Help, I'm Designing my Kitchen Remodel! Where Do I Begin?

At square one of a kitchen remodel? Never mind a long way to go, you may not even know where to begin. Don't fret, we’ve got some tips for how to get started.

Long before you begin demolition, ordering materials, or even thinking about hiring any contractors, it is important to nail down a great kitchen design. The experts recommend having a pretty detailed scope of work when you start to get builders involved in the process.

So if I’m not calling a contractor, how do I get started?

We suggest starting with design inspiration, dreaming up your optimal layout, and choosing the right materials for your space. With these elements in place, you will have a great foundation for the plan that will make your dream kitchen a reality.

curated design for a farmhouse kitchen remodel
Beam Curated Design: Willow Farmhouse Kitchen by Cheung Showman Architects.

Finding Your Inspiration

Now is the time to think of your kitchen as a blank slate and imagine your dream design. Do not let that thought overwhelm you! Before diving into the layout and material selection for your kitchen remodel, get inspired by beautiful kitchen spaces both online and off.

Pinterest and Instagram are both great resources for finding kitchen design inspiration. Create a collection of images that fit the design style you are hoping to achieve. Target your search with terms like “mid-century modern,” “minimalist farmhouse,” or “contemporary craftsman” to find examples of your ideal style. Also, use these inspiration images to explore layout options that might work well for your space.

For more editorial inspiration, the pages of interior design magazines such as Architectural Digest and Dwell, are a fantastic place to go deeper into the stories behind home renovations, remodels, and new builds. A great kitchen design is often rooted in a concept that aims to capture the needs and wants of a homeowner.

Rather than looking at specific materials right now, consider the concept behind a featured space, and how that translates into design solutions. How will you most use your space? What do you want it to feel like living in your kitchen?

With Beam, you can also explore curated designs built by our network of design partners. You can choose to customize a template that speaks to you, or partner directly with a designer whose work you admire to help you achieve a cohesive concept for your unique kitchen.

Optimizing Your Layout

Creating a functional, optimized kitchen layout is arguably more important than even the aesthetic design itself. If you are making small cosmetic updates to your space: replacing cabinet fronts or updating the flooring, you can probably get away with DIY or a local handyman to get the job done. But for a full-scale kitchen remodel, involving layout or structural changes, this is when it is time to call in the experts.

Keep in mind, there is a slew of technical requirements when it comes to laying out your kitchen. For instance, you will typically want the walkway between countertops to be at least 48” wide to allow your stove to open fully and a couple of people to be preparing food at the same time. There may also be design solutions that will allow you to maximize storage or surface area for cooking if that’s what matters to you.

Not to mention other tricks of the trade, like what’s known as the kitchen triangle rule. Simply put, this means your sink, stove, and refrigerator should be placed in a triangle of a certain size so that you can move between them with ease. But as is the case with all rules, there is always the exception. And in this case, there are multiple.

A design partner with years of experience creating optimal kitchen layouts will have a better understanding of these requirements and more, as well as the expertise to help guide you in choosing your appliances (which often have specific installation requirements and other considerations). Ultimately a design partner is there to help you capture your concept, and ensure that both form and function are accounted for in the layout of your space.

Gather materials using the Beam home remodel app
It's time to start narrowing down the materials for your kitchen remodel. 

Deciding On Materials

Speaking of appliances, choosing the materials for your kitchen remodel could and should be an exciting process!

But there is a lot to keep in mind when walking into the tile store or browsing online for flooring options. For the majority of kitchen remodels, you will need to choose materials for the floors, countertops, backsplash tile, wall color, cabinet color, and cabinet hardware, not to mention a suite of appliances.

While planning, collect a few different options for each material. With Beam, you are able to instantly generate mood boards to help you determine whether they work together.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is easy to fall in love with materials that look great separately, yet don’t pair well together. Focus on balancing colors, patterns, texture, and materials. Choose just one (or a few if you dare) bold patterns, color, or finish to be the focal point of the design and find the neutral contrast.

Also, consider how you use your kitchen and the durability you will need. If you have kids or pets, you might want highly durable floors such as engineering vinyl plank floors. If you are a messier cook, you will want to use quartz countertops as opposed to a marble material that will allow liquids to soak in.

Be sure to balance both quality and budget when choosing materials. You will purchase most materials by the square footage price, and while you may get away with a ballpark figure in the planning process, make sure you work with a design or build partner to source accurate measurements of your space (professionals measure twice, three times, ten(!) if they have to!) before placing any orders.

Last but not least, see your concept come to life with a custom rendering of your kitchen design. This is a conceptual, architectural drawing of your space. A must-have, both to feel confident in your design, but also in communicating your vision for your space to design and build partners.

Building your dream kitchen starts with design. Browse curated designs or find a design partner, organize materials, determine layout and create custom renderings of your space with Beam.