Kitchen tips to fit your lifestyle

Use these questions to help plan the most efficient kitchen for your lifestyle and cooking habits.

  • How do you currently use your kitchen?
  • How would you like to use your kitchen?
  • What type of pots and pans do you own? (You won't want to buy a 14,000 BTU commercial range if you have pots and pans from a discount store.)
  • How do you prepare a meal? Do you use every pot and pan in the kitchen or do you simply tear open a box and toss it into the microwave?
  • On average, how many cooks use the kitchen at one time? (If you have multiple cooks in the kitchen, you may want to create separate work zones for more efficient use of the space.)
  • Are you a baker who would benefit from a lower counter or island? Do you require a fair amount of counter space for kneading and rolling out pie crusts and pastries?
  • How do you shop? If you buy in bulk, do you have enough storage space?
  • Is there a certain style cuisine you prepare that requires storage for special ingredients, such as varying sizes of pasta or exotic spices and oils, or storage for specialized utensils?
  • Do you enjoy cooking or is your kitchen more a gathering place than a gourmet retreat?
  • If it is a gathering spot, is there room for family or friends who are not involved in the meal preparation? Is that space convenient and comfortable for everyone?
  • Would a family desk be helpful in this space? If so, would you like a computer to be included?
  • Do you have children or teens that will be using the kitchen? If so, would it be helpful to have a separate area in the kitchen dedicated to sodas and snack preparation?
  • Have you taken safety issues into consideration? (This would apply not only to children in the kitchen, but also to elderly family members. Would some universally designed features such as multiple counter heights be helpful? Would an oven with a lock-out feature, to prevent use while you are away, ease your mind? Think about other safety concerns keeping your particular family composition and capabilities in mind.)
  • Is the lighting in the room sufficient? Do you need additional task lighting or more light in general?
  • Does your family eat together often? If so, do you want an eat-in kitchen? How many would you need to seat? Do you have enough room for all of them?
  • Do you entertain? How often? Do you prepare the meals yourself or do you have them catered?
  • Would you benefit from dual appliances such as stoves, refrigerators or dishwashers?
  • Does your family typically eat together or are meals scattered amongst family members coming home at different times? Many times different schedules may mean a need for a warming drawer which keeps food warm throughout the evening.
  • What type of entertaining accoutrements will you need to store?
  • Are you storing any kitchen-related items in closets or rooms outside of the kitchen? Perhaps some china in a hall closet or dining room hutch? If so, do you want to continue storing these items outside of the kitchen or would you like additional storage for these items in the kitchen?
  • Have you made an inventory of the types of kitchen items you need to store to determine efficient placement and adequate storage space?
  • Is everything currently in the kitchen in working order?
  • Have you considered the energy savings afforded by newer, energy-efficient appliances?

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In the kitchen of this project, by Capital Renovations Group, in McKinney, Texas, the island is not only the centerpiece of functionality for meal preparation and clean-up, it doubles as a buffet for serving guests while entertaining and is used daily as the breakfast table before heading off to work. This project received a South Central Regional CotY Award in the category of Entire House $250,000 to $500,000.

To see more CotY Award-winning projects, visit our Gallery