Far from being the hidden-away workspaces that they once were, modern kitchens are, in many ways, the hub of the home. These days, we spend a lot of time in our kitchens, and only a small fraction of that is actually used for cooking, so you'll want yours to look perfect. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to designing your kitchen, but we're going to walk you through the steps you should consider if you want to create a space that resonates with you.
It all starts with a plan
Let's be honest, creating your perfect kitchen is a big project, so you need to do plenty of research and planning before you get going. Start with what you already have and decide what features you like and dislike. Do you need to change a few things around and redecorate, or do you need to get rid of the lot and start from scratch? When walking through kitchen showrooms, it's important to be realistic and think about the space you have to work with.
Once you've got a general idea of what you're after, it's time to begin the formal planning process. Depending on what your plans are, you might need to consider hiring a builder or an architect — especially if you want to build an extension or make any major structural changes. Whatever you decide to go for, make sure you get several quotes from various building firms. If you want to get a few quick estimates, you can post your job online at MyBuilder and local tradesman will bid for it.
Don't forget to budget
Before turning your plan into a reality, you need to set a budget. This is key, as the cost of what you want can easily get away from you. The units, appliances, and design features will all need to be priced up, as will any potential building work. Remember, if you are redesigning the kitchen's layout, it's likely that you will also need to hire an electrician and plumber. If you're getting all the work done through one company, don't be afraid to ask for a discount!
The materials you decide to use for your flooring, walls, and worktops will be largely dictated by your budget, so be realistic. You also need to think about what new appliances you want installed. Cookers, for example, generally shouldn't be skimped on. Determining how all these pieces of the puzzle fit together is up to you but, as a rule of thumb, it's wise to undershoot your budget by at least 10% so you have some leeway for unforeseen expenses.
Consider size and shape
Your plans will be limited by the size and shape of your kitchen. If building an extension or knocking down a wall is out of the question, then you're going to have to work with what you've got. If your space is long and thin, a double galley will likely be the best option for you but, if your space is larger, you've got more options to consider. Do you love a kitchen island? Or perhaps you like the idea of entertaining in an open-plan space?
Generally, you've got two main options: a U-shaped kitchen is probably the most practical if you have room for it, providing you with plenty of counter and storage space. Make the most of your corners with carousels for storage and, if you fancy, consider adding a breakfast bar at one end, or perhaps install some on-trend open shelving. If your space is a bit smaller, an L-shaped design is probably best, but be careful not to add too many wall cupboards, as this will close in the space.
Invest in quality
Exactly what appliances you choose will, in part, depend on the size of your kitchen and your budget constraints. You could spend tens of thousands on appliances alone, so it's important to be aware of which items you want to spend more money on. That said, one appliance that is always worth investing a lot in is your cooker. Whatever size you're looking for, we love the array of high-quality cookers available from award-winning British manufacturer Belling — they even have their own team of engineers that will come and fit yours for you.
Beyond the cooker, other things to consider investing in are a fridge and sink. Together with the cooker, these will create the 'triangle' your kitchen is based around, with the distance between the three being key to efficiency — after all, they'll be the three things you use the most. If you are redesigning your kitchen from scratch, where you place these three items should be one of your main concerns.
Choosing design elements you love is the final piece of the puzzle. Colour is the most obvious choice, as this will largely dictate everything else. If your style is more modern, you'll want to keep things sleek with natural whites, greys, and blacks. If you prefer to bring a pop of colour into your kitchen, reds, oranges, and yellows are said to stimulate the appetite. They also look great with dark wood, if that's your style.
Don't forget to consider the little touches that will add that extra bit of style to your new kitchen. Lighting is a big one, as it can make or break the ambience of your kitchen — that's why it's always good to have multiple light sources, which you can use to create different settings. Taps, cupboard handles, light switches, and the like can all be swapped out fairly easily at any point, but it's wise to have a rough idea of what you're looking for.
Designing the perfect kitchen in your forever home isn't an easy process but, by following this step-by-step guide, you'll be on your way to creating a room that is just right for you.