It’s time to remodel your kitchen and if you’re like most people, you want your new kitchen to look beautiful but also to function properly.

You’ve probably thought about what kind of cabinets, countertops, flooring, lighting, and appliances you want, but this is just the starting point. In order to have a well-designed kitchen that meets the needs of your home, your kitchen must function properly and have adequate storage.

My favorite place to start when designing a kitchen is with storage! It sounds boring at first glance, but believe me, a designer who cares about the proper placement of his kitchen essentials is worth his weight in gold.

So how do you determine the right amount of storage for your space? Let’s start with some basics.

There are three sizes of kitchens defined by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. There are small, medium and large.

The small kitchen consists of less than 150 square feet. The medium kitchen starts at 151 square feet and goes up to 350 square feet. While the large kitchen is defined as a space greater than 350 square feet.

The first step in designing a kitchen with the right storage is to figure out what size kitchen you have. Each kitchen size has its own set of guidelines set forth by the NKBA to ensure the proper amount of storage is accounted for.

Is that how it works. A designer will take the overall layout of a kitchen and break it down by cabinet front. Each cabinet can be calculated as follows.

Cabinet width in inches x number of shelves and drawers x depth of cabinet feet = front of shelf and drawer.

A small kitchen requires 1,400″ of shelf/drawer frontage. A medium kitchen clocks in at 1,700″ while a large kitchen requires 2,000″.

Once you know the amount of frontage required, you can determine how many cabinets are needed in your layout to give the space the adequate storage it needs to function.

When determining which cabinets to use, not all cabinets are created equal. There are cabinets for pots, pans, utensils, cookie sheets, dry goods, trash cans, appliances, lids, chemicals, and food. If it belongs in the kitchen, you can guarantee there is a cabinet or cabinet accessory designed specifically to house it.

After determining how many cabinets will best fit the square footage you have to work with, you need to look at each cabinet and what it will hold. This is a very important step in the design process that is often overlooked. Many professional remodeling companies will install basic cabinets to fit the space without delving into what will actually be stored in each cabinet. A cookie sheet cabinet, often called a cookie sheet divider cabinet, will be of little use if it’s far from the stove, while a pull-out trash can will lose its effectiveness if it’s out of reach of the sink.

Then there are guidelines specifically related to storage near the sink. The sink is one of (if not the most) important elements and work areas in the kitchen. NKBA guidelines state that a small kitchen must have 400″ of storage space within 72″ of the primary cleanup/prep sink. A medium kitchen should be 480″ and a large kitchen 560″.

Simply put, a kitchen can’t just be designed to look, it must also be designed to function.

A proper kitchen should have storage for every item used and will work best if the NKBA guidelines are followed.

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