• Kitchen Renovation in Niagara Falls
  • Bathroom Renovation St. Catharines
  • Siding and Window Upgrade
  • Soffit Roof and Fascia Renovation
  • Windows and Roof Upgrade Niagara on the Lake
  • Garage Addition St. Catharines
  • Balcony addition
  • Custom Home addition


Kitchens - So Many Choices and Decisions!

Renovating the kitchen is probably one of the most effective ways to not only improve your home’s overall efficiency but to increase its value. Since the kitchen is the heart of the home, it’s necessary to consider a multitude of factors when in the design process.

Most kitchens are no longer just a room in which to cook; they have become gathering places to enjoy good food and even greater company. Therefore, careful planning and a well-thought-out design are required before you can start bringing your dream kitchen to life. Depending on how much space you have to renovate or the size of the kitchen you want in your new home, the following are just some of the things you may want to consider – remember, in kitchen design, size really does matter.

1. Budget.  There is a multitude of things that can go into a kitchen space – flooring, cabinetry, appliances, countertops, backsplashes, a variety of lighting, tables and chairs or island/peninsula stools, etc. Budget, however, is the first and most important thing to consider!  You need to be honest with what you can afford, which means knowing what you need versus what you want.

2. The shape of your kitchen.    There are 5 basic layouts for kitchens and the right one for you greatly depends on the size of the space you have available and the positioning of windows and doors.

  • The U or Horseshoe shape - Three walls of cabinets and appliances and if large enough an island in the middle. This is a very effective design for large kitchens, as it creates workflow in multiple areas and good traffic flow. 
  • The L shape – Two walls of cabinets and appliances perpendicular to one another forming an L shape. Usually used in small or medium-sized kitchens. It allows for multiple work zones, and if large enough, perhaps a dining table or island within the room.
  • The G or Peninsula shape – This is usually added to a U or L-shaped kitchen that is not large enough to have an island. Depending on the design, the peninsula can add a dining spot in a small kitchen that would otherwise not have one. Peninsulas are a great option for floor plans with limited square footage that cannot accommodate a true island. After all, a peninsula is just a connected island.
  • The Galley – Two walls of cabinets and appliances parallel/opposite of each other.  The galley design, or walk-through design as it may be called, is perfect for small kitchen layouts that only accommodate one cook. Galley kitchens can be very efficient for cooking, but there is little room for guests or other purposes.
  • The single wall - Just one wall of full cabinets. It is considered a modified galley design if it is accompanied by one long island. This design is often used in an open-concept home or condo. Depending on the size of the kitchen, single-wall kitchens can be a more affordable option since it is only one full wall of cabinetry. There is no rule for how long the wall of cabinetry has to be, but the efficiency of workflow is altered if there isn’t a proper layout of appliances. One wall of cabinetry can create multi-zones. t doesn’t have to be just kitchen cabinetry…it can incorporate a desk, bar, or dining area as well. 

3. ​Kitchen islands.  Islands can be used for additional workspace, as a dining space, or both. The island can house appliances such as a dishwasher or bar/wine fridge, a sink, or just additional cabinetry. Add stools and it’s a place to eat or finish work. The kitchen island is highly desirable to most homeowners, but it doesn’t always work in every home.  Islands take up a great deal of square footage in a kitchen due to the clearance that must surround them. The biggest mistake in kitchen design is not considering clearance for traffic flow and opening cabinet and appliance doors. Kitchen islands are only functional if they fit into the space properly.

4. Garbage disposal.  The dirty little secret. No kitchen can function properly without considering where the compost, recycling and additional waste will be placed. If the location or area is sized incorrectly there will likely be unwanted drips on floors or cabinetry, overflow issues, or a need for constant emptying of the garbage outside, all of which sounds frustrating. When designing your kitchen, it is vital that you consider the size of your family, the amount of kitchen garbage and the flow of traffic you will encounter.  After all, you will need to house those garbage items until you can take them outside to your garbage/recycling bins.  Be realistic with your needs.

