Category Archives: Kitchen design ideas

6 Ways to Make the Most of Your Kitchen Designer

So the time has come to renovate that old kitchen at last and you’re searching for a kitchen designer to help you make your dream kitchen a reality. Nice! Unless you haven’t worked with a designer before, in which case you might be nervous about the process and how it works. If that’s the case, read on…

Why use a kitchen designer?
Maybe you’re on the fence about using a kitchen designer. If so, here’s one really good reason to do so: Simply put, they know more than you do. They’ve done kitchen design and know when it’s too much stainless steel, how big to make the kitchen island, and why your wall oven shouldn’t be off on its own. They know quality materials and the costs. They’ve learned by trial and error over the years, and their trials can reduce your errors. Finally, an experienced kitchen designer will help you create a new kitchen that looks the way you want, but also functions the way you need.

6 ways to maximize the benefit of a kitchen designer
Once you decide to hire a kitchen designer, know that your time with him or her will be more productive if you do your homework before you start. How? Go through these six steps to make sure your first meeting with that designer gets you both on the same page from the very beginning:

  1. Think about your current kitchen. What works? What doesn’t? What kind of cooking do you do? How would that change in your new kitchen? What do you love about your kitchen, and what do you really want to change?
  2. Look at a lot of pictures of kitchens (and we mean a lot) to get a sense of the styles you like or don’t like. See our advice on using Pinterest for kitchen planningfor tips on doing this kind of research.
  3. Since kitchen cabinets play such a large role in a kitchen’s design, spend time looking at your kitchen cabinet options, in particular semi-custom cabinets that can be very high qualitywithout busting your kitchen budget.
  4. Speaking of budget, know your budget ahead of time, at least a rough approximation of it. You don’t want to waste a designer’s time (or yours) only to find out that your dream kitchen can only be paid for by an in-your-dreams budget.
  5. Know your timeline ahead of time. The last time we bought kitchen cabinets, the salesperson commented on how quickly we decided, and told us about another customer who had spent two years trying to decide on kitchen cabinets and still hadn’t. Don’t be that person. Have a timeline for you and for your designer.
  6. Finally, be honest with yourself and your kitchen designer about how you and your family use your kitchen. You might have visions of an elegant, elaborately decorated kitchen that will wow your grownup guests, but the reality is you have a brood of young children and toddlers at home and won’t be entertaining sophisticated dinner guests any time soon—but you do need kitchen cabinets that are easy to wipe down after getting smeared with jelly!

Working with a kitchen designer to plan your new kitchen can help you make the most of your budget, stay on task, and get a kitchen that only looks the way you want but functions the way y

How to Round up Pinterest Kitchen Cabinets Ideas Galore

Are you into Pinterest kitchen cabinets research? I admit that when I was first introduced to Pinterest, I did not get it. I was planning a wedding and a friend made it sound like Pinterest was the answer to all my problems. The real problem was, I didn’t understand how it worked. Oh, boy, was that a lifetime ago! Now I use Pinterest for all kinds of searches and inspiration, from cooking to sewing to decorating to gardening—even for doing research into turkey housing! (Yes, I did that!)

We’ve mentioned Pinterest before in the Wellborn Forest blog, with four tips for organizing your kitchen design ideas using Pinterest. (If you didn’t read it before, do so now; I just re-read it and it’s good advice!) But Pinterest is such a rich resource, of course, we have more to say on the subject.

Below we give you a few more reasons to turn to Pinterest for help with planning your new kitchen cabinets…

Kitchen cabinet ideas Pinterest style
Flexibility is perhaps the best thing about using Pinterest for planning your new kitchen. You can make boards for any category you like, then change them out, rename them, replace them, delete them, break them into smaller categories, share them with others—whatever you want. Compared to saving ideas another way, say with files on your computer or clippings, I think this is by far the most flexible option.

For example, let’s say you’re not really thinking about kitchen storage ideas yet because really, your focus in choosing your kitchen cabinets. So you see some clever ideas about storage, and you pin them on your Pinterest kitchen cabinets board. But then later, you realize this is a topic you want to think about more and plan for, so you start a new board just for storage ideas and move your pins there, plus pin new ones there.

