The kitchen remains the most renovated space in the home. Today’s entertaining flows equally from the living area to the kitchen so function & style factor equally into the design process.

Here are my design tips as you plan your kitchen renovation:


Shades of white remain the top paint selection for cabinet color. Grays are fading out and being replaced by deep, rich blue tones. Green has come onto to the scene and is gaining momentum, as well as black. Mixing colors, light uppers with dark colored lowers is trending well too. As you debate the direction you will go; think about the overall personality of your home and the length of time you plan to live there. White will provide the best longevity followed by classic color tones such navy & rich greens. For those of you that are energetic and want more personality, do not hesitate to be bold with your color choice, just remember that it may not appeal to buyers if you plan to sell in the near future.


Functional elements: The biggest complaint I hear from clients looking to update their kitchen is the lack of storage. If you look around your kitchen you will notice that you have very few drawers. Drawer base cabinets cost more than door cabinets, so they are often left out. However, drawers provide better storage. In your renovated kitchen layout, I recommend a minimum of the following drawer bases:

  • 1-36” wide (pots & pans)
  • 1-18-21” wide (dish towels & small gadgets)
  • 1-24-30” wide (deep bowls & small appliances)

Adding pull-out shelves in door base cabinets is the next best option to drawers.

Standard upper cabinets are only 12” deep vs 24” deep on the lower cabinets. This is necessary so that you can use your countertops without bumping your head. Unfortunately, it reduces your storage capabilities. The space over your refrigerator or above a built-in oven is perfect for a deeper 24” upper cabinet. Be sure to capitalize on the increased depth where you can. Consider replacing your standard refrigerator with a counter-depth unit. These shallower models look much nicer surrounded by deep cabinets. You get the look of a “built-in” fridge at a fraction of the cost. Loosing that depth may also give you the extra space needed to add an island.

A pantry cabinet will be a bigger ticket item in the kitchen but well worth the splurge. Pantry cabinets are 24” deep so you get that extra space from floor to ceiling. I recommend a 36” width cabinet. Adjustable height, pull-out shelves are a must in the lower part of the cabinet. Locating the pantry cabinet next to the counter depth fridge creates the perfect built-in scenario (see last photo).

In older kitchens, the standard height for upper cabinet is 30”. Take advantage of every inch of space that you have and bring your cabinets up as high as you are able. The 42” high upper cabinet is the most popular. Newer homes with taller ceiling heights are trending with the double stack upper cabinet as shown in this photo.

A double stack cabinet is a beautiful feature, just know that is a costly addition. If your goal is improved storage than a 39-42” cabinet will be the best bang for your buck. The difficultly reaching into the 2nd stack of upper cabinets can be problematic. If your desire is to create a visual impact, this is a great option.


Island: If you have the square footage, the island is a great opportunity to add storage, seating & design elements. Check out the double island featured in this photo.

Do not be discouraged if you don’t have the space for an island. A well thought out peninsula is a winning alternative.


Appliances: Stainless steel is holding steady as the number one finish choice. Newer options are black stainless, slate and a modern version of white (see GE Café). If you have a bigger budget and a bold personality, check out the statement colors offered by manufacturers such as Wolf (ranges) & SMEG (refrigerators). Built-in double wall ovens are more expensive than standard ranges but offer convenience & improved function. Under cabinet beverage fridges provide the additional cold storage that most households need, especially when you down-size to a counter-depth fridge. Over the range microwave ovens are being replaced with units set in the island or above the built-in oven. Hood vents, air fryers, ice makers & cappuccino machines are other spurges to consider.

Before you start your kitchen update, talk to people who have been through the process & learn from their experience. The most successful renovations have realistic expectations for the necessary square footage and budget to complete the project. The list of options for a kitchen are endless and can be overwhelming, it is wise for you to work with a designer or kitchen specialist. I am available to advise you through this journey!