How to plan a kitchen
August 01, 2023
It’s time to renovate your kitchen but where to start? We have compiled a list of handy tips and advice from our dedicated team of expert designers on where to start and how to ensure your new kitchen is perfect for you.
Most importantly don’t rush the planning and design phase. Every extra hour spent getting the finer details right will ensure a smooth and successful refurbishment. Here are some of our top tips on kitchen design and planning:
Design Brief – Although it’s easy to rush into choosing cabinetry and appliances the most important part of the process is the design brief. Your kitchen designer will get to know all your needs and wishes and how you, and your family, plan to use the space. Do your research through websites, Pinterest, magazines etc and come armed to our designers with the style you like. This is not about the detail but about the bigger picture. This is where the designer will come up with different layout ideas to suit how you will use the kitchen. For example, if you’re a keen cook the design will focus round cooking, while a big socialiser may have more entertaining space.
Storage is king – the vision of a magazine-style kitchen with everything neatly in its place is often distanced from the reality of a busy family kitchen. Opt for long drawers rather than cupboards as they can house more and offer access more efficiently. If space allows, opt include a large walk-in pantry or larder cupboard with in-built power and light for easier use. For those awkward corners look at Le Mans or corner drawers. Never underestimate the benefits of special storage solutions in drawers for spice racks, knives, plates and every item of kitchen paraphernalia.
Islands to the fore – the island is the connection between the cooking areas and the rest of the room, so the design must be sympathetic with the whole room design. Curved or organic shaped islands work well where you want to soften curves and make it more pleasing to the eye. If possible, incorporate a dining space, such as a breakfast bar or banquette seating, as the island will become the focus of the room. Housing the hob and/or a sink on the island will make it a more sociable space with the user able to socialise better with others in the rest of the room.
Working out the worktop – before choosing a worktop, decide what it will be used for and whether it is food preparation, dining, plating up or a combination. Engineered stone offers durability and a huge choice in colours and finishes while natural materials such as granite, marble or wood offer a more traditional look.
Choosing the cabinets – Consider the texture and colour as well as the detail or simplicity of the cabinet fronts. As a rule of thumb, framed doors generally better suited in a wider and taller format. Coloured furniture is becoming increasingly popular but opt for pastel or muted tones to ensure they remain timeless. Try including some display units – either internally illuminated with glass fronts or open shelves – as these provide excellent displays for your favourite crockery or ornaments.
The kitchen workhorses – appliances are the workhorses of the kitchen. The choice and range is huge but consider carefully how and when they will be used. For flexibility, opt for an induction hob with a flexible zone allowing you to cook with larger accessories such as a griddle or Teppan Yaki. In many homes there is a ‘fridge war’. One partner may see the fridge as a food storage area, while the other seeks a designated area for drinks. With fridges providing a multitude of functions, including zoned sections, as well as water and ice dispensing, make sure the fridge is located conveniently to accommodate all these requirements. If space (and budget) allows, then consider having a second smaller fridge located close to the cooking area, as chefs would call a “mise en place” fridge. And in your drinks area, a dedicated fridge is a much desired addition. A boiling water tap remains the most desired kitchen item and has the added bonus of being energy and space efficient. Consider hiding many functional appliances, such as laundry machines, behind pocket doors as this will give a tidier and sleeker style.
Lighting up the room – lighting will almost always be zoned or layered as cooking and preparation areas should be well illuminated and direct whereas dining and living areas may contain more mood lighting. Consider mood lighting around the base of units to provide a softer glow. Use natural light wherever possible as it cannot be compensated for by artificial light.
Binning it - consider carefully the ergonomics of the bin/waste/sink and dishwasher systems. The location, layout and type of refuse bins, including all recycling receptacles, sinks and dishwasher is one of the key elements in a kitchen in terms of how they are used and who uses them. Getting this right at the design stage to suit your family will reap dividends and make everyday life much easier in the long term.
And finally… the kitchen designer should be involved as early as possible, whether this is a new build or refurbishment, to create the best possible kitchen design for your space. We recommend appointing your kitchen designer and architect at similar times, as this will allow them to work collaboratively and create a stunning, functional kitchen that performs as well as it looks.
Considering every aspect and functionality of the kitchen will ensure at the end of the day that the kitchen is a delight to work in, be in and socialise in for every day of the year.