Designing your new kitchen can be one of the most exciting things you can do your home. The kitchen is traditionally the hub of the house, the social circle, a place where parents and children bake together, families entertain friends and beautiful meals are put together.
However when recently changing my kitchen it became apparent that the easiest part was deciding we were in a position to update our kitchen, then the stress began.
It wasnt just a case of finding a picture of a kitchen I loved and chucking some units into my space, there was so much to consider. My hope is, this article will give you a helping hand in what needs to be thought about when designing your new kitchen.
Planning and thinking ahead can save so much money and avoid delays, therefore saving stress 🙂
Here is a list of things you should consider when designing a new kitchen and at the bottom of the article i will show you my own kitchen transformation in photographs.
10 Things to consider
1. Set A Budget
Setting your budget is probably the most important thing you should before making any decisions. Think about how you’re going to fund your new kitchen. Costs can easily mount up if you don’t set a budget and you might be surprised how much you actually spend. So don’t leave it to chance. Set your budget, add a contingency of 10% (just in case) and stick to it.
Make sure you have enough cash to get your kitchen to a usable point. Remember if you have a restricted budget initially some features could probably wait until there is a little more cash flow. Things like getting shelves made and fitted & some counter top appliances can definitely wait.
2. Choose Your Tradesmen
This is the next important thing. Having good tradesmen can make or break the success of your renovation. Because the kitchen is such an important room in the home, its imperative it goes smoothly. We’ve all seen an episode of cowboy builders and seen the nightmares so you need to fine reliable and trustworthy tradesmen.
If you’re going to go through a kitchen showroom, they can design, supply and fit your kitchen but if you decide to project manage your own kitchen you could save yourself a lot money and have a lot more choice & flexibility.
Depending on the extent of the changes your making you’ll need a carpenter/kitchen fitter to fit the main kitchen units and a plumber to fit water appliances and safely fit any gas appliances & a plasterer if your walls need special attention. If you’re knocking out walls or adding windows or doors you may need a builder aswell.
So where do you start. Talk to your friends and family (whose opinion & standards you trust) and see if they can recommend tradesmen.
3. Find your inspiration
You can get brilliant ideas of what kitchen you like with a simple google search. Simply type in ‘kitchen’ and thousands of pictures come up in images. This is a great starting point.
Then simply save your favourites and make a note of your favourite features from each, such as, what door handles you like, type of cabinets and appliances. What look do you like, english country garden or modern?
4. Draw your kitchen
So yes, you can go into any kitchen showroom and they will likely have a free designing service. You can take the measurements of your kitchen to them and they can design a kitchen for you.
This would be a great starting point but I really believe you will get a kitchen that is more custom made to your needs if you do this yourself. Afterall, no one knows your families needs more than you.
You could even draw out your own kitchen using the steps listed in this article and then take this to the kitchen design service and they can give you advice on what works or what may not work.
It doesn’t matter how big the space you have is, anyone thats had a walk around an Ikea showroom, knows you can fit a lot in a small space and it can look great.
Ok so first things first, measure the space you have and draw this out on a piece of paper. Add any windows & doors along with their measurements. Now add to your drawing any permanent fixtures, e.g. radiators, pipes, boiler or any appliances you may keep from your old kitchen.
Now you can clearly see what space you have.
5. Add built-in appliances to your drawing
Next think about what appliances need to be built in:
- Microwave (built in)
- Washing machine
- Tumble drier
Some of these appliances can either be single or two-in-one (for example instead of separate machines you could get a washer/drier)
Looking at your drawing, weigh up where do you want these to go and where do they need to go. It will cost extra to have gas and water pipes moved as this will need to be done by a certified plumber who is Corgi registered. So if you need to keep costs down try and place appliances where they were originally.
When designing our kitchen we decided we wanted an island. After much shuffling with where different appliances were going to go, the only place to put the sink was in fact in the island, but this of course meant we had to consider how we would run the waste water pipe and water supply (We ended up tunnelling this under the floor)
- Where do you want the oven? do you want it low or high in a larder unit? Do you want a single or a double oven or do you want a free standing oven and hob? Will your oven be electric or gas. Electric will give you more freedom with where you can place it.
- Especially if you’re having an island, make sure the space between the units allows for doors to open completely. For example, it could get annoying if you couldn’t stand in from of the oven and take food out when the oven door is down.
