The kitchen tends to be the central gathering spot in a home, where the family comes together. It tends to set the tone or amplify it for the rest of the house. When doing a kitchen remodeling project, always remember to start with the big picture in mind, including how the kitchen is connected to adjacent rooms and the rest of the house.

  1. Cater it to what you do in the kitchen.

How do you use the space right now? If extensive cooking is happening a lot, then the stove top should be ample with convenient space nearby for easy access. Baking might be better with an island across from the stove. And don’t forget, you need to fit all the coffee and espresso machines somewhere.

  1. Put your preferred pieces together.

It’s most convenient when the pantry is close to the refrigerator, the prep area isn’t too far from the trash can, and the dirty dishes have their own space that doesn’t interfere with what’s boiling on the stove. Know what your needs are and simplify elements of the kitchen into small groups that go together; this will help organize according to your movement habits.

  1. Purposeful cabinet doors and drawers.

There’s no use in having a bunch of the same size cabinets with the same level shelves. Consider the utensils, dishware, and glassware that you own and where it would make the most sense to access them. Think of it more like a storage solution for your kitchenware.

  1. Be kind to the environment

Some kitchens are going for eco-friendly, composite counter tops. Know what’s out there and put effort into making sure what you choose has both the look and quality you want.

  1. Light it up differently

Open kitchens filled with natural light tend to be the most becoming. This might mean placing a window instead of a cabinet and then incorporating a central island. Focused lighting, like under-cabinet lighting, can do a lot to brighten specific areas and make the entire space seem bigger and friendlier. Using sconces or more unique lighting can make a dramatic difference in the kitchen style. Switching to LED lights can provide more warmth and less harshness.

  1. Buy some plants.

Plants make everything better. They’re naturally calming and look beautiful amongst hardwood cabinetry. Especially if you live in the city with little greenery, the addition of plants to a kitchen remodel in Chicago, for example, can greatly increase the aesthetics of the room.

  1. Remember that the kitchen is a social area

There needs to be room for people to move and spots to rest. Company while cooking is the best. Tasting food in advance of dinner as you sit in the kitchen while someone is cooking: also the best. Despite dining rooms being meant for meals, many families end up primarily socializing in the kitchen. A counter top with stools can overlook the prep area, or a small table and chairs can sit closer to the refrigerator while freeing up decent floor space in case of a private party.

Overall, you want this essential space to make sense for you. It’s your family, your pets, and your kitchen traditions. If grandma is coming over to hand make pasta on the regular, there ought to be room for it.