5 Trusted Pros Share Their Top Kitchen Design Tip

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A Dallas kitchen designed by Chad Dorsey and built by More Design Build.

In the always-exciting and ever-changing world of kitchen design, it’s good to have some of the best designers on speed dial who can weigh in with some do’s and don’ts and share their coveted insight on all things kitchens. Here, these principals spill smart ideas for getting it right.


Chad Dorsey

Consider a Working Pantry

“Having a scullery has become the new rage with all of my clients. A beautiful, functional kitchen for entertaining and cooking is great, but we all need a space to keep out the blender, toaster, and room to bake!  This is where the working pantry comes in, a separate place to keep all of the countertop appliances that we use daily.  Additionally, a sink and a dishwasher is an important feature, too, so during a dinner party all the dirty dishes can be out of sight.”

PHOTO: CODY ULRICH

Jean Liu

Play Up The Island

“All our eyes are on the island. We predict islands taking center stage and becoming even more-so the focal point—both in form and function—of the kitchen. A kitchen island should go beyond housing appliances and offering bar seating but also be ready to serve as a home office or virtual learning hub. Whereas kitchen design in the past may have relied on cabinet styles, paint colors, or decorative lighting to set the tone for the room, look to the islands this coming year to take on that role.”

PHOTO: STEPHEN KARLISCH

Jay Jeffers

Make It Dynamic

“My top kitchen design tip is to play with a variety of colors and textures. Many kitchens lack creativity and inspiration, yet they’re one of the rooms we spend the most time—particularly these days—so they should be warm, inviting, and fun. Richly colored cabinets, interesting upholstery on bar stools and banquets, and dynamic modern light fixtures are some of my favorite ways to bring bold and unexpected moments into the heart of the home.”

PHOTO: MATTHEW MILLMAN

Michelle Lisac

Add Some Wood

“While I love a white kitchen, I also have a deep love for wood and colorful cabinetry. I never want a kitchen feeling too stark or sterile! A wood element, whether in the cabinets, floating shelves or an accent, always helps to warm up a kitchen. It’s important to have natural materials in a space even if it is a very utilitarian space.”

PHOTO: JENNI CORTI

Marie Flanigan 

Focus On Lighting 

“A poorly-lit kitchen is unappealing and can make tasks—like cooking—difficult. It’s important to strike the right balance of lighting types. Before choosing fixtures, evaluate how much natural light enters the kitchen and what areas appear dark. Mix general lighting (like flush mounts and cans), with task lighting (like pendants and directional spots), to illuminate the entire space.”

PHOTO: JULIE SOEFER