Kitchen planning begins with you whether you choose to have professional consultation and installation, or do it yourself. You will decide on the layout and features of the new kitchen, what will go and what will stay. In addition to achieving the desired appearance, considerations for overall functionality are important in the pre-planning phase. Kitchen planning is done with customization to make the area suit your individual lifestyle, needs and tastes.

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Get the measurements

The best place to start is with the measurements so you will know the amount of space that you have to work with. Most manufacturers work with metric unit so this is the best method. Use graph paper to make the notations for dimensions.

Measuring walls

Measure each individual wall from the ceiling to the floor in a few different spots. The reason for taking 2 to 3 measurements is because not all walls are square and you need precision in your figures for accuracy in the project. Next, measure the width of each wall. Label each wall on the graph paper with the dimensions.

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Measure ceilings and floors

In order to get accurate measurements of the ceiling and floor, measure each in three different spots.

Other measuring considerations

If there are architectural structures within the kitchen area, make a notation of the dimensions. These include cornices, built in fixtures, radiators, boilers, appliances, fans and exhausts. Also note if there are any existing islands, nooks or breakfast bars that you want to keep intact.

Make notations of the existing electrical outlets, existing light fixtures and switches. It is also helpful to include the schematics of direction and placement of the electrical wires and plumbing lines.

Doors and Windows

The measurements and locations of windows on each wall should be added as notations on the graph paper. Height, width, depth, distance from celing to upper trim, distance from floor to lower trim and distance from start of wall should be included.

The measurements for doors should include height, width, depth, swinging radius, direction of door swing and placement on the wall.

NKBA Guidelines

All kitchen plans must adhere to the local and state codes that apply to all home building/remodeling projects. NKBA Guidelines provide advisement for maximizing functionality of the kitchen space when planning, to avoid making common design mistakes that can lead to problems later. Some examples of the recommendations include keeping at least one sink housed within a 24 inch (60.96 cm) wide landing area onn at least one side with an 18 inch (45.2 cm) landing area on the other side. Dishwashers must be placed within 36 inches (91.44 cm) of a sink or clean up area and it is recommended that sinks be located across from or just adjacent to refrigerator or cooking surface.

Workstation versus Triangle schemas

The most common designs feature the refrigerator, sink and stove placement at three different points to form a triangle in the kitchen. This creates a space for higher efficiency and greater ease of movement because they are the most commonly used areas in conjunction with one another. More modern kitchen designs have added more appliances into the equation, making the triangle design less necessary for some plans. Functionality is the focal point of kitchen planning and lifestyle/intended use is more prominent in planning placement of the appliances which are most often used.

The landing area for major appliances in the workstation design should not be less than 15 inches or 38.1 cm. In the end, individual homeowners must decide how much area will ultimately be needed for the highest functioning kitchen for their particular needs.

Islands

Islands can be used for a variety of kitchen functions. They can serve as stand alone workstations, storage, kitchen seating or a combination. Some feature built in sinks and/or appliances. For adequate movement and functioning, the recommendation is to allow a minimum of 42 inches (106.68 cm) of space around kitchen islands.

Additional spacing requirements

Kitchen plans should allow for additional spacing around cupboards. 40 cm is recommended for the door swings, 50 cm for oven doors, 60 cm for dishwashers and 90 cm is recommended for workspace top height.

Storage needs

Homeowners must determine the amount of kitchen storage that they will need. This will help in determining the amount of cupboards, pull out drawers, racks, hooks, lazy suzan turntables and counter spaces that will be needed.

Lighting

Windows can supply a good source of kitchen lighting during daylight hours, if properly placed. There are several different lighting options for darker hours or kitchens without windows. Again, user preference and functionality needs are to the fore, but a highly functional kitchen will have the capability of being well lit. Multiple lighting sources are recommended. Light sources can serve multiple purposes such as illumination for function or as accents for decorative purposes. It is better to have extra lighting that can be used when needed than to have dark areas that become a problem while completing kitchen tasks.

Dealing with contractors and manufacturers

Some homeowners may prefer to complete kitchen remodels on their own, while others will hire a contractor. Whichever way you choose to go, you are still the person in charge of decision making in the process. So long as all of the state and local codes are upheld and the plans are within the scope of compliance, you are completely free to design your kitchen in accordance with your own tastes and preferences.

Expert consultation

Some manufacturers and building supply retailers offer consultation services for customers who are customizing plans for new kitchens or remodeling projects. These professionals can be helpful in answering questions throughout the planning and building stage. When you are unsure of what you want to include in the design and layout, it may be worth your time to preview model kitchen setups which are available through popular retailers. The staff may also be able to provide you with additional plans and pictures of more layouts and suggestions for new amenities. They may also be able help you to problem solve and find design solutions along with advising on new kitchen technology and products which are available.

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