My Top 5s: Must Haves In a Kitchen

For many, the kitchen is the heart of the home. You may love to cook, or not, but if you are like us, this is where all my kids seem to hangout when they come to visit. 😂 Creating a beautiful space that works for your needs is so crucial as you work to have the home of your dreams. There are a lot of things that make a kitchen fabulous and functional, but here are my top 5 MUST HAVES!!!

Be Smart,  Budget For Your Appliances

Appliances will make or break your kitchen and you DO NOT want to think about these last. They are not the place that you want to have to skimp because your budget runs out at the end. It will be worth your time to do your research, know what appliances you want and how much to set aside in your budget for them! 

Despite what you may believe, you do not need to buy a full appliance package from one brand. They do not all need to be the same, and you will likely save money and get the biggest bang for your buck if you mix and match!! This is definitely something to take into account if you are doing panel ready appliances. Not a single person will know what brand the fridge/freezer are, so do your research and choose the best one that fits your budget, or your heart’s desire!! Also remember your oven likely won’t match regardless because they typically only come in stainless steel or black so don’t get hung up on these little details.

Who Builds Your Cabinets Matters 

If you haven’t yet read, ‘MY TOP 5’S: MY TOP 5’S WHEN BUILDING A HOME you should. Price shouldn’t always dictate what you choose to do in your home, you can definitely save on some things, but cabinets should not be one of those things. Educating yourself on your cabinet options is worth every minute of your time.

Styling Your Cabinets

Your cabinets don’t have to be boring, but remember balance is key when adding your personality into a space!

Your lower cabinets and your island are going to see the most wear and tear (especially if you have little ones or pets). That being said, bold colored cabinets are in and we see them A LOT on the lowers, this can bring a lot of color into a space easily. But make that decision knowing that you will have to touch up the paint because the wear will show. Another option if you want something that will withstand life a little better, you can stain your lower cabinets. Then the dings and wear will not be nearly as obvious, plus it is way easier to touch up. Of course you can always do a light or white painted lower cabinet, they will need to be touched up, and will show fingerprints. They won’t show quite like it does with a bolder/darker color. You can also incorporate a unique design on your cabinet doors on your lower cabinets and/or the sides of your island.

Now let’s talk upper cabinets. Just like your lowers, you can always do a fun cabinet door design, and can do white or a lighter color to brighten the space. Adding glass in some of the uppers OR eliminating the cabinet all together in some spots and adding floating shelves for a more visually interesting space. 

Don’t be scared to get creative and remember if you have  been educated about your kitchen, it will help you make the best decisions for you and your home.

One is Better than Two, at Least With Your Sink

This one seems simple, do a large single bowl sink. Let me say that one more time, you should have a large single bowl sink in your kitchen. You may think, well isn’t it harder to do dishes without two bowls? The simple answer is NO, it is not harder. I would say this is the number one misconception with sinks. It is just as easy to wash your dishes in a single bowl sink as previously thought double bowl sinks. You do not have to do an apron front sink to get a single bowl; they also come in undermount.

No More Boring Backsplashes

The title pretty much says it all. Your backsplash shouldn’t be boring and you want it to be cohesive with the style you are going for.

Some Styling Tips:

  • Simple color, do a fun shaped tile or a fun pattern it will bring some personality into it!
  • Bolder color, opt for a simpler tile shape and pattern of how it’s laid. 
  • If you want a bold statement but not a bold color, do the backsplash the same as the countertop
  • If you have adjacent walls you can tile these as well to draw your eyes up (you can even go up and over a door frame)

Things to Remember:

  • Smaller grout lines are better on a backsplash. Your backsplash will get dirty and these will be easier to clean.
  • In a main kitchen, the smaller the tile you use the busier it is going to look, so think through what the kitchen needs.

Lighting is More Than Just Functional

Lights are necessary in every space and they absolutely are a functional piece of your home. BUT they should be anything but boring. You will want typical recessed task lighting for functional purposes. I would absolutely consider adding under cabinet lights and even toe kick lighting. It adds additional functional lighting and both will create a really nice ambience in your space. 

Now don’t forget your decorative lighting. These are your pendants and/or sconces. Every kitchen NEEDS to have it. Beauty and function can coexist, you should always have decorative lighting in your kitchen. Consider all the different places you can add it.

If you are building or even remodeling I hope these must haves help you in your project. One thing to note…kitchens, bathrooms, HOMES in general, will speak to you as they come together. They’ll tell you what they need, so use these rules/must haves but as you select the finishes listen to the needs of your home. She’ll tell you what she needs in these areas!

Have fun designing!



meet allison

What I love most about what I do, isn't necessarily the beautiful home at the end of the project, but it's the journey I love getting you there!