[GUIDE] How To Design A Kitchen In 9 Easy Steps

Designing a new kitchen can be both exciting and a little scary! We all want our dream kitchen but with so much to consider design-wise it’s often easy to get yourself all muddled up. Whether you’re just sketching designs for your dream space or trying to plan a major remodel we’ve got kitchen ideas and tips to get you from start to finish. And with our Buy Now Pay Later Summer Special, you can get your renovation done now and pay for it at the end of 2020! Simply book below quoting code BNP2020 when we call you.

To make things simple, we’ve come up with the ultimate guide and broken it down into 9 easy steps and we’ve even structured it so that you can priorities your kitchen renovation “wish list”.

Step 1: Choosing Your Kitchen Colour Scheme

With so many colours to choose from on the market, this is definitely an important starting point. You want to choose a scheme that will reflect the tone you want to achieve in your kitchen whilst at the same time sticking to something that will stand the test of time.

For this reason, we would suggest going neutral with your cabinets and tiles and using colour for your walls. Why? Well, paint is easy to change. That dark green cabinet that was in fashion when my mother was younger, eventually became the pain of her existence in my teenage years (she has since redecorated and is a much happier person! She also opted for a neutral colour to avoid this problem in the future.)

Generally speaking, white and off-white are the most popular kitchen color ideas according to the National Kitchen and Bathroom Association. The newest palette is a bit more restrained, with pale blues, greys and darker, inky shades proving a big hit – though that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with kitchen colour. We would suggest choosing two colours. Your base colour. Something neutral. Then your secondary colour that can add a bit of excitement throughout your kitchen. You can do this subtly using colour in your appliances and kitchen towels or you can go bold by creating a unique feature wall in a bright colour.

It is also important to consider whether you want to go with darker tones or stick to a lighter feel. Lighter finishings will open up a room better so can work best for a smaller kitchen. Having said that, for a cosy feel darker tones can work wonders. Adding texture is also something to be considered

Step 2: Choosing Your Kitchen Layout

You need to design a space that works well with what you have available and also accommodates your daily routines.

There are 4 basic kitchen layouts:

1. The Island

This is typically the layout you will see in magazines of high-end kitchens. The reason for this is because you need a larger space to accommodate an island. While an island can be a beautiful addition to a kitchen, careful planning is needed to prevent wasted journeys around the island. With the use of today’s excellent downdraft & ceiling extraction, these layouts are becoming more and more popular. Not only do islands add a great feature to a kitchen but they also provide additional smart storage. With today’s modern family a social kitchen is a must. It is a place where families can socialise and an island can be turned into a great little seating area to accommodate this.

2. The Galley

This efficient layout is ideal for the smaller spaces common in today’s city living. The galley kitchen, is characterized by two walls opposite of each other—or two parallel counter tops with a walkway in between them. The galley is quite versatile with the possibility of the sink being positioned on the same side as the hob, this eliminates carrying hot items across the kitchen. With today’s tall wall units, counter space can be optimised through the use of integrated appliances. Read our blog for more tips on ways to optimise your space in a small kitchen.

3. The Single Wall Unit

Where space is really limited, a single wall unit can help create space in your kitchen by fitting all necessary appliances into one compacted unit.  Cabinets and appliances are fixed on a single wall in this compact design. Fewer units mean this kitchen layout should cost you less than others, while fewer units also make for an efficient workflow, with everything within easy reach. As with every kitchen design, careful planning is important, but it’s even more so when space is limited. A single unit needs to contain your fridge, sink, hob whilst also providing enough working space and storage space to meet your needs.

4. The L-Shape

The L-Shape kitchen can provide an organised and efficient workflow whilst maximizing corner space. It’s a smart design for small to medium-sized kitchens. A corner cupboard gives the opportunity for maximising storage. With an L-Shape, you can separate work zones that can easily and comfortably accommodate you and another user simultaneously. This layout also often opens into a larger room and therefore offer a sociable arrangement. To maximise space look to include some tall units on the shorter run. Make sure any tall units are as far from the window as possible so as not to block the room’s natural light. 

5. The U-Shape

The U-Shape (also referred to as the horseshoe) has three walls of kitchen cabinets. U-shaped kitchens can give you extra storage and work surfaces. They are also great as a divider between the kitchen and the rest of the room.  A good idea is to make cupboards accessible from both sides if you plan to use a U-shape to separate cooking and dining areas or to create a breakfast bar arrangement.  A full range of modern appliances can all be installed within the workspace to ensure a practical design and a smooth workflow area.

