A 'Designer' Kitchen

How to work out what you want from your dream kitchen

At Kitchen Design Centre, we’ve always had a deep and enduring passion for creating designer kitchens that are perfectly suited to the personalities, styles and preferences of our customers. Relatively small features can end up inspiring the entire design – finished kitchens can be based on anything from particular kinds of colours or materials, to the style of certain cabinetry, or especially impressive kitchen appliances. It can be whatever you want!

Now, the tricky part comes when you don’t exactly know what you want. But that’s fine too – that’s what our designers are here for. We can help you with designing the entire kitchen from inspiration to installation, or if you’ve already got plenty of detailed ideas and a vision in mind for your kitchen, we can simply help you make it a reality.

So how do you start building your vision for your kitchen? Well a good place to start is by taking a look around your existing space and thinking making a list of everything you like and dislike about it. As you’re doing so, you can start asking yourself key questions like…

What do you want the space to be?

Traditionally, kitchens were simply a place to prepare food, but these days they’re often considered the heart of the home – not just a place for cooking, but for eating, socialising, and spending time together as a family. So one of the first questions you’ll need to ask yourself about your dream kitchen is what it means to you. If it’s a purely functional space that’s purely devoted to the art and science of cooking, then you can put all your energy into making it as ergonomic and efficient as possible.

And if you’re also planning to use it as a place to socialise with family, you can start thinking about where everyone’s going to be seated. You might prefer something like a simple breakfast bar, so you can chat while you’re preparing breakfast, lunch or dinner, or even more comfortable seating around a larger table.

Sometimes this decision might be made for you – for example if you have a relatively narrow space, you might decide that it’s best utilised as a cooking area only. But then again, we’ve created some quite impressive designs in areas where space is at a premium – just take a look at this contemporary family kitchen for a narrow space!

family breakfast

What will you be cooking?

One of the biggest questions you need to ask yourself about your kitchen is, of course, what you plan to be cooking in it. If you have a preference for a certain type of food, this is a great time to incorporate it into the design. One kitchen we designed in Barrowford was created for a pair of keen bakers, so we made sure the new design remained as efficient as possible, while giving it a visually striking appearance.

It’s a good idea to think about practicalities like workspace. If you love spending time cooking in the kitchen, having lots of workspace will probably be one of your core priorities. This is why kitchen islands are so popular, as they provide an effective way to separate your preparation and cooking areas. And if you’re a big fan of particularly ambitious meals – or even just the traditional Sunday roast – it’s definitely worth making sure that you’re giving yourself enough space to work.

Who’s going to be using it?

Now, the obvious answer to this includes you and your family. That means it’s important to consider not just what you want from the space, but what everyone else will want from it too. Does your partner have a different cooking style to you, or are they passionate about any different types of cuisine? Will your children be looking for opportunities to get involved in the kitchen too? (We recently created a particularly clever design which allowed a keen junior baker to store her ingredients and easily cook alongside Mum.)

This is also a good time to think about accessibility. Is there anyone in your family who might struggle to use the kitchen in any way? We’re not necessarily talking about things like wheelchair accessibility – it could be something as simple as reaching up to a high shelf.

It’s also worth thinking about the maximum number of people your kitchen can comfortably accommodate. If you have a large family or you’re regularly hosting large meals, now is an excellent time to think about whether you can alter the space to accommodate all the extra foot traffic – making it much less stressful for you to be cooking and entertaining at the same time.

How could it be more efficient?

Closely related to our last point, the efficiency and ease of movement are perhaps two of the most important elements in any designer kitchen. That means it’s always a big priority for our own kitchen designers, and over the years we’ve produced some particularly ergonomic designs – just take a look at this recent stunning contemporary kitchen!

To maximise the efficiency in your kitchen, you can start thinking about all the appliances and accessories that you use the most, and how you can rearrange them so that they’re always within an arm’s reach of where you work. As part of this, make sure to take a note of where the sockets are in your kitchen, and what you’d like to dedicate them to. (Here’s a quick tip – wherever you decide to locate your sink in your new dream kitchen, it’s generally a good idea to install the washing machine and the dishwasher nearby.)

Storage is also a key issue when it comes to efficiency, as it has a big impact on how you can access everything in your kitchen. You can start by having a good clear out of all your current drawers, cabinetry and cupboards, so that you can be sure you’re not factoring in items or gadgetry that you’ve not used in years. Again, consider the items that you use the most – or you spend the most time looking for – and how you can ensure that they’re never too far away.

As well as ensuring ease of use, optimising your storage is also an excellent way to achieve a minimalist look, which is a particularly popular aesthetic that so many of our customers love for their kitchens. There are lots of specialised or creative storage solutions that you can incorporate into your kitchen – cabinetry set into kitchen islands or peninsulas are amongst some of the simplest, and highly effective at that.

This is a good point to think about the lighting, too. It has a huge effect on the practicalities of the space. You might want to reposition or revamp the main lighting so that you’re not blocking your own light when looking down at your workspace, for example. Soft, recessed ceiling lighting tends to be one of the most popular solutions for our customers here at Kitchen Design Centre. Plus, it’s always a great bonus to incorporate modular lighting so that you can light up certain areas in your kitchen independently of one another. And lighting can tie into another important point…

Are you changing the style of your kitchen?

Maybe you like the function and layout of your kitchen just fine the way it is, but you’re just looking to refresh its style. This is where your written list will come in handy, as it can help you identify exactly what you like about the way it looks and feels as it is, and what you’d like to change about it.

If you’re planning on changing anything, what are you trying to achieve with that change? Are you planning on matching it with the aesthetic of the rest of your home? Or maybe even contrasting it? Or are there just certain individual elements that you want to refresh? Another recent kitchen we created was specifically designed to be contemporary in look and feel, in contrast to the original building.

Don’t forget that well-selected appliances and stylish kitchen gadgetry can serve the dual purposes of updating your kitchen’s look, while still opening up a fascinating new range of hi-tech functionality – we’re talking about things like Quooker’s boiling water tap, or a cutting-edge downdraft extractor.

If you’re still forming ideas, it can help to collect images from magazines, and put together a personal scrap book or mood board to show your personal kitchen designer. As we mentioned above, even the smallest things can end up inspiring some of the most fascinating designs – a colourful chair was the basis for this quirky social space quite unlike any other!

And of course, if you ever need any help, our award-winning designers are always here to help put the finishing touches on your ideas, or even add a little creative flair of our own! At the time of writing, our showrooms are open by appointment only – so if you’d like to book an appointment, you can find your nearest showroom here. We’d love to see you!

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