You’ve decided that it’s time for a kitchen remodel. No more complaining about lack of storage space, the kitchen being too small or simply outdated. You have probably heard that the biggest cost of a kitchen remodel in Phoenix is the cabinetry, so make no mistake, you will want to spend the time with your general contractor carefully planning the optimal cabinet design with storage being a top priority. Adequate space and layout can make or break the love you have for your kitchen now and after a complete renovation. The look and feel of your cabinetry all play a huge role in the general appearance, but let’s take that a step further and explore clever ideas and designs to get the most out of your space and storage solutions for your everyday needs.
Before we start, you’ll notice that we will reference aging in place and universal design practices. This is an important concept to understand through various life stages that we all experience. “Universal design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” (Ron Mace, The Center for Universal Design, www.ncsu.edu). Utilizing these concepts and design practices in your home during your kitchen remodel will keep you and your family’s safety at heart, help simplify life and your daily routine, as well as benefit people of all ages and abilities that live in or visit your home.
Now let’s dig in …
- Plenty of drawers! As we grow older and wiser, it makes sense to prefer drawers over a cabinet or shelf for storing plates and baking essentials. A drawer allows you to pull all of the contents out with very little effort making those hard-to-reach corners a thing of the past for those aging in place. Pull out drawers essentially eliminate your items getting lost in the back of a cabinet or dark corner and without having to get down on your hands and knees to practically crawl into the cabinet to look for something. Drawers are not only great for storing small utensils and dinnerware as well, but also small appliances such as coffee pots, toasters and hand held mixers when not being used.
- Cabinet enders or wall end angles. Don’t make the mistake of not capitalizing on this precious sometimes forgotten space. The end(s) of your cabinetry doesn’t have to be blank wasted space. By adding a slim cabinet you can easily add a place to house keys, stationary, grocery lists or a chalk board for reminders, and other small items. If your cabinet reaches full height such as around a refrigerator, you can utilize a full cabinet ender for hiding brooms, mops and dusters keeping them close by without seeing them. A wall end angle allows for an angled transition from the cabinet to the wall in essence creating a triangle space for storage while being visually appealing making good use of traffic flow. If you do not have a need for the additional cabinet space you can just cap it with an end panel for aesthetics.
- Open enders. Another take on using up wasted space on the blank panel ends of your cabinets is to use open enders. Simply put it’s open shelving on the end of your cabinet. This can be a great place to store everyday items that you use such as coffee cups, fruit bowls, spare towels or décor while keeping them from cluttering up your countertop.
- Sliding hanger inside a base cabinet. This type of hanger keeps pots easily accessible by sliding out of your cabinet. Your pots hang neatly by their handle. No more digging for a certain sized fry pan that always seems to be at the bottom of your pile of pots which can be difficult to do at any age. Hanging them will also cut down on scratching and damaging that can happen when pots are stacked.
- Microwave Shelf. This is a clever way to keep your microwave off of your countertop while also keeping it concealed. We never recommend having your microwave installed over your stove for aging in place reasons. Whether you are of a young age or young at heart, it is never a good idea to have to reach over a hot stove or lift heavy pans over it in order to make use of your microwave. Having the microwave installed in a cabinet or open shelve near your other cooking appliances keeps all of the cooks in your house safer in your kitchen. Another noteworthy suggestion is to look into locating the microwave drawer at a lower height within a base cabinet making it accessible to children who are able to operate it themselves and/or those with limited mobility.
- A pull-out spice organizer. This allows you to store various spices, oils and condiments within reach while cooking, yet out of sight and organized. No more having to pull out every spice you’ve ever owned to find a particular one for your dinner dish. Many of these organizers also come equipped with a utensil holder for spoons, spatulas, whisks and more keeping the clutter from your countertops.
- Swing out drawer panel. The small inoperable drawer at the front of your sink that goes to waste can actually be useful storage space. Talk to your general contractor about adding a swing out panel at this space that tilts out to keep dishwashing scrubbies, brushes and soaps conveniently stored away.
- Roll –Up or Mechanical Pull-Up Door. This is great idea for a bread compartment, to hide your KitchenAid mixer or coffee pot from the masses. It let’s you keep necessary items open and plugged in on your countertop for regular use while having the ability to pull down the door at any time for convenient hidden storage. Be sure to discuss with your general contractor what you plan on keeping in this compartment to make sure that adequate electrical outlets are included in the design.
- Slide out file organizer. You may consider how you will store your pots, pans and baking sheets, but don’t forget about where to store your recipes and cook books. Many homeowners have cook books that have been passed down through generations or specialty books such as grilling secrets, quick and easy appetizers and more that have been collected over the years that typically got piled in a cabinet. Having them conveniently located near your baking area will save you time and frustration.
- Butlers station/beverage center. If space allows it, a separate prep area away from the kitchen can come in handy for those that enjoy entertaining. It provides you additional space for putting together dishes and keeping food warm. It can double as a beverage station so that kids or guests have access to drinks (coffee, cocktails, water, and more) without being in the way of the cook creating their culinary creation. Ideas of things to include in this area are a wine chiller, coffee or espresso maker, cocktail and wine glasses, beverage additives, bottled water, serving trays, food warming tray or microwave, a bar sink, napkins and linens, and more!
