The kitchen is the work horse of the home and these days needs to be so much more than a place for cooking, chilling, freezing and laundry. Of all the rooms in the home it can be the most expensive to design, refit and decorate because it requires appliances as well as furniture – at the very least a cooker, fridge-freezer, oven and hob and washing machine. And because the kitchen is multifunctional, it is also the room that takes the most planning and leg work. To achieve a dream kitchen, one that is not only functional and practical, but beautiful too, requires research, budgeting and oodles of design inspiration.
Kitchen Planning & layout
Unless you are lucky enough to be building your own house or planning a new kitchen extension, your kitchen layout will be decided for the most part by the dimensions of your room; the smaller the space, the fewer your choices of kitchen layout. Smaller houses and flats with kitchenette-style areas built off single living/dining rooms tend to house galley, L-shaped or U-shaped kitchens. Small kitchen allows you to use quality materials that would be too expensive in a larger space.
Once you have decided on the position of your fridge-freezer, sink, washing machine, cooker, hob, dishwasher and microwave you can give the remaining space over to wall and base unit storage. In larger spaces you will have the luxury of thinking about a kitchen beyond the basic functions of cooking, chilling, freezing and washing.
Plan your kitchen storage
There is an awful lot of stuff to store in a kitchen: food, drink, tableware and cutlery, glassware, pots and pans, utensils, cookware, linens, small appliances such as food mixers and blenders, cleaning and laundry products, refuse and recycling bins. If you are budgeting for a small space you are likely, therefore, to want to squeeze in as many units as possible.
Remember that drawer units offer more storage capacity than cupboards, always fit the insides of doors with wire shelving for storing smaller items such as medicines or herb and spices. The ultimate luxury in kitchen designing – deciding to leave a space empty. As you plan your storage, factor in your lighting too, so you will always have directed, functional lighting over worktops as well as gentler mood lighting elsewhere.
Choose your kitchen style, materials and colours
As kitchens are expensive rooms to fit, remember that whatever style you choose needs to last far longer than the looks you might choose for other rooms in the house. Go for a broader look, rather than something that might be considered a narrower, more passing interiors trend. Our choice of kitchen style, colour and materials can be very personal, but, alongside budget, will be influenced by the type of home we live in.
While there certainly was a time when the home kitchen was seen as the domain of women, that’s far from the case today. From self-sufficient bachelors to egalitarian couples to wannabe celebrity chefs, more men than ever are cooking for themselves and for their loved ones.
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