We flip houses, so we’ve seen a lot of kitchens: they are the heart of a home, after all. If you are planning a home renovation that includes this well-used space, it is important to get it right and plan ahead for a beautiful, yet functional room you’ll love. That’s why we’ve compiled our favorite simple kitchen design ideas that are easy to execute, yet offer a great reward in the long run.
Our Top 10 Simple Kitchen Design Ideas & Tips
1. Consider The ‘Kitchen Triangle’ in Your Design
The sink, stove, and refrigerator see the most action in the kitchen, therefore, it makes sense that they be in close proximity to each other… but not too close.
Ideally, the three will form a triangle, so the chef can easily move between all three to create their culinary masterpiece (or put the dishes away).
Abbotts at Home achieved a great kitchen triangle for their kitchen renovation design. When planning, they recommend not limiting yourself to where your appliances originally were and just think about where they would make the most sense going forward.
2. Functional Kitchen Storage is a Must
Let’s talk about storage. Who here has a junk drawer in their kitchen? What about an overflowing silverware/utensil drawer? If you have the opportunity to design your own kitchen and want it to be functional, remain organized, and hold up over time, it usually pays off in the long run to invest a little extra (within reason) in the following items:
- Drawers over doors – for base cabinets
- Wide utility drawers – where possible
- Upgrade organizational features – drawer dividers or utensil holders
- Exhaust vertical storage – especially for smaller kitchens
Sure, these upgrades will cost a bit more, but sometimes it is worth investing a little extra in a kitchen’s functionality for your own enjoyment, otherwise, why would you make changes in the first place?
This kitchen storage design idea from Making It in the Mountains should offer some inspiration for your renovation! The small-appliance-specific cabinets are a really smart addition when planning out your cabinetry.
And for ideas on making the most of every space, check out this measuring cup storage idea from Crafted by the Hunts. It is inexpensive and easy to do!
3. in Kitchen design, Invest in What Matters
Before taking on a kitchen renovation, please be sure to budget appropriately. Although we would never suggest to over-improve for your neighborhood, a kitchen renovation will get you the highest return on your investment. That being said, you will want to put your money where it matters most. If you find yourself in an either/or situation, between countertops, appliances and cabinets, put your money towards quality cabinets. (You can always can save up and upgrade those other items later.)
*TIP* Unless you are completely debt free, have adequate of passive income and are in your forever home, custom cabinetry should probably not be considered. We use CNC Cabinets.
4. when designing your kitchen, Consider An Island
Lack of counter space is one of the biggest complaints in kitchen design: consider adding a breakfast bar or island when outlining your kitchen design. An island addition can solve the problem of both kitchen storage and extra counter space. However, let us advise you not to do this at the expense of functionality.
*Tip* Walking space around an island should be at least 36 inches on all sides, so in order to accommodate an island that is 2 feet by 4 feet, the kitchen should be at least 11 by 13 foot, wall to wall.
If re-designing a small kitchen, an island simply may not work. It’s not worth adding if it doesn’t make the space easier to use. It can be frustrating, but accepting it for what it is and working with what is in front of you is the best bet, like using the vertical storage trick!
This before and after from Pink Peppermint Design is an inspiring and simple kitchen design idea for an island-focused kitchen.
5. Keep Trends In Check
We love staying on-trend, it’s a perk of the biz. However, a kitchen remodel is a large investment – one that you don’t want to have to re-live in five years. The safest decision a homeowner can make is to choose the most classic kitchen design look possible when making the most expensive purchase of your kitchen: the cabinets.
One exception to this is if you are up-cycling cabinets or saving money by painting your existing ones. In those cases – make your mark, inspiring people!
6. Don’t Forget the Backsplash
You must have a backsplash. I can not emphasize enough how much this element adds to your kitchen design. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but having something is an important part of kitchen design.
*TIP* If $$ is tight, Save it for later! Admittedly, we don’t always do a backsplash because budgets are cruel – sometimes we have to cut it, too. However, if you can manage a DIY project or delay it for down the road, it is an option that should not hold up your permits in a renovation project. Don’t forget to circle back, though, because backsplashes make a big impact on the finish of your kitchen. It’s like icing on a cake
7. Include Adequate Lighting in Your Kitchen
Since I refuse to sacrifice style or functionality, two words for you: can lights. They allow you to have the best of both worlds.
Those all-so-trendy Edison bulbs don’t always cut it in the brightness department, but can lights solve that problem, allowing you to choose unique light fixtures for your kitchen that will transform your space without inhibiting your ability to see.
*TIP* Opt for can lights and cut the fixtures from the budget, but run electrical for desired pendant lighting and plate the box. Save up and install fixtures down the road.
8. Plan for Proper Kitchen Ventilation
Ventilation in your kitchen is important. There is nothing more unattractive in a kitchen than the smell of the salmon you cooked last night lingering in the morning while you eat breakfast.
*TIP* Generally, for residential homes in our area, Inspectors want to see hood vents less than 400 CFM.
On a budget? This is a great DIY vent hood project by A Life Unfolding. It is made out of wood and is a simple project to add some character.
For a unique option, check out the vent hood from this remodel by Reality Daydream. With the help of a vent hood insert, this couple designed a specialty hood and made it by hand.
9. The Trashcan Isn’t Pretty
No one wants to stare at your trashcan. If you are installing new cabinets and your space allows, make trash can storage built-in. You will be happy you did.
Even better, make sure to allow enough space for two bins: one for recycling, the other for trash. There are plenty of aftermarket options at Lowes or Home Depot.
10. Avoid DIY Overload and SpLurge When Needed
We are all for saving a buck, however, sometimes it’s best to leave it to the professionals. Be realistic about your abilities, value your own time, and consider hiring out the work.