Designing your kitchen
So, I thought I would write a post on designing your new kitchen. I think this is the one room that people are happy to invest in, as I think people want it looking its best, but with so many styles and information out there, where do you start.
It can be overwhelming to say the least. I want to put together enough information for you to feel confident going forward that you are making the right decisions. It is quite a big job and can be quite costly, but you need to understand the spectrum of what you can get for your money.
Most importantly, what is your budget, decide how much you can afford to spend before you start working on the project, there is no point getting excited about a kitchen you cannot afford.
My second piece of advice I would give, is to spend a day in your kitchen cooking, make notes on the issues you come across when using the space, this helps us identify how you use the space and what you need it to do for you, therefore giving you a more accurate analysis. This should help you create a list of problems, which is your first step towards designing your new kitchen.
After analysing this information, think about how you want to feel in your kitchen, is it going to be all about being practical or enjoying the space for creating meals for your family. Are you the type of person who gets stressed easily or like to feel energised? Maybe you would like to go for a contemporary minimalist kitchen is that case. The less clutter and detail there is, the calmer you may feel within the space, meaning you can concentrate more on your cooking. Are you organised or need some help with that? Maybe you need some help with sectioned, organised units. Do you have reduced mobility or struggling bending, larder units and carnosol type units may help you. Do you need your washer and dryer in the kitchen?
The most important thing to consider is the layout of the space, ergonomics are super important when designing a kitchen. The triangle is the organisation of the three most important parts of the kitchen, the sink, fridge and cooker. Plan these in a triangle or as close as possible to one, to help the efficiency and organisation of the space.
Completed projects by Leicester kitchen Co.
Get in touch with Mark from Leicester kitchen Co for a kitchen design and quote to suit your style
Lighting the space is so important, so choosing the right type of lights for the space is essential, many people use led spot lights and make sure they plan the right amount for the size of the space, this can be calculated for you by a professional. Do you want lighting for practical purposes or for decorative reasons, ask yourself this first. For feature lighting, this can be done above your island or your dining table and will look amazing, no matter the style. It is best to either do three small pendants centralized or one large piece. Symmetry and emphasis are two of the most important design principles. It is important to pair your lighting to the style of the kitchen as this can really pull the look and space together.
Flooring, well, this is all about finishing off your space. It is important to decide how you want to feel in the space. Do you prefer it to be warm underfoot. Karndean flooring is a great alternative to porcelain or ceramic tiles. I highly recommend this product as there are so many benefits to it, to include its practically, it is very hard wearing, suitable for underfloor heating, warm under foot, easy to clean, good acoustic values, long lasting, lifelime guarantee for domestic use, low voc emissions. I cannot shout enough about the product, its just great. You can go on their website to see where your local supplier is or get in touch and I can order it through a rep for you.
Remember that if you are trying to create a sense of space and have a kitchen come diner, then continuing the same flooring throughout is a great idea, it also creates a more contemporary seamless look.
To really create a wow kitchen regardless of the style you want to achieve, go integrated. This seamless look allows your kitchen units itself to be the wow factor. Create a list of must have integrated appliances that you need to have in your kitchen before you meet a kitchen designer, it is important to remember that you will not be able to utilise your current appliances as they will not be suitable for integration.
Let’s talk breakfast bars and Islands, do you need one, will it work with your space, do you have the room for it but most importantly what do you want it for. People have a breakfast bar/island for a number of reasons, some use it to eat casual meals at and to gather for a cuppa and a chat, others want to locate their cooking or washing up facilities within it, others use them for more food preparation space. Deciding what you will use it for is essential before you decide to consider planning it into your space. Next you must decide if it works for your style of kitchen and room in general, maybe you do not want your kitchen to stand out in your space, so you choose a galley kitchen, going for an island in this case may not be suitable. If you have decided you would like to go for an island, then you need a minimum space of 1000mm around the island for circulating space. So, you need to bare in mind the size of the island plus this circulating space. The average size island is 1000mm x 2000mm. If you have just about enough space for an island but not sure if it will look best because of this, then stop and think, it will not have the same impact if It is in your face. Now consider what you want it to do, do you want an overhang to allow breakfast bar stools. Do you want shelving to expose some accessories, books, special dining sets etc. Are you going to cook from there or wash up. These are all important decisions as they may possibly determine the rest of the kitchens design. Also consider if you need electrics to be fitted.
It is also important to remember to keep a good amount of space between the counters if you are creating galley kitchen. This is usually 1000mm between counters.
You should make a list of your most used appliances and how often you use them together to make yourself aware of how many sockets you may need. It is always best to have more rather that less. Locate some close to your cooker for any additional cooking appliances, also have some wherever you prepare your food.
Sinks and worktops
There are many choices, depending on your budget. There are many materials to include stainless steel, granite composite, cast iron, fireclay. You have single bowls, double bowls, farmhouse and top mounted. Stainless steel is usually the most inexpensive with the exception of brands like blanco and kohler. They can be both under and over mounted. Heat and stain resistance can be quite good but wear and tear can be something you need to keep in mind, depending on the quality. Granite composite sinks are made from a mix of granite or quartz and resin. This combination looks as good as the real deal but easier to maintain and will last. Both granite and quartz are stain resistant, but granite probably is one step ahead. These can also both be fitted under-mounted and over mounted, but I would advise the first if your budget stretches to that as it is so seamless, more hygienic, and most importantly aesthetically pleasing to the eye. We then have cast iron sinks, the oldest material used for sinks.
