Where previously the dining room was the heart of a house, the kitchen is now considered by many to be the staple of the modern home. With its functions developing from much more than just space to store and prepare food, the kitchen has evolved to be the communal hub of a home, a display of style and taste and an example of efficiency and functionality.
With a kitchen, there are an almost infinite amount of possibilities, which means your personal vision of your new kitchen can be fully realised in more ways than one. However, there is a cost to having limitless options as it can be easy to get stuck when designing your dream kitchen with every detail having to be considered and scrutinised to fit both your desires and your budget. Where do you even begin on this exciting but tough journey?
This article is here to guide you through the most crucial parts of your plan. Make the following considerations and you will be sure not have any future complications and make designing and building your dream kitchen a painless process.
A kitchen’s purpose is twofold – being aesthetically pleasing and practically efficient for cooking. Although it may seem at times like one will significantly negate the other, if planned well, both aspects can complement each other very well. A good kitchen design will gratify both, and it can be a juggling act of compromise and going back and forth between planning stages.
Don’t expect to go from A to B in a linear fashion as there are many hurdles to overcome and negotiation is inevitable. Patience and contemplation are required to get these elements perfect.
Layout and Space
The layout of a kitchen defines its purpose. Will your kitchen need to accommodate for social interaction? The increasingly popular open plan kitchen has this idea fundamentally in its design, with no walls obscuring any person from the kitchen to its adjoining rooms, whilst providing a great amount of space for people to interact and gather. How much storage space is required? Having a single or double galley kitchen can provide a large amount of storage cabinets and space of kitchen utilities. Do you need to prepare food more efficiently? If you often find yourself moving from one part of a kitchen to another, making cooking more of a physically tasking exercise than an enjoyable one, try having a U shaped kitchen where three connected worktops can meet for easy access to supplies all around you.
If you think you will need even more storage and workspace to use, have an island in the centre of the kitchen, it can provide all three of the previously mentioned elements if designed as such, acting as a table for family, a worktop for food preparation and a storage cupboard.
Obviously, these layouts all depend on the space you have to work with and your own particular goals, so considering each layout type and analysing the layouts of others is greatly beneficial. Don’t be afraid to mix and match layouts, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the functionality of the kitchen, a combination of the aforementioned layouts can produce great results.
Define your kitchen’s purpose further by planning what necessary utensils and technology you require. Do you need a single or double oven? How large a microwave is required? Do you want extra features like shelving for your recipe books or space for a television? Break down all your needs and wants and see what you can and can’t do with the space you have. This will in part affect the layout, so don’t be afraid to go back and make alterations if your layout can’t adhere to what you want.
However, don’t sacrifice layout for an overabundance of features, as this can outweigh function from aesthetics. As mentioned earlier, the primary goal is to have a good weighting on both of these principles.
The Golden Triangle
A common principle in kitchen design is called “The Golden Triangle”. Whilst it can come under many different names and variations, the primary message stays the same. Have the most commonly used equipment and space must be grouped together in close proximity to each other in order to allow the kitchen’s user to efficiently and effectively prepare food.
With this principle in mind, there are some key elements that must be a feature of any kitchen plan. Firstly, make sure to have a dishwasher near the sink so dirty dishes don’t have to pile up in the sink or travel far, creating more mess. Secondly, having a bin within easy reach of the main food preparation area and the hob zone can make sure waste isn’t left on worktops for too long and will make cleaning whilst preparing food a breeze. Thirdly, have adequate storage space near the primary food preparation area so you have ease of access whilst preparing a meal.
Measure every item, whether it be a crock pot, knife block or a blender, and plan to fit it all in the space you need. No detail can go amiss or you may end up cramping your food processor and soup maker into the corner of a worktop, wasting space and cluttering your space. In relation to the kitchen’s purpose, consider measuring even tableware you so you know how big a dining area or breakfast bar needs to be.
Colours and materials should come later when you are happy in terms of layout and function, but it is a very important step as a kitchen should never be an eyesore in your home. Match colour schemes in adjacent rooms, and aim to make the kitchen as bright and inviting as possible, especially with an open plan kitchen.
Natural lighting is a must if you want to keep the natural surrounds of your home flowing throughout one of the busiest areas in your house, along with the many other benefits of natural lighting. Consider lines of sight in your kitchen, if you don’t fancy staring into a wall for most of your time cooking, place areas in front of windows or entrances accordingly.
Hiring A Kitchen Designer
Together with open communication and the skills of our design and fitting teams, designers will help you create your unique kitchen, at an affordable price. A team of accomplished designers, joiners and fitters will work with you to create a unique kitchen that fits with your budget.
William Durrant is the managing director of Herringbone Kitchens, a Canterbury based kitchen designer and installer. For kitchen inspiration visit one of their kitchen showrooms in Kent. We are dedicated to delivering beautiful kitchens that both the customer and Herringbone Kitchens are proud of.