interiors & styling

Tips for Designing a Functional Kitchen (+ A Video Recap)

Tips for Designing a Functional Kitchen (+ A Video Recap) - roomfortuesday.com I shared our finished kitchen on Monday and today I’m back to give you a peek inside our Diamond cabinets and share my tips for designing a functional kitchen. That’s what it’s all about, right? Kitchens are for cooking, gathering, and actually USING the space… in fact, it might be the most used room in a home. I wanted to squeeze the maximum amount of functionality out of our kitchen. Click through to see how I did it- and watch our video recap!  

*This post is sponsored by Lowe’s. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we actually use & enjoy!

First up- the video recap… click play above to watch! If you’re interested in product sources, you can find all of those here.

Tips for Designing a Functional Kitchen (+ A Video Recap) - roomfortuesday.com

Before we dive deep into this post, I’m going to share my must-have list below.. luckily, I was able to check every single thing off the list when designing the cabinets!

*Most of these aren’t available on the Lowe’s site, but all can be ordered in store! Just head to the cabinetry department and ask about options. 

Tips for Designing a Functional Kitchen (+ A Video Recap) - roomfortuesday.com I realize that list was a TALL order, but between Samantha (my Lowe’s cabinetry specialist) and I, we were able to find a spot for every. single. thing.

Tips for Designing a Functional Kitchen (+ A Video Recap) - roomfortuesday.com I’m already seeing the benefits and am enjoying my newly organized kitchen with the aforementioned features. With that said, here are my top 5 tips for designing a functional kitchen

  1. Make a wishlist of kitchen organizational tools that would benefit the way your family utilizes the space (and put it in order from most helpful).
  2. Visit a store or display to see how certain features function in person. I decided a lazy susan was NOT the best solution for our kitchen corner cabinets and lifestyle, so I opted for a pull-out instead, after seeing it on display. Lowe’s has a huge assortment of cabinetry features I had no idea even existed! Even if it’s not on display, there are catalogs you can comb through with examples.
  3. Take advantage of a kitchen designer or cabinetry specialist. I used this free service at Lowe’s and Samantha was able to show me options from a giant catalog. Together, we talked through what we could implement, given the amount of space we had to play with. They know the product best and can help assist!
  4. Be realistic with yourself in terms of the square footage you have to work with, as well as the budget. Prioritize which functions or features you’d use most often.
  5. Stretch your budget by purchasing everything from the same store. Buying everything from Lowe’s gave me a designer look at a DIY price point… I was able to bundle certain things and take advantage of cabinetry promotions (20% off my entire order). It would’ve been much more expensive buying each cabinet feature separately or adding it at a later date.

Tips for Designing a Functional Kitchen (+ A Video Recap) - roomfortuesday.com The knife block and utensil organizer, pictured above, is probably the coolest feature! It’s conveniently located to the left of our range for easy access.

Tips for Designing a Functional Kitchen (+ A Video Recap) - roomfortuesday.com I invested in HEAVY nice cookware last year and I wanted a couple big drawers, like our previous kitchen, to store pots & pans.

Tips for Designing a Functional Kitchen (+ A Video Recap) - roomfortuesday.com You’ll also want to consider where the organizational features are located within your kitchen. Creating a smart floor plan and keeping things nearby, where you’ll be using them, is key.

Tips for Designing a Functional Kitchen (+ A Video Recap) - roomfortuesday.com For example, I knew I wanted to keep my coffee and espresso items out and accessible since we use them multiple times each day. Having floating shelves above the espresso maker was an intentional decision… much like placing the utensil holder next to the GE range where we cook, and the GE dishwasher to the right of the Kohler sink for easing loading. Really think of how you use the space.

Tips for Designing a Functional Kitchen (+ A Video Recap) - roomfortuesday.com The tiered flatware divider was something I didn’t know I wanted until seeing it in the store. I assumed I’d use a regular organizer and call it done, but this maximizes our drawer space and gives us double the storage! The top tier is for flatware we use on a regular basis, and the lower tier holds our serving utensils, corkscrew, bottle opener, etc.

Tips for Designing a Functional Kitchen (+ A Video Recap) - roomfortuesday.com Speaking of the corkscrew, I knew I wanted a cabinet for our wine and glassware. The wine rack wasn’t a standard option, but Samantha was able to make it happen for me! We added a custom (blank) section to the lower portion of the cabinet and she ordered extra material for Emmett to build an “X” in the center to hold our wine. Think outside the box and work with your cabinetry specialist to see how you can make readymade items work for your kitchen… even if it’s not a “standard” option! The possibilities are endless if you think of alternative ways to use things.

Tips for Designing a Functional Kitchen (+ A Video Recap) - roomfortuesday.com I previously mentioned skipping the lazy susan in our corner cabinets. Here is the alternative we ended up with! These kidney shaped cabinet pullouts are so much more functional for us. I’m the type of person, if I can’t see something- I forget I have it and never use it. These pull out and allow me to see and access everything stored inside the cabinet. This particular side holds all of my baking items…

Tips for Designing a Functional Kitchen (+ A Video Recap) - roomfortuesday.com

We have a LOT of spices. We actually needed two drawers to fit all of them. They’re very organized thanks to the spice rack divider and we can easily see what we have.

Tips for Designing a Functional Kitchen (+ A Video Recap) - roomfortuesday.com I have a post planned to share how I labeled and put away my spices… stay tuned for an easy DIY if you’re into this type of gratifying organizational activity! I’m not going to lie- it was SO fun doing this and left me feeling accomplished. Ha!

Tips for Designing a Functional Kitchen (+ A Video Recap) - roomfortuesday.com The pull out trash and recycling bins are super nice! They are snug and sturdy in the cabinet- and the trash comes with a lid. I love that because it keeps the kitchen smelling nice and the trash smell contained.

