So, you’ve finally taken the plunge and decided to give your well-worn kitchen a much-needed refresh. You have a vague idea of the design style you’re going for, you know what type of flooring you want and you know what the colour scheme should be. But what are the next steps when it comes to designing your dream kitchen? If you’re not sure then read on for five of the most useful kitchen design tips that’ll help you with your planning…
Express Yourself, Create The Space
When planning the actual structural and spacial layout of your new kitchen you should always ask yourself whether the space you’re creating is fit for purpose. Are the work surfaces at the right height? Is there enough space between the island and the cabinets to walk through unhindered when cooking or hauling shopping bags in from the car? Will you be able to access bulky appliances such as washing machines without banging the doors into other fittings and fixtures?
It’s also a good idea to consider the functionality of your kitchen so that tasks undertaken in the space flow naturally. Position crockery and utensil storage and the bin near to a dishwasher and ensure that there’s a prep-sink next to a hob installed within an island so that you don’t have to carry boiling water from the hob across the kitchen to the main sink. It’s advisable to make a list of all these type of considerations and bear them in mind when using online design tools to plan your space.
In these social media obsessed times, anyone and everyone seems to be in search of an ‘instagrammable’ home, and choosing the right finish for things such as work surfaces and cabinetry is a huge part of that. Even if you’re not looking for online likes, opting for finishes that compliment the style of your home and fit into your chosen ‘design language’ is imperative in making everything cohesive and ‘hang together’.
High-gloss units are de rigueur for contemporary homes (grey, white and black being popular choices) but matt and mid-sheen finishes also work and can tie a look together when teamed with similarly contemporaneous flooring. However, it is advisable to include some natural tones – wood or wood effect floor tiles for example – if opting for high-gloss so as to prevent the roomscape from looking too sterile and clinical. Fabric coverings for dining furniture are also a great way of adding texture and colour.
Let There Be Light
It’s all very well designing the ultimate aesthetically pleasing kitchen space but care must be taken not to spoil the whole shebang with inadequate or poorly planned lighting. We advise sketching out how the space will be illuminated early on as lighting as an afterthought often leads to impractical work-spaces and negatively affects the functionality of the kitchen itself. What do we mean? Well, if you have failed to consider how a prep-area, for example, will be illuminated you could end up with a space that is unfit for purpose. Similarly, if you have an island-mounted hob then extraction hood lights might be vying for space with suspended light fittings (or vice versa).
Ambient lighting is also an important consideration. The kitchen is ostensibly the busiest room in the home and so as well as being a practical place in which to prepare meals, it’s also increasingly a social hub too. Taking this into account you should also pay heed to ambient lighting – will you opt for industrial chic pendant lights or modern spots? Cluster lighting over a focal point? Floor standing lamps next to sofas or seating areas? The combinations are endless and it definitely pays off to properly map your ambient lighting and fixtures and fittings options out simultaneously so that they compliment each other once the final build is complete.
As touched on above, kitchens are busy rooms and play host to all kinds of activities in addition to cooking and eating. And quite a lot of the things that take place within an kitchen’s four walls involve utilising mains power in some way. Take care to consider the placement of power sockets when planning both the functional and recreational areas of your new kitchen. Whilst most fitted kitchens come with integrated appliances these days (and will be powered by floor-level outlets hidden behind cabinets) you’ll still want to ensure that ‘permanent’ appliances such as microwaves and kettles are located near to a convenient power source on the work surface.
Similarly, it’s always good to have a couple of strategically placed power outlets dotted around at ‘task’ level i.e. usually raised surfaces where any kind of prep takes place. If your kitchen has incorporated recreational/relaxing areas then you might want to locate power outlets with integrated USB charging ports in the vicinity for use with smartphones, tablets, laptops, connected home devices such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Nest Hub. There are plenty of options available in a number of styles, so getting some that match your interior style shouldn’t be a challenge.
Ready For The Floor
Choosing the flooring is as important as opting for the right style and finish for your cabinets and kitchen units. Get it wrong and you risk spoiling a deftly crafted aesthetic, or plump for an impractical floor covering and you could find yourself spending more money further down the line to replace it. Kitchens are generally fairly high traffic areas and so durability is likely to be an influencing factor when choosing. If you’ve opted for a contemporary kitchen (we’re talking high-gloss finishes, chrome accents and the like) then it’s always good to temper this aesthetic by going for natural materials such as wood or natural stone on the floor. The only problem with that approach however is that both those materials are quite expensive, difficult to maintain, and not as durable as man-made equivalents.
Thankfully, there are several options when it comes to replicating the look of natural materials in hardwearing (yet still beautiful) low-maintenance floor coverings. Porcelain tiles are available in a myriad of sizes, styles and designs that reproduce the look of everything from aged timber and opulent marble, right through to parquet flooring, natural stone effect, and brushed concrete. If the thought of laying tiles is too much then Luxury Vinyl Flooring (LVT) is another option – it’s easily installed, comes in a range of styles and can be easily changed on a whim thanks to its relatively inexpensive price point and simple click-lock installation method.
Are you about to start planning a kitchen redesign? If you need any help and advice on tiles and tiling then check out our ultra-useful Help Centre, hit us up on Twitter @TileMountainUK or Facebook or call our friendly customer services guys on 01782 223822.
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