Cooking Up the Designer Kitchen of Your Dreams

If your household is like most, you do not have a full-time, live-in chef.  And there probably isn’t a full set of the latest and greatest designer kitchen appliances at your disposal to prepare the finest in world cuisine for your family each night.

Yet a kitchen offers a world of possibilities.  It can be the perfect place to gather with family and friends, strengthening relationships through conversation over relaxing, delicious meals.  Kitchens also offer the unique opportunity to explore flavours and cultures of the world all from the comfort of home.

If how your kitchen looks and feels is preventing you from seeing its full potential, it is time to step back, evaluate your surroundings, and come up with a new recipe for the designer kitchen of your dreams.  Depending on your ideas, will determine if you need a professional kitchen designer or whether you can follow a few simple guidelines to transform a tired and outdated kitchen into a modern oasis where everyone will want to congregate.

Determine your personal style.  Is your style retro and funky, or classic and clean?  Do you like a space that’s loud and vibrant, or quiet and mellow?  By pinpointing your style you can create a look and feel in the kitchen that reflects your personality.  Take some time to leaf through magazines looking for other kitchens or rooms that spark your interest.  Is it the colour or pattern that you like?  Does the design hearken to another era that resonates with you?  As you identify your style, you’ll have an easier time choosing which furniture, appliances, and accents can transform your kitchen into a unique reflection of your personality.

Set a reasonable budget.  While everyone dreams of being able to start from scratch in their kitchen, replacing everything from the floors to the cabinets and each appliance in between, most people have to work within a budget.  Creating a budget will help you prioritize your purchases and make realistic decisions about what you can afford.  If your budget isn’t what you hoped it would be, there are options for giving your kitchen a new look on a limited funds (see below).  Another idea is to implement your kitchen makeover in manageable phases.  Perhaps the first phase is a fresh coat of paint and new dishes with the second phase including a new refrigerator or stove.  You might wrap up your mini home makeover with new kitchen flooring.  Breaking your wish list into manageable chunks can help stretch a limited budget.

Choose the right appliances.  While updating your appliances may be as simple and inexpensive as replacing your outdated countertop toaster oven for a new model, sometimes a complete overhaul is in order or within the reach of your budget.  Whatever the situation, it is important to weigh the options for each kitchen appliance.  Do you need a professional-quality double oven or will a standard range work for you?  With such a variety of colours and styles available in appliances today, it is a good idea to consider how each piece will contribute to the overall style of your kitchen.  While colour selection may be as far as you need to go, staying within your style and plan for the kitchen may mean purchasing a matching designer collection.  Browsing Web sites for appliances that fit your style may save you from being overwhelmed when you take your first visit to a showroom.

Create a new look on a budget.  Sometimes the budget for a kitchen update is smaller than you hoped, yet you can easily spice up a bland kitchen by adding a few simple touches.  Grow a windowsill herb garden to add life and vibrancy to your kitchen and your family’s flavour palate.  No green thumb?  Changing the curtains in your kitchen will transform your view of the outside and contribute to how your kitchen looks on the inside.  You can also create an attractive centrepiece by combining a favourite bowl or plate with some seasonal produce – try gourds or small pumpkins in the fall, oranges in the winter, and fresh lemons in spring or summer.  Consider new towels or placemats to add a splash of colour.  Small touches can make a big difference when it comes to changing the look of a room.

Clean out the clutter.  Make room for new designer kitchen appliances by sorting through your current stash of appliances.  Anything that is broken should be thrown away.  Items that work that you no longer want, or need may be donated to charity or passed on to a younger relative or student.  You might even consider holding a yard sale to add to your budget.  Not only will you clear some space in the kitchen, but you will move one step closer to that built-in bottom-freezer refrigerator that you’ve had your eye on.

Get the family involved.  If your kids help out in the kitchen on a regular basis, they may offer a unique perspective or a creative idea to make the space a great place for everyone to gather.  Perhaps your spouse would volunteer to cook one night a week if a new swivel cabinet-mounted LCD television is a part of the new decor.  Getting others involved can help spark new ideas and allow everyone to take ownership and pride in the finished product.

With a little bit of planning and a lot of inspiration, mixing up a new designer kitchen is a recipe for success.  By keeping your personal parameters for style and budget in mind you can make professional looking changes to your kitchen that will enhance and liven up the space.  In just a short time, the investment you put into designing the kitchen of your dreams will pay dividends in comfort and quality time spent with family and friends over warm meals and pleasant conversations.