A good vibe goes a long way. Music, flowers, wine: these are all things that contribute to the design of your space, especially if your kitchen design project doesn`t involve knocking down walls. If you`re designing from scratch, don`t lose sight of the smaller, personal touches. Having fresh flowers on the counter each week and listening to music that gets your hips swinging are as much a part of the beauty of your kitchen as anything.
Be very careful of the quality when it comes to magic corners as some can be a bit flimsy and whatever you do don’t overload them with heavy items like mixers or blenders. An easy mistake to make with corner units is to forget the corner post that comes with them – this is very important as it prevents the door handles from bashing into each other – so when ordering your base units make sure whoever you are purchasing it from knows that you need a corner unit as opposed to a standard base unit and ask for a corner post! You also need to allow for the width of this corner post when working out the best combination of base units.
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.
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.
Moving a boiler is normally a pretty expensive job and whenever a boiler is in the kitchen it’s certainly a design hurdle. Concealing the boiler within a wall unit is a neat solution but you should always discuss the ventilation issue with the manufacturer of the boiler if you intend to box it inside a cupboard - as it needs airflow to run safely. Also, bear in mind that standard wall units are not normally big enough to house it so you’ll either need an oversized unit or your kitchen fitter would need to create one for you on site.
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.
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.
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.
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