Kitchen Remodel: Four Key Design Tips

Once we made the decision to remodel our kitchen, I knew it wasn’t going to be a project I could effectively just stumble my way through. I wasn’t hiring a designer or an architect or anyone else that I could fully rely on to help me make wise choices. I didn’t have an endless stream of funds to make design decisions any easier. This wasn’t going to be a band-aid type fix and it wasn’t going to be cheap, so I knew I had one shot to get this room right and keep the budget on track.

Deep breath! That’s a lot of pressure for someone like me who wants to get things right the first time (not to mention the added reminder that so many friends were waiting to see what this space was going to look like, hahah…gratefully, you are all so kind and supportive). Now that the kitchen is done, I’m starting to exhale.

Since I can finally reflect back on this project and know that it all worked out to my liking :), I’d love to share a few of the tips I used in the design process. I’ll have more to share in upcoming posts!

1. Plan enough time to research (don’t rush into a full kitchen remodel).

Unless you are hiring a professional design team to oversee your project and have plenty of room in the budget, you’ll want to allow plenty of time in the planning stage. If you want the best possible outcome, you’ll want to explore various ideas, options and have ample time to change your mind before a check is ever written.

2. Consider keeping the footprint of the kitchen in place.

If there is a chance you’ll run out of budget before you get to the fun stuff, it might pay off to trim out some costs from the start. Leaving as much in place as possible, especially things like plumbing, walls, appliances or windows, will allow you to focus your creativity on design elements within the footprint of the room.

3. Focus on a non-negotiable starting point.

What is the one feature or statement you want in your kitchen more than anything? Even though my kitchen is on the small side (in comparison to many larger projects) I started out feeling like there were still far too many options and choices! Since everything I loved wouldn’t necessarily all work together in one small space, I had to narrow down some of the options to find a starting point. It really helped me design-wise and budget-wise to zero in which decision was the most important to me. I decided the dark navy Dutch door would be the first non-negotiable design choice that every other decision was based on.

4. Design focal points as a whole.

Instead of making many independent decisions in a kitchen that may compete with or even distract from other key elements once they are all together in the space, remember that each part plays a role in the whole. A key focal point in a room might include several elements that all need to work effectively together, such as a sink, faucet, window, wall sconces, hardware and color choices. Be sure to also consider how neighboring elements work with and complement the focal point.

The new round window in my kitchen was chosen for its design impact on the room. It fit within the space left by the original small window, but it definitely makes a much bolder statement due to its round shape. I intentionally simplified the impact of that statement by keeping the trim white. The round shape is already a feature in the middle of the wall. Adding contrasting trim could have been too distracting or competed for too much attention with the other important elements in this space, like the view outside the large back window to the left, and the dark navy door to the right.

To complete the focal point, the antique brass finish of the faucets and lights add warmth and a pleasing repetition of materials, and the dark shades on the lights provide balance and a nice complement to the dark hardware and door.

Are you remodeling or updating a kitchen this year? What decisions are the most challenging for you?

Related Posts:

5 Ways to Drastically Transform Your Kitchen on a Budget (my article on eBay)

My Kitchen Reveal and Source List

Life Lately on Instagram

Hi friends! It was such a gorgeous day on Saturday, it was good to see some sunshine. My magnolia tree right outside the kitchen window is just about to burst into pink blooms, so I’m sure the sun did it some good. I hope you are all finally done with the snow where you live? Goodness, I am so glad we are headed towards warmer days.

I’ll be back this week with more updates from around the house (I know I’ve been slow to answer more questions on our kitchen remodel, so I’ll for sure get back to it!).

But first, here’s a little peek into our life lately via our Instagram accounts…

You can never have too many, plants, right? We have plants on the walls, plants on the tables…I really love having a lot of greenery around the house. It’s fun for me to putter around watering them, talking to them, giving them names.

This new palm in the dining room is named Pete.

Jack has been up to his usual antics. This week he got a little too excited when Courtney came over and somehow he ended up leaping right up onto our dining room table. I think he was as shocked as we were. Jack will be six years old soon, not sure why he still acts like a puppy, hahah.

My daughters and I took a little break from a busy work week for brunch at The Fat Hen, a very small but very delicious local restaurant. Our favorite dish is the Eggs Benedict if you ever have the chance to visit. :) Everything on the menu is great, though. We always get a pot of French Press at the table, too. So good!

Quite awhile ago we did an “Out to See” post here on the Fat Hen.
I forget to do Out to See posts! I’ll try to get back into them when we go places. I know a lot of people like to visit Seattle, so I really should document more of our favorite places to go.

Even though we love going out to eat, we do try to eat healthy food at home. Kylee made a smoothie bowl this week with blended banana, a handful of frozen raspberries, and almond milk topped with bananas, bee pollen, raspberries, chia and hemp seeds, coconut, and mango. YUM! And so pretty, too.

We hosted a giveaway for Pure & Lovely in our Facebook group, so we had fun putting together little packages to send out this week to the winners (you’re welcome to join our group, find out more here)!


Note that I have a silver Plush Pumpkin holding up my computer screen in my office.

We keep it classy around here.

Many of my friends have kindly shared about the upcoming release this next Saturday of my new book Simple Decorating! I’m so grateful for the support, especially during book launches. If you haven’t entered the giveaway yet, you can find it here. If you weren’t able to see the video when we posted it the first time, hopefully you can this time! It wasn’t showing up for some of you but I think we have it fixed now :).

You can get the book from Amazon or Barnes and Noble online this week but it will be in stores by next Saturday. I loved the shot above from Allison at The Festive Farmhouse on Instagram.

My girls and I have been hard at work on future book photos…


We had family coming to visit this weekend so we did some housecleaning…

We had doggie play dates with all the pups…

We marveled at the glorious sunsets outside our window.

The dogs have been longing for more spring days to play outside…

We paused to appreciate simple joys.

And this weekend we have people tucked into cozy beds all over the house!

Happy Sunday, friend!

You can follow along with our Instagrams below:

The Inspired Room // Jack the Goldendoodle // Doodles at Home // Pure & Lovely //  Kylee // Courtney

If you’ve missed any recent posts, here are a few to catch up on:

New flooring in the basement

Our outdoor space for entertaining

Our paint colors (and 5 rules for selecting the perfect paint color)

Kitchen source list and the kitchen reveal.

Shiplap in the kitchen (details)

$500 Shopping Spree Giveaway

Spring Decorating Ideas

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