Designer Jennifer Gilmer gives the following tips for putting together a kitchen that looks good and functions well:
¢ Top-quality cabinets. Cutting corners here might result in having to replace cabinets sooner rather than later, she says. "Inexpensive cabinets will last about seven years and need to be replaced in 10; good cabinets will go 20 to 30 years without any problems."
¢ The best appliances you can afford. "Quality pays, it doesn't cost," Gilmer says. "You don't want to put in new appliances and then seven years later have them break down." She says typical mid-range appliances last seven to nine years - "nine if you're lucky, 11 if you're really lucky" - while top-of-the-line versions can last as long as 15.
¢ A good ventilation system. You don't want to wake up smelling the dinner you cooked the night before. A hood over the cooking surface is ideal; a cooktop with a downdraft exhaust also can be effective.
¢ Adequate table space. "Instead of designing the kitchen and using the leftover space for the table, start with a gathering area and work your way back to see how much space you have," Gilmer suggests. And allow space for chairs to slide in and out comfortably.
¢ Smart layout. A proper layout means "there will be less back-and-forth, less walking around, and you'll want to cook more often because it's more pleasurable," she says. Be aware of your movements when you're cooking; if you're right-handed, you'll appreciate more counter area to the right of your work space.
¢ Plenty of light. "You can have the most beautiful kitchen in the world, but if you can't liven it up with lighting, it loses something," Gilmer says. This includes under-counter task lighting and recessed ceiling lights. She recommends directional recessed lighting, which can be turned to focus on a particular area.
Source: The Washington Post