Designing a Kitchen That Works For You

Friday, September 02, 2016

A couple of decades ago, the trend was for smaller kitchens. Homes were designed to have a confined space to cook, with the focus being on larger dining and living areas to entertain. But the shift in the way we live now means that large, open kitchens are preferred. A space where we can share the cooking experience with friends and family and entertain right from the kitchen. So if you live in an older home, chances are you’ll need to reconfigure the layout so that it works for you. If you’re lucky enough to be able to rip everything out and start again, it means you can design a kitchen which has modern life, and more importantly YOU in mind. But being faced with such a massive renovation, it can feel like an overwhelming task. Here are some of the things worth considering when you’re planning your new kitchen.

Get Professional Advice

A professional kitchen designer will be able to evaluate your space and give you ideas as to what will and won’t work. They will be able to draw up plans on a computer program to give you an idea of what everything will look like together when it’s all done. Perfect if you’re not the best at visualizing these kinds of things! You should still have an idea of the kinds of things you want and stay true to your vision. But a professional will be able to help you through the logistics, and let you know if what you’re after is possible.

Think About How You Use The Space

Most people will benefit from taking ‘the kitchen triangle’ into consideration when planning a kitchen. This is made up of the imaginary points between three key areas of your kitchen- the fridge, the oven and the sink. Having these three places easily accessible and in close enough proximity allows you to cook and use the kitchen most efficiently. Again, this is something that a professional kitchen designer will be able to advise you on. That way you know you’re not making drastic errors in the planning stages. Take into consideration any potentially wasted space in the kitchen. For example, could this be turned into a pantry or storage area? Having a think about your lifestyle and your primary uses for the kitchen here can be helpful. For example, if you are a keen baker, you probably have a significant amount of baking equipment and supplies. You could make sure there will be enough cupboard space to comfortably house everything. If you often cook for large groups such as family dinners and parties, you will probably have a number of large pots and saucepans. Creating an area where these can be easily accessed will make your life much easier. If you like reading the paper with a coffee in the morning, a breakfast bar area may be for you. So have a careful think about it. 

Island or No Island

Islands can be hugely useful in kitchens. They can be fitted with plumbing and electricity, allowing you to have an additional sink installed as well as run appliances on them. But unless you have a particularly large space, it may be one area you have to compromise on. An island can be great, but you still need enough room to be able to comfortably maneuver around the kitchen. Don’t sacrifice practicality just because you think this is something you should have or that you need.

Factor In Space For Appliances

Is an American-style fridge and a dishwasher a must-have in your kitchen? Do you want a double range oven, or something like a Vissani wine cooler? Don’t forget about all of the extras and mod-cons you’re going to want when planning your kitchen. It’s going to be something designed for your lifestyle after all. When putting your ideas together just make sure you factor in for the space of your built in appliance. And how that will detract from things like cupboard space.

Consider Tiling and Flooring

Two important design choices to make in the kitchen are the floors and the tiles. These will dramatically affect how your overall space looks in the end. If you don’t plan on doing this again for a good few years, your best bet is to choose quite simple and classic designs as opposed to following trends. These won’t go out of fashion in a few years or begin to look dated. Take the materials and colors of your worktops and cupboards into account to ensure everything ties together nicely. You don’t want anything that will clash, but too matchy- matchy can look overwhelming too. For example, traditional wooden units with wooden countertops and wooden floors is likely to be far too much on the eye. Instead, choose pieces that complement each other and work harmoniously.

Make it Light and Bright

A bright and airy feel to any room makes it much more enjoyable to spend time in. You can make the kitchen lighter and brighter by having a large window installed, or glass patio doors which will let in plenty of natural light. A skylight would be another option and would flood the room with sunlight during the day. The second step would be to choose good kitchen lighting. You need something that will light the room efficiently, making sure there are no dark corners. Having some sunken ceiling spot lights can be a good choice since the light source isn’t just in one place. Under cupboard and even kickboard lighting can give a stunning high-end finish. Finally, decorating in light colors will help to open up space even further. Choosing white or light neutral paint for the walls will make the room look bigger. These hues will also work well with any color or materials you’ve chosen for the kitchen itself.

Don’t Skimp on Finishing Touches

The finishing touches really make a difference to the overall finish of a kitchen. After spending money on everything else, it can be tempting to try and cut costs to get everything finished. But things like good quality taps and handles really will have a significant impact on the finished space.

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