Plenty of room to cook and entertain in this kitchen. Photo Courtesy: Sonja Lovas
Kitchens nowadays are not just used as an area in which to cook and prepare meals. Kitchens today are very much part of the home and are used as a family and entertainment area as well as a cooking area. Some kitchens also have an adjoining open-plan lounge and relaxation area with sofas, seats, and a coffee table where families can congregate near to the kitchen and socialize.
If you’re planning a new kitchen layout, then here are some things to think about and consider in order to achieve the perfect kitchen for your home.
Start with Storage Space
With a kitchen comes a whole lot of kitchen and dining equipment, everything from forks, spoons and knives to food processors and ice-cream makers.
Make sure to plan enough cabinets and drawers for storage like the ones in this modern kitchen. Photo Courtesy: Susan Serra
Do an inventory of everything you have to store in the kitchen which will determine the amount of space that you need in order to store all of your kitchen belongings. This is an essential and practical element of kitchen planning to ensure you have adequate space and storage.
A Chalon Handmade Kitchen with furniture from the beautiful Hambridge Mill, in the midst of the Somerset Levels – Photo Courtesy: Chalon Handmade
You will then need to think about how you are going to use your kitchen. Do you want it as an informal cooking and eating space, do you want a seating area adjoining the kitchen to minimize disruption when you’re cooking, or if your kitchen is large enough do you want a dining area in your kitchen? If you want an informal guest entertaining area, you could choose an open-plan kitchen and design space with an island for instance, where you can cook and chat to your guests in relaxed surroundings.
You will also need to work out where your appliances will go in your kitchen. If there is already plumbing for washing machines and dishwashers, then it’s best to keep these in situ. If you want additional appliances, plan these in and check everything fits. Remember you can stack a washer-dryer unit on top of a washing machine to save space if you need to, but you need adequate wall space. Ideally if you have the space, plan in a utility room where your washing and drying machines can be out of the way in their own bespoke laundry area.
Your cooker is the most important appliance in your kitchen, so do your research into what you can buy with your budget and whether you want a conventional or fan-assisted oven, gas, electric or a hybrid of the two and also if you require a cooker hood and extractor fan. Buy the best cooker that you can afford as this is a good investment. If you have the space, then you could consider a range-type cooker with a larger hob and double ovens.
Above right: A wood stove with new features as advertised in a March 1918 Country Gentleman magazine. Photo Courtesy: Don O’Brien
If you love cooking and are a serious cook and spend a lot of time in the kitchen then you will probably require a lot of worktop space in order to prepare and cook food. You will also need room between the fridge, sink and cooker which is called the kitchen `working triangle’.
It is advisable to plan your kitchen so that the distance between these three important areas in the kitchen should be between 5 metres and 7 metres which will optimize this space effectively in the kitchen.
Your sink and drainer tends to be the fitting that is overlooked, however if you plan this wrong it could be frustrating. If you are going to be doing a lot of washing up then have a sink and draining board that gives you enough room to cope with a lot of dishes, kitchen utensils and cooking pans. If your work surface is taken up by the draining board on one side and isn’t practical, remember you can turn the sink round and have the draining board to the right as well as the left which could give you more work space where you need it.
This sink doubles up as a dishwasher! Designed by ALPHAPROJECT
Choosing taps can be fun too as there are so many wonderful designs to choose from with single lever units, mono units, mixer taps, pull-out taps with spray attachments, and water filter taps.
Nowadays there is plenty of choice for kitchen units with a range of colors, designs, materials and fittings. We are spoilt for choice which means that it could be hard to decide on the type of units you want for your kitchen.
Start with the budget you have for your kitchen units and then look at the style of units you like within your set budget range. There are free standing kitchens and fitted kitchens, traditional kitchens, modern and sleek kitchen units, stainless steel and commercial-look kitchens, Shaker kitchens and hand-built kitchens. View as many examples of kitchens as you can including friends’ houses, online, magazines and in stores to get a really good idea of your preference and taste.
The revolving Circular Kitchen designed by CC Concepts. What will they come up with next?!!
In addition, think about functionality in the kitchen and the type of cupboards you would like because there are many designs of separate units available within one kitchen range. You can choose from overhead, wide cupboards with doors that open upwards for cooking pans, or pull out drawers, normal sized cupboards at floor and eye level, and large larder cupboards that rotate or pull out.
You can also choose an appropriate worktop, either the same color or a different one. You could go for a little luxury and invest in a solid wood or granite worktop that can be bespoke made for your kitchen units.
Fittings and Finishes
The fittings and finishes of a kitchen really can make it look special, so think about your tiles, kitchen unit handles, splash back choices and flooring.
Flooring should be functional, easy to clean and co-ordinate with the units that you have chosen. Tiling or wall splash backs also need to be functional and easy to clean as well as look good. Splash backs have been improved and modernized and are in a range of exciting ideas and designs including traditional tiles, glass and stainless steel. You could also have funky LED lighting inset into your splash back areas.
Left: A nicely laid new Linoleum kitchen floor – Photo Courtesy: Eric Mueller
Sonya writes for What House?, a leading UK property portal that features new build homes and the latest mortgage and property news.