1 start early

Engage a kitchen designer early so that structural work and services are planned well in advance. ‘If you need power to an island for example, your designer will ensure this is installed before the flooring,’ says DanielaCondo, kitchen designer at Life Kitchens.

Think about structural work needed at the initial stages to ensure your project runs smoothly and to budget as well.

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

2 work smart

Plan what goes where. The traditional ‘working triangle’, where the fridge, hob/oven and sink are arranged in a triangle formation, is a good rule of thumb. ‘The idea is to have a clear path between the keyelements, so that they’re easily accessible and not blocked by obstacles,’ explains Andy Briggs, interior designer at Optiplan Kitchens.

Ensure there’s enough space to move freely through your kitchen, adds Ashleigh Hanwell, senior designer at Second Nature. ‘Whether it’s a walkway between units in a galley layout, or the space around an island, we recommend leaving between 900 and 1,000mm between units.’

(Image credit: James Merrell)

3 light up

‘Often overlooked during the design stage, lighting should be incorporated right from the beginning,’ stresses Darren Watts, design director at Wren Kitchens. Start by working out where you need lighting most– for example, beneath wall cabinets to illuminate the worktop, above the sink to make sure you can see to wash up or inside cabinets to subtly illuminate the contents, making things easier to find.

See more kitchen lighting ideas.

4 cupboard love

Storage is essential to the smooth running of a kitchen, so take note of what works in your existing space and how it might be improved. Savvy updates include floor-to-ceiling units fitted with racks ordrawer boxes that pull out.

‘Tall units will not only accentuate the height of the room, but they’ll also allow you to store rarely used items at the top, with commonly used items at eye level,’ says Andy Briggs, interior designer at Optiplan Kitchens.

(Image credit: James Merrell)

5 get floored

Performance is key when you’re considering flooring. ‘For busy, hard-working kitchens, we would recommend durable flooring such as limestone,’says Louisa Eggleston, creative director at Humphrey Munson.

Think practically, too: ‘Be aware that grout changes colour quickly,’says Helen Flanagan, kitchen designer for Harvey Jones. ‘I would opt for a dark grey grout, as it will end up this colour anyway over time.’

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

6 on the surface

It’s wise to spend as much as you can afford on worktops, as they’re likely to get the most wear. ‘You will need a surface that’s durable, easy to clean and heat resistant,’ says Jonathan Stanley, vice president ofmarketing at Caesarstone.

Don’t forget practicalities such as aftercare. ‘Marble is beautiful but is more susceptible to stains, while zinc or copper will change with wear, creating a beautiful patina,’ says Ben Burbidge, managing director at Kitchen Makers.

Find more ideas for kitchen worktops here.


Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites

A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written  for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.