food to the table around the range center.