Using Pinterest can help you focus
Although it’s flexible and you might think that would make it harder to focus, in my experience, that flexibility helps me focus on what’s really important. Think about it. You could have boards for all the different considerations for your new kitchen, including:

  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Kitchen storage ideas
  • Cabinet hardware
  • Kitchen colors
  • Countertops
  • Appliances
  • Lighting
  • Faucets
  • Accessories
  • Ceiling ideas
  • Flooring
  • Kitchen islands
  • Kitchen furniture

If you were to put all of your pins in one board, maybe a “Dreaming of a New Kitchen” board, you’d lose sight of the ideas you do and don’t like and you would have a harder time making choices later. Using boards to categorize and organize will help you focus when it’s decision time.

Pinterest kitchen cabinets research
Pinterest is also a useful tool for planning your new kitchen because you can fully explore an idea. For example, maybe you’re considering a kitchen island that’s darker than your kitchen cabinets, or you’re thinking about a tuxedo cabinet approach. With Pinterest, you can seek out plenty of images to help you decide whether you like something or not. You can get out of trying to picture something in your mind, and see what others have done. And if you change your mind? Delete that board!

Finally, Pinterest is a wonderful place for researching kitchen cabinets and design ideas because anyone and everyone can contribute. Unlike going to a design website that will only show you pictures by kitchen designers (which are gorgeous!), going to Pinterest lets you see what other homeowners like you have done with their kitchens. And it can be less intimidating to look at some of those photos compared to the professional photos of the designers’ work!

What Color Kitchen in 2018? Here’s What’s Hot in Kitchen Color Ideas

If 2018 is the year you get a new kitchen or revamp an old one, now’s the time to start thinking about kitchen color ideas because all the experts have predicted the hot trends for the coming year. We took a look at the predictions of some of the biggest names in paint for ideas, and sum them up for you below. The predictions are for colors of all kinds, not just kitchen color, but the variety below should indicate how many varied options you have for this critical design decision.

No more neutrals
Neutrals have been dominating kitchen color ideas for a while, with grays and taupes becoming the “new” neutral. For 2017, Sherwin Williams named a grayish taupe as the color of the year. For the year ahead, we’ll probably see a lot less in the way of neutrals, and a lot more in the way of bright colors and color combinations.

Pantone predicts a move toward brighter colors, and they’ve designed eight color palettes for 2018 that are anything but neutral territory:

  • Resourceful is made up of blues and oranges.
  • Verdure combines colors like celery with purples and eggshell blue.
  • Playful offers bright yellows, limes and other fun colors.
  • Discretion, on the other hand, is made up of pinks and hues like Elderberry and Hawthorne Rose.
  • Far-fetched gives us warm, earthy colors combined with rosy tones.
  • Intricacy is a staying true to neutral but with metallic sheens and accents of red and yellow.
  • Intensity is the eclectic mix, combining all types of colors balanced with black and gold.
  • TECH-nique is tech-bright, with turquoise, pink and purple colors.

If those color combinations haven’t yet convinced you we’re moving away from subtle neutrals, check out Pantone’s color of the year: a purple they’re calling Ultra Violet, of a hue they’re hoping will be an uplifting color of hope.

Sherwin Williams also gives nod to brights
Leading paint company Sherwin Williams also predicts a bright future—at least in colors. They’ve pulled together three color palettes:

  • Affinity with blues, fuchsias and browns
  • Connectivity with blues, greens and high-definition yellows
  • Sincerity with neutrals but those neutrals are paired with greens and pinks

Behr gets on board
Also coming forward with their predictions, paint company Behr has curated a palette of 20 colors predicted to trend in 2018. Their color of the year is called In the Moment. It is described as a cool, tranquil, spruce blue “inspired by nature” and intended to be a “soothing, restorative coalescence of blue, gray and green.” Behr seems to have focused on our need for comfort in a busy world. In the Moment is designed to evoke “a sense of sanctuary and relaxation amid our busy, always-on lives.” In name and in color, it represents being more in the present.

This same desire for something deeper and less harried comes through in the names of other featured colors, including Kombucha, a soft honey-touched gold; Soul Search, a deep blue; and Unplugged, an organic olive brown.

You can also see Benjamin Moore’s predicted color trends here.

Now, about those kitchen color ideas
The colors of 2018 promise to be one thing if nothing else: eclectic. And as someone planning a new kitchen, that makes your choice of kitchen color ideas practically endless! For you, the choice of kitchen color will be about what you love, not what you’re limited to.

Kitchen Lighting Ideas, From the Usual to the Unexpected

Is a new kitchen part of your 2018 plans? If so, you’re probably planning and pinning away as you consider all of your options for cabinets and colors and countertops! In the midst of all that planning, make sure kitchen lighting is high on your list, because that lighting can make or break your new kitchen.

