From Flooring to Forks: Kitchen Design & Planning Tips

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When people start thinking about a new kitchen design, most start with the bigger elements like kitchen cabinets, wood floors, wall color, and the kitchen island. These are certainly incredibly important to the overall aesthetics of the space. They also play a role in the functionality of your space, but the kitchen layout, space planning and level of organization play a large role in how your kitchen will function.

Let us look at some of these critical components and provide you with some inspiration and tips.

Kitchen Work Triangle on Carlisle Wide Plank Floors BlogThe Work Triangle

The “Work Triangle” as it has been dubbed in the industry by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (“NKBA”), is a standard kitchen design rule. It creates connects the sink, cooktop and refrigerator with an imaginary line to define the work space and make sure it will be efficient and unobstructed.

But the work triangle is a work in progress. Kitchens are the hub of the home, they are getting bigger. There are multiple cooks. They have evolved from being separated to eat-in styles or connected with other rooms like the family room or living room. With this in mind, you can also incorporate multiple work triangles into the kitchen to plan it properly. A kitchen designer is your best resource for putting together a space plan for your kitchen.

Cabinet Style

Choosing the right cabinets for your kitchen come down to a variety of details including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Wood type
  • Color
  • Cabinet design
  • Hardware
  • Edge detail
  • Glass or no glass

We turned to the design experts at Crownpoint Cabinetry, Inc for some design inspiration and guidance. Use there website to easily browse and explore the different door styles in a variety of finishes and design details. Similiar to Carlisle, where we help you select the right custom floor for your kitchen, Crown Point also takes a very personal approach to designing your cabinets.

“One of our talented inhouse Design and Sales staff works with you, designing your kitchen, bathroom, office; wherever you desire cabinetry in your home.” — Crown Point Cabinetry

Here is a great example of a kitchen designed by Crownpoint Cabinetry, and also featuring 10-14″ wide Carlisle Reclaimed Oak Flooring. The warm, nutty brown hues of the reclaimed oak floors are a nice contrast to the white painted cabinets.Reclaimed Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

You may be wondering what style cabinet is right for you based on the look you want to create — this is especially important if you are working on a restoration project or a going for an authentic look. The good news is you can find a cabinet to go with any style kitchen.

Wood Floors

The floors you choose for your kitchen are going to determine funtionality and durability of the space, so it’s only natural that wood floors are one of the most popular choices. They are not only beautiful, but durable and versatile.  But not all wood floors are created equal, so it is important to invest in a good floor today so you can be assured it will be there for many tomorrows.

When it comes to the high traffic spaces like kitchens, look for these attributes in your wood flooring:

  • Work with a wood flooring manufacturer who can provide a hardwood floor with the characteristics you like best — rustic or formal, more or less knots, distressed or smooth — don’t feel restricted to the prefinished mass produced flooring that saturates the market.
  • Choose pine flooring if you want something more casual and rustic as it will acquire more dings and dents.
  • Flooring should be at least ¾” or 5/8” thick, with a 3/16 (4mm) wear layer so you can refinish it multiple times.
  • If it is an engineered floor is should have at least 9-ply or 11-ply baltic birch backing which is more stable.
  • Look for prefinished wood flooring you can refinish without sanding like those finished with Carlisle Custom Coat®.
  • Whether you have a galley kitchen or an eat-in kitchen wide boards matter, make sure your floor is at least 6-8” wide, and longer lengths  help minimize seams too for a more beautiful appearance.
  • Be sure to order some “attic stock” which can be used if you even move your cabinets, or you have a leak in the dishwasher or refrigerator.

If you need design ideas see Carlisle Collections. The beautiful thing about Carlisle wood floors is you never have to settle, whether you want to match, complement or contrast, you can create any color or finish that you need with Carlisle Custom Floors too. This is helpful when designing a kitchen because you can build your floors and your cabinets together to make sure they match and you can customize the stain of your floors no matter how you want them to fit with the cabinets.Prefinished Oak Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

Kitchen Hardware

Depending on the design of your kitchen, you may be considering hardware for your doors and drawers. It is not a requirement, merely a personal preference depending on the look you are trying to achieve.

Kitchen hardware can help add functionality to your space, but they are also a nice design element.  According to Nicollete Patten, NKBA Certified Kitchen Designer, there are five details that will help you decide on your kitchen hardware:

  1. Shape & Style (knobs and/or pulls)
  2. Design (square or curved)
  3. Finish & Material (bronze, nickel, brass, brushed, black matte, oil rubbed, etc).
  4. Comfort
  5. Cost

Schaub & Company is a great source for luxury hardware and the site is easy to browse. Find a collection you like, then click through to see what is available in style and size. From rustic, brushed bronze in the Kelmscott Manor collection to the intricate bejeweled Fair Isle Collection made with white mother of pearl, you’ll find the right look for your kitchen.

This kitchen below, designed by Steffanie Gareau Design, uses a mix of textures, colors, and shapes for the hardware, for this transition style kitchen.Hickory Flooring & Distressed Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors


The color you choose for your kitchen will be based on personal preference, lighting, cabinet and floor color with a focus on creating the right design and the right ambiance. The “psychology of color” can be a helpful consideration when selecting a palette. For example, neutrals like shades in the white, gray, and tan family work great for a kitchen because you can dress them up or down based on the accent colors you use with them. Yellow, blue and green are bright, cheerful colors that will wake you up or help you feel calm and relaxed after a long day. Purple makes a great accent and black and red are best used in small doses.

If you are not sure what color scheme is right for you, you’ll never go wrong if you start out with lighter, neutral tones. Then, just add in your favorite colors on an accent wall, linens, textiles, and artwork.

Gray Wood Floors from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

Storage & Organization

As mentioned earlier, kitchens shouldn’t just look pretty, they should also meet the needs of the homeowner no matter what level of chef they may be.

From Real Simple inspired wicker baskets and Tupperware bins to the Do-It-Yourself Ikea Sektion kitchen or the ultra custom Hi-Line6 kitchen design from Dada, with kitchen storage solutions to keep every little gadget and eating utensil, spice, and spoon in place, kitchen organization comes in many shapes and sizes. It is so customizable that you can literally design your kitchen around you, the user. But before you can do that, you need to understand how you use your kitchen, aside from the obvious reason — to cook.
Hi-Line6 kitchen design from Dada

For example, what types of things do you like to cook, and how often you cook. Someone who does a lot of family meal prep and baking may have different needs than someone who relies on the morning coffee maker and the evening microwave. Likewise, if you cook for one or a large family, or if you have little helpers who like to roll our the pizza dough, your storage and access needs can be very different.

To best understand what level of organization you need, and what needs to be the most accessible, first you need to know what you use most. First, take an inventory of the accessories and gadgets you have. Next, try to keep track of the accessories and gadgets you use for a month (or a week if you are really short on time). If you haven’t touched it during that time you probably a) don’t need it and b) definitely don’t need it to be front and center. This where secondary cabinetry and pantries come in helpful.

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The right kitchen design will help you find the perfect layout and the perfect location for everything right down to the last fork.
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