The Basics

Better design isn't simply better, it's essential
Good design is not simply a matter of attractiveness. It has to acknowledge that people differ in size, age, and ability, and that kitchens are used in a variety of ways.

You are creating much more than a better kitchen, you are creating a social center. A great deal of thought must be given to this center, from overall design to the finishing touches. The area should reflect your individuality, while providing for growth, adaptability, entertainment and other changes in your household.

Remember it is important to consider both functional and lifestyle needs. Many factors influence the "ideal" layout for your kitchen. Consider these key factors: size, usage, traffic, workflow, and budget.

Most dissatisfaction with kitchen make-overs is linked to cost overruns and jobs that took considerably longer than scheduled. So to avoid these pitfalls, make a schedule, stick to your budget and remember the payoff. It will be worth the effort.

Needs Survey
Developing the right basic plan for your kitchen is the key to a good design. This survey will help you to identify what your new kitchen needs.

  • How do you currently use your kitchen?
    What things do you most like about your current kitchen? Dislike most?
  • How do you shop-do you buy in bulk? Or do you make frequent smaller purchases?
    How do you transfer groceries from the garage or parking space? Could there be a better path from your car to the kitchen?
  • What kind of cooking do you do?
    How large is your collection of cooking utensils, pots and pans, etc.? How much room do you need for small appliances such as toasters, food processors, bread machines? How many different people will cook or prepare foods? What are their skill levels?
  • Do you have children? Teens?
  • Do you currently have a parent or grandparent in your space?
  • Do you have pets?
  • Are there frequently multiple cooks in the kitchen at the same time?
  • How many people typically help clean-up?
  • Is your kitchen an important socializing and entertaining space?

So are you ready for a change?

National Kitchen & Bath Association
The content of this article is provided courtesy of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). At, you'll find an inspiration gallery of award-winning kitchen and bath designs from NKBA members, complete with photos and floorplans. In addition, this consumer website offers articles and tips written specifically for homeowners, an extensive glossary of kitchen and bath remodeling terms, and illustrations and explanations of kitchen and bath planning guidelines. There, you can also e-mail questions to the NKBA's kitchen and bath experts, as well as order a free copy of the NKBA Kitchen & Bath Workbook.