back to all blogs

How to Design Your Dream Kitchen: Tips from an Architect

November 10th, 2023

By Sofia Alonso

4 min read


Are you unsatisfied with your current kitchen or considering a renovation? Designing your dream kitchen can often feel like navigating a maze of choices and decisions. From selecting the right appliances to choosing the perfect color palette, the process can be overwhelming, leaving many homeowners unsure where to begin. The challenge lies in creating a space that's not only visually appealing but also aligns with your unique lifestyle and needs.

As a team of architects and builders with a keen eye for both form and function, we approach kitchen design as a harmonious blend of art and practicality. AV Architects + Builders has been designing kitchens for clients in the Northern Virginia area for over 20 years. This article is crafted to explain our advice for the kitchen design process, offering you a structured and thoughtful approach.

From the foundational elements of cabinets and drawers to the artistic touches of countertops and backsplashes, we'll explore how to weave together functionality, style, and personal expression. Whether you're a culinary enthusiast or a lover of elegant spaces, this guide promises to equip you with the insights and tips needed to design a kitchen that's not just a cooking area, but a heartwarming, personalized hub of your home.


Start with Cabinets and Drawers: The Foundation of Your Kitchen

Cabinets and drawers are not just storage solutions; they are the backbone of your kitchen's design. They dictate the layout and set the tone for the entire space. When planning your kitchen, start with the cabinetry because it's the most expensive and permanent element. The style, color, and material of your cabinets will influence every other decision you make. Whether you prefer sleek, modern designs or classic, traditional looks, your choice of cabinetry will be the anchor of your kitchen's aesthetic.

Key Considerations:

  • Budget: High-quality cabinets are an investment. Choose wisely as they set the stage for your kitchen's design.
  • Functionality: Consider the types of storage you need. Deep drawers for pots and pans? Spice racks? Customized solutions can maximize space and efficiency.
  • Style: The cabinetry should reflect your personal style and complement the architecture of your home.

RICKER-Pimmit-42AV Architects + Builders, Main Level Modern, Photo by Charles Dubissette

Kitchen Appliances: Combining Function with Style

Appliances are the workhorses of the kitchen, and their selection is crucial. They are the second most expensive component and have a significant visual impact. When selecting appliances, think about how you use your kitchen. Are you an avid cook who needs professional-grade appliances, or are you more focused on energy efficiency and smart technology? The style of your appliances should complement your cabinetry, creating a cohesive look.

Key Considerations:

  • Lifestyle: Choose appliances that cater to your cooking habits and lifestyle.
  • Integration: Consider how your appliances will integrate with your cabinetry. Built-in models can offer a seamless look.
  • Technology: Modern appliances come with various smart features. Decide what's important to you.

Photo-70AV Architects + Builders, Angle House, Photo by Sean O'Rourke

Kitchen Countertops: The Artistic Touch

Once you've established the look of your cabinets and appliances, it's time to choose your countertops. Countertops are like the canvas of your kitchen, tying together the aesthetics of your cabinetry and appliances. Materials like granite, quartz, or marble not only add beauty but also functionality to your kitchen. The color and texture of your countertop should complement your cabinetry and flooring, creating a harmonious balance.

Key Considerations:

  • Durability: Some materials are more resistant to scratches and heat than others.
  • Maintenance: Consider the level of maintenance required for different materials.
  • Aesthetics: The countertop should enhance the overall look of your kitchen.

Solar Kitchen BacksplashAV Architects + Builders, Solar House, Photo by Maxwell Mackenzie

Kitchen Backsplash: The Finishing Touch

The backsplash is an opportunity to inject personality into your kitchen. Whether you opt for traditional tile or a modern, continuous material like quartz or thin porcelain, your backsplash can be a focal point or a subtle compliment to your countertops. It's an area where you can be creative, adding color, texture, or pattern to your kitchen.

Key Considerations:

  • Style: Choose a backsplash that reflects your personal style and complements the other elements in your kitchen.
  • Functionality: Consider the ease of cleaning and maintenance.
  • Impact: A bold backsplash can be a statement piece, while a more subdued choice can create a sense of calm.

modern kitchen spaceAV Architects + Builders, Main Level Modern, Photo by Charles Dubissette

Plumbing and Lighting: The Functional Art

Plumbing fixtures and lighting are the final layers of your kitchen design. These elements should be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Choose fixtures that match the style of your kitchen and meet your practical needs. Lighting, on the other hand, is like the cherry on top. It's not just about illumination; it's about setting the mood and highlighting the beauty of your kitchen.


Key Considerations:

  • Consistency: Ensure your plumbing fixtures complement the overall design theme.
  • Lighting Needs: Combine task, ambient, and accent lighting for a well-lit kitchen.
  • Flexibility: Consider adjustable lighting to change the mood for different occasions.


Conclusion: Designing your dream kitchen

Starting the journey to design your dream kitchen is an adventure in balancing form and function, aesthetics and practicality. In this article, we've navigated through the essential components of kitchen design, from the foundational cabinets and drawers to the artistic touches of countertops and backsplashes. Each element plays a crucial role in creating a kitchen that's not just a cooking area, but a personalized, heartwarming hub of your home.

Remember, your kitchen is more than just a collection of materials and appliances; it's a reflection of your lifestyle, your culinary aspirations, and your personal taste. The choices you make in cabinetry, appliances, countertops, backsplashes, plumbing, and lighting all contribute to the overall harmony of your kitchen's design.

As you move forward in designing your dream kitchen, consider each element as a note in a symphony. Think about how they work together to create a cohesive and functional space. Reflect on your daily routines, your cooking habits, and the atmosphere you want to create. This thoughtful approach will ensure that your kitchen is not only visually stunning but also a joy to use, day in and day out.

In conclusion, designing your dream kitchen is a process of layering for perfection. It's about finding the right balance between beauty and utility, personal expression and practicality. With careful planning and a keen eye for detail, you can create a kitchen that resonates with your unique style and meets your everyday needs. So, embrace this opportunity to craft a space that truly reflects who you are and transforms how you experience the heart of your home.

Designing a kitchen is like creating a layered masterpiece. Each element, from cabinets to lighting, plays a specific role in the overall design. It's about balancing aesthetics with functionality, ensuring that your kitchen is not only beautiful but also a joy to use. Remember, a well-designed kitchen can transform the way you live and interact in your home. Take the time to plan, consider your options, and create a space that truly reflects your taste and lifestyle.


9903 Georgetown Pike Suite 201
Great Falls, VA 22066
(703) 865-5065