The kitchen is the heart of the home. We eat to live – and some of us live to eat! – so it’s no surprise that a new kitchen is a significant investment. It’s a big project – and an important one.
Don’t be overwhelmed. We’ve broken it down into 5 easy steps to complete your new kitchen.
If you’re planning to renovate your kitchen or will be buying a new home with a custom kitchen design, bookmark this post as your comprehensive kitchen planning guide.
Table of Contents
How to Plan a New Kitchen
Planning a new kitchen is a big job. No matter what size or style your new kitchen will be, the project can be completed in 5 easy steps.
- Pre-Plan Your New Kitchen: This is the dream phase. You get to browse and figure out what you want and determine your budget.
- Choose Your Kitchen Designer: Get the right professional on board and you can take a step back, knowing your project is well taken care of.
- Create Your New Kitchen Design: Brainstorm with your kitchen designer to make selections and nail down specifics.
- Finalize Your New Kitchen Design: Review and approve final drawings, plans and timeline. Your order is submitted and you take a break.
- Prepare for Your New Kitchen: Get ready to enjoy your new kitchen while professionals install it. Your dream becomes reality!
Your New Kitchen Planning Guide
“Those are some big steps. How do I do them?” We’ll walk you through every step of completing your new kitchen. To help you, we’ve created a handy Kitchen Planning Guide you can download and use throughout the process.
Here’s how to complete each step of your new kitchen project.
Step 1: Pre-Plan Your New Kitchen
This is the dream phase. You get to explore and research and be inspired. Don’t rush this. The more you know about what you love and don’t love, the easier it will be to communicate with your designer to get the kitchen of your dreams.
How to Find Inspiration for Your New Kitchen
Pay attention to what you like and don’t like about your current kitchen. Just a fraction of the things you can consider include:
- Do you have enough cupboard space?
- Do you have enough countertop space?
- Would you like more accessible storage for small appliances or other kitchenware?
- Would you like to display any beautiful pieces?
- How’s the lighting?
- Is the placement of your appliances and/or sink convenient?
Beyond your current space, there are so many places and ways to find kitchen design inspiration:
- Pay attention to the kitchens in other homes you visit.
- Browse Pinterest and create a dedicated “Kitchen Inspiration” board to save your favorites.
- Houzz has a wealth of kitchen inspiration, too.
- Ask for brochures from kitchen cabinet companies.
- Go through magazines and tear out the pages you love. Create an inspiration folder or scrapbook.
- Talk with friends. Find out what they love/don’t love about their kitchens. What does their dream kitchen look like?
- Hire an interior designer for some preliminary consultation.
- Visit the local library or bookstore and find some books to browse through.
The possibilities are endless. Don’t get too caught up with obvious limitations. This process will help you recognize what’s important to you and what your style preferences are.
How to Determine Your New Kitchen Budget
Your kitchen will always be an investment. As the heart of the home, the value of your kitchen greatly affects the value of your home. Keep that in mind as you determine your budget.
Figuring out a realistic kitchen budget may require a bit of research. You can get quotes from various sources. Pay attention to appliance prices, fixtures and other components.
Regardless of your budget, it’s ideal to plan for a 15-20% contingency, especially for renovations.
Step 2: Choose Your Kitchen Designer
It’s important to work with the right kitchen designer for you. Schedule a professional measurement and design meeting with your new kitchen designer.
Step 3: Create Your New Kitchen Design
Now you get to share your ideas and inspiration with your kitchen designer. Together, you can brainstorm, discuss priorities and features, and come to a clear understanding of your needs and your budget. Your designer will create some preliminary drawings to help you visualize it all.
What should your new kitchen layout be?
Talk to your designer about the layout of your new kitchen. Some layout components you might want to consider:
- Coffee bar
- Eating bar
- Serving counter
- Built-in seating or desk area
- Baking center
If you want to make any significant changes from your current kitchen layout (such as moving the sink or oven), it’s important to talk about that now.
