Top 10 Tips for Designing a New Kitchen

by The Art of Bespoke in Kitchens

The kitchen is the hub of the home, so it’s vital to get it right. We asked expert Neil Norton for his advice on doing it properly.

The kitchen’s function has changed in recent years. Once a space designed primarily with food preparation in mind, the modern kitchen has become the centrepiece of the family home. The evolution of this room means that it’s commonly the area of the home we spend most money on. So getting it right is crucial. Expert Neil Norton, owner of Open Plan Designs, gives us his top 10 tips for designing a new kitchen.

1. Talk to a designer early on – as early as the architect stage. Have the designer sketch out the units and layout. Make sure they note the kitchen worktop height and depth of your cabinets, or the architect will work to a standard modular size. It’s important to iron out these details early on, as it will influence the architect’s decisions re. windows, doors, steels, etc.

2. Decide on the style of kitchen you want – whether that’s traditional, contemporary, or something else entirely. Starting this process early will help you avoid having to make rushed decisions.

3. When designing the layout, make sure you’ve allowed enough space for people to pass comfortably. A space of around 1 to 1.2 metres should be sufficient.

4. Make a list of the cabinets you’ve had in the past, setting out what you liked and – more importantly – disliked about them. If there’s something that particularly bugged you about your old kitchen, tell your designer. And let them know how many gadgets you have, so that they can incorporate enough storage space. The best kitchen design will allow for a clutter-free workspace.

5. Work from the ground up. Make a decision about floor colour, texture and finish, and from there it’ll be easier to pick your cabinets and worktops.

6. Shop around for appliances. Look at different manufacturers and, most importantly, consider their aftercare service. Some of the cheaper manufacturers don’t offer great follow-up care in the UK.

7. When it comes to cabinet finishes, think about the future. Painted finishes are easily changed, making them simple to update. High-gloss polyester is more durable, but hard to refresh without tearing the kitchen apart. Wood finished kitchen cabinets will discolour in direct sunlight and this should be considered at the design stage.

8. For worktops, experts are increasingly suggesting composite stone. This refined material has the elegance of natural stone and is available in a big choice of colours. It’s impervious to water and staining, and is scratch and heat resistant up to a whopping 295 degrees Fahrenheit.

Read expert advice on using natural stone in your kitchen

9. Leave lighting to the professionals. There are many ways to illuminate your space and even more ways to do it badly.

10. Keep it simple. If you want to experiment with colour or texture, then be adventurous with your kitchen splashback ideas. Coloured splashbacks still win fashion points. Or, for a more seamless look, go for the same material as your worktop.

This feature is sponsored by Open Plan Designs. If you have a kitchen project you would like to discuss with Neil, you can see more of his work and contact him through the Open Plan Designs sourcebook page.

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