Step 3: Choosing Your Cabinets

The cabinets you choose will ultimately determine the style of your kitchen. When you browse various sites they will group kitchen cabinets into various styles. The four most common styles are Traditional, Contemporary, Classic, Modern. There are of course hundreds of variations of these and you can mix and match to create a look that suits you. Let’s have a look at the four most common:

1. Traditional

The traditional kitchen is often referred to as the farm-style look. This trend has taken off as it provides a rustic feel with a vintage twist to the kitchen. The great thing is that this look can be achieved with all the modern appliances available today to make for a traditional feel with the comforts of technological advancements. Shaker-inspired cabinets have a traditional feel but mesh well with modern appliances and finishes, such as composite worktops. Incorporating a wooden edging to an island or a wooden breakfast bar can really enhance the look. Throw in some copper appliances and finishings with some low hanging lanterns to fully achieve this traditional yet modern style.

2. Modern

Modern design and modern elements are emerging on the scene like never before, whether it is in color, furniture, or decor; it is here to stay. A modern kitchen is often created using smooth finishes and clean lines. Appliances are fully integrated with smart technology used as much as possible. Modern kitchens are common in smaller apartments where space needs to be maximized and thus a clean finish works best. This style can of course also be used in a large modern home often created with tall units and a large island to create a feature. To achieve this look gloss cabinet are often used with a handleless door system. Appliances are often stored out of sight to maintain a clutter-free look.

3. Classic

As the name implies, classic kitchen designs are one of the most flexible and simple design themes to create in a kitchen. Comprising of timeless features and neutral color palates allow this style to suit a wide variety of tastes, styles, and budgets. The classical style is elegant and timeless, which makes it a popular choice for kitchens. Nothing is overdone; everything has a purpose. Classic kitchens are often painted or come in natural timber in-frame designs. The Shaker style is one of the most popular as it offers a traditional feel that can be quickly and easily accessorized and updated.  The cupboards are traditional in their symmetry and detailing, such as the carved border on each door thus creating a classical finish.

4. Contemporary

The combination of modern and classic styles creates a unique look with only a few statement features. Contemporary design is very much about clean lines which are where it overlaps with modern but there’s an emphasis on comfort in a contemporary style – which often differs from the harsh lines found in modern design. An open plan is a key focus in your contemporary styles. Seamless cabinets, neutral tones, and sleek finished appliances are common for this style.

Step 4: Choosing Your Worktops

Choosing a kitchen countertop is based on a number of different factors, from look and feel to cost and maintenance. According to the NKBA, countertop materials most commonly used :

  • Quartz—88%
  • Granite—83%
  • Marble—43%
  • Solid surface—43%
  • Butcher block—35%
  • Other wood—29%
  • Other stone—26%
  • Recycled countertops—22%
  • Stainless steel—17%
  • Concrete—13%
  • Glass—11%
  • Tile—6%

Polished granite surfaces are still one of the top choices for homeowners due to it’s high end finish and it’s durability. Adding granite worktops also adds value to your property which adds to its appeal. Each slab of this natural material is unique which can create a beautiful feature in your home. 

For those who want the stone finish and durability without the price tag, Quartz is a very popular choice. According to Consumer Reports – “It mimics the look of stone yet needs less maintenance. Hot pots, serrated knives, abrasive pads, and most stains were no match for quartz, which is a combination of mineral, color, and resin. It comes in vibrant colors in addition to patterns that look like granite and marble.”

For those looking for a seamless finish, solid surface options may be best. These worktops are available in a variety of colors and patterns and the same style and colour can be used for the counters, cabinets, and backsplash thus coordinating your entire kitchen. When choosing your work surface really consider your budget and the lifetime and durability of your kitchen.

Step 5: Selecting Your Flooring

When deciding on your flooring the top things to consider are your budget and durability. Since a kitchen is a long term investment you want something that will stand the test of time. You also want something that is easy to clean and maintain. Hardwood floors are desirable and provide a classic look, but can be replicated by laminate which is a much cheaper alternative. Heavy traffic areas should consider resilient floorings, such as ceramic tile, vinyl, or wood flooring. A floor should be comfortable and non-slip as well as looking good. Stick to a neutral colour. White is common but shows up dirt very easily so if you have children and pets a darker shade might help maintain your sanity.

Step 6: Don’t Forget The Kitchen Splashbacks

Kitchen splashbacks not only protect your walls from stains when cooking but also add a subtle accent of colour to your kitchen walls creating a stylish look. A splashback is not only a necessity but in today’s modern kitchen it is also a design choice. The first thing to consider is where you want your splashback. Do you simply want it placed in the necessary areas – behind your sink and hob – or do you want it running along the full length of your cabinets? Do you want it going halfway up the wall, or would you like it to cover the full space between your countertops and upper cabinets? The choice is yours. Some of our favourites include:

1. Porcelain And Ceramic Tiles

Porcelain and tiled splashbacks are really making a comeback. Tiles can be used to create a truly decorative kitchen feature. Whether your kitchen is contemporary, traditional, classic or modern, the range of available options for porcelain and ceramic tiled splashbacks ensures there is a style for everyone. You could consider classic mosaic tiles or else metro ceramic tiles. Alternatively, there is a new trend for porcelain tiled splashbacks which replicate the look of more expensive and luxury materials such as marble, natural wood, or concrete but with none of the associated performance challenges. The tiles are scratch-, heat- and water-resistant.

