A Designer’s Advice When Creating Your Custom Kitchen


Designing a dream kitchen can give you mixed feelings of both excitement and stress. You may feel a lot of pressure choosing materials and making final decisions on design and layout. Since the process can sometimes feel overwhelming, we partnered with one of our Kitchen Designers, Aly Williams, to get her feedback on ways to keep it fun. Whether you are designing a kitchen now or plan to in the future, check out our list of the top five tips to ensure you love your kitchen when the project is complete.

1. Be true to you

When looking at material options and design layout, be honest with yourself about what you want (and don’t want) in your kitchen. Try not to put too much weight on what others are suggesting and try to remember that this is your kitchen. We understand you’re taking advice from your mom, friends, and Pinterest, but we want you to be confident and trust yourself. Although you may not consider yourself a designer, you do have style preferences that can be captured and included in the overall feel of your kitchen.

Aly added, “Many times, people get shy when talking to designers, but the truth is we are simply people with our own taste and style. Sometimes what we like isn’t necessarily what the homeowner likes. We are professionally trained to fully understand the homeowners’ design aesthetic and make it come to life in their space.”

There isn’t a rulebook on how to design.  There is no right or wrong – just what you want. Since it is a long-term investment, it is common to feel overwhelmed with design, but in the end we will help you create your new space.

2. Details make the difference

Most people remodel a kitchen once in their lifetime, and it is usually for their forever home. Details will take your kitchen from average to eye-catching and make it more memorable. When we talk about details, we mean adding special features that give the space more character.  Aly offers these ideas to consider:

  • Strategically placed drawer bases
  • Crown Moulding
  • Light Rail Details
  • Accented floating shelves
  • Backsplash elements

Remodeling a kitchen can be a large investment, so Aly recommends homeowners budget for the details.

“Details really make the difference,” Aly shared. “Moulding can turn a stock kitchen into a dream. Backsplash elements are a great way to bring in decorative elements that you can update over time as your tastes change. Accented floating shelves, although take ingenuity and some planning, can complement a minimalistic style.”

Many times, homeowners cut costs in the details, but that adds a ton of value. Aly added that she likes to guide her clients to choose hardware and some of the little details first, so by the end of the process they are not burnt out and haven’t exceeded the budget.

3. Accept your space for what it is

Although it is tempting, we recommend you do not try to cram in something great you saw on Pinterest if it does not fit in your space. The design looks great on Pinterest because that space was made for it. Although we can adapt ideas to make the design and space work together, we can’t force it. Generally, people have smaller kitchens than what is typically featured in magazines and on social media. It would be bad design if we simply forced your favorite picture into your home, and it would not end up looking the way you had hoped.  We do love bringing in some of the elements to give it the same style. Typically, replicating something exactly the way you see it in another home will usually doesn’t work, so we pare it down and allow it to fit into the space we are given.

4. Own your design choices

When your kitchen is complete, we want to be sure your design fits your lifestyle. Along the way, we have come to learn certain paint colors show dirt and imperfections more prominently. Floating shelves leave glasses and bowls vulnerable to dust, and it forces you to do the dishes and maintain organization. Glass cabinet doors reveal the dishes behind them, which require further organization and tidiness. All of these details are beautiful and make for a memorable space, but you might have to be prepared for the extra effort they take to keep them memorable.  

We want you to love your kitchen, so staying in tune with your lifestyle is important to us. We hope your kitchen complements your life rather than adding stress or more work.

5. Have fun

Designing a custom kitchen is a special experience that allows for your personality to shine through one of the primary spaces your home. It is undoubtedly a favorite room in the home and can be created to truly fit your lifestyle. Aly explained, “We find the initial step is always fun – picking colors, finding inspiration, and looking at samples. The excitement seems to fade when it comes to deciding on the details or if the expectation was to truly replicate a picture found on social media. To keep the overall process exciting, we offer our advice to choose some of the details and set the expectations right up front. Then the rest of the time, we can enjoy seeing the kitchen come together.”

Are you thinking of designing a new kitchen? Palmer-Donavin has a team of Kitchen Designers and can connect you to your local dealer. Contact our team to get started.


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