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The design process is all about finding solutions to problems.  In kitchen design we have to identify the problems, your individual needs, likes and dislikes;  study what resources are available, the size and shape of your room, your budget and the products;  then work out how it all fits together in a practical, cost effective and good looking way.


Our three Top Tips:

*Think about your needs *Research styles & ideas  *Budget carefully

 

Establish your needs.

Have a good think about your lifestyle and exactly what you want from a new kitchen.  Do you cook a lot? Do you entertain?  Do you need space for dining?  Think about family needs.  Is your family expanding, or are the children leaving the nest?  Is anyone less able or infirm?  Have you pets?  Answers to these questions will help you to start building a picture of your requirements.

  family photo

Have a good look at your existing kitchen.

There might be features of your present kitchen which work well and other aspects which you hate! Make yourself a list of the features you want to keep and those you most definitely must avoid.
 

Know the limitations of your space.

The space you have available needs to be understood.  Study the size and shape, where the doors are and how you walk around the area, where the windows are and the lighting conditions, and the position of the existing services.  Think about any simple changes or alterations which could greatly improve the available space.  Naturally if you are considering an extension, or alteration to any walls or features, the available scope increases.

 
 

Starting the plan.

You have enough information now to begin to form a plan of where various items and features can go.  It’s a good idea to begin your plan around  features which cannot be moved, eg a window or a chimney breast.  Usually moving plumbing or electrical services is fairly minor, but two areas to consider are drainage for waste water and extraction for cooker steam/fumes.  It is normal to locate sinks and dishwashers/washing machines where drainage is simple, and likewise cookers in a place where the steam can easily be ducted outside.

  kitchen planning

Workflows.

Think about how the space is used.  How do cooking and other kitchen tasks proceed?  How do people move around the kitchen?  You must position items where they are accessible and sit within your working area.  Also you must allow enough space for walking around and opening doors and drawers.

 

Do your research.

Take some time looking around as many of your local suppliers as possible, and take in both the multiples and the independent dealers, and get a feel for the different styles on offer.  Naturally you will already have some idea of what you like and wht you don't but it is good to see the actual kitchens and have a touch and feel of the components.  Look for ideas on the internet, you will find some inspiration on this site hopefully, and also have a good look through some kitchen and home improvement publications.  Note the names of things you like, cut out the pictures or download and print them so you have a record of items you have seen

 
magazines 

Establish your budget.

This is crucial to success.  You must decide what you can afford to invest in the project.  The range of costs is vast and it is pointless considering some items which are way outside your chosen price range.  However budgeting is not so much about crossing expensive items off your list, it’s more about choosing the best combination of affordable products to suit your needs.  What you need to do is decide how much cash you can allocate to the project, and if you require borrowing, then work out what you can afford to borrow .

 
budget
Look carefully at ALL the costs.

Your kitchen project can be split up into four main areas of cost and you need to consider them all.  The first is the preparation (this might include design or architect’s fees) where the room needs to be stripped, the old kitchen disposed off, and all the services positioned and the walls and floor made ready for the new kitchen.  Then there is the purchase cost of the complete kitchen, the installation cost and finally any decorating and finishing which is required.

 

Refine the plan.

Now it should be possible to start narrowing things down.  With a clearer picture of the units you want to use and the appliances to be included, you will now have some accurate dimensions and you can start to refine your plan. Use graph paper and prepare a SCALE drawing.  If you do not draw to exact scale then it is impossible to make accurate measurements and assessments.

 

Check you plan.

Make sure that everything you want (and can fit in) is there and in a practical location.  Will all doors/drawers/appliances open without collision?  Can you yourself stand by your appliances and walk easily around your working area?  Can you reach easily into the storage cupboards?  Is the working area SAFE, and have you considered children, pets and any less able members of the household? 

kitchen plan 

Assess the labour requirements.

With a plan firmed up you can now look at the existing room and work out an accurate cost for the preparation and the fitting work.  This will then allow you to return to your budget and calculate what remains for the purchase of the kitchen products.  We do it this way round because your budget is a fixed amount, the preparation and installation costs are also reasonably stable,  but the area of greatest flexibility is the product cost.  Don’t forget to consider the decoration:  tiles, paint, flooring, blinds, lighting and any other little accessories you have your eye on, and it’s always a good idea to build in maybe as much as 10% as a contingency.

kitchen fitter 

Ready to go.

Now you have a plan of your proposed layout, a list of features and appliances you want to include and an idea of what finishing touches are needed.  Time to hit the showrooms again and see what sort of deal you can do!  Or alternatively you have a good idea of what you want and you can talk to a professional designer and show them pictures of what you like, tell them your budget and see what they come up with.

 

 

Fancy a try yourself?

CAD drawingTry out this on-line 3D room planner

Free Kitchen Design Software

Online interior design has never been easier. Design your kitchen, bedroom or bathroom free of charge on Easy Planner 3D.

Clicking this link will take you to the  Easy Planner3D website in a new window.