Lately we’ve been doing a lot of kitchen renovations. We usually spend a fair amount of time with our client figuring out their needs, how they use the space, and what they want out of their kitchen. All these things are important and these details matter a lot. It’s really satisfying to design a kitchen that works for each homeowner. Yet my very favourite part is coming up with the look of the kitchen and selecting the finishes.
So many people freeze up when they are faced with choices of cabinets, counter, backsplash tile and paint colour. Then of course there are all the little details like door profile, hardware, faucet and lighting.
It might sound daunting, but there is a method to this madness. I’ve come up with 10 steps to help make the process easier.
1. Collect pictures of kitchens that you love. Take advantage of Houzz, Pinterest and all the magazines online. Or simply start tearing up magazines, and don’t think too much. Just collect images. You’ll start to see repeats of certain features and styles that attract you. We have a great Pinterest page here that you can follow for inspiration.
2. Analyze what it is you like – white cabinets, dark floors, open shelving. Make a love it list of everything you’re attracted to. Write it down or make a collage…actually have something you can refer back to.
3. Pick, yes this is going to be hard, pick the one thing you love the most. Yup, the ONE thing you want more than anything. This is your starting point.
4. Repeat after me – You Can’t Pick Everything That You Love. Yes, you read that right. Picking selections is about designing the room, and that means choosing things that go together. There has to be harmony and balance. Of course you want to choose what you like, but it has to be carefully curated and not based on infatuation.
5.Remember – there can only be one star in each room. Meaning, if you want a very busy counter, then the cabinets, backsplash and lighting should all defer to the counter.
6. Be very very careful once you start shopping for selections. Too many times I’ve seen homeowners go into the lighting store and pick the prettiest light, then to the tile shop and choose their favourite tile and do the same with counters and cabinet profiles. This is how you end up with a hot mess. If you enter the stores without a firm idea of what you want, then it’s too tempting to pick what you like the best – not necessarily what goes the best.
7. Keep going back to what you identified as your must have. If it’s all about the backsplash tile, then plot, plan and research what will enhance that tile the best. This is the time you can go back to your list of what you like. You can start adding some of these items only if they enhance the overall look.
8. Learn about undertones and realize that there is no room for error when doing selections. If your counter has a green grey undertone, then you can’t pick a backsplash with a violet grey undertone. It will look awful. All the undertones must co-ordinate. Don’t know what an undertone is? We have lots of tips and tricks here.
9. Throw in the one wow factor. What is it that will make your kitchen unique? I like to always do something that sets each kitchen apart, something that stands out.
10. Realize that you are spending a lot of money on your new kitchen. If you are unsure about layout and selections, then it’s time to call in a professional. Paying for a few hours of design time will seem like a small investment, as opposed to a costly counter or tile mistake.
There are all kinds of statistics that prove that investing in a kitchen reno gives you the best return on your money. Because we’re mothers, Debbie and I know that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where we spend good times eating and laughing, where important conversations take place while preparing meals. Snacks are eaten while the school and work day get discussed, and most importantly, problems are solved over a nice cup of tea.
If you want to update your kitchen, give us a call. We’re happy to help.
Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It's not about how much you have, it's about using what you have to create beauty.