How not to plan a kitchen

We started to plan this kitchen over a year ago. You might even remember our post about the simplest way to plan a home improvement project. The sketch in the notebook featured in that post is the sketch of this kitchen-to-be.

Project execution began in July 2017.

Yes, the execution began even though the design wasn’t quite finished. It still isn’t finished, to be precise.

The plan was to install the kitchen by the mid-June 2018. And yes, “mid-June” is in one week.

Here’s what happened:

  • The kitchen was not integrated into living room/dining room but was a separate space – a separate space, too big to be just a kitchen, but too small to be anything else
  • The room had a lot of limitations – doors on each of the four walls and the ceiling sloped ceiling in one corner, to name a few
  • It functions as a „walk through“ room, enabling circular communication in the apartment
  • The kitchen was basically half-finished since plumbing, electric installation and ventilation had already been installed

The simplest way to plan a remodel: kitchen remodel in a bullet journal | upgradesign

So what, one might say.

Well, those things slowed us down, because we really wanted to design an ideal kitchen. We didn’t want to compromise.

The simplest way to plan a remodel: kitchen remodel in a bullet journal - plans | upgradesign

And that’s not a way to plan anything. You have to make the most out of what you have.

So we prepared a little list of things we did, but really hope you wouldn’t.

1. Don’t skip the SWOT analysis

If we were designing a kitchen for a client, we’d start with a SWOT analysis, determine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and use those decisions to start a design.

But since this kitchen is a personal project, we thought: why not skip that step? We know what is good and what is not, we don’t have to present it to anyone, so why should we waste time on that?

And then we designed a what-if-there-weren’t-doors-on-every-side kitchen. It was gorgeous. But the doors were still there.

So we designed a what-if-the-room-was-slightly-more-narrow kitchen. It was a really functional galley kitchen on paper, but since the distance between two sides would be more than 150cm, it didn’t make much sense.

We could go on and on, but here’s the point:

Don’t start the design before you’re clear about everything you need to eliminate, emphasize or use as an opportunity – you need guidelines to avoid going back and forth for months.

kitchen planning | ikea | new kitchen | tiles

2. Don’t drag out decision making

Not being able to make a decision is definitely the biggest threat to every home improvement project. And probably the main reason to find yourself a week from buying the kitchen, with basically no idea what to choose.

We all want to have our options opened as long as possible, but what is enough, is planning | ikea | new kitchen | tileskitchen planning | ikea | new kitchen | tiles | wood cabinets
How not to plan a kitchen_section B

When there’s no reason to chose one over the another – just pick anything. Don’t try to find an objective reason for white vs. wooden cabinet doors. Either way, it will be fine. At least better than anything you decide at the last moment.

3. Don’t forget to create a mood board

And no, you don’t have to collect samples of every material you’re about to use. For simple home projects, to pair colours and patterns is more than enough, and it’s perfectly fine to line photographs of materials you want to use in basically any computer program you are familiar with.

kitchen planning | ikea | new kitchen | moodboard
Kitchen mood board with EKESTAD elements combined with:
How not to plan a kitchen_moodboard_B02
Kitchen mood board with MÄRSTA elements
How not to plan a kitchen_moodboard_C01
Kitchen mood board with UDDEVALLA elements

We didn’t create a mood board for this kitchen (once again, why waste our time when we don’t have to present it to anyone?) up until we needed one for this post. And because we didn’t have any idea what to use for backsplash – the same backsplash that should be installed in a week.

For the longest time we imagined black, but now we are crazy about the dark-ish grey tiles. Moodboards do that to you!

At this point, we believe everything will work out. But we definitely learned how not to plan a kitchen!

_ _


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2 thoughts on “How not to plan a kitchen

  1. Mood boards are great for trying to visualise what the completed kitchen could look like. Planning is also key to ensure that you have enough storage and room for all the appliances that you intend on having. Our new online kitchen planner can help with the planning process.


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