I was recently asked by the Ideas for Living team to share my top tips for homeowners who are considering buying a brand-new kitchen or re-designing their existing kitchen. I have been a kitchen designer for over 17 years in total, 9 at Regal Kitchens. Throughout these years, it is these tips that have remained at the forefront of my mind and at the core of the kitchens I have designed.
Some of these tips will be ones that you are familiar with and some you may never have thought of. Either way, I hope they spark some ideas and inspiration to help you create a kitchen built around your lifestyle.
1. Think Ahead
Always put function first. There is no ideal shaped kitchen so you must always think about the path that you tread most frequently and the kitchen zones that you use the most! Whatever the kitchen shape, whether it’s a galley, U or L shaped, think about the best place for your essential kitchen areas. Plan for the sink, fridge and hob to form a triangle for ease of movement. For help with this, take a look at the Ideas for Living layout planner.
2. Make room for storage
In my experience, one of the biggest mistakes that people make at the planning stage is not including enough storage. Utilise every nook and cranny, consider deep drawers for easy access to pots and pans and include enough cupboard space to avoid having items cluttering your worktops.
3. See the light
Unlike other rooms in the house, overhead lighting can be insufficient in kitchens. In order to maximise your creativity when finalising your next culinary masterpiece, you need to be able to see well. Think about lighting holistically, rather than as a one-solution-fits-all; what kind of light could work best where? What kind of ambience do you want to create and will this change day-to-day based on your lifestyle? Under cabinet lighting is a favourite for a lot of our clients because it helps illuminate the working surfaces, as well as keeping a subtle look in the kitchen to create atmosphere in the evening.
4. Power play
Make sure you have enough appropriately placed power sources for your big and small appliances. Think about where you will be using devices which require power supply the most and how this will help with convenience day-to-day. Also, check that you have the correct gas or electric lines to power your new dream kitchen.
5. Space and surface
There’s no such thing as too much counter space! Choose a surface that’s easy and to work on and to care for. Remember that some materials can deteriorate more quickly than others; timber can dry out or go mouldy and some stainless steel surfaces can scratch easily. Quartz is really on-trend at the moment and is one of our favourite surface options due to its resistant properties and beautiful finish.
6. Start fresh
Try not to reuse appliances from your old kitchen unless they fit in with the overall design of your new space. It may seem like you’re saving money but an old appliance in an ultra-modern kitchen could stick out like a sore thumb. If you are working to a budget, there are other areas to save money in, such as high-quality laminate tops that will stand the test of time and save you money in the long run.
7. Safety first
We all want our families to stay safe and enjoy a family-friendly kitchen. Curved cabinets and worktops, and slip resistant flooring are always good ideas to reduce or illuminate the risk of potential accidents. Having a high-level oven can also minimise the chances of accidental burns.
8. Clear the air
Always buy a good quality extractor hood to help ventilate cooking odours. As rooms are getting bigger, a vented out extractor with atleast 500 metres3 per hour is highly recommended for open plan living.
9. Trash talk
Don’t forget to plan for waste and recycling! Waste disposals can really help bring down the volume of food waste that you generate and including some recycling bins cleverly hidden behind cupboard doors can be a neat feature.
10. Look out below
When it comes to flooring, consider ease of maintenance and porosity. A porous floor (i.e. Stone) sometimes need regular resealing and some hardwood floors can wear over time in places with a heavy footfall.
If you want to find out any more about any of the tips that I have shared, you can find out more by visiting our Studio Partner Profile.