Some simple considerations will reap rewards in the long run...
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 Daniela Condo, 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.
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 key elements, 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.’
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 or drawer 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.
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.’
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 of marketing 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.