- Where is the best place for the sink? Do you want it facing out of a window? if you have kiddies do you want to be able to watch them whilst they’re in the garden? Wherever you decide, are you able to get a water supply there and run a waste water pipe away? Where is this in relation to other water appliances, such as dishwasher and washing machines.
- If you are having a tumble drier, is a condensing drier or will you need to be able to run the pipe out of the wall?
- What appliances will you have built in as opposed to counter top, e.g coffee machine or microwave?
Add your appliances to your drawing along with their measurements, whilst keeping in mind the points made above.
Now add what cabinets you want along with their measurements. There are so so many variations of cabinets. You can have a look at any kitchen supply website and look through their lists. Its probably best to first decide what will go in your cupboards, then you can decide what type of cupboards will be most practical. for example, for tins and cereal boxes pull out larder units are brilliant. You just pull it out and you can see exactly what you have in the cupboard. No more clearing out your cupboards and finding a tin which went out of date 3 years ago. Another handy cupboard one with pull out wire drawers.
Think, will you have wall cabinets or just floor cabinets.
You can cover the width of your walls by combining 60cm, 50cm & 40cm cabinets and if you have the odd 15cm space you could fill these with wine racks or pull out spice larders.
Be patient. This can be a very frustrating part of the process, there will be plenty of shuffling, you may place the sink but realise its an internal wall so may be difficult to get water to it or place the hob and realise that this will mean the gas pipes have to be moved, but its important to get the perfect kitchen that works for you and will be worth the time & effort! I promise 🙂
7. Decide on doors
Go scouting round your local kitchen show rooms, grab all the catalogues you can and choose what doors you like. This is where a lot of the cost comes. Prices range from £60 – £27 per door depending on finish and decoration.
Think outside the box, you have to go with white, cream or dark wood. You can go for coloured kitchen doors, or you could even mix and match. For example, when choosing our kitchen doors, although we didn’t want a kitchen that would go out of fashion quickly, we wanted to be a little adventurous. So we went for cream doors for our kitchen but used sage green for our island. You can choose your favourite and cost up your kitchen based on your plan.
If’ it’s coming out too expensive then choose a different door or see where else you can save money, maybe on appliances of unit type.
8. Get Quotes
Take your drawings or plans and get some quotes. You could get quotes for just supplying or supply & fit depending on where you are with finding tradesmen.
When designing my kitchen we saved a lot of money using an online kitchen supplier. Of course you need to be careful. Do your research, search for reviews. Their website should give you information on how the units are built, where they are built and what delivery times you should expect.
I am luck enough to have a dad that is a carpenter/builder. After comparing the trade cost he could get from his suppliers we found it a lot cheaper to order from a online supplier.
We used DIY Kitchens, we simply added all of the units and doors we wanted to our shopping basket along with additional features, e.g. soft close or handle holes. You simply set up an account and you can add or remove items over a couple weeks, until your basket is complete and then checkout. You can also buy your appliances from here as well as your handles etc, the works, but always shop around.
With DIY Kitchens you also have a choice of different delivery options and they have videos on their website that show you how and where they manufacture.
9. Finishing Touches
This is the cream on top of the cake. This step is important so that you end up with a kitchen that is aesthetically pleasing to you & gives you the right atmosphere when you walk in. You also need to decide on the finishing touches before you start to re-fit your kitchen because they can make a difference to where wires are installed.
Lighting in important in any room but a kitchen or kitchen/diner has many uses. You need loads of light when cooking or cleaning and then mood lighting for when you’re entertaining. So thinking about lighting ahead of fitting your kitchen is a good idea as it will mean you can hide wires behind your cabinets and in the walls before plastering.
Spotlights look great in a kitchen. You can have these installed along the kickboards and on the ceiling. they let out a great light.
If you are installing wall cabinets, you might want to install lighting underneath. This lighting provides a nice ambient light if you don’t want the main lights on in the kitchen and also provides extra light on your worktop for when you’re cooking. We used strip lighting for under our wall units. You simply stick the strips under the wall units.
Drop pendant lights are lovely for over a dining room table or an island. They’re very modern and can finish a kitchen off brilliantly.
Plinths, Panels & Accessories
You may like to add end panels to the end of your wall and floor units. We added tongue and groove end panels to both our wall and floor units aswell as round our island. These finish off the kitchen nicely also and added texture to the room.