Special guest post by Amanda Shields

Much like your favourite meal, a great kitchen starts with a recipe. Just think of an interior designer as your ever-stylish chef, who has made this recipe countless times over the years and perfected it. I’ve certainly cooked up my fair share of kitchen designs, and have pared down my list to these four essential ingredients to creating a stylish kitchen.


The sink, stove, and refrigerator form the “kitchen triangle” and this zone accounts for the bulk of activity – and traffic. The ideal floor plan puts these fixtures within four and nine feet of each other, which adds efficiency to daily chores while making the best use of your space. Now, layer in your lifestyle. Consider where you enter the kitchen and how you move through it, where you gather and host guests. And while there are many things that are critical to a well-functioning kitchen, perhaps one of the most important is empty space in strategic places. Ensure you’re leaving enough room to move, pass, and prepare meals. This typically includes 42 inches around the island and across walkways.  Ensure you have counter heights considered where working and sitting within your plan Ensure adequate seating that can tuck under the island counters comfortably.


One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is designing their kitchen and then trying to squeeze some storage into the plan. This usually results in not enough dedicated storage, the wrong type of storage, or storage that is in plain sight – none of which is ideal. Believe it or not, you’ll need more storage space than you think, so any after-the-fact add-ons will likely fall short. Custom storage solutions and built-in elements such as a pantry, extended-height cabinets and under-island storage are well worth the investment. These tailored elements also help make a better use of your kitchen space, putting overlooked areas to good use, like the cabinet under the sink, over the fridge and in the corners.


There are lots of different countertop products to choose from. While all the options may seem overwhelming at first, you can easily narrow down your choices by abiding by three rules: lifestyle, budget and aesthetics. Common materials such as marble, quartz and granite come at a range of prices and each offers its own list of pros and cons, from durability to maintenance to style. Together with the kitchen cabinets, your countertops will need to be ordered early on in the process, as they can take some time to cut and deliver. And since installation happens fairly soon in the course of construction, delaying this item will mean delaying everything else that follows, including backsplash, sink and appliances.


This is by far the fastest-growing trend when it comes to the modern home, and as the hardest-working room in the home, the kitchen is ground-zero. Thankfully there are plenty of options available on the market to make light(er) work of your kitchen chores. As with storage systems, you’ll want your technology integrated into the design, to make it more streamlined from an aesthetic and functional perspective alike. Work with your designer to incorporate those elements that matter most to you, from voice-controlled lighting, appliances and virtual assistants, to integrated charging stations for power on hand and on demand, artfully hidden when not in use.

A great kitchen is like a mouthwatering meal – it has to be balanced, meet your needs and satisfy your cravings, with a presentation that leaves you wanting more.

Please connect with Amanda for a one on one 30 minute discovery call and learn more about her kitchen design packages.


Kitchen Magic: Share Your Recipe for the Perfect Space!

aNow that you’ve uncovered the recipe for a stylish and functional kitchen, we’d love to hear from you! What’s your favourite kitchen design tip, or do you have a personal kitchen success story to share? Drop a comment below and let’s stir up some inspiration together!


Amanda Shields is the Creative Director and Principal Designer for Amanda Shields Interiors. The design firm is known for and focused on creating stylish, approachable, family-focused interiors. www.amandashieldsinteriors.com | @amandashieldsinteriors

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