Form and Function

    The design of your kitchen will incorporate the two basic elements of form and function.  Form is
    that part of the design associated with the aesthetic appeal and function is the part of the design
    associated with ease of use.  In other words, some design elements are chosen because they look
    nice and others are chosen because they make using your kitchen easier to use than alternative
    design elements.  Ideally, a design element is chosen because it both looks nice and functions
    well.  But the reality is that your design may contain compromises because something that looks
    appealing may not function well and vice versa or maybe a design element functions well and looks
    fabulous but is just too costly for the budget you have established.  I would contend that, when
    faced with a need to compromise between function and appearance, in the long run you will regret
    a compromise in function much more than you will regret a compromise in appearance.  

    Your kitchen is a highly utilitarian room.  Unlike, say, your bedroom where the primary function is to
    sleep, your kitchen is basically a workshop where you perform numerous tasks using machines
    and tools to produce a workpiece.  The machines in this case are your appliances and the tools
    are things like cutlery and measuring cups and of course your workpiece is the meal.  You will use
    this space day after day to make meals and will need to clean the space often because making a
    mess is a necessary part of the whole process.  So, when a part of your kitchen does not function
    well you will be reminded of it day after day and will likely become more frustrated with it as time
    goes on.  However, it is likely the case that if something doesn't initially look exactly like you would
    have preferred you will eventually get used to it and probably not care that much about it over time.

    This is important to keep in mind when compromises need to be made due to budget constraints.  
    In the long run you are probably going to be glad you spent a little more to make your kitchen
    more functional and at the same time will not even miss that really cool looking thing that was really
    expensive because it looked cool.  For example, a basic base cabinet in your kitchen will have a
    drawer on top to store smaller items, like silverware, and a door on the bottom to access a larger
    space where you store larger items, such as pots and pans.  One way to make this cabinet more
    functional is to keep the drawer on top but replace the door with a couple of large drawers to store
    the pots and pans in.    This way you can easily bring the pots and pans out of the cabinet for easy
    access.  Unfortunately, adding drawers to a cabinet can significantly increase the price of that
    cabinet.  But I would imagine that your frustration with having to get down on your hands and
    knees to pull out a pan at the bottom of the cabinet will not decrease over time.  On the other
    hand, say you were looking at tile for a full-height backsplash and you saw these very cool, yet
    rather expensive, accent tiles you wanted to incorporate.  If you chose to save money by
    eliminating the costly accent tiles, while still taking care to make the backsplash interesting with
    more standard tiles, how likely are you to be unhappy with that decision years down the road?  My
    guess is that those really cool, really expensive, tiles you could have had will soon be forgotten on
    your part.


    A good designer will create a kitchen for you that is as functional and aesthetically appealing as
    possible within your budget.  When compromises have to be made, understanding what is really
    going to matter to you in the long run, regarding form and function, will help you avoid making
    regrettable decisions in the design process.