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Shaker style kitchen with large blue island
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So you’re on your way to getting your dream kitchen but don’t know where to start? That’s understandable! Kitchens are the most costly room in your home to redesign and so you don’t want to make any expensive mistakes during the design process that are hard to undo.
As with every room design, start with a strict budget. Work out how much you have to spend and that will manage your expectations as to whether you can afford a completely new kitchen with shiny new cabinets and appliances or whether it will be more of a kitchen refresh and clever storage installations.
Next, you’ll want to think long and hard about your requirements for the room. Think about what bothers you the most about your current kitchen. Is there barely any storage? Or perhaps you want a more sociable space to cook and entertain in? If you’re overwhelmed with decisions then consider employing the help of an expert. They’ll have many years of kitchen design under their belt and so can take the stress out of the process and leave you with your dream kitchen.
It’s important to really delve into why you want a new kitchen as you might realise that simply by refreshing the cabinet doors with a fresh lick of paint and updating the handles and tiles could be what you need and save you a small fortune!
The ideal layout for your kitchen will depend on a number of factors: architectural details that you need to work around, lighting and your own personal needs to name just a few!
However, one rule that is consistent is the ‘golden triangle of efficiency’. Think of each point on the triangle being your fridge, stove and sink so that you’re not clocking up miles whilst making a simple meal!
Your kitchen is also likely to be a high-traffic zone so make sure there’s enough space between cabinets for everyone to navigate around. Ideally you need a meter between your island/peninsula and wall cabinets.
But in small kitchens that isn’t always possible, so 90cm can be a minimum - so long as there’s space to fully open your dishwasher without it banging against another cabinet. Measure out the swing radius of your cabinets and think about what will happen if the doors of opposite cabinets are open at the same time.
Start your kitchen layout plan by thinking about where the appliances will go. Ideally you want your stove and sink on an exterior wall for easy ventilation and drainage. It is of course possible to fit them into your island or on an interior wall but this could increase costs drastically so make sure you weigh up the pros and cons early on and stick to that budget you made!
There’s a lot to think about with a kitchen design. So if you’re not feeling confident about planning the ideal kitchen layout then bring in an expert to help. We have three fixed rate packages for kitchen designs starting from just £195. Whether you just need advice on refreshing or modernising an existing kitchen or need help with the layout - we can help.
Find out more about our design packages for kitchens here.
As we mentioned, kitchens can be expensive and costs can escalate very quickly once you get lured in with extra features and high end finishes.
The cost of a new kitchen varies depending on size and quality of materials and a standard kitchen can range between £4,000 - £12,000. More bespoke, higher standard kitchens can reach well above £20,000.
If you’re willing to do the hard graft yourself and will be reusing your appliances then basic kitchen units can cost from around £3,000. But don’t forget about the plumber and worktop surfaces which aren’t included!
It’s very easy to get carried away, but try to stick to your budget and don’t feel pressured to agreeing to upgrades on the spot - take some time to think about the increased cost implications and whether you really need it. Also consider how many years you’ll be enjoying the new kitchen for and break the cost down that way to help you be more realistic. Always remember to not spend more on renovations than you can get back when you sell your home.
A word of warning! If you opt for one of the more affordable high street kitchen companies remember that the initial cost they quote is likely to go up when you factor in fitting which is an extra. Go over the fitting details with a fine tooth comb too - you’ll pay several grand extra for a dry fit and then still need to stump up the cash to hire a plumber separately to fit it fully.
We love a challenge at My Bespoke Room! We love how a room can be completely transformed for less with some clever ‘hacks’. Here are some of our favourites:
Replace your cabinet doors - there companies such as Superfront (the higher end of the market ££) or Plykea that are dedicated to making and selling beautiful doors to fit IKEA kitchens to take your kitchen from cheap to chic. You could also consider simply painting them for even less!
Paint the walls - nothing transforms a room more like a lick of paint. It’s also something you can do over a weekend.
Replace the tiles - updating your kitchen backsplash can upgrade your kitchen in a big way and doesn’t have to cost the earth if you’re willing to put in some graft.
Install flexible storage - sometimes all a room needs is a clear out and dedicated storage for all your bits and bobs!
