home equity

How to design an efficient kitchen

Homeowners who use open kitchen plans can run into storage problems. The open kitchen faces the family room or the dining room, integrating it with the rest of the house. This creates interaction with the food preparer but in many cases the kitchen loses a wall. The homeowner will need to compensate with a pantry or to determine how to more effectively use existing storage and cabinetry.

Many families use kitchen stools and have members of the family eat their breakfast or lunch at the countertop. Ruck calls them "floating" countertops because they connect to a countertop that is a work area. There are many different types of materials that can be used for countertops in your new kitchen. A stainless steel countertop is the easiest to clean and would be installed with a stainless steel sink. Usually an instant hot water faucet is installed as well for tea or water. These countertops look great with a modern kitchen design.

For years, homeowners have been installing laminated materials, Formica being the best known. Today's countertops don't look like your mother's countertops because they are manufactured now in many patterns and designs. Some cooks, too, are deciding to use wood cabinets. Although wood adds warmth to a room, it can stain and collect food odors. Granite, marble, or stone can be elegant choices. When redoing a kitchen, go to the place where these are cut and select the slab you want for your kitchen, because grain and color varies. Some people remodeling their kitchens also prefer ceramic tile, which can be custom-made.

Additional tips to keep in mind
The National Kitchen & Bath Association suggests these additional guidelines for homeowners planning to remodel their kitchens.

Additional guidelines:
  • A clear doorway should be at least 32 inches wide.
  • A full-height, full-depth, tall obstacle (like a pantry or refrigerator) shouldn't separate two primary work centers.
  • When a kitchen only has one sink, locate it adjacent to or across from the cooking surface and refrigerator.
  • Make sure you have enough countertop frontage. At least three inches should be provided on one side of the auxiliary sink, and 18 inches of countertop frontage on the other side. Be sure they are the same height as the sink.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association offers consumers a free kitchen and bath workbook if they visit the association's Web site. In the workbook are tips to consider when planning to redesigning your kitchen and bath. On the Web site, you also have the option of clicking on the "design your kitchen" link for an online, interactive design program to layout and create your dream kitchen.

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