- Trash and/or compost drawer. No one wants to see (or smell) a stinky trash can with last nights left overs in it. Opt for a pull-out trash drawer that can house multiple cans. This makes it great for separating out your recyclables and compost from your regular trash.
- A docking station for your smart devices. There are a few things to consider, like do you want one dedicated area for charging or will you need to be able to effortlessly charge around your kitchen. An actual docking station on the countertop that holds your smartphone, iPad or other devises while being charged would serve as a dedicated location. You can have your general contractor design hidden pop-up outlets in particular areas of your countertop near/in your prep station that include a USB. This solution is beneficial for the convenience of reading recipes online or via Pintest while cooking. By adding USB outlets incorporated into the standard electrical outlets throughout will give you full access to charge up when needed.
- Lighting. When planning the design and layout of your kitchen, you definitely want to plan for plenty of lighting for the overall space especially if you have a limited supply of natural light. Also consider under cabinet lighting for dark corners and task lighting for your prep areas. As far as appearance goes, adding dimmable lighting on top of cabinetry to draw your eye to particular décor or lighting the toe kick of your cabinetry are also viable options.
- Wine rack insets are a great way to use up the extra space that you have between cabinetry and the wall or in an island. Each cubby is sized accordingly to fit a decent sized wine bottle. This not only serves as décor for your space, but keeps your favorite beverage close at hand. Not a fan of wine? These storage racks are perfect for other items such as 2-liter sodas, champagne, cooking oils, exquisite beers, bottled water, spare linens and more!
- Open shelving is a good way to display your elegant dinnerware, fine China, or heirloom pieces that have been passed down through your family. Beware of showcasing too much on these shelves and giving the feeling of clutter though.
- Hydraulic easy-close doors. These type of cabinet doors easily fold upward and out of the way instead of the normal swing open right or left doors. These are ideal in smaller kitchens with minimal space. With the doors lifting upwards, it does not get in the way of your walking path through your kitchen or hinder having multiple cooks in the kitchen that need full access to the cabinets contents. Though these are not your traditional choices, they do tend to lend themselves to a modern style.
- Dual height island. Having two height levels of countertop is beneficial to all members of your family, whether aging in place or not. While the cook may prefer a taller countertop height for standing while prepping and serving food, those with limited mobility, guests or children will be more comfortable partaking in conversation and dining at a lower more accessible height for safety reasons. This allows you and your general contractor to get creative with your cabinet options to optimize the varying heights.
- Cutlery drawer. More often than not, most homeowners have a mess of a drawer where all types of utensils or silverware are stored freely. This can be a safety concern if this drawer also houses the knives. By incorporating a cutlery drawer into your design it will keep your knives stored safely with proper room for silverware in a neat and orderly fashion.
- Pet station. This could be a drawer that pulls out that holds water dishes, leashes, etc or a dedicated shelf for your 4-legged companion. Pet stations have become increasingly popular over the last couple of years as our pets are more and more a part of our family.
- Choosing your cabinetry color. Don’t get us wrong, white is still a top choice for kitchen cabinets, however warmer tones and soft grays are making headway, Many homeowners are opting for blue-gray and creamy gray color schemes. If you are craving that pop of bright color, may it be red or green, talk to your general contractor about using that color in areas of your kitchen that are less dominant, such as the sink. Though the sink isn’t a cheap investment, it is on the lower end of the cost scale to switch out more easily than say a countertop or cabinet should your style change. Choose your selections wisely, while keeping trending colors in smaller less-permanent doses. Be mindful that a brightly colored green sink or multi-colored backsplash will quickly take over as the focal point of your space. Should you plan on putting your house on the market for sale in the next coming years, keeping with a neutral color scheme is suggested to entice buyers. Not everyone will be drawn to that green sink like you are.
- Cabinet hardware. Now we’re not necessarily talking finishes (nickel, chrome, brass, or the other), however they are still important in the overall appearance of your space. We are, however referring to such things as the hinges and drawer pulls. Studies show that clam shell pulls and styled handles are your best options for ease of opening drawers and cabinets in accordance to universal design practices. Knobs can become difficult to grasp, especially for those with arthritis and do tend to catch on things. For a touch of luxury in your kitchen, request soft close hinges be used on your cabinetry.
By incorporating these clever ideas and suggestions, whether all or even just a few, you will quickly see how much more efficient your kitchen will be. Many of these suggestions when implemented correctly will give the feeling of having more space without actually adding any square footage to your home, making it a win-win for you and your budget.
The next step is to find a reputable and experienced general contractor. If you are ready to begin your kitchen remodel, turn to an expert in the industry and give us a call at 623-544-1211. Our on-staff design team in is trained in universal design practices when designing kitchens, bathrooms and more in Phoenix, giving you a peace of mind for years to come. As an authorized dealer of Wellborn Cabinet Inc., we have access to semi-custom and custom cabinetry to fit the needs of your kitchen.
It can become a bit overwhelming exploring the possibility of new cabinetry with having an unlimited amount of color choices, glazes, wood species and upgrade options available to you. That’s where our designers come in. They will work with you to design the ideal layout for your space with all inclusions and material choices that are fitting for your lifestyle. Visit our website at www.twdaz.com for other valuable tips and project inspiration. While you are there request your free consultation today.