Update your cabinet hardware - don’t forget that the seemingly little details make a huge impact on the design! Changing your cabinet handles can drastically modernise your kitchen and it’s something you can do yourself.
Unfortunately for many in the UK, space is at a premium, and the kitchen is no exception. But don’t despair! We’re here to tell you that even the smallest of kitchens can look dreamy with some clever storage and crafty design tricks.
Where possible, always install full height cabinets. This not only gives you extra storage space - crucial for smaller kitchens - but it also draws your eye upwards making it feel taller and so more spacious.
However, try not to install head height cabinets on opposite walls, especially in narrow galley kitchens. This will make you feel enclosed and claustrophobic and give the illusion that your kitchen is even smaller than it already is.
If you’ve always dreamt of a kitchen island but simply don’t have the room then consider a workbench or trolley on wheels. That way you can wheel it over when needed or tuck it away against a wall when it’s surplus to requirement!
Colour wise, we’d suggest choosing lighter shades of your chosen colour. Often for smaller spaces we encourage our clients to go bold and embrace the cozy vibes with deep colours, however kitchens are for tasks, not for relaxing so you need lots of light!
The key to designing small kitchens though is smart storage so we dedicated a whole section to it….
Let’s face it - a tidy kitchen equals a tidy mind! Nobody wants to be constrained to a small sliver of counter space because the rest is covered in clutter!
First things first: a clear out. We advise putting aside a whole day to take everything out of your cupboards and lay it all out on the floor in front of you. Then edit out everything you don’t need or use. Be realistic with yourself here - does a family of 3 really need 27 mugs?!
Once you’re left with the things you actually need, organise them into categories. Consider which things you need regular, daily access to and which could be stored a little out of reach (like those higher shelves) such as your mum's old fondue set!
Are there any items that could be stored in other rooms that have a bit more space available? For example are you storing stationary in your kitchen drawer that should belong elsewhere?
When putting everything back in your kitchen the crucial task here is to make sure everything has a designated space. It’s no good having several ‘junk’ or ‘misc’ drawers! It can take dedication to put things in their place straight away but eventually it will mean that over time, clutter doesn’t slowly creep back in onto your work surfaces.
The goal is to keep your work surfaces as clear as possible so make use of clever and affordable clear containers and small shelves and ledges that fit neatly into your cabinets to keep everything categorised and easy to find.
Don’t forget about your walls either for extra storage space. Shelves are an affordable and quick solution. Picture ledges are also a great space saver compared to standard sized shelves and are the perfect width for displaying a spice collection alongside artwork and succulents to create a nice feature.
Another tip to utilise your wall space is using pin boards to keep clutter off the surfaces but still in sight. It also gives you a chance to get creative and add a personal touch to the room.
For more affordable storage hacks, check out our post here.
Ambient lighting is wonderful, and we talk a lot about how to achieve it in your home but it’s not for your kitchen!
In these important spaces you need to be able to very clearly see what you’re doing and so task lighting is key. Task lighting is for when you need to have a clean crisp light that allows you to see clearly.
Spotlights are great for this in kitchens and installing them under cabinets can be very effective to see clearly.
Make sure you think about your lighting plan very early on while you're designing the layout of your kitchen - you’ll need to make sure important areas like your work surfaces are getting enough light and also that your dining area is on a seperate circuit.
Pendants are wonderful and make a fantastic feature above your kitchen island but watch out for shadows. The last thing you need when chopping veg is your own shadow getting in the way! Lower level lighting like floor lamps or table lamps can ensure light is coming from different angles.
We’re all lovers of an open plan kitchen/dining room. However you’ll need to think clearly about how you will use lighting to differentiate the two zones.
Use a warmer light bulb in the feature light above your dining table and make sure it’s on a different circuit to the rest of the room. That way you keep your guests eyes towards the lovely meal in front of them and away from the dirty dishes in the kitchen!
If you’re set on a brand new kitchen then we’d strongly recommend you look into whether you can sell or donate your old units to give them a happy new home out of landfill. Check out the Reuse Network for more information on recycling your old kitchen.
If they’re no longer in working order make sure you recycle them. You can recycle appliances either at your local Household Waste Recycling Centre or some councils have a collection service which may incur a fee.