Designing and installing a new kitchen in your home can be a daunting task – there’s just so much to think about! A kitchen is more than a purely functional space; it’s where you’ll be spending a large chunk of your time at home so you may as well make it a stylish and welcoming place to be.
But where to start? Even before you consult a professional kitchen designer, there are a few key questions that you should get clear in your own head. That way, you can provide a sensible brief to your designer to guide you through the journey from the initial consultation all the way to the aftercare.
Think about how you will use your kitchen and what sort of space you wish to create. Would you like it to be the hub of the home right at the center of the household where the family congregates? Do you love to cook or is it a chore you’d rather keep to a minimum? Do you want a breakfast or dining area, or create a super stylish space for entertaining? Ask yourself the big questions now, so you can gear your decisions around the key criteria going forward.
Once you’ve defined the overall aim of the space, it’s time to make a list of must-have elements for your new kitchen. Perhaps you’ve always wanted a traditional range cooker or a wine fridge, a marble worktop or a built-in larder? Within the confines of space and budget, now is your chance to really influence the shape of things to come, making sure all your non-negotiables are included, from the largest kitchen island to the smallest LED light.
The dimensions of the room will determine your options regarding the kitchen layout. Kitchen designers are experts at drawing up plans to help you visualise what could go where and what this would look like, which can be a huge help. They will aim to create different zones for cooking, washing and food prep to effect the smooth running of your kitchen. You also need to think about plumbing and electrics for appliances, the location of the central heating boiler and any utility meters as well as sufficient walkway width.
All too often, lighting and heating are treated as an afterthought when they should really be integral to the entire kitchen scheme. The optimum lighting solution will provide the right level of light plus direct light where needed, while it can be used to set the right atmosphere in the room and even create feature effects. Factor in space for radiators or go for underfloor heating. Importantly, make the right choices early on so that you don’t have to face costly repositioning costs at the installation stage.
Depending on the extent of the building works you are envisaging, you may need Planning Consent and Building Regulations approval. Structural works such as removing partition walls or chimney breasts may require expert advice and assistance from an architect or surveyor, while extractor fan ducting out over a neighbour’s property or any other Party Wall issues will need to be dealt with by a qualified professional. If in doubt, your local planning authority should be your first port of call.
Once all the practicalities have been considered, it’s time to look at some kitchens! You may have a penchant for traditional farmhouse kitchens or high gloss urban chic – whichever it is, now is the right time to collect ideas and inspirations from magazines, Pinterest, friends and family and your chosen kitchen design showroom. Whichever kitchen style you are choosing, it should be possible to achieve your design within your budget. It always pays to shop around.
Choosing your favourite kitchen design is not the end of the process; it’s the beginning. Next comes your selection of taps and sinks, kitchen units and cabinet doors, worktops, flooring and appliances. While it can be exhausting to make 101 important little kitchen decisions, it’s best to be organized and get clarity now. That way, you can avoid having to make snap decisions at the installation stage, which you may regret later on.
Having done your homework, you can now decide on the kitchen company that is going to help you make your dream kitchen a reality. Most kitchen companies will offer design, supply and installation, so how do you find the best one? Ask around for recommendations and check online profiles and reviews, then ask to see examples of previous work in your local area. Trust and rapport is key for such a big home improvement subject, so make sure that you and the designer are on the same page and that you feel confident about the business relationship.