Renovating or installing a kitchen takes a strong constitution and the ability to practice the Zen of kitchen remodelling. That stated, beyond getting your emotional house in order, you'll need a creative plan--in the form of a kitchen layout--to establish a solid foundation for your project.
Use the blueprint that came with the paperwork you received when you closed on your property as a space reference or accurately measure all aspects of the room to compute the square footage of your kitchen. Identify weight- and nonweight-bearing walls, plumbing and electrical hubs and junctures and closely examine the flooring if it requires replacement.
Match your kitchen's "shape" to any of the six layouts most often found in standard kitchens: corridor (or galley), u-shaped, single wall, L-shaped, double L-shaped or G-shaped configuration (see Resource below).
Make a list of requirements for your kitchen that will most affect your day-to-day kitchen functions and operations. Ask yourself how important the stove-to-sink distance will be to your ability to get tasks done, whether you require enough space for two or more people to work in the kitchen and if you desire eating counters in the kitchen, as they affect the placement of cabinets and work surfaces.
Boot your computer. Access your Draw or CAD program to render a flat or 3D model of your prospective kitchen's floor space based on the closest general shape you identified in Step #2. Set a scale ratio to keep the design in perspective as you work, e.g., one square inch for every square foot.
Use electrical sockets, gas lines and plumbing access to direct your fixture and appliance plans. Block out the sink area closest to the main water feed, the dishwasher adjacent to the sink, earmark space for your stove(s) at the kitchen's gas source or electrical port and allocate space for the refrigerator that connects to a separate power source.
Use rectangular, round and square design icons to indicate the extent to which base cabinets will be installed. Replicate overhead cabinet icons on the CAD program's virtual walls. Try a variety of configurations to gain the maximum amount of working space within the footprint of your kitchen layout.
Use your layout to choose appropriate colours, appliances, counter tops, flooring, lighting and accessories. Keep your design palette light---cool grey, warm cream, soft peach or azure--if your kitchen is small. Add drama in the form of one or more dark walls if the room is expansive and decorating tricks to draw the eye down from a vaulted ceiling.
Employ optical illusions to make your kitchen design appear larger than it really is: trompe l'oeil touches, environmental wallpaper, mirrors and art can dramatically transform a small CAD design into an expansive-looking kitchen that belies the square footage your kitchen occupies.