If you're tackling your own kitchen renovation and are taking on the task of choosing your finishes by yourself, I'd like to congratulate you for being so brave! It's not an easy task and most people in this predicament simply don't know where to start. After designing so many kitchens, I have this down to an art. I am proudly able to put a harmonious kitchen palette together in less than an hour jumping between 3 stores. This is because I follow a solid system that works for me every time.
STEP 1: Do your research
It's impossible to know what you like and what you don't like until you've seen hundreds of kitchens, even if only in images. Study them closely and take note of the finishes you'd like to use and the ones you'd like to avoid. You MUST have a solid idea or concept before you actually start to shop. You need to know your budget and what you are looking for. If things change along the way, that's fine but it would be a big mistake to walk into a stone and tile showroom and not have any idea of what you want your kitchen to look like. Trust me - you won't be inspired by the samples on the walls. You need to be inspired by actual spaces if this is not something you do every day. Houzz is a great place to start.
STEP 2: Choose your focal point
One piece to the puzzle that will be your attention grabber; that is where you will start. If you are going with a busy granite, start there. If you decide on a colourful backsplash, start with that. The idea here is to start with what is the hardest to find, what you will have the least options with. If on the other hand, you decide not to have a focal point, (which is not a bad idea) again, start with what gives you the least amount of options or what you have your heart set on. You really want a natural stone counter? Start by choosing your slab. It's easier to coordinate your tiles to your counter than vice versa.
STEP 3: Identify your undertones
So you've chosen the first piece to your palette. Great! Now closely identify the undertones present. If you don't know what an undertone is, it might be best to consult a designer from here. Make sure to understand which colours will best communicate with this first piece and stick to them. From here on out, it's all about comparing. Every piece you add to your palette needs to be thoroughly compared to the pieces preceding it. All of the undertones need to be harmonious.
STEP 4: Always take samples
You can't compare if you don't have samples. It might be hard for you to get used to but you need to ask for samples of EVERYTHING you choose, everywhere you go. In this context, bigger is always better. A bigger sample will definitely help you visualize your space and it will also help in identifying the undertones. Another good idea, is to get more than one option to bring home because your perfect palette may not be so perfect when you get home, which brings me to Step 5.
STEP 5: Compare the samples in the space where they will be installed
No matter how sure you are in the store about the palette you've chosen, don't give the final okay until you've seen it in the space where it will be installed. First of all, the lighting in design showrooms can be extremely deceiving. Even from one area of the showroom to an other, it can change drastically. Taking your samples outside will not be the solution because your kitchen will not be flooded with natural sunlight 24/7. Bringing your samples home will help you:
a) take into consideration existing finishes that you may not have considered at the store, like the adjacent flooring.
b) better see the colours for what they are in the lighting that they will be installed in. The best thing to do would be to leave them there for 24 hours and see what they look like during the day and at night.
c) prevent you from making an impulse decision that you may regret which can cost you thousands of dollars to repair. You are making a big decision that you will potentially have to live with for the next 5 to 10 years - sleep on it.
Follow these 5 steps and I can't promise you your dream kitchen but I am positive that you will save a lot of time and eliminate some of the most common errors made when choosing kitchen finishes.
If you'd like a professional's opinion instead, whether it's from the start, mid way or just before you give the final okay, contact me to schedule a consultation.
Like what you're reading? SUBSCRIBE to our monthly newsletter for more interior design updates and recent blog posts.