It has a bright, glossy finish and suitable for the more traditional kitchens. It is very stain and scratch resistant. It is easy to keep clean, doesn’t show water spotting. It keeps its colour well also. What you must remember is that it is a heavy material and is more expensive than stainless steel. There are many colour finish options, but this can significantly up the price due to it not being its natural enamel colour white.
When it comes to countertop options, we have mentioned granite and quartz already which I highly recommend for many reasons, its non-porous, hygienic, variety of colour options, stain resistant, durable, however, his is not in everyone’s budget so the other options to consider include wood, soapstone, concrete, stainless steel and glass.
Wood is a great option if you would like to add some warmth and texture into your space or as a contrasting material on a breakfast bar to add some interest to the space. It is durable and comes in a variety of options. Maintenance is simply just oiling. Soapstone is a matt natural stone which comes in a variety of hues. It is also quite heat and stain resistant. Concrete can come in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes and can be customized by adding other materials into the mix before pouring. The downsides are that it can be damaged by acidic materials, but this can be avoided more by sealing it. Glass is non-porous; therefore, it is hygienic, it is versatile from a design point of view, it is heat resistant but an undermounted sink is advised as it is see through. And lastly stainless steel, it works with a few styles of kitchens, it is stain and heat resistant, however it is not scratch resistant and can dent.
A new product which is set to be big this year is a product called Neolith, but it is very much high-end product but shows potential with what we know so far. It is a sintered porcelain slab, which can be cut to fit any size of kitchen, there are many colours to choose from and the good news is, that it is eco-friendly. Its materials include clays, feldspar, silica and mineral oxides. The colour is created from natural pigments. It is not porous, therefore stain resistant and more hygienic. It is versatile as it comes in a variety of thicknesses, so it can be used for cladding also.
These are just a few countertop options but there are many more such as zinc, copper and corian.
Focal points/features and appliances
Having a feature or focal point is something you could consider, this could be your cooker hood as there are so many shapes and sizes available nowadays and can really create a wow factor, however you may want to hide it away, so telescopic might be your answer. Depending on your style of kitchen, this may help you decide on the type of cooker hood, whether it be a canopy hood, a ceiling hood, chimney or wall mounted hood, island cooker hoods, pendant cooker hoods for the more decorative look and lastly downdraft cooker hoods.
When choosing appliances, this very personal to your lifestyle needs as some people cook very often so need quality ovens and hobs. Points I would bare in mind are ease of cleaning, practically, number of rings, and of course how aesthetically pleasing it is, and is the style suitable to work with your kitchen.
Finishing your kitchen is so important and can make or break the finished product. Choosing your tiles or splash back can help do this. There are so many options and styles to choose from again depending on the look you are trying to achieve. There are good and bad points about them all, tiles can be difficult to keep clean and can add more detail to an already busy space, although if you’re looking to add interest and drama to a space, then tiles are a great option. A back-splash is a more contemporary look due to it being one surface and clean lines. There is also the option of an up-stand if you go for a quartz worktop, which also works for the minimalist look.
Take a look at an old blog post for adding the finishing touches and how to style some kitchens
You should be aware of….!
Points to be aware of when considering a whole kitchen re- design is how it will affect your lifestyle as the project can be quite stressful and intrusive. You will need to make alternative dining and cooking plans whilst the project is going on which sounds obvious, but this can easily be forgotten with all the excitement. You need to decide on a timeline for the project. When you do get quotes I would suggest getting three comparative quotes, but please be aware that getting an exact comparison is not always possible as different kitchen companies use different furniture or suppliers. Consider the quality of the furniture and do not just decide on design, because if you know what you want, you can get this from most companies.
Consider if the company will design the whole space or will you need to consult a designer like myself. There is nothing worse than seeing a brand-new kitchen you have just dropped 20 k on, and then seeing the finishing touches letting it down. For a small one-off fee, I can consult on the finishing touches and even act as a port of contact through the project to help with finish choices. Sometimes we think we know what we want, then it comes to decision time, and we are stuck, a helping hand does not have to cost the earth but could save you on costly mistakes. I would advise making yourself aware of the businesses T’s and C’s. These are essential to know before the project even starts as these are usually quite set in stone.
My top tip would be to really consider who you work with as it is a long process and the feeling your get from a company is so important as this could tell how the project would go and how smooth it might run.
Is your kitchen in need of an update, do you have an idea of where to start, get in touch and I can do a free consultation and point you in the right direction.
Are you already in the process of choosing you kitchen, but struggling to make decisions, or choose the finishing touches, get in touch for some consulting advice.You wont regret it. Budgets catered for.
Well thank you all for reading again this week, I could have wrote so much more but I think this is enough to get the juices flowing for this week!
Thanks for reading guys!
Bye for now!