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Published on July 24th, 2023

10 top tips for successful kitchen planning

Consumer Advice Style & Design Lighting

The key to realising your dream kitchen lies in a thoughtful and comprehensive planning process. Whether you're looking to update, renovate, or extend your kitchen, our top tips will help you to enjoy a smooth and successful renovation project.

1. Collaborate with Trusted Builders

Seek out reputable builders who come highly recommended by people you know and trust. A builder's reputation is paramount, so take the time to conduct online research and reach out to references provided by satisfied customers who have had similar projects completed. If personal recommendations are scarce, consider exploring platforms like Checkatrade, where you can find vetted individuals and firms with verified insurance, qualifications, and professional memberships, along with customer scores.

2. Embrace Creativity

Exploring unconventional approaches in kitchen planning can unlock the potential for a truly distinctive design, especially when it comes to kitchen cabinetry.

Challenge the norm by breaking away from the traditional placement of wall cabinets side by side. Instead, consider experimenting with diverse shapes and sizes, arranging them in an intriguing composition to achieve a striking visual impact.

3. Set a Clear Budget from the Start

When kitchen planning, everyone wants to make prudent financial decisions. Fortunately, having a limited budget doesn't necessarily mean sacrificing your dream kitchen; instead, it may require some adjustments to align with your financial means.

To prevent costs from escalating, consider arranging the project on a fixed-price basis to safeguard against unexpected delays. It's essential to avoid making unplanned changes or additions unless you've agreed upon the additional costs beforehand.

4. Plan Your Kitchen Lighting Thoughtfully

To ensure the success of your kitchen planning, dedicate time to carefully consider your kitchen lighting scheme before commencing the project—not as an afterthought. Incorrect lighting choices can result in a one-dimensional and impractical space, hindering its multifunctional purposes. Avoid a monotonous grid of uniformly spaced downlights on the ceiling; instead, determine the best fittings and positions to achieve your desired look.

Achieving the right temperature for LED lighting is crucial, as they are sometimes perceived as too cold. Optimal color temperature to work with is around 2,700K. While some kitchen manufacturers may use fittings with higher Kelvin numbers, producing a cool white color, this might not be ideal for evening settings, which benefit from a warmer ambiance.

For open-plan layouts, create independent lighting circuits for distinct kitchen, dining, and living zones. Employ two or three layers of lighting in each zone—ambient, task, and mood lighting circuits—to enhance functionality and atmosphere, ideally complemented with dimmable controls.

5. Embrace Natural Light

Incorporating ample natural light from various angles is a surefire way to achieve the desired bright, airy, and spacious ambiance in a modern kitchen or kitchen extension.

There are popular choices such as rooflights, which allow abundant light to pour in from above, though you may need to consider privacy concerns if there are overlooking neighbors. Additionally, bi-fold doors are a wonderful option, expanding the opening and facilitating a seamless connection between indoor and outdoor spaces.

6.Give Thoughtful Consideration to Your Kitchen Layout

When planning your kitchen, prioritise functionality above all else, ensuring that the design optimises the practical aspects before focusing on style and aesthetics. It is crucial to carefully analyse the circulation within the space and how people will move to, from, and within it.

For open plan kitchens, layout becomes even more vital, and using zoning techniques can help create subtle divisions between different areas. If you're fond of the open plan concept but have limited space, consider incorporating a split-level kitchen island as a central gathering point. One side can be dedicated to preparation, while the other can serve as a relaxing space.

On the other hand, if an island isn't feasible due to space constraints, a peninsula is an excellent alternative. It occupies less space yet still provides a multifunctional and sociable hub for your home.

By thoughtfully considering your kitchen layout, you can create a functional, beautiful, and harmonious space that suits your needs and preferences.

7. Install Flooring Before Cabinetry for Enhanced Flexibility

Opting to install the new kitchen flooring before fitting the cabinetry provides significant advantages, especially concerning future cabinet re-fits.

While some might question the idea of purchasing flooring that will be mostly concealed, this approach proves valuable in the long run. By doing so, you can avoid the need for an installer to make intricate cuts around the cabinet contours, resulting in reduced labor costs. Additionally, having a uniform-level floor greatly simplifies the kitchen installation process, streamlining the entire project.

8. Plan Appliance Positions in Advance

Before commencing any first-fix electrical and plumbing work, it is crucial to make decisions about the specific models and placements of all appliances. By doing so, you can ensure that plumbing connections (water and waste), vents, and ducts (for extraction), as well as power sources, are correctly positioned before any plastering or flooring work takes place. This foresighted approach will help avoid any future rework and ensure a smooth and efficient installation process for your kitchen appliances.

9. Thoroughly Screen All Contractors

When dealing with contractors, investing some time in careful vetting is of utmost importance. Ensure you gather more than just a mobile number; look for a landline number, office address, and trade-association membership details as crucial indicators of their credibility. Moreover, it is advisable never to make upfront payments for building work until you have thoroughly assessed and verified the contractor's reliability and legitimacy. This precautionary approach can help you find trustworthy professionals and ensure the success of your project.

10. Be Open to Expert Guidance

When working with an architect, it's essential to remain open to their suggestions alongside your own ideas. A skilled architect can effectively blend your best concepts with their expertise to achieve a fantastic outcome.

Even if the initial sketches don't precisely align with your vision, don't worry. Often, 3D renders are the most effective way to communicate proposed spaces. You can request your architect to create photo-realistic rendered views, offering a clearer understanding of the design.

If necessary, don't hesitate to consider relocating your kitchen entirely. However, before making any decisions, it's wise to consult your designer or plumber to explore viable options and ensure a seamless transition. By embracing expert advice and communication, you can achieve a successful and satisfying kitchen design.