Having a new kitchen installed is a great way to rejuvenate your home and inspire you to spend more time entertaining. Open-plan living is in vogue, allowing families to spend time together, cook and eat all in the same space. The modern kitchen now even includes a TV.
Kitchen islands are getting bigger and bigger, allowing you to face family and friends and chat to them while cooking. Space is saved by one of the new compact or downdraft extraction systems (the latter pop up from the work surface when required).
In more than 20 years of designing, selling and installing quality kitchens and appliances, Cameo Kitchens, in Nazeing, has grown used to customers’ weird and wonderful questions. Here are partner Oliver Wicksteed’s key tips on planning the kitchen of your dreams.
1. Don’t rush
Allow time to get the design exactly how you want. Talk to your builders if you are constructing an extension or new house. They will need to know your requirements well in advance. Some kitchens take up to eight weeks for delivery and installations typically take one to three weeks, so allow plenty of time. Cameo Kitchens has now launched a national installation service for many of the appliances available to buy on its website.
Remember, you get what you pay for. It may be tempting to save money by purchasing from builders’ merchants or some of the larger retail chain outlets but some of these companies may use inferior raw materials resulting in a poorer-quality product. Also, they may not offer the detailed specialist advice and service you are likely to find with an independent showroom.
Before designing your kitchen, plan how you will use the space. Consider how much space needs to be dedicated to storage, work surfaces, dining and seating, looking at it from an entertaining perspective.
To make the most of storage, it can be useful to make a list of specific items that need to be considered. How have they been stored in the past? Were there any elements you particularly disliked in your old kitchen? There may be other storage options now available that would be more suitable, such as multiple storage bins, pull-out corner mechanisms etc.
It may be tempting to experiment with colours and textures but if you are unsure of your choice, keep it simple and inject accents of colour with, for example, a glass splashback, utensils, accessories or an accent wall. If you choose to refresh the kitchen in years to come, these elements can be changed relatively inexpensively to give you a whole new look.
It is also important to consider your flooring, as its colour and texture may affect your choice of unit and worktop colours.
Lighting is a key element of kitchen design, which is often overlooked. You will need to consider ceiling lighting, as well as task lighting above worktops and display areas and as a feature if required. It is better to have light fall in front of you rather than behind, so no shadows are cast.
We have included a couple of examples of open-plan living designs.
This kitchen finish has been achieved using a matt black lacquer door and a pastel grey wood-effect finish as a contrast.
Instead of using surface-mounted handles, the recessed handle rail offers a streamlined look.
As with the island furniture and main run of the kitchen, the worktops have contrasting colours and thicknesses, to create an eclectic but harmonious display.
The appliances include an induction hob, recessed ceiling extractor, two ovens, a steam oven and microwave, with a freestanding fridge and freezer. The sink is placed on the island, with a dishwasher adjacent.
The sizeable space has been zoned, providing specific areas for food refrigeration, preparation, cooking and serving, as well as dining and relaxation.
The result is a light, bright and functional room that so many customers are keen to achieve - a room that really is the heart of the home, fulfilling all the needs of a practical, modern kitchen, with a highly sociable element. The user can prepare food and entertain while still being very much involved in the party.
This kitchen uses a walnut wood-effect Shaker door with a chunky brushed steel handle.
The worktops are 50mm laminate in a black finish, with laminate downturns to the floor at each exposed end of the furniture.
The space is of a reasonable size but the inclusion of numerous doors and windows means the room has become a little disjointed.
However, the design has created zones for food storage, preparation, cooking and serving, a functional and practical use of space.
The appliances include a built-under oven to the front of the island, a gas hob, a feature cooker hood, integrated refrigeration and integrated dishwasher adjacent to the sink.
While the room is not quite big enough for a table and chairs, a small raised breakfast bar has been included to provide an area for light meals and quick coffees.
The open-plan feel is popular with customers, offering a practical and sociable space together with, in this case, an area for relaxing while not interfering with the day-to-day running of the kitchen.
Investing in the most important room in the house can also pay dividends if/when you come to sell up and move on.
A high-spec kitchen is one of the top features buyers look for in their dream home.