If you are thinking that it might be about time to give your kitchen a new lease of life, then it might also be time to start looking at some of the design choices that are available to you. With that in mind, we asked some professionals from the construction and design industries to offer their top tip for designing the ideal kitchen.

One of the common themes that cropped up was the fact that the kitchen is so much more than somewhere to prepare your meals. It very much a family room which serves a multitude of purposes and this is something that many designers feel must be kept in mind when it comes to designing or remodeling a kitchen space. Gary Baker, Managing Director of cites the importance of considering multifunction as his top tip for kitchen design. “Of course it’s important that you get all the appliances you need in there you need to be able to cook of course! but there’s so much more to kitchens now. Take time to think about exactly what your family use the kitchen space for and go from there. Kitchen decor is about personality but part of that is about how you use the space, not just the colors you choose,” says Gary.

Vicki Poulter of Designing Women understands this versatility and also mentions the need for functionality. “A kitchen which is stunning to look at but isn’t practical will soon drive people crazy. Many kitchens seem to be designed by tall men with long arms who don’t cook!! There should always be a home management center somewhere close for the non-kitcheny things like phones, notice/black/white boards, charging stations for ipads, phones and maybe some sort of filing system and somewhere for keys, handbags and so on”, said Vicki. This is something that Kerrie Kelly of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab agrees with. She advocates making the kitchen accessible to all members of the family. “Make your kitchen visitable by all members of the family—incorporate various heights and types of seating while maintaining a simple, clean aesthetic,” said Kellie.

Function is not just about making the kitchen multipurpose, we can't forget about the main reason for the space – to cook! Leroy Johnson of Four Brothers LLC suggests starting at the beginning. “Start with function, and form will follow.  The kitchen receives some of the heaviest use in the house, and needs to suit your cooking style.  First get the layout right, and then tweak the aesthetics until you get them right as well,” says Leroy. In terms of function, Mindy Miles Greenberg of Encore Décor offered up a handy hint she calls the 3 step rule! This involves design the kitchen by making it 3 steps from one place to another, for example 3 steps from the fridge to the sink. “The more ergonomic the kitchen layout is, the better the overall enjoyment of the space,” says Mindy. Imperial Kitchen & Bath gave some awesome advice to help get you started with planning a kitchen remodel. “It is extremely important to create a list of items you currently dislike about your current kitchens and then make the same list of must have items for that kitchen. The design and aesthetics of the space should be worked around the functionality needs and regular traffic,” said a spokesman for the company. Meanwhile, Steve Warr of Just Windowssays, “Don’t get bogged down with choosing the cabinet doors and remember that your kitchen needs light and air to feel spacious! Use glazed roof-lights to give an overall light aspect, and install large sliding folding doors to provide additional light, the smell of your BBQ, and open up your kitchen into the garden.”

Once you have considered the form and the function, it is important to consider the design aspects themselves including colors, finishes and details. Samantha Culbreath, Senior Designer at Beckwith Interiors discussed how she approaches kitchen design by getting personal with her clients. “It is something that has to be done because after all they are the ones who will be using the space, not the designer or architect; each and every one of us are different and use our kitchens differently. Having a well thought out and planned kitchen for your client with not only lay out but materials as well will be appreciated over a “pretty” kitchen that doesn’t function 9 out of 10 times,” says Samantha. While, Barbara Elza Hirsch of Elza B. Design, Inc. suggests getting help from an interior designer when planning your kitchen in order to address all the little details. “Work with a designer to help you select the color scheme, materials and lighting. You will come up up with a personalized space that really says it's about you! Little details count. Beautiful window treatments, good lighting (do not forget pendants),a smashing color scheme are essential,” says Barbara.

So what of the finishes? Our experts also offered their top tips regarding the choices of materials and color schemes. Nitzan from Nitzan Design said, “Avoid the status quo of small glass tiles as backsplash. Instead extend your counter top material all the way up into backsplash, for a cleaner more sophisticated look, and take care to properly light underneath kitchen cabinets, as well as lighting from above!” While Darla Duncan of M.E.M. Remodeling & More offered some valuable advice about choosing finishes. “I really like to use travertine natural stone tile or a great tile design on the back splash of my remodels. Travertine has a great rustic flare. If going with bright colors I believe an eye catching design will pull the kitchen together. One way to make smaller kitchens seem larger is to add darker colored tile on the floor than the rest of the room. This will give the space more depth. Granite and soap stone counter tops are the way to go. It will bring you the best look and resale value to your home. I really like to use two colors of paint on cabinets when we are remodeling with used cabinetry. The lighter color on top with the darker color on bottom. I also like to use a monochromatic color scheme in kitchens as it gives a clean crisp look,” said Darla.

Hopefully these tips and tricks have given you plenty of food for thought when it comes to redesigning the kitchen in your home. Think carefully about what you want from your kitchen in terms of functionality, while remembering which members of the family will be using the room. Once you have a basic outline in place, you can begin to think about finishes for your counters and cabinets and of course begin choosing accessories and any soft furnishings required. You can take a look at the wide selection of finishes and cabinetry on offer at 27estore.com and get in touch with our design team to discuss your requirements.

We are grateful for the contributions of our professionals who gave up their time to share their valuable insights with us. Don't forget to visit their websites for more details:

M.E.M. Remodeling & More

Imperial Kitchen & Bath

Four Brothers Carpentry

Designing Women

Encore Décor

Beckwith Interiors

Elza B. Design, Inc.

Kerrie Kelly Design Lab

Nitzan Design

Just Windows