Tips for Designing a Functional Kitchen (+ A Video Recap) - roomfortuesday.com Questions about kitchen organization, our renovation, or cabinetry design? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below! For more on the cabinetry design process, check out this post. For more on appliance selection, click here. If you’re wondering how to choose the most functional kitchen sink, that’s in this post. I’m also working on a budget post, so stay tuned for that! Lots more to come.

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  • Reply
    Karen
    July 18, 2019 at 6:17 am

    Lots of good ideas here! I really need an in-drawer cutlery holder. And pullout trash cans are awesome! I have two sets in my kitchen – one is trash/recycle, and the other is trash/dirty linens. I don’t use paper towels or paper napkins, so we go through a lot of cloth towels and napkins – it’s nice to have a place to corral them in the kitchen before I schlep the whole load down to the laundry room.

    We host many parties, and I’m asked many times “where is the trash?”. I’ve gone so far as to print cute signs that read “Trash & Recycle” to tape to the front of those cabinet doors but alas, I still get asked. Ha!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 18, 2019 at 10:48 am

      Thanks Karen! I really need to get on the linen and cloth towels for the kitchen. I feel bad using so many paper towels, and I LOVE the idea of a bin for the washable items. You’re genius!!

    • Reply
      Stacy
      July 19, 2019 at 10:31 am

      OK that dirty linens thing is the best kitchen storage idea I’ve heard in a LONG time!

      • Reply
        Sarah
        July 19, 2019 at 10:53 am

        Same!!!! I feel like I’m finally incentivized to make the switch from paper towels. It has been a long time coming.

  • Reply
    Peggi
    July 18, 2019 at 6:47 am

    Just wonderful! I definitely have cabinet envy. A mixer lift, hidden trashcan, blind corner pullouts, and those double-tiered flatware drawers are ALL on my kitchen wishlist. I’m anxious for your video tour of the cabinet insides. It sounds like building your pantry cabinet was an interesting challenge.I could definitely use an entire pantry just for my baking pans and tools. Who am I kidding? My real dream is a butler’s pantry! I’m very impressed with the service you received from the in-house designer; she seems legit. I’m pretty sure the people at our local not-Lowe’s are just regular employees with maybe some extra training. Not gonna lie, I kind of want a video of you actually cooking in your kitchen! Put on that apron!😁

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 18, 2019 at 10:53 am

      Thanks Peggi! My plan was to film the cabinet tour today, but the tripod and taking video of myself isn’t working well. Haha! I need to recruit Emmett for help. Hopefully I’ll be able to get that finished and share it next week :) I’m with you- another vote for a dreamy butler’s pantry!! The Lowe’s in house designer was great. I went into the store (like a regular customer- they didn’t know I was coming), and I honestly thought “hey that girl looks creative”. Turns out she is a design student and I was so happy to have selected Sam to help me that day I walked into Lowe’s. I do feel like that particular Lowe’s is exceptional because they have a “kitchen design center” with cubicles for their cabinetry specialists and tons of display kitchens. I always recommend people research the nicest store in their area and go to that one, but you can also request to look through their books and make your own selections. I kind of did that too.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 18, 2019 at 10:53 am

      PS. I’ll put on the apron and do a cooking post or video too! That sounds like a ton of fun.

  • Reply
    Christiane
    July 18, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    A kitchen of dreams! Your video is super cute and makes me miss you guys so much. Happy for you! And enjoying following along. Xox

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 18, 2019 at 12:58 pm

      Thanks Christiane! I’m tellin’ ya… you & Andy have to come visit and plan a trip :) We miss you too! xox

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    July 18, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    It seems you scored a triple win – the design and execution went well, and you had another kitchen to use while yours was under construction! Absolutely gorgeous results! My daughter is studying to be a designer, and I recommended your blog to her for inspiration.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 18, 2019 at 1:06 pm

      Definitely! Thanks so much Jennifer. We feel so lucky to be in this house. We absolutely love it here :) Best of luck to your daughter! xox

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    July 18, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Finally, someone else with lots of spices! I keep seeing people show all these great spice solutions, but they only have 5 or 10 spices, and it just doesn’t work in my kitchen. I look forward to the video tour and cooking demo. It seems like a lot of your counter space has cabinets in the back, and I LOVE the way it looks (printed it out and added to the Future Kitchen file LOVE), but worry about practicality while cooking. Seeing it in action would be great, with that many spices you have to do a lot of cooking!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 19, 2019 at 10:16 am

      Yes!! We definitely have a LOT. We have so much counter and prep space… even the cabinet areas have more than 12″ in front of them, but just to give you a comparison- we used 3 soapstone slabs in this kitchen, as compared to 1 in our previous kitchen. Oodles and oodles of countertop space!

  • Reply
    Amy
    July 18, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    You’ve inspired me to pull the trigger on a Lowe’s kitchen- such beautiful eye candy AND function in your design (not to mention showing cabinets in a color besides just white). My 1928 home doesn’t have a lot of space, so we’ll need to maximize every inch. After seeing your design, I may steal your idea to continue the cupboards above the windows! If I could make one request, I’d love a picture (or video!) of your pantry cabinet. I’ll be utilizing a cabinet for our pantry also. Thank you!!!

  • Reply
    Stacy
    July 19, 2019 at 10:36 am

    Kitchen organization is my favorite thing right now as I’m in the middle of my own kitchen renovation, so keep these posts coming! I also planned for two spice drawers and I LOVE how clean yours look with the matching jars and labels!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 19, 2019 at 10:54 am

      Yay, congrats Stacy!! It’s the best feeling once things are wrapped up and you have a beautiful, functional new kitchen as an end result. I’m going to link all of the things I used to label my spice jars in a separate post :) I got everything on Amazon.

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