The kitchen is the heart of the home, it’s not just a place to cook and eat, it’s somewhere that friends and family gather and spend quality time together – which means it has to look and feel like a place that people want to spend time.
There are plenty of options to choose from when you’re creating your kitchen and sometimes it can all get a bit overwhelming, but this guide is here to help you from start to finish, from taking the first step and creating a budget to adding the finishing touches once everything is done. With this guide, you’ll have the kitchen you’ve always dreamed of.
Designing a new kitchen is a big project, so you need to ensure that you do plenty of research beforehand. First of all, look at what you like and dislike about your kitchen and make a list of all the things that you want to change, and then you can start thinking about how you would change them. Make a scrap book (or pin board) of all of the designs, colours and styles that you like about different kitchens and when you go to visit kitchen show rooms you’ll soon see what you like and what you don’t like and what would and wouldn’t work in your kitchen. Once you’ve got an idea of what you want you can start your formal planning process, planning will make the project run smoother and prevents delays or complications.
You’ll need to consider whether or not you need a builder or an architect. Are you planning an extension that requires plans to be drawn up? Does your new design require planning permission or building relations approval? You need to find this out at the start of the project as it will help you to avoid having to make costly changes later. It’s important to get a number of quotes and to contact builders well in advance. Choose your kitchen designer and make sure that they are on your wavelength. As important as style and price, is a designer who understands your family’s needs and takes note of your wish-list - pulling everything together to design your dream kitchen.
Your budget will ultimately decide where you buy your kitchen but remember, your money won’t be spent entirely on the kitchen units and appliances, there are other costs involved too. Will your project involve building work? If so, are you planning to organise it yourself or are you looking for someone else to do it for you?
Even the simplest kitchen redesign is likely to involve builders having to remove the old units and you may need electricians and plumbers too if you’re changing your layout. Consider flooring and worktop choices carefully as under floor heating will impact on what floor you choose and may have cost implications too. This will all need to be decided before you start the project so that you can work out how much you have to spend and what you need to spend money on.
The work will usually take longer and cost more than you think so it’s a sensible idea to have a contingency budget and to put aside some of your budget for emergency repairs or unforeseen expenses.
Get lots of quotes beforehand and don’t be afraid to ask for discounts!
The size and shape of your space will often dictate what kind of kitchen layout you have. If you’ve got a long, thin space then a single or double galley would be best for you, however, if you plan to knock down walls or you have a large space already then there are a number of options. All are based around working triangles, a kitchen convention that creates a flow between three key elements of any kitchen: the sink, the cooker and refrigeration, for example. Below are the five key schemes and our top tips for making them work.
Minimise the use of wall units as they can make the room feel even narrower. Keep the units themselves as sleek as possible. In particular, narrow designs with handleless cupboards are not only on-trend but a great solution too. Make the room as light and bright as you can by using under cupboard spots and pale walls and floor. If you have a double galley make sure there’s more than a meter between the two sides so that doors and drawers can be opened without restriction. Add great built-in storage so you can keep your worktops clutter free.
U-Shaped or G-shaped
Make the most of corners with carousels or pull-out drawer units otherwise you’ll have two big sections of your design not being put to good use. If your U-shape is wide enough think about adding a breakfast bar or an informal dining area at the open end. Try not to use wall units around the whole of the U, leave the end open or put open shelves along one of the walls.
If the space is small and not much more than a galley then, again, think carefully about adding too many wall cupboards. Ensure you have enough space between each core element of your kitchen – hob, fridge & sink to work comfortably.
If you’re lucky enough to have a kitchen big enough for an island then your working triangle options are slightly different. Try to make sure that your key elements are all on one side of the island or you’ll be forever circumnavigating it to get to things. A good option is to place either the hob or the sink in part of your triangle and the other two elements in cabinets to either side.
An open plan layout is really, as flexible as you are. You can contain your kitchen space to a U or G-shape to define it from the eating/living area or you can create an L-shape with your dining in the centre. Choose your appliances carefully as you don’t want to end up with unpleasant cooking smells or noise from extractors and washing machines permeating your relaxation area.
You can never have too many plug points, too much storage or too much clear working area.
The type of kitchen style that you choose is up to you, there are plenty of styles to choose from and each allows you to add your own personality into it.
