Everyone knows that the kitchen is the heart of the home. From the comforting smells of a roast dinner cooking in the oven, the place where you make your morning coffee and eat warm toast after a cold walk home - the kitchen is a place where families and friends congregate to share food and conversation. Unfortunately, it is also a place that can be rife with frustrations stemming from poor design and bad layouts.
If you are in the lucky position of designing your own kitchen, the options available can be overwhelming to say the least! We have put together some of our top tips to help you through the key decisions. Even if you just want to update your current kitchen, hopefully you will find some useful material here.
1. Sketch your floor plan and measure everything carefully
The layout of your kitchen should be your key priority. It is the one room in the house where functionality is important and poor planning will result in years of frustration. There are numerous apps available for smartphones and tablets that will allow you to enter your kitchen's dimensions and add in furniture of specific sizes. A kitchen island is a luxury as it gives you a dedicated space for food preparation and storage - even a very small island can make more of your space. When planning the design of the kitchen, ensure that the dishwasher is under the sink, close to the bin. And try to place the sink opposite the cooker to make general kitchen tasks easier. An obvious, but easy to miss tip is to ensure that there is enough room in the general walkways when cupboard doors are open.
2. Pick materials and colours that suit your style
A wooden worktop can look beautiful, but you will need to put more effort into maintaining it than you would a harder material. Wooden worktops need to be sanded down every year, and you can’t get them wet or place hot plates on them. Marble is beautiful but expensive, while modern materials like Silstone and Quartz have the same aesthetic but are more hardwearing and cheaper. Kitchen cabinetry looks stunning in real wood, painted wood or gloss finishes - each has it’s own set of characteristics so it really depends on the style you are going for. Unpainted wood requires less maintenance overall, while gloss and painted finishes show marks and fingerprints. Think about your own family and how much time you want to commit to wiping them down,
3. Pick your kitchen manufacturer carefully
There is a surprising variation in costs from kitchen suppliers. Off the shelf kitchens from places like Ikea look lovely, but installation can be expensive compared to the cost of the kitchen. There are carpenters who specialise in fitting them for a fraction of the cost. Independent kitchen companies can create a bespoke option for you, using factory made cabinetry with standard fittings. Alternatively, you can get a 100% bespoke option with no upper limit on price. A good kitchen manufacturer will get a proper brief from you by asking lots of questions and make you consider things you may not have thought off. They will also provide you with a 3D model.
4. Consider the best lighting
The kitchen needs to have adequate lighting for cooking and atmospheric lighting for dining. This can be achieved through a feature light over the main cooking area. Depending on the size of the area, a wide pendant light will the diffuse the light over the area. If you have a large kitchen area, a cluster of three or more pendants may be needed. If this is not possible, spotlights offer a practical alternative. You may also want to hang a light over the dining area, to illuminate this area when eating. Wall lights and table lamps can be used to brighten dark corners.
If your home is large enough to have a dining table, then don’t be afraid to make this a feature piece. Choose a dining table that suits your style, complements your kitchen and is made well. Don’t feel that it has to be in the same style as your cabinetry - like the many things in life, often opposites attract! A glossy kitchen can be softened with the inclusion of a rustic, wooden dining table. Being in the heart of the home, a dining table is a place where friends and family can congregate over dinner parties and enjoy each other's company late into the evening.