Because more and more of us are staying in our homes and making improvements rather than moving, you can afford to put your personal stamp on your home. For that reason, be brave and embrace colour. Everything from bright pink to cool blues will work in a kitchen, you can even go for an all-white, glossy kitchen if you want that modern, minimal look. Be bold and you’ll be thrilled by the results.
Cooker hoods have become one item in the kitchen that you can really make a statement with. Top-of-the range statement hoods can cost well over £1000 so be careful when buying something that looks similar but costs a lot less – they’re usually badly made. As a rule try to stick to one of the better known brands – if there is one item in the kitchen that is prone to breaking down it’s the hood. As a designer I’m not particularly excited about having an “out-there’’ cooker hood as they tend to date pretty quickly and it’s an expensive item to change once the trends move on. So, often I think it’s best to go for a concealed/integrated or canopy hood – telescopic hoods are really smart as they only project into the room when in use and are otherwise inconspicuous.
What makes a kitchen memorable is what happens in it, and we should be doing everything possible to not only sit down and eat together, but to also cook together. Start with something really simple like having an extra chef`s knife around for eager sous chefs. For full-on remodeling projects, think about how you want the space to flow and accommodate a gaggle of helpers: maybe a custom center island on wheels? My budget version of that is felt pads under the legs of my small butcher block that allow me to slide it out toward the living room and get people chopping onions or greasing ramekins. This gives me room in the kitchen proper to accomplish the more involved acrobatics of throwing a serious dinner party.
Huge American fridge freezers are one of the most common design mistakes made. They take up a lot of room and as much of the freezer storage space is taken up by an ice making machine, they are not that practical either. One of the contributors on the show even had the fridge freezer in their living room because it wouldn’t fit it in the kitchen! Choose a fridge that is the right size for your kitchen and provides you with the storage you need.
If there is one thing you must do when you are re-designing your kitchen it is to measure up properly and produce a scaled plan of the room – quite often simply by doing the maths and working out the optimum combination of base units you can gain extra storage space. Allow for opening space on your plan, make sure cabinets will fit beneath windows and always position tall cabinets at the end of your worktop. Start with the basics of kitchen design. Work to the traditional triangular layout of a food prep area, fridge and sink, all within easy reach of one another. It still applies to modern kitchen layouts.Be very careful where you position tall units as they can cast unwanted shadows – in corners or at the end of a worktop run is best, but even better is between two walls, in a “niche”. When in a niche a neat trick is to use panelling or studwork around the tall units to give the impression of recessed units.
If you can’t physically make a kitchen bigger by knocking through to another room, there are small changes you can make to ensure you’re getting to most from the space you do have. Simple things like replacing your cupboard door fronts with thinner designs or choosing smaller appliances that fit under cupboards or easily inside them. Get rid of freestanding appliances such as fridges and install under counter fridges and freezers. This means you can give yourself more worktop space in the area which was previously taken up by a free standing appliance.
To protect your outdoor room from the elements, consider adding an awning in an eye-popping design. This way, your outdoor living space will be open for enjoyment even during inclement weather. Don`t be afraid to add stylish accents and traditional indoor furnishings to your outdoor room. Carpets, throw pillows for furniture, and other design touches will create a welcoming feel. Just make sure they`re rated for outdoor use if they`ll be exposed to the elements.
These are a great idea for both base and wall units as they do help to maximise space – but traditional corner units can also be a nightmare as you can easily forget what’s hiding away at the back of them and you constantly have to pull everything out just to get what you want. So, wherever possible use a carousel fitting inside or one of my favourite magic corners!
Kitchen designers are a lot more affordable than you might think. If you want to get it right and get the best kitchen for your needs (and budget), hire a professional who can work all that out for you. You can create an almost bespoke kitchen by taking a kitchen off the rack and changing small elements such as handles and cupboard door fronts.
Always discuss socket positions with your electrician before they start work! Too many is better than too few. Always consider what splashback material you are using as sockets will increase the cost of some, such as glass, which is cut off-site by specialists – it’s easier to cut-around sockets if you’re using more traditional materials like wall tiles. Sockets should sit a minimum 150mm above worktops and always be installed by a qualified electrician.
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