Seeing your kitchen design in a virtual image on your computer can give you a glimpse of colour choices for cabinets, flooring, countertops and appliances. Many kitchen cabinet companies and other websites offer free use of their online 3D tools, and although they are not an exact match for your design and cabinet styles, they can start helping you make decisions on your kitchen design.
Find a free 3D kitchen design planner online, like the one on merillat.com (see Resource). Use their Design Wizard as a guest (for a one-time use), or register to save your work and come back to make changes later.
Select the layout of your proposed kitchen: Is it a corridor/galley, one-wall, L-shaped or U-shaped kitchen? Will you include an island?
Choose the type of wood you want for your cabinets, and select a door style. Remember that if you purchase cabinets from another manufacturer, they may not offer the exact wood species and door style as merillat.com. Select a cabinet finish, in light or dark stain in the wood species you choose.
Select your proposed countertop style and colour. Experiment with the choices to look at the virtual images of various countertop materials and colours next to your cabinet choices.
Choose a flooring style, either wood or tile (only choices available on the merillat.com website), and select a colour.
Select your preferred wall style--paint or wallpaper--and select a colour or pattern.
Finish and view the results, allowing adequate time for the virtual kitchen to appear with your choices. Print or save your design.
Make changes or additions, if desired, once the design is saved. Additional features may include moving objects in the kitchen, adding things like rugs and lights, adjusting the walls, adding windows and doors, and moving the camera view of the kitchen design.
You can get a detailed virtual design from kitchen designers at a cabinet showroom. They will design your kitchen using a highly sophisticated and detailed software program. Some designers will work with you for free to design your virtual kitchen, but will charge you for a printout of the results.
Other websites offer similar programs, but many want you to register or download a program to use their free virtual design tools, which may be fine, but read the site's terms and conditions to assure you are not signing up for a free trial period that will charge you later or on a monthly basis for use of the program.