1. Determine a Plan for Your Space
Most clients start out with a wish list and a collection of inspiration images. This is a great help in getting started, but try to focus on the space plans before getting too caught up in what the kitchen is going to look like.
Space plans can be rough — they’re all about the best layout. You or your designer should try some different options for where the appliances will go. What’s the best layout for your space? An L-shaped kitchen with an island? A U-shaped kitchen? Or do you have a galley kitchen?
Do you have the space for an eat-in kitchen? Are you moving doors or changing windows? These plans don’t have to detail where your pots, pans and silverware are going or what color the cabinets will be — not yet.
2. Get Preliminary Estimates
The more info you have, the more accurate the ballpark number, so if you can get your designer to do a schematic electrical and lighting plan, that’s even better.
All of this is subject to change, but at least you have an idea of costs before you get too emotionally committed. At this point, you can also estimate material costs such as cabinetry, countertops, tile and flooring square footage and so on.
3. Develop Plans, Elevations and 3D Drawings
Now that you’ve got a plan you love, let your designer really detail it out. Drawings will help you visualize what the cabinetry will look like. Note on the plans and drawings where spices, pots and pans, silverware and utensils will go.
At this stage, it’s not just about the practical and functional. This is where you get to be more artistic. Cabinet design is a bit like modernist art because it’s all about the rectangles and squares of cabinet doors, and the way they relate and intersect.
The proportions of doors and the scale of three doors next to each other, rather than two, make all the difference in making a kitchen look dynamic and interesting.
4. Plan Materials and Finishes
Now that you’re working with more developed drawings, you can visualize what materials are going to go where, as well as the proportions of those materials.
Most likely, there will still be a final design development period and construction documents, and then a final phase during which the drawings, specifications and scope of work are given to the contractor for final pricing.