What should your new kitchen style be?
All the time and energy you put into gathering inspiration will now come in handy. Together with your kitchen designer, decide on the style for your new kitchen. Some style options to consider:
- Modern: edgy lines, cool tones
- Modern Rustic: a warm, cabin-like feel with today’s functionality and features
- Transitional: a blend of modern and traditional
- Traditional: classic design with contemporary convenience, fine detailing
- Eclectic: light, bright and cheery; not your typical look
- Contemporary: high contrast with high WOW! factor; minimalist and streamlined
- Casual: warm and inviting; natural and relaxed; softer than Traditional
Your Kitchen Design Checklist
At this stage, you will also begin to make selections for the many components in your new kitchen.
There are a lot of decisions to make, so we’ve created a comprehensive kitchen design checklist you can download to guide you through the whole process.
Here are the selections to consider:
- Material: cherry, oak, maple, hickory, pine, laminate
- Finishing/Color: stained and lacquered, painted, laminate, glazed
- Door Style: raised panel, recessed panel, flat, glass insert
- Do you want every cupboard door to have the same style?
- Will the pulls for the drawers be the same as the pulls for cupboard doors?
Do you want any of the following?
- Garbage/recycling bins
- Pots & pans storage
- Cutlery trays
- Wine rack
- Stemware storage
- Knife block
- Pull out shelving
- Small appliance storage (crockpot, toaster oven, etc.)
- China cabinet
- Serving dish storage
- Cookbook storage
- Spice rack
- Pet food storage
- Towel bars
- Paper towel rack
- Broom cupboard
- Folding stool storage
- Dish rack
- Ensure this is set up for all appliances.
- Where do you want the outlets under your cabinets?
- Do you want outlets on your island?
- Switch/Outlet type
- Fan controls
- Phone charging center
- Will plumbing relocation be required?
- Material: granite, laminate, wood (butcher block), quartz composite, other
- Do you want every surface to have the same countertop?
- Material: tile, porcelain, stone, glass, stainless steel, marble, granie, limestone, slate
- Size of Tiles
- Grout Color
Sink & Faucet
- Type: undermount, overmount, apron
- Color/Material: stainless steel, enamel, cast iron, acrylic, brass, venetian bronze, oil-rubbed bronze, chrome, nickel
- Usage: additional pot-filler at cooktop?, additional small prep sink?, sprayer?
- Pot lights?
Type: hardwood, vinyl, laminate, tile
- Color: white, black, stainless steel, integrated panel
- Stovetop/Oven/Wall Oven
- Garbage disposal
- Hood fan
- Water dispenser
- Beer/wine fridge
Step 4: Finalize Your New Kitchen Design
Whew! You’ve done a lot of work and made a lot of decisions at this point. It’s time to review your kitchen designer’s final drawings.
Once you’ve approved of the design, you’ll likely finalize payment arrangements and your designer will submit your product order. You’ll also go over the tentative project schedule. (It’s a good idea to allow some buffer in your timeline for unexpected delays like backordered products or trade hiccups.)
Step 5: Prepare for Your New Kitchen
You’re almost there! Before your new kitchen can be professionally installed, you’ll need to empty your cabinets and clear the area (in the case of a renovation).
Create a temporary kitchen space somewhere else in your house to use during your installation, or come up with an alternative plan to keep your family fed.
The professionals will install your new kitchen and clean up the job site.
You’ll have a final walkthrough to ensure that everything meets your expectations. Then you get to enjoy your new dream kitchen!
5 Steps to Enjoying Your Dream Kitchen
Partnering with the right professionals makes all the difference when taking on a big project like a new kitchen. There’s a lot to consider and a lot of decisions to make. We trust our kitchen planning guide will be a useful tool to simplify the new kitchen process.
You’ll be experiencing your new dream kitchen in 5 steps: Dream, Plan, Create, Finalize, Enjoy!