kitchen design plans

Key things to consider before you meet your kitchen designer

A new kitchen design can be one of the most exciting projects when renovating, extending, or buying a new home, but you probably don’t need us to tell you that it’s a hugely in-depth process in itself. From the choice of cabinets to the individual appliances, there are all sorts of aspects to consider in creating your dream kitchen – but our award-winning team at Kitchen Design Centre are here to help, with a fully bespoke service that spans from concept to completion!

Before you meet with us for the initial design brief, it can be helpful to think about some of the most important aspects of your kitchen, and how they’ll shape the final design. Don’t worry; you don’t have to have the answers to all of them, and in fact, relatively few people do by the time they come to meet with us (after all, that’s what we’re here for!).

We’ve come up with this general guide to get you thinking about your new kitchen! This way if you have some vague ideas in your head then these suggestions can help refine them and get the process off to a strong start! What you’ll need to consider can be generally grouped into three main categories: lifestyle, style and aesthetics, and functionality.

busy family kitchen

Lifestyle

At Kitchen Design Centre, we believe your kitchen is a reflection of you. That essentially means your kitchen should be designed around the way you use it or intend to use it. From this starting point, our designers are then able to create kitchens that are unique and individually tailored to your tastes, preferences and lifestyle.

It’s worth taking a few minutes to think about your kitchen persona. How you use your kitchen right now? What meals do you cook most, and what appliances do you use most frequently? In short, what do you like about your kitchen? Does it have its own unique charm or personality you want reflected in a new design?

If you’ve got a particular focal point in mind or centrepiece you’d like to serve as the basis for your design, don’t hesitate to let our designers know! Whether it’s a piece of furniture you love, or your favourite painting, or treasured family pictures, you might be surprised at the eventual results. Little aspects like this have served as the basis for some interesting designs in the past – we’ve previously designed a quirky modern kitchen styled around a single chair!

Then, think about what’s missing, or what could be better. What aspects of cooking, or other parts of daily life, could your kitchen make easier?

For example, after making a fragrant curry or frying classic fish and chips does the smell of your supper linger in the air? Then a powerful or clever extractor system may be just what you need!

We find it’s helpful to finish the phrase, “I wish my kitchen had…” and make a list of things. For example, additional seating options are a common preference for customers, both for formal and informal dining. Even saying, “I wish I had less clutter,” can give designers a useful starting point to begin thinking about solutions to work for you.

Essentially, the challenge for our designers to find out how your kitchen fits around your lifestyle right now, and what we could do to make the new design completely tailored to you – bringing your dream kitchen to life!

Style and aesthetics

At Kitchen Design Centre, most of our designs fit into one of two styles – modern or traditional – with a few blurring the lines between the two of them. There’s nothing to say you have to choose one of them definitively – your design choices dictate the style, not the other way around. For example, we recently created a fusion of the two kitchen styles in this customer kitchen design from our  kitchen showroom Manchester.

Modern

A modern kitchen style is mainly defined by high-tech appliances, clean and simple lines, and unadorned cabinets. Perfectly in tune with a minimalist aesthetic, they also tend to feature clever hidden storage solutions, and a rich blend of textures, materials, and colours.

Many of our modern designs are relatively free from clutter and incorporate hide-away solutions to use space more efficiently — like the addition of an island to increase working areas, storage, or seating.

Traditional

Traditional kitchens typically place more focus on the use of natural materials like timber, stone, framed cabinetry and other ornate details. The most popular of our traditional kitchens is the Shaker style, that has endured throughout the centuries and originated right here in the North of England!

The traditional style has endured because it is functional and high-quality — it also rests on the principle of a place for everything and everything in its place. The Shaker style is generally more ornate than the modern style.

So, which one should you choose? Well, a good place to start is to think about what best fits in with your home’s overall style. Country style homes tend to be better suited to traditional kitchens, whereas modern kitchens fit beautifully into more contemporary styled homes.

modern kitchen

It’s also worthwhile to start thinking about colours. Darker colours like navy or grey can make a sprawling kitchen feel cosy and homely whereas brighter colours like white and cream can help open up a smaller space, making it lighter, more spacious and expansive.

Accent walls are a brilliant way to incorporate more vibrant colours into your home, so they’re worth considering. Humans react differently to colour, which makes it a wonderfully useful way to influence the mood and atmosphere of your kitchen. Do you want a vibrant feel with splashes of orange or yellow to make the room energised? Or are you looking for calm, restrained and sophisticated using colours like muted blues, light greys, or sage green?

When choosing paint colours it may be helpful to take a stroll down the colour swatch isles of your local DIY store. Grab a few colours that jump out at you!

Be sure to browse our modern kitchen case studies or traditional customer kitchens for style and design inspiration — we have fantastic examples of colours for muted or vibrant tastes. Some of our more vibrant kitchens include a modern style with neon green accent walls and a kitchen with a powerful purple party space complete with floating bubble wall.

Another great tip is to create a Pinterest board or save some images of kitchens you like on your phone. Often trends will start to appear in colour or style, so whichever one takes your fancy – show us! Seeing your thoughts of an idyllic kitchen will help us get a feel for who you are and what your style is.

floating shelves

Functionality

The true make or break for any kitchen is functionality — or the flow of your kitchen. Think about how you move around your kitchen right now. Is there anything that gets in the way? Do you find yourself having to go back and forth a lot?

Consider how you prepared your last big meal — did you have to dig around to find a saucepan? Or did you struggle with lighting an old gas hob? Perhaps you had to wait several minutes to boil water for vegetables? Were you baking and cooking dinner at the same time — making you wish you had a double oven?

If you’re a baker or cook lots of large meals you may want a double oven or a pantry to store and organise dry foods and ingredients. Meanwhile, people who entertain large or small gatherings might need a larger hob, unobtrusive ventilation, warming drawers, or a unique wine storage solution.

But, one of the most common requests we see when looking at functionality is the need for additional worktop space. In these cases, it’s often a good idea to look at a kitchen island. We often recommend kitchen islands for several reasons; as well as giving you useful extra preparation space, you can also fit drawers and cupboards into them to create valuable extra storage space, and can offer additional seating for friends or family to congregate as they enjoy delicious meals. As ever, though, it really depends on what you’re looking for in your dream kitchen!

Organisation

We love creating beautiful kitchens here at Kitchen Design Centre, but we always take care to follow that golden rule – form follows function! The aesthetics of a kitchen – wonderful as they are – always come secondary to how you use it, and ensuring it’s well-organised is a key part of that.

‘Organising’ your kitchen can seem like a vague and sweeping goal, so start by thinking about whether you can strip out anything you don’t use all that often — is there any clutter you would like to be rid of, like an old toaster? Or perhaps you’ve recently purchased a new small appliance like a fancy mixer that doesn’t have a place to be stored…

Our designers have years of experience in creating clever storage solutions, whether they’re for storing display wine glasses, party tableware, cutlery or cookery. Due to this experience, we’ve also got plenty of tricks for storing things like spices, knives and chopping boards — some of which you’ll have to see to believe!

In a few of our latest designs, we’ve incorporated floating shelves to display family photos or keepsake items. Tell us what’s important to you, and we can make a place for it.

You may already have some of the answers to these questions in your head, but they’re still excellent places to start! Planning and building a new kitchen is an intricate business, but our designers are here to help. Whatever your vision for your dream kitchen, you can rest assured that we’ve got the knowledge, passion and experience to make it a reality. Feel free to visit any of our kitchen showrooms across the North West, in Manchester, Blackburn, Barrowford, for a friendly chat about what we can do for you.

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