You want two kinds of lighting in your kitchen: lighting that will help you get your kitchen tasks done, and lighting that will help you create a warm and cozy atmosphere. These are not the same types of lighting, and one can’t double for the other, although some types of lighting can work for both.

For ideas to help you start planning your new kitchen lighting, we’ve pulled together some of the usual kitchen lighting and why you might want to choose one or the other, as well as some unexpected ideas too…

The usual ways to light your kitchen
Long gone are the days of one oblong fluorescent light fixture attached to the kitchen ceiling, paired with a single bulb over the sink! Today’s kitchens have numerous lighting options.

  • Don’t overlook daylight! If you have windows in your kitchen, be sure to let the light shine in. Avoid heavy curtains or anything that might cut down on this beneficial light.
  • Track lighting is task lighting. When you’re in the kitchen, you’re either eating or taking care of a task such as cooking or cleaning up. When doing a task, the better the lighting, the easier the task. Track lighting will let you point the light to where you need it to be so you can make sure your prep area is well lit and your washing up area too.
  • Go pretty with pendant lights. Kitchens these days are breaking all kinds of design rules, and that’s as true of kitchen lighting as it is of anything else. Pendant lights, which are usually hung over a kitchen island, now come in all kinds of styles, so you can find something that’s a perfect fit for your kitchen.
  • Ceiling lights offer countless options too, from classic recreations of vintage lights to modern designs that make a bold statement.
  • Recessed lighting is subtle, because the light fixtures are embedded in the ceiling so the fixtures themselves are not a design element. However, the light can be used for both task lighting (depending on placement) and mood lighting, so definitely consider using them.

The unusual ways to light your kitchen
Just as you have all kinds of light fixtures to choose from when perusing pendant and ceiling lights, so too can you install lighting where lighting has never gone before.

  • Under-counter lighting can work as task lighting, but it can also be used for atmosphere when the ceiling lights are turned off.
  • If you have soffits—that space between the tops of your cabinets and your ceiling—you can install lighting there for mood lighting. Those lights can be left on all night as a kind of night light too.
  • If you’re using transom cabinets with glass fronts in that soffit space, install lighting to help with atmosphere but also to shine the light on collectibles and pieces you’re showcasing in those transom cabinets.
  • Toe kick lights are a new idea in lighting, with strips of lights installed along the toe kicks of your counters. At night, these lights can create a warm glow and a safety feature: night lights for late-night snackers.
  • Get creative with the ceiling by choosing a chandelier or some other kind of statement light to hang over your eating area. If it’s a rectangular kitchen island, you could hang two smaller chandeliers. If you have a table and chairs as your eating area, one central chandelier would work. Think outside the box!
  • Then there are the best in portable lighting: lamps! A lamp can be used in the kitchen for tasks, such as homework or bill paying, or for atmosphere such as soft lighting. And if you don’t like it or only want it on occasion, you can unplug it and put it away!

Whatever type of lighting you choose, when you’re planning your new kitchen or kitchen remodel, be sure to put lighting on the planning and priority task list, because the lighting can make or break your design as well as the functioning of your new kitchen.

Love to Entertain? 5 Tips for Designing a Party-Ready Kitchen That Lightens Your Load!

OK, I know not everyone likes to entertain. A friend just canceled a baby shower because she was so intimidated by the idea of having a party in her home. But I suspect she’s in the minority. Most people I know loooove to entertain, including me. There’s just something about creating a fun atmosphere for your friends and feeding them well, plus a little bit of showing off too, if we’re honest.

Not that it’s not work! Entertaining can be a lot of work, but the smiles on friends’ faces make it all worthwhile. And when you’re designing a new kitchen, you can take steps to build one that’s set up for entertaining, so it’s less work but still just as much fun.

We combed expert kitchen designer resources for ideas on creating a party-ready kitchen, and list our five favorites below. Whether you prefer casual or formal, football games or fine wine tastings, intimate dinners or busy brunches, you’ll find tips you can put to use in your new kitchen design…