2. Glass

Glass provides a smooth and clean finish perfect for modern and contemporary style kitchens. It can be fitted in large, seamless panels to create a seamless look and can be purchased in a huge range of colours. Strong and durable, glass splashbacks are also easy to clean and install. With their cool, hard and smooth surfaces, glass and stone are natural partners. Glass works well in a small space due to the added bonus of reflecting light, which helps to brighten up the room.

3. Stainless Steel

To create the ultimate modern look to your kitchen match your backsplash with your stainless steel appliances. Stainless steel is not only affordable, it’s known for its heat-resistant and hard-wearing properties. It’s also super easy to clean and will last forever. As with glass, its reflective properties can also help to brighten up a room.

Step 7: Appliances And Fittings

Kitchen appliances and fittings are investment items, so it’s important to do your homework before you buy it. If you have some budget aside to spend on luxury items, spend it on fixtures. Higher quality fixtures will last longer and increase the value of your kitchen.

You need to decide on a budget, carefully measuring what space you have available and considering what colours and styles will complement your kitchen design. You want items that are up to date but avoid those ‘fad’ items if you don’t want to be replacing your appliances every few years.

Fortunately, the style choices are endless – classic country, sleek and contemporary, retro or rustic – as is the variety in form and function – freestanding to built-in, gas to electric. 

These are your must-have appliances and fittings:

  • Hob and oven
  • Extractor
  • Fridge/Freezer
  • Sink and Taps

Some additional considerations:

  • Dishwasher
  • Wine cooler
  • Microwaves
  • Steam ovens
  • Washing Machine

All appliances can now be fully integrated and if you have a small space you can read up on our tips for appliances designed specifically for small kitchens.

Step 8: Select Your Storage Solutions

Although this is last on our list it is one of the more important considerations. Kitchens normally last 15 years or longer and that’s why you should consider future needs when planning your kitchen. How big is your family, what are your buying and eating habits, what kind of life do you lead? Your storage space needs to depend on a great many different factors.

There are many places to sneak functional storage space into your kitchen pantry, ways to make kitchen storage more efficient and ideas for laying out a kitchen for the best workflow.

1. Size Of Household And Lifestyle

If you’ve got a big family, you’ll need more storage space – especially for dinnerware, pots and pans and food. Your storage space requirements will also depend on your personal lifestyle, for example, if you regularly entertain guests.

2. Cooking And Buying Habits

If you like to cook intricate dishes, make sure you have enough space for special cooking utensils and equipment. If you go shopping often, you’ll need less space for provisions than someone who does bulk buying once or twice a month.

3. How To Make Optimal Use Of Storage Space

One of the most important goals of kitchen planning is to make the most of the space available. Wider, higher, and deeper pull-outs create extra storage space – space that would otherwise be wasted. Functional cabinet solutions bring new storage space into your kitchen. They give you extra space for even more kitchen implements. You can now create unexpected spaces such as Blum’s Sink Pull out. The U-shaped pull-out puts the space to the left and right of the sink to the best possible use. It keeps worktops free of clutter and ensures that sponges and washing-up liquid are immediately to hand. You can make optimal use of corner space with the SPACE CORNER cabinet. Cutlery, knives, and odds and ends are well organised and within easy reach.

Step 9: Set The Mood With Lighting

The kitchen increasingly serves as one of the main entertaining spaces in the home. The right lighting can dramatically alter its mood and feel.  For a kitchen to look good and function well lighting needs to be carefully thought out. There are three types of lighting to consider:

1. Task Lighting

Task lighting is essential in the various work areas in the kitchen. Kitchen task lighting is designed to create a shadow-free work environment when you’re doing things around the kitchen, like cooking at the hob or chopping at a work surface. Under-cabinet lighting works well to provide bright, focused task lighting on counted tops and work surfaces as well as near sinks and hobs. LED strips are often the go-to in these areas, as they offer unbroken, bright white light across an area.

2. Ambient Lighting

If you are a fan of the social kitchen, ambient lighting is essential. This lighting should have its own control source so that it can be dimmed or brightened accordingly. Why not try a combination of ceiling spotlights for when you want a well-lit atmosphere and low hanging pendants that will help to set the mood and make a design statement.

3. Statement Lighting

Make use of uplighting or downlighting to highlight a key feature in your kitchen.  Uplights throw light upward – to illuminate shelves or decorative objects surrounding the dining area. Lights built into the kickboards of an island or a run of units give a gentle glow across the floor and draw in focus on your island as a central feature. Read more and find lighting inspiration on this post by Ideal Home.

With all of the above in mind, you should be well on your way to designing your dream kitchen. For more inspiration follow us on Pinterest.Anything else you would add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!

Credits: DMDesign

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