1. What statement do I want to make?
It is really important to consider how the space will be used and draw up a list of all the activities that are likely to take place in it. Think about how you use your current kitchen, your likes and dislikes and how you visualise your new kitchen working for you. Will it be a space purely for practical tasks such as cooking, or do you want it to be somewhere that friends and family can gather too? Use these questions as a starting point to ensure that the space works on every level once it’s designed and installed.
2. What's on my wishlist?
A great place to start is to note down all of the key items you want included in your new kitchen. This can range from whether you want the old kitchen removed and disposed of, what kitchen style and colours you like to which appliances you would like, what worktops you like and any special features you would like incorporated. This is a great starting point for the studio so they can work with you to create your dream space.
3. Where should I compromise?
Whilst blue-sky dreaming is key to creating your dream kitchen space, it is also necessary to make sure the items you are dreaming of fit both your space and budget. A luxury brand appliance could well be a step too far. But, do not fear, the retailer has all the knowledge to help you make these important decisions.
4. What sort of layout options are there to consider?
There are a variety of layout options, from u-shaped to open-plan, and what works in one space won’t necessarily be right in another. U and L-shaped layouts tend to be popular among customers who have a love of cooking as they enable the chef to get busy with food preparation without anyone getting in the way. This layout also lends itself to the conventional ‘working triangle’, with the sink, oven and fridge all within close proximity of each other – another plus point for keen cooks.
Open-plan layouts are also popular, creating a multi-functional, sociable space and making small rooms appear larger. Often an island will be included in this layout to act as a division between the kitchen and dining/living space, perhaps with appliances or the sink integrated into it, bringing the chef centre stage.
5. What practical points should I consider?
Moving plumbing and electrics will result in a larger bill due to the labour involved, so if the existing layout works for you and you are on a budget, it’s worth considering leaving it as it is.
If the kitchen is used as a multi-functional space, or is open-plan, noise can be a problem, making it important to choose appliances that aren’t going to dominate acoustically. If space in the home allows, the ideal solution here is to add a utility room, confining the white appliances to this area where the door can be closed to conceal the noise.
Ventilation is also an important consideration, particularly if the kitchen is to be used as a living space too, as soft furnishings smelling of cooking odours are never pleasant. Again, when choosing an extractor unit, ensure that its decibel level won’t ruin a relaxing ambience.
6. Do I need Planning Permission?
Whether you require planning permission or not will depend on the size, position and extent of your extension.
If you’re planning a rear extension to make room for your new kitchen, then your project may be covered by Permitted Development Rights on your property, which will mean that you won’t need Planning Permission.
You can get advice on these matters from your local council planning office.
7. How do you decide on a colour scheme?
It’s important to take time over your colour choices in the kitchen, after all it’s something you’ll be wanting to live with for a long time to come. A blue/grey palette is popular currently and certainly offers a timeless finish. Customers tend to opt for a fairly neutral main colour and then add flashes of vibrant colours to add personality.
When selecting a colour scheme think about how big the space is: larger rooms can usually accommodate a greater use of bolder, brighter colours whereas in smaller spaces too much of this could well be overbearing. However, if the space is open-plan it’s also important to avoid any clashing with furniture and furnishings beyond the kitchen. In this case, it is better to choose a colour or shade that you are happy to live with night and day, as it’s not so easy to shut the door on it.
8. Which details should I choose?
When choosing all of your details from taps to cabinet colour; worktops to dishwasher it is also helpful to pin down the associated elements, such as flooring and tiles. This means that you don’t have to make snap decisions that you may later regret.