  1. Include a kitchen island in your design. With a kitchen island, you’ll get extra storage space, plus counter space and seating. An island can be just about any shape you can imagine, even when you’re using semi-custom cabinets. Although a rectangle shape works, consider an L-shaped kitchen island or even a U-shaped one.
  2. Factor in storage. If you entertain large crowds, you’ll have more dishes, more glassware, more booze and more food to store. Work with your kitchen design or kitchen cabinet manufacturer to come up with clever storage for everything entertaining.
  3. Add in appliances. Could you use a wine fridge? What about a second oven? A warming oven? Do you need two dishwashers after a big to-do? Make room for the extra appliances you’ll need when partying as you plan out your semi custom cabinets.
  4. Consider the traffic flow. People congregate in kitchens. There isn’t anything you can do about that. The kitchen is the heart of the home all the time, but seems to be even more so during a party! Make sure you’ll still be able to cook and clean even with guests around.
  5. Count on your countertops. For those who like to entertain a lot, trouble-free countertops are a must. You don’t want to be worried about red-wine stains when you’re trying to be a pleasant host or hostess. But also think about how much countertop you’ll want when it’s party time. Will you have enough prep space? Do you use countertops for seating at the kitchen island? Will you serve up buffet style? Get creative to meet your needs. You can include pull-out counter or table space in your kitchen that hides away when not needed, for example, and appliance garages that get clutter out of the way.

Above all when designing your new kitchen with entertaining top of mind and semi custom cabinets at the top of your list, make sure your choices will maximize your fun as well as your guests.

Are Semi Custom Cabinets “Just Right” for Your New Kitchen Design?

Semi custom cabinets are akin to Goldilocks preferring the baby bear’s chair, porridge and bed: All three fit her “just right.”

In the world of kitchen cabinets, you as a homeowner face the same kind of three choices, although the bears didn’t have any kitchen cabinets that we know of. However, you could say the three choices of stock, semi custom and custom kitchen cabinets are like the choices the storybook character faced when she had Papa Bear’s, Mama Bear’s and Baby Bear’s things to choose from. In each case, she tried out all three and found she preferred Baby Bear’s.

In a similar way, you might consider your three types of cabinet choices which we’ll explain below. First, we’ll address stock cabinets at the low end, then custom cabinets at the high end, and lastly the semi custom cabinets…that are for many homeowners “just right.”

When to consider stock kitchen cabinets
Stock kitchen cabinets have two big advantages. First, they are the most affordable of three options. Second, they are premade so you won’t have to wait for your cabinets. If your kitchen is a standard size, and you’re on a tight budget and/or in a hurry, stock cabinets are probably the right choice for you.

That said, stock kitchen cabinets also have limitations. They come in set sizes, although cabinets usually come in different widths, so that gives you a little flexibility, not much. Plus you only get a very limited choice of wood and finishes with stock cabinets.

Stock cabinets are often the right choice, however. If you’re building a low-budget vacation home, redoing the kitchen in a starter home, or putting in a mother-in-law apartment, stock cabinets might be the best way to go.

When to consider custom cabinets
If you have a generous remodeling budget, an odd-sized space, and/or a lot of customized details you want to be included in your new kitchen, custom cabinets might be for you. With custom cabinets, you can get exactly what you want.

On the downside, custom cabinets cost much more than the other two options, and it will be weeks or even months before your cabinets are built and installed.

Yet custom cabinets are often the right choice for certain kitchens. If you’re building your dream home and you can afford to have exactly the kitchen you want, custom cabinets are probably just right for you. On the other hand, if there’s a chance you’ll move someday and won’t be staying in your home forever, custom cabinets might not be a good use of your money.

When to consider semi custom cabinets
We saved the best for last in this short list of three. And we say “the best” because many kitchen designers and bloggers say the same thing about semi custom cabinets: They are the best of both worlds.

With semi custom cabinets, you can get literally hundreds of choices in styles, stains, colors, and finishes. (Only take a quick look at our huge selection of kitchen cabinets for proof.) You also get more size options compared to stock cabinets: Semi custom cabinets can be made in different depths, and cabinet width is usually available in one-inch increments.

And unlike stock cabinets, semi custom cabinets can look custom! With all of the choices you have for styles, stains, and finishes, plus extra details you can add, there’s a chance you’ll be the only one with that particular cabinet design in your stunning new kitchen. You can also choose the higher end option for better quality details and hardware. For an example of those kinds of options, see our three cabinet lines compared here.

Then there’s the price: Semi custom cabinets are much more affordable than custom!

Is there a downside to these “just right” cabinets? Possibly. You will have to wait for semi custom cabinets, as they are built when you order them, not before, but they are built much faster than custom cabinets. If you’re in a hurry, semi custom might not work. And you might have to go custom if you’re stuck with a very odd-sized space.

For most homeowners, however, semi custom cabinets are the “just right” solution for getting the look and price they want in their new kitchens.