Kitchen Design Ideas Tips

Read these 7 Kitchen Design Ideas Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Cabinet tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What type of sink and kitchen faucet should I buy?

Take Time to Pick out Kitchen Elements

Believe it or not, you can spend about as much time on just a new sink for your kitchen as you do considering cabinet storage ideas. Don't be tempted to skip over items like sinks because you might be sorry. For example, you might quickly buy the most intriguing faucet design but it may be hard to use.

Consider how you cook when determining a sink and faucet designs. Some sinks offer large, double compartments. Others offer one large and one small component. Others offer two compartments for washing and rinsing in addition to a disposal compartment in the middle. You want your sink to be just steps away from all food prep areas. More high-tech sink options include a separate, hot-water-on-demand tap. Others offer a large sprayer in addition to typical faucet handles. Center-set faucets include the hot and cold water handles as part of the main piece and are quite stylish.

Before you consider the size and depth of your sink, measure the largest pot you own and make sure it won't be inconvenient to fill. Some kitchen design ideas include a separate sink behind the cook top to fill large pots so they do not have to be carried.

Kitchen faucets come in chrome, brass, enamel, pewter and nickel. They can be shiny or have a brushed appearance. You can get even more chic faucet styling for as little as $100. Higher-end options might be several hundred dollars or even up to $1,000. Sinks come in granite, stainless steel, enameled cast-iron, acrylic and other composite materials.

How do I incorporate safety into my kitchen design?

Incorporate Safety into Your Kitchen Design

When you begin to design a kitchen, you should keep in mind you will likely use it for many years and your physical limitations may change over time. If you are a baby-boomer, you may have both young kids and older adults living with you or visiting regularly. Consider building safety into your kitchen design and you may prevent a host of accidents. Good kitchen designers will have many ideas on this topic.

When you pick out flooring -- whether it's tile, matte-finished wood or textured vinyl -- ask about its slip-resistant rating. Don't buy materials not indicated for flooring no matter what kind of deal you get. Tell your kitchen designer you want all electrical receptacles grounded and protected with ground-fault circuit interrupters. Consider appliances with smart technology that have lock-out options so no one can use them when you aren't home. Install anti-scald faucet devices or those that can be programmed for temperature by you. Some homeowners prefer cook top configurations that prevent reaching over one burner to grab or stir a pot on another. Avoid swinging doors and counter tops with sharp edges. Consider installing your microwave in a location that will prevent anyone reaching overhead to get out a hot dish. Ask your contractor about other kitchen design ideas that incorporate safety.

How do I get the best kitchen cabinetry for the price?

Choose the Best Cabinetry Construction for Your Budget

Part of re-designing your kitchen is choosing the right cabinetry construction for your lifestyle and budget. When you decide on a kitchen cabinet supplier, make sure that company offers some choice in this area. That way you'll get the best quality for your price.

For example, Armstrong offers three different cabinet construction options and their specific design specifications; this will help you get the best quality for your money. They include:

*Genuine Allwood Cabinetry™: A top-tier construction offering features found in custom cabinetry such as premier durability, strength, interior protection, concealed hinges and dovetail drawers. This choice is a great way to enhance the overall value of your home.

*Premier Series™: A budget-friendly choice that offers high styling, durable composite panel construction, multi-ply hardwood, six-way adjustable concealed hinges, as well as matching wood grain, or white laminate exterior with maple grained, or white laminate interior.

*Extreme Series™: An option for those who want the best quality on a more limited budget. This series features pressure treatment for water resistance, front to back solid pine side braces and a solid pine, four-sided drawer box with high-grade epoxy.

What are Quadric kitchen cabinets?

Quadric Cabinets Offer Custom Styling

If you haven't shopped for kitchen cabinets in a while, you are probably expecting all the typical options: maple, birch, cherry or alder wood. You are probably figuring the information that accompanies your installation will tell you a long list of care instructions you should follow if you want your cabinets to look their best and last a long time. But newer cabinets choices now abound. Innovative kitchen cabinet construction methods have led to cabinets that look like custom furniture but require very little care to maintain that appearance.

One such example is Quadric cabinets. Some people think of laminate as old fashioned, like the flooring that is now considered out of style. But laminate finishes on kitchen cabinetry are a great choice whether your design preference is traditional, French Country or Contemporary. Quadric is milled from a single panel of medium density fiberboard. Then it is clad under heat and pressure with a white, rigid vinyl. But, unlike most cabinetry made this way, Quadric offers square corners on doors and drawer fronts. These cabinets look like they were made just for your kitchen but offer easy cleaning requirements.

