While you are couped up at home alone or with your entire family, you may be noticing some things in your home that are really bothering you. You’re likely using the kitchen three or more times a day. The bathroom is getting frequented constantly. And everyone is realizing that there isn’t enough convenient storage space for everything. Now is your chance to start working on your home renovation wish list! While you are actively using the space more often, things that seemed wrong are now bothering you beyond measure. Write it down. Ask questions. Let someone know! But how do you get started? We’ve got a few prompting questions (and some preliminary answers) for you to jumpstart your home renovation wish list.
From bulk pantry items to Costco-sized freezer foods, if you’ve been stocking up a little more than normal, you may see that there isn’t quite enough good storage space in your kitchen. If you’re using some appliances (small and large) more frequently you may also realize that they are smaller than needed to cook for an entire family. The KitchenAid mixer you used to hide in the pantry is now taking up valuable countertop space. These are things to really consider when doing a remodel, so take note of what’s not fitting! When we remodel we help our clients with an exercise called “inventory mapping.” This is where you create an honest list of everything you use – and need – on a daily basis and group them by category, like the following:
- 2-1/2 linear feet of sheet pans, muffin tins, cutting boards, etc.
- 4 linear feet of cutlery items (spatulas, whisks, wooden spoons, etc.)
- 1 linear foot of knives
- 3 small appliances: mixer, blender, juicer
Once you make your entire list, your designer should be able to help you choose the right cabinetry options – like drawer cabinet organization and storage solutions – to ensure things fit. Storage space is always a big item on any kitchen wish list. It’s important, however, to know what you actually need to store. You should also think about how often you go grocery shopping and how you purchase food. This can help determine how much fridge, freezer, and dry pantry space you really need.
Moving Around Your Kitchen
Now that everyone is home and even your kitchen peninsula or island has turned into yet another adult office or child homework station, how are you seeing your space function? You may be noticing that you are walking on top of each other more often since you’re starting to cook more meals at home. This often lumped into some of the following issues: your walk paths are too narrow, your kitchen zones are poorly placed, you have a “pinch point” in the space, or your kitchen is just too small in general! Some of these things can be easily fixed, and others require a heftier remodel. However, here are a few pointers to help you figure out what the issue really is:
- Walk paths should be 36″ wide, minimum – ideally, you want 42″ with 48″ being the minimum for a “two butt” kitchen
- Things you use most often should be within a few steps of each other with an unobstructed path (like your food preparation and cooking zones)
- Peninsulas can cause people to stand at the end, typically in front of something important, so consider an island (even a small freestanding one can work in smaller spaces!)
The goal with a remodel is to really keep the cook(s) happy. This should be the most important thing on your kitchen wish list! You don’t want to be running around in circles and avoiding bump-outs or going around corners when you are trying to make a meal. If you’re doing that now, it may be why you are frustrated while cooking! Make your kitchen your space. Keep things together you are actively going to be reaching for. Move things not often used into a pantry or under a counter overhang. Have kids or guests sit facing into the kitchen. Over the years we have seen what makes sense, and what doesn’t – and we always share the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recommendations for design on every project.
Using Your Space
Even though you are home a lot now, you want to consider how you normally use your space. Do you meal prep on the weekend? Making lunches every morning? Host every holiday and family celebration? Just reheating last night’s dinner? Thinking about and answering these questions help drive what is truly important. You can really deep dive into these questions and see what you should think about using our Lifestyle Assessment Form. These answers also help your designer figure out what’s important to you. You can also learn how to utilize Houzz and Pinterest so your designer can see what you like from both a functional and aesthetic standpoint. Don’t be afraid to design out of the box! Let your designer help introduce color, texture, pattern – anything to help add some personality into your space.
There is never a bad time to start creating your kitchen wish list! Not ready to get started on the design process right now? We still suggest you begin writing that list down somewhere. That way, whenever you are ready to start, you have lots of ideas to create your dream kitchen!