This is perfect for big open kitchens as it’s big enough for a large dinner table for the family to sit around. It has a homely feel with open shelves that show off the kitchen utensils and looks great with a wide sink to fit all of the dishes in. Our Classic 110 Dual Fuel range cooker in cream would look great in this style of kitchen.
A rustic kitchen has vintage aspects and themes. It also focuses on different textures - you may see brick, stone and timber all used together in a rustic kitchen.
A modern kitchen is as clean cut as possible, very minimalistic in terms of décor and clutter but it allows the materials used on the worktops and cabinets to shine through and take centre stage, modern kitchens are very sleek. Our sleek Nexus cooker in black is the perfect appliance for this style.
In this type of kitchen you’ll find antique finishes and furniture – it has a classic look and feel.
Though contemporary style kitchens can look similar to modern kitchens, they are usually a bit quirkier and involve a splash of colour - contemporary kitchens allow you to be different and to experiment with colours and fixtures.
If you’re not quite sure whether you want a contemporary or a traditional kitchen then opt for transitional, it means you get to choose your favourite parts of both kitchens to create a kitchen that you love.
Choosing a colour for your kitchen will depend on the look that you want to achieve. If you like to keep it minimalistic, like a modern kitchen, then you may enjoy natural tones such as white, grey, brown and black, which are great colours because they are easy to work with - they provide a great base and are easily accessorised. Neutral colours for the walls also enable you to have more fun with the colour of your cabinets and worktops and they show off stainless steel and copper perfectly.
Colours such as red and yellow are said to stimulate the appetite and make great accent wall colours in a kitchen, reds and oranges also work well with dark wood cabinets and flooring. Greens and blues make a room feel light and airy and are also calming colours, which can be good for a busy kitchen, but if it’s too light, it can make it feel cold, so warm it up with a darker worktop material.
If you want to add some depth and character to your kitchen then work with different hues and tones of your preferred colours – you should also take light into consideration as colours can look different in different lighting.
Choose from a range of finishes to complete the look of your kitchen: high gloss, matt, smooth and high-definition are all popular finishes and when paired with different colours and materials they each create a different effect.
Don’t forget to plan your lighting. Make sure that task areas are properly illuminated and you have good lighting that you can alter or dim to create a relaxed atmosphere.
Before you choose your materials you should think about the kind of look that you want to create in your kitchen, you should also take into account whether or not you need your worktop to be heat resistant, water resistant or scratch resistant. The most popular types of worktop finishes are:
Available in hardwood and softwood, this material suits all kitchen styles and looks great on a kitchen island, you can alter the shade and type of wood to make it work with your kitchen style.
Composite materials are made from two or more materials which have different chemicals. This type of material looks great with dark and dramatic colours such as grey, navy and black, add some white in your kitchen to create a modern look or if you want something more traditional then composite can also be paired with neutral creams and browns.
Granite is a type of igneous rock and is made from minerals such as quartz, mica and feldspar. With granite you can work with different finishes to create the look that you want because there are so many varieties.
Laminate is a great material because it has the ability to resemble other materials.
Glass is a popular material if you want to create a modern and contemporary kitchen, it’s available in different colours too.
This material can come across as quite harsh but if you pair it with softer colours and materials it can work well in a contemporary kitchen.
You’ll no doubt have cabinets in your kitchen, but how many you have and the size of them is up to you. You may want to have all of your storage hidden away or you may want it to be visible. Storage is there to help you make the most of the space in your kitchen, if you’ve got a small kitchen then having all utensils hidden away will make it seem more spacious, whereas if you have a large kitchen, having open storage will create a homely effect and will prevent the room from feeling empty. There are different types of kitchen storage and you should evaluate these before you start the renovation work. Kitchen storage can include: Cabinets, kitchen islands, open shelves, pull out units, corner storage, racks, hooks and freestanding storage.
The appliances that you buy for your kitchen will depend largely on the size, for example if you have a small kitchen in an apartment then our 60cm cookers would fit perfectly, whereas in a large kitchen a 90cm - 110cm range cooker would look great. Bear in mind the style and size of the appliance you have before you design your kitchen, as you want it all to work well together and, more importantly, fit.
Designing your own kitchen can be a stressful process, but it can also be fun and the end result is always worth it. Don’t compromise on quality; poorly manufactured appliances will come back to haunt you. Save a little longer and get the right ones. Just ensure that you plan and budget properly and you’ll end up with a kitchen that you and your family can enjoy cooking, eating and spending time in.