5. Appliances.  There is a myriad of choices when it comes to appliances. There are so many items that can be incorporated into a kitchen. There are built-in coffee/espresso makers, bar and wine fridges, specialty ovens, a variety of cooktop and stove options, dishwashers, drawer microwaves, vent hoods, and even smart fridges to name a few.  And then there are styles, sizes, colours, prices, warranties, and quality to consider. With so many choices available, it can be a daunting task to choose your appliances.  It will be important to know your space restrictions, your colour schemes, your use of the kitchen (will it be an entertaining space?), your style, your needs versus wants-- and ultimately your budget.

6. Cabinetry.  Just like most other components in a kitchen, there are many choices to consider for cabinet style and colours and handles, etc. You will need to choose from door styles such as shaker, raised panel, recessed panel, slab doors, or mullion/glass. Cabinetry can also be stained or painted and there are different materials (metal, solid wood, veneers, melamine, MDF, etc.) and a variety of colour selections for either choice. Soft close hinges are a must in a new kitchen – who wants a door to slam shut? Specialty cabinets, like corner drawers, lazy Susan’s, magic corners, spice drawers, tray storage cabinets, cooking utensil cabinets, wine racks, etc. may also be a consideration depending on your needs. And of course, cabinet handles—the jewellery of the kitchen. There are so many handles to choose from.  Considering style, material, colour, size, quality and cost are all part of the selection process.

7. Countertops and backsplashes.  Countertops are probably one of the most important choices in your kitchen. They need to be easy to clean and maintain, durable and should be a positive focal point for all those entering your home. All countertop materials will have their pros and cons. There are options for laminate at the lower price point, to the higher price point and more popular choice materials of granite, quartz, and marble. There are even options for stainless steel, concrete, soapstone, and wood/butcher block. You will want to ensure you understand the maintenance requirements and durability of whatever material you choose. Backsplashes can also be a continuous material like granite, marble, or quartz but many homeowners opt for tiled backsplashes. Both countertops and backsplashes can be subtle or more expressive. Whatever you choose, keep in mind you will be looking at it for a long time. 

8. Sinks and faucets.  As with all elements of a kitchen, the sink and faucet choices are significant. The size, style and location of your sink or sinks will be vital to their function in your kitchen. Consider your family size, your cooking style and whether or not you are a baker.  Some of these considerations will affect the size of the pots and pans you use and therefore must clean. You will need to consider choosing the following:

  • Choice of materials - metal, enameled cast iron, granite, copper, etc.
  • Size of the sink - double basin/divided sink, single basin, farmhouse style, etc.
  • Styles – straight side walls, rounded styles, varying or same depths/levels for dual basins, corner sinks, island sinks, prep sinks, drain position, drain board, etc.
  • Faucet - sizes, finishes, styles, etc.

9. Lightning. Lightning plays a significant role in the kitchen. Therefore, there are going to be several types of lighting considerations you’re going to have to make for your perfect kitchen. Below you’ll find a brief description of the 5 types of lighting you’ll want to consider when designing your kitchen.

  • Task lighting – This is the brighter lighting used to illuminate your workspace for safe preparation, cooking and cleaning.
  • Ambient lighting – Pertains to the softer overhead lighting that allows for navigation of the kitchen.
  • Accent lighting – This is the lighting that will highlight the decorative features of the kitchen that you want to be noticed.
  • Decorative lighting – This may be an accent, ambient or task light. Perhaps it may be lighting over the island or a chandelier over the table. It’s the bling that you add to the kitchen.
  • Natural light – whether it is a window, a glass door or an overhead skylight, every kitchen needs natural light.

10. Flooring. Kitchens are high foot traffic areas considering the time taken for preparation of meals and snacks, cooking, serving, and cleaning up as well as sometimes being an entertaining space. Thus, it is important to make a flooring choice that is not only aesthetically pleasing but will be easy to clean and maintain and durable enough to hold up under constant daily use. The most popular options for kitchen floors are ceramic or porcelain tile, linoleum, vinyl, natural stone and hardwood. While there are a variety of other options for consideration, it is important to remember that not every material will perform well over time in the kitchen environment. Choose wisely!

These are just some of the things to consider when planning a kitchen renovation. There are so many other elements and finer details to consider as well. If you are looking to renovate your kitchen, call the experts at Vanderzalm Construction inc. at (905)684-5823 or (905)562-3878 or email us at info@vanderzalm.ca.