What to Consider when Designing Your Kitchen

If you’re designing a new kitchen for your home this is something that could add a lot of value to the overall property price, so careful planning and consideration are a must. It’s the one room of the house that prospective buyers will be really scrutinising as many like to be able to move into a house with a kitchen they can use and like for at least six months.

That said; if you’re not looking to sell your home in the near future, as much as you may want to design it to add value to your home you do need to design it to your taste and your lifestyle. So, begin by creating a floor plan by taking measurements and looking at the space that you are going to be working with. The space you have will affect which sorts of kitchens and designs will work best in your home, so it’s important you’ve thought of a few things before you even think of visiting someone to design a kitchen for you.

Changing the layout of your kitchen

You may be looking at the space you currently have and think that you want to change it and there is no reason why you should have to stick to the current layout you have. However, if it is a small space you may be quite limited in how you can change this space.

Where to start with your kitchen design

Before you start considering the design of your kitchen there will be a couple of things that you will need to take into consideration and things that will need referring to your kitchen designer.

Firstly, look at where all of the pipes, doors, windows and power sockets are in your kitchen as you will need to design it around these. Take some rough measurements for these and then use them to draw up a sketch of where you’d like your worktops, cupboards and appliances to go. Try to take the various sockets and pipes into account as changing where these are could add quite significantly to the cost of your kitchen. Don’t be afraid to experiment with several different designs so you can see what options you have.

Be practical in design

Whilst you may think that one thing will look good there and something else at the other side of the kitchen, try to take into consideration just how practical this will be. Have a think where you’d like to do the preparing of your food, the cooking of it, serving and washing up at the end. Each function for your kitchen should be allocated a different space and area for storing all of the appliances that will be needed to carry out these functions.

The majority of kitchen designers will design your kitchen around a ‘work triangle’ whereby the cooker, sink and fridge are at the corners of a triangle to each other. Traditionally sinks are found under windows as this is easier for plumbing access and prevents bumped heads on overhead cupboards.

Creating your kitchen floor plan

Should you not have any specific ideas in mind for your kitchen layout and you’re looking at a fitted kitchen, it is highly recommended to contact three different companies to get a variation on your floorplan and see how you can use it to its potential. Set aside a couple of hours for each consultation and try to ensure that you have accurate measurements in order to get the most accurate of designs.

Once you’ve got several plans from different companies, go back to the one that you are most happy with and discuss any changes in the plans that you may have seen from the other designers. Equally, keep going back to them until you have a design that you are 100% pleased with and don’t let them try and give you any additions that you don’t feel like you need.

Kitchen layout options

Corridor – This layout will suit rows of units at either side of the room but may not suit wall cabinets above these cupboards, particularly if the kitchen is quite small as this will make it feel even more cramped.

U-shaped – Working well in large or small rooms, the u-shaped kitchen makes sure everything is within reach for you. This style also complements the ‘work triangle’ so you can place your fridge, sink and oven around the kitchen giving you a fantastic working space. Equally, one of the arms of the U will work great as a divider between your kitchen and dining area if you have a larger kitchen.

Galley – If your kitchen is particularly narrow you may have to place all of your units along the one wall, which isn’t as user-friendly as other styles. Additionally, storage can be a bit of an issue as wall cabinets could make your kitchen looked cramped; however, if you have high ceilings or an open-plan kitchen into a dining/living area then wall cabinets could work.

L-shaped – Ideal if you’re wanting to have space for a dining room table in your kitchen, this style tucks your kitchen away in the corner. In this style it is recommended to have your sink and fridge/freezer on the same wall, with your oven on the other. Try to get a cupboard in the corner that will make use of the space well; e.g. a carousel or V-shaped drawer.

Island – This is great when accompanied by the above L-shaped layout. The island itself can have various uses; it could be home to the sink or fridge or it could be used just for preparing food.

How to design an open-plan kitchen

This may seem like the simpler of tasks, but designing a large kitchen can often be more challenging than designing a small one, so make sure you get plenty of advice and design ideas beforehand.

  • Try not to just space everything around the kitchen; things still need to be quite close together to make it as convenient as possible when you are cooking.
  • Try to design it so everything for the cook is located together with things like the fridge/freezer being on the edge of the kitchen and away from the preparation space so the family can access this without getting in the way.
  • A large island unit is a great way for making use of the space in your kitchen, providing you with a lot more work surface and a great breakfast bar.

How to design a small kitchen

If you’re presented with the challenge of installing a kitchen in a small room then you’re going to need to think long and hard about where your appliances are going to go and what exactly you are going to want from your kitchen. Look at various storage options for appliances such as tumble dryers and washing machines; could these be put in the garage instead or a utility room?

Lighting is also essential in a small kitchen, putting them under the wall units or in recesses will create the illusion of much more space. Try to integrate your appliances into the kitchen where possible as this will help make the kitchen look more seamless. Think about storing items that aren’t used as much in the wall units so you can access everything else with more ease.

Whatever your kitchen shape and whatever style you are after remember that this is one of the main rooms of the house where you will be spending time with the family and entertaining, so make sure the style fits effortlessly in with your lifestyle.

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