It goes without saying, of course, that for anyone who loves to whip up a culinary storm, the cook-space will always be their favourite room. So when it comes to overhauling your kitchen, how can you guarantee you'll create a space that you continue to adore?
Designing a kitchen can be a daunting task but taking your time to make the important decisions at the beginning of the process will always pay off in the long-run.
If you’re lucky enough to start with a blank canvas, be it for a refurbishment or a new-build, ask yourself the three 'w' questions – who, what and where - to help you work-out how to get the perfect kitchen layout. You will need to consider...
Who will use the space? Who likes to cook in your household, and who will need to use the dining and/or socialising area?
Whatdo you want from your kitchen? Do you need space for a breakfast-bar or do you require a more formal dining option? Will you need an area for relaxing and socialising, and perhaps somewhere for your children to do their homework? And so on. Where do you want all of the above to take place? Do you prefer minimalism and the feeling of space, or do you require a more ergonomic layout?
Any good designer will ask all these questions, so if you can, come into a kitchen showroom prepared with both answers and ideas. This will make the early design phase far more productive.
Traditionally the main types of layouts for kitchens are open-plan, galley, U-shaped or L-shaped. However, given that kitchens are now far more complicated than mere cooking zones and often incorporate living areas too, designs are increasingly incorporating more than one layout.
GALLEY KITCHENS Galley-style kitchens may be smaller but their design is often the most creative and functional, with extra-depth cabinetry and long drawers maximising storage. Consider wall cabinets that reach the ceiling and small kick plates to give you more storage, and opt for light or reflective colours to give a feeling of space.
U OR L-SHAPED KITCHENS U-shaped or L-shaped layouts tend to be dictated by the floor-space of the kitchen. Storage is often the most efficient in these designs and this will typically be the layout of choice for keen cooks. Seating can be incorporated into one side of the U via a breakfast bar or banqueting seating; the latter is proving popular as it is ergonomic and can provide under-seat storage, too.
Whatever the layout, the extra elements to consider are numerous. Lighting is crucial in the kitchen and by choosing different complementary lighting for each area, then it will demarcate the zone but still provide atmosphere. Extraction and services may the boring workhorses of the kitchen but need to be carefully considered in the design phase and can be creative with downdraft extraction, pop-up electrical sockets and so on.
Each kitchen is as individual as the person who uses it. Glean ideas from friends, relatives and the media but at the end put your stamp on the kitchen with the design that fits your lifestyle. Any good designer should ask you how do you want to use your kitchen - not what do you want it to look like.
NEXT! Want to consider some creative shelving options for your kitchen? Click any image below to begin browsing our moodboard of ideas...
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Paul O'Brien is the Business Development Manager at Kitchens International. Paul started up Kitchens International in 1994, along with co-director Gerry Watson and from those early beginnings has grown the company into the UK’s top independent luxury kitchen designers and retailers with six showrooms across Scotland. As repeated winners of the UK’s Top Kitchen Retailer of the Year, Kitchens International is one of a few kitchen companies who offer a complete service right from initial design and planning, through to sourcing products, installation and after-sales care.