Designing Your Dream Kitchen

Could your kitchen pass as a museum piece from the 1960’s? Ok maybe the design and finishes don’t go back that far, but unless your kitchen was re-finished within the last 10 years chances are it could probably use an upgrade.  These 5 steps will help you create a beautiful, functional kitchen you’ll love cooking and entertaining in:

Focus on the layout and how you work within the kitchen

The best kitchens focus on the operations that take place within the space. The sink, fridge, and stove/oven should always be in the configuration of a triangle from one another. The larger or unproportional the triangle is the less functional your kitchen will be. It’s best to stick with flexible, open style kitchens. A great example of this would be a kitchen with an island. The island may have a sink or an oven integrated into it, or it may function as a counter top and a kitchen table. The best types of islands are the ones that serve a dual purpose. Given that we typically have limited space to work with, kitchens that allow ease of use, or transformation are the most desirable.

Here’s a great example from Ikea. The island serves multiple functions; Prep space, stove top, table and a huge amount of storage.


You can find the items in the ikea picture below right here.


Select the type of cabinetry and quantity of storage you need 

Once you have the layout in mind, think about how much you have to store and how you would like to store it ie. open cabinets vs. closed, drawers vs. cabinets. Nowadays you have may options in terms of functions and unique features you can integrate into the space. This can be an overwhelming task, so I would recommend working with a carpenter, or a cabinetry consultant and collecting some images of kitchens you love to use as a visual guide to explain what you like.

Ikea alone has a dizzying array of cabinets:

IKEA Sektionimage
IKEA Grimslöv


IKEA Flädie


The kitchen should reflect your personal style

This can be tricky, so what I would recommend is again, selecting an image of a kitchen, or kitchens, that you are inspired by. What is it that you like about this image? Is it the clean lines and industrial stainless steel appliances that catches your eye or is it the wainscoting cabinets, crystal knob pulls and the eclectic backsplash that appeals to you? Whatever it is your personal style and should embrace it. Don’t get too caught up in the details and try and focus on the larger picture.

Ikea Brokhult


Finish Selection

The appropriate use of materials is very important in a kitchen. Using the wrong finish could cost you a lot of money in the long run. The kitchen is susceptible to moisture, heat, and stains, so its always ideal to consider the durability and how easily surfaces will clean up. For example, a stainless steel backsplash may give you the aesthetic appeal you are looking for but it also marks easily, think finger prints, grease splatter, etc., which makes it much higher maintenance than tile. A laminate, or butcher block, counter top may look like an ideal and often inexpensive solution for your kitchen, however, it may warp when exposed to a source of heat such as a hot pot, or casserole dish. When in doubt, ask the manufacturer of the product. Not all products are going to function the same and its best to discuss the application with an expert who can make recommendations.

If you also need your kitchen countertops to charge your cell phone, you’ll appreciate this product from Corian:


Bring Home Samples

I can’t stress this enough, take the sample product home and make sure it works with the other finishes in the space. Sometimes you may not realize something doesn’t work until you bring it home and compare it to its surroundings. Things like lighting, adjacent colours, and location can affect the way the finish is perceived. Create a ‘material board’, a visual collection of all the elements and finishes together. Here are some examples from Pinterest:

See more here image

See more here

I hope your kitchen planning goes well! Feel free to email me with any questions, or share your adventures in kitchen renovations.

Written by: Interior Designer, Michelle Amore, ARIDO, IDC, NCIDQ



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