Kitchens are important. Fact. It is most likely the most used and popular room in your home. It can make or break a deal when selling or buying a house. Plan it carefully and it will serve you well.
First of all, don't make it too small and in todays kitchens an island is most likely a must. They give you extra preparation space and it is used for everything. And one end with stools will make it more versatile.
When choosing the finishes for your cabinets here is something to consider and is my personal preference. But consider that the type of wood and color you use will eventually date your kitchen. In the house we lived in on the farm which was built in 1962 the cupboards were very light elm which to me looked like plywood. Two years later the house down the road was built and they used mahogany which was the popular choice then until the eighties. Then light oak took over and lasted until the late 1990's and well into the 2000's and even today. But in the last 10 years or so really dark cabinets have been very popular. The point is styles do change and then there are trends. But if you take a look at Victorian kitchens and old country kitchens they used white wood. Which is still available today. In my opinion white kitchens will never go out of style. They are a timeless classic.
To update a white kitchen and make it look high end the other finishes you use are very important. I like dark countertops with this look but more importantly,go with a hard surface countertop. They have a look about them that you can't get with laminate. Yes they are expensive but keep in mind they will look great 20 years down the road when your laminate is well past it's time. Designers on tv are always pushing white marble. But be careful this material has to constantly be sealed or it will stain and there are lots of things in the kitchen that stain. Too much maintenance. Another way to add interest to a white kitchen is to do the island in a wood tone. In my house, which was built in 1973 they clad the island in brick which I kept as I felt it adds character. But keep the counter tops the same as it can get too busy if you use too many finishes.
For a back splash keep it simple. If you go too elaborate it will just date your kitchen down the road.
You don't have to have a backsplash, a really durable paint in a bold color can be just as nice.
A few cupboards with glass breaks up the large expanse of cupboards but you can't put just anything in them Consider purchasing nice color coordinating glasses and dishes for everyday and then storing them there,
Side panels on both sides of the refrigerator will give a built in look.
When designing a kitchen layout if you plan to put your working space, i.e.: sink, stove, oven and refrigerator on one side and/or end of island will save you countless steps of walking around it.
An appliance garage for toaster, coffee maker, blender and your vitamins keeps you kitchen tidy.
Make sure you allow for an ample pantry. I have just a small one and I am always looking for more space. If you can have a walk in pantry you will love it. Make sure you have a light, which can be motion censored, and a plug in. Lots of adjustable shelving and even a counter would be on my next pantry wish list. I have even seen under counter refrigerators in pantries for extras such as pop, beer and such.
If you intend to put central vac in your home make sure you have a sweeping port in one of the kick plates of your cupboards. Saves hauling out the hose.
I have had the kind of sink with the little side and the one larger side, didn't like it. So I went back to two large sinks and like it better. You just need two larger sinks for doing dishes. Also, good idea to install your garberator on the side you will be using for washing dishes. This keeps it smelling clean if you just run it briefly when you drain you water.
One of the cleaning jobs I hate in the kitchen is cleaning the oven. No more, I bought a self-cleaning oven. It is just great. You do have to remember to remove the racks and clean them separately but that is no biggy.
I wanted wood flooring in my kitchen and thought it would be a lot of upkeep. But it isn't and it does not show the dirt. It is easy to stand on and it isn't as cold as tile.
When visiting your cabinet builder make sure you check out all the options. Cabinet storage as come a long way and there are so many great ideas for organizing your cupboards.