Designing your new kitchen is a big task and with all the options in materials and styles available to choose from you can easily feel overwhelmed. The first step to putting your kitchen design project into perspective is doing your homework.
Spending time doing online research can prepare you before you even step foot in a kitchen showroom or speak with your contractor. The internet is full of resources and tools that can guide you on your search to design the perfect kitchen. Here are some key considerations as you begin your online research:
Find a Style
With so many design choices available, it may be hard to know what you like until you actually see it. Web videos, like Merillat's "Kitchen Chronicles" series can help you get an idea of what your dream kitchen might look like. The videos highlight four people with varying needs and demonstrate how their kitchens fit their lifestyles - whether they are using their kitchens for entertaining, family use, organization or to help sell their homes.
Each video highlights solutions specific to the way the kitchen is used. If you're drawn to a particular kitchen in the videos, you can explore it further by getting detailed information about the products and design ideas used in the space. You'll find the Web videos and a style quiz at www.merillat.com.
Browse design and home improvement websites and "collect" photos and ideas that inspire you. Many have online portfolios where you can save your favorite photos and make notes. Don't limit yourself to photos or slideshows of full kitchens. Break your dream kitchen into specific elements whereby you might discover one small piece that can inspire the entire design. Check out lighting, paint, hardware and appliance Websites as well.
Lay it Out
Many websites feature layout tools to help you design your dream kitchen down to the last inch. Look around to find the tool that works best for you as the tools have varying degrees of difficulty and detail.
Go with the Pros
Don't overlook professional and trade-only websites. They often feature the cutting edge in kitchen design. While you may not be able to purchase products directly, if you fall in love with a specific décor element or an entire look, a professional kitchen and bath designer can help make the dream a reality.
Ask a Friend
There are plenty of kitchen forums online so feel free to make some new friends. Your fellow forum users can post inspiring photos, offer ideas and, more importantly, give advice on what not to do or which products to avoid.
Do Your Homework
Once you find a product, appliance or brand you like, check out consumer safety and satisfaction websites. You may love the look of a certain refrigerator, but if the brand has numerous recalls or other consumers have been dissatisfied with the appliance, you can save yourself time and money by avoiding it.