Quadric cabinets look exceptional with chrome hardware, clear glass and traditional crown molding but other options are plenty.

What are my options for having a kitchen counter top installed?

Are Expensive Kitchen Counter Tops Really Better?

When you begin to design a kitchen, you'll find there are many more options for other kitchen elements such as counter tops. But are the newer materials really better? Is a marble counter top worth the price? This answer is not as easy as it seems. You may simply fall in love with a certain material and have to have it. Maybe you are willing to sacrifice somewhere else to afford it.

In any case, take some time to separate design features from current trends, or you may find in a year your neighbor installs just as nice a counter top for less money than you did. With all the options available today - -and with newer materials designed to mimic expensive ones -- you should be able to find a counter top you like in your price range. Also, some more expensive counter tops may be guaranteed for a long time. Considering the longevity, it may be a good deal. On the other hand, a fancy-looking counter top may perform poorly.

Plastic laminate counter tops are likely the least expensive. They resist stains and are available in a lot of choices. But, in the case of a serious accident, like a hot pot being placed directly on it, laminate counter tops will need replaced. Solid-surface counter tops, made of polyester or acrylic can be purchased in faux stone and other finishes, and are more durable than laminate. They are also more expensive. Ceramic counter tops are also durable and offer many design choices, while granite counter tops are almost as hard as a diamond. Granite is quite expensive when compared to other choices but can be purchased in tiles to save money. Other high-end counter tops include limestone and marble.

Ask a qualified expert about the key differences in warranty and performance before you buy -- and consider buying the best material you can afford to ensure your kitchen remodeling project investment lasts as long as possible.

How do I make sure my kitchen is easy to use as I get older?

Design a Kitchen with the Future in Mind

What happens if you design a kitchen and you or your spouse incurs an illness or becomes disabled? No one likes to think about these possibilities but, if you plan to stay in your home past retirement, you should consider cabinetry construction and other design elements that will not need to be replaced as you get older. Even if you have a spacious kitchen, you can still make mistakes that make it hard to cook.

One basic design idea is to have counter tops installed at varying heights. That way, they'll be easy to use for everyone -- including grandchildren who someday want to help you make cookies. Also, you can perform some tasks while sitting, which is a nice feature if you entertain a lot. Dishwashers can be easier to use (especially for those with some back strain) if they are installed about a foot above the floor. Make sure light switches are easy to find without reaching over hot areas. Pull-out counter tops are great for smaller kitchens and they can be placed near the stove and/or cook top. Even if your home allows adequate space for a large, gourmet-style kitchen, create work spaces that are compact. This will save time and steps, and possibly prevent accidents.

Kitchen cabinetry design ideas are easy to find these days. For example, pull-out drawers that hold heavy cookware prevent any strain on knees from having to bend to the floor just to get a stock pot. Finally, chose appliances that follow these trends, too, such as side-by-side refrigerators that allow easy access to both fresh and frozen foods.

Should I try to remodel my kitchen myself?

Installing Cabinetry Is a Professional Skill

You might take a look at a kitchen remodeling showroom and figure, How hard can cabinet construction be? Maybe I can save some money by making and/or installing my own cabinets instead. Halt right there. This could prove to be an unwise choice.

What happens if there are problems down the line? You'll have no workmanship warranty to fall back on. And, the monetary investment you make on wood and other materials could be lost. Do you know what a carcase is? What measurements it should be? Do you know what a doweled joint is? Or how it compares to other types of joints? Should you install an adjustable cup hinge or a traditional butt hinge? Can you design and build a half-moon, slide-out shelf for a corner cabinet? Do you have a random-orbit sander or a spokeshave with an adjustable pivot? Even if you get some cabinets built, who will help you install them? It takes at least two people to install cabinets correctly.

Cabinet-making is actually a fine art that goes back for centuries. It takes a tremendous amount of time and -- especially -- space. Even if you finish and install kitchen cabinets, what will you do if they warp? Kitchen design and remodel projects require significant experience in both plumbing and electrical work. Custom kitchen remodel jobs can take several months to complete and that's with several people working up to 8 hours a day. It's unlikely the average person can handle not only the design phase but especially the construction phases of such a huge undertaking.

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Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.