One of the most expensive and complex room renovations you can undertake is a kitchen remodel. It tops the list of upgrades that we are told sells homes for over asking price, but I like to think a smart kitchen renovation is primarily the one change you can make in your home that works hardest and gives back every single day. From making morning coffee without manoeuvring around appliances and others accessing the refrigerator, sink and stovetop to having what you need when you need it at your fingertips.

You don’t need a fully kitted out chef’s kitchen to have a cooking and dining space that functions well and is a joy to work in. Any kitchen renovation begins with a hard look at how you use your kitchen, your routines and preferences for food preparation, if you like working alone or with others and if part of the space will include casual dining.

Love the idea that this counter height table can be moved elsewhere to back a sofa or provide a svelte profile before a floor to ceiling window.

Love the idea that this counter height table can be moved elsewhere to back a sofa or provide a svelte profile before a floor to ceiling window.

I run through about 20 questions when designing a kitchen to cover household information, design, budget, entertaining, activity and storage issues. Essentially, what makes most kitchen makeovers expensive are the gizmos and not having enough information and expert guidance to make informed decisions such as frame vs. frameless cabinetry (frame cabinets cost more).

 Once there is a clear idea of the sort of kitchen that is needed, the planning process begins with a layout  designed around the needs and architecture of the space. Considering the zones and their functions, NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association) guidelines and sourcing appliances that fit the bill, it’s time to visit kitchen showrooms.

Upgraded range installed with proper clearances and surface spaces.

Upgraded range installed with proper clearances and surface spaces.

Whether your budget is IKEA or a top line kitchen cabinetry company, personalizing cabinetry to your specifications is the goal. Since quotes from each company feature different cabinetry and hardware and often they’ll rework layouts, it’s nearly impossible to compare to select the best option, and this is where a designer can help significantly by locating the best quality, pricing and installation scenario.

When deciding on cabinetry, you will want to consider cabinet composition as well as style and adaptability to your design. Which material is going to work best for your home: wood, wood veneers or MDF? What sort of finish, polyester, lacquer, thermofoil or laminate will best address your design choice and lifestyle?

Shaker style frameless cabinetry and a combination butcher block and solid surface countertop.

Shaker style frameless cabinetry and a combination dual purpose countertop.

Do you like face framed or frameless cabinets? All this before you choose stains and colours not to mention order the exact dimensions that fit your layout, all around appliance placement.

What sort of storage do you need? Are you an adventurous cook who needs to store quantities of spices of ingredients?

Richlieu offers a series of creative solutions for pantry storage.

Richelieu offers a series of creative solutions for pantry storage.

Pull out spice drawers and pantries that house a warehouse of supplies might be in your new kitchen’s future.

Pull out spice drawers organize the busiest kitchen prep area.

Pull out spice drawers organize the busiest kitchen prep area.

Richelieu distributes inventive storage pantries to kitchen cabinet makers, with so many options and styles for virtually any style required for the project. There is much to be said for galley style kitties: lack of corners to deal with.

Pull out corner unit so no space is left unused.

Pull out corner unit so no space is left unused.

Corners are one of the biggest head scratchers when designing a kitchen and if you can avoid them, how to handle this odd storage area is immediately eliminated.

Corner drawer units.

Corner drawer units.

If not, there are solutions from the old lazy-susan options which now pull out and swivel for convenience to drawer unites that, while an odd shape, at least allow you to make use of every inch. With all the fabulous implements you’ll want, that’s a bonus.