What does your new kitchen need?

What does your new kitchen need?

For many people the kitchen really is the heart of the home, it’s where they come for nourishment, for relaxing and for entertaining. So it’s no surprise then that one of the top home renovation projects is designing a new kitchen.

Designing a new kitchen isn’t the easiest of tasks; you have to take into consideration many different factors to ensure that while it looks stunning it is also practical, efficient and suits your needs. So how and where exactly should you start? There are a few primary factors which must be taken into consideration when designing your new kitchen. The following suggestions should help guide you in the right direction.

First consider what it is about your current kitchen that you like or dislike – is there some element that you would like to see put into your new design? Perhaps you like the way you can move effortlessly from the stove to the sink without any obstructions and would like this to be factored in. Perhaps you really dislike having to cook with your back to guests and would like a hob that is built into an island in the middle of the kitchen where you can face everyone.
Next consider what you need from your kitchen and what you plan to use it for. The obvious answer would be cooking, but for some people cooking might mean nothing more than switching on the coffee machine in the morning and popping a TV dinner in the microwave. For others, cooking could be the crafting of extravagant three-course meals for friends and loved ones, the baking of cakes and pastries or making preserves.

It’s important to consider the budget early on in the design process. Kitchens, like cars, vary in price enormously. How much are you willing or able to spend on your new kitchen, don’t be fooled by adverts saying “all this for £XYZ” is this the true cost of the kitchen? Does it include installation, electrics, plumbing, flooring, plastering, wall tiling, appliances, sinks and taps, worktops, painting and decorating or soft furnishings? A good designer will always ask for a rough estimate of your budget – not so they can spend all your money or trick you, or con you. They ask for your budget simply because they don’t want to waste your time or theirs designing you a kitchen you can’t afford or one that you don’t want as it doesn’t have everything in it that you would like and can afford.

If money is tight and you need to stick to a strict budget, then avoid kitting out your kitchen with everything you want straight away; Put in the essentials such as the units, the wiring and all necessary outlets, install basic integrated appliances that you can replace as and when funds allow. There are many really good laminate counter tops that you could install whilst you save for that stunning black granite counter.

If you are not sure what you want then look through lots and lots of kitchen magazines. Work out first, what you don’t like (this is always easier) and then put together a file (or files!) of clippings, photos and ideas of what you do like so that you can show them to your kitchen designer. Even if from these you still don’t think you know what style you want, a good designer can go through the ideas and pick out common themes that you, yourself, did not see.

Work out your must haves – this determines your minimum budget – think about the appliances you really need, do you use the grill and your oven at the same time? If so, look at double ovens or a single oven and a second combination oven. How many burners on your hob do you ever use at the same time? In terms of furniture, look inside your cupboards and drawers, look at what you are storing and how you are storing it. How many drawers are you using? Do you need to have storage for big packets and large boxes, kitchen and loo roll, tins of biscuits? Do you have a separate unit for mugs and glasses? What appliances and gadgets do you have and would like to be more easily accessible? Think about what you would really like… be reasonable! If your thing is coffee, then you might want to splash out on a coffee machine, if wine, then a wine chiller. Like to eat really healthily then how about a steam oven.
Start to watch yourself using the kitchen, how do you cook? Do you constantly flit to the fridge? How often do you use your microwave and what for? What do you use your sink for washing up, hand washing, filling up a bucket? Which side do you like your drainer? If you have a dishwasher, what are you using your drainer for?

Totally Daunted? Don’t Worry – a good designer will ask you all these questions and more, and carefully and gently guide you through the whole process.

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