6 Kitchen Design Tips: Planning the Heart & Hub of our Homes

I love creating beautiful, functional interiors and I especially love the impact that great kitchen design can have on how people live. A well-designed kitchen can truly transform our day-to-day living. Kitchens are the heart and hub of our homes and they always seem to be the central gathering place of a home. After all, doesn’t everyone always ends up in the kitchen?

Our kitchens have become more than a place for cooking; they are the space in our home that draws people in – where family and friends want to gather, catch up from the day, share in celebrations or simply enjoy that first cup of coffee in the morning.

A space so central in our lives should reflect not only our cooking style, but our lifestyle as well.

6 Considerations for Designing a New Kitchen

If you’re designing a new kitchen, planning wisely is key to creating the kitchen of your dreams. Here are a few of my design tips to ensure that your new kitchen is functional, livable and inviting.

Consider the following:

  • Space and Light – Light makes us feel good, while space gives us a sense freedom and security. (And we all know it’s easier to cook when you have a lot of space to work in!) Whether your kitchen is big or small, the goal is to create a feeling of openness and radiance. Maximize the amount of of natural light in your kitchen.
  • Function and Durability – Our kitchens need to work. Good kitchen design means user-friendly work zones and materials and objects that function extremely well and are durable for the long haul.
  • Proportion and Scale – The right proportions give a kitchen rhythm and flow. Each element needs to relate to the others and to the general space. This includes everything from the ceiling height and the cabinets and counter-tops, to the scale and pattern of the tile back splash.
  • Fresh and Clean – These are two timeless attributes to a space where food is prepared and served. Combining elements that are light, fresh and clean creates a sense of purity and a timelessness.
  • Texture – Visual texture allows us to incorporate a variety of materials into a kitchen to evoke a feeling that is modern, classic or eclectic. Good design mixes woods, counter-top materials and finishes to create visual interest and keep your eye moving through the room.
  • Personality – Personality is good! Kitchens should compliment the architecture of the house and at the same time reflect the homeowner’s unique personality. To design kitchens with this personal quality, I listen carefully to owners to understand who they are so I can turn their dreams into beautiful, functional spaces. 

Before & After Kitchen Renovation

To show you these 6 interior design principles in action, I want to share a kitchen design project that I have worked on. Here is one of my favorite kitchen renovations  – and one that was a huge transformation of space for my clients.

Bethesda Kitchen

Drawing on my design principles and my commitment to listening to my clients’ vision and goals, I worked with these clients to create a new kitchen that is open and airy, has beautiful natural light, a mixture of durable materials and finishes, is layered with texture and, most importantly, reflects the homeowners’ personality and lifestyle!

My clients have lived in their Maryland home for over 30 years. Prior to the renovation, the kitchen was dated and just waiting for a transformation. The homeowners needed a space that had efficient storage, better work zones for meal preparation and would serve as a place that would bring family and friends together while hosting and entertaining.

The pictures below show where we started. The kitchen was dark, small, lacked good storage and simply did not support the homeowners cooking style or lifestyle!

The most obvious opportunity to gain space for the new kitchen was to remove a wall between the kitchen and adjacent sitting area. The sitting area had been an ill-defined room and a poor use of space. By removing this wall, we were able to create a kitchen that is open, airy and functional.


Creating Work Zones in Your Kitchen Design

Work zones are important and I designed this kitchen with the work triangle in mind. We have three different work zones: one for meal prep, one for cooking and the other for clean up.

In this kitchen, the peninsula functions as a place to prepare meals as well as a counter height bar area for enjoying simple meals or morning coffee. Functional storage was a priority, so we specified a pantry cabinet with roll out shelves for food and hand held appliances. Its base cabinets are a combination of pull out drawers and cabinets with doors for pots and pans. (I am a big fan of of pull out drawers for easy access!) The center island allows for quick and easy clean up.


I choose a neutral color palette using shades of beige with Wellborn Cabinets in Divinity and Pebble paint finishes. The counter top surface is Cambria Windermere and Benjamin Moore Cake Batter paint color for the walls. The stainless steel appliances and fixtures added texture to the space and the glossy glass field tile for the backsplash gives a sense of sheen and radiance. What do you think of the results?

Would you like help remodeling your own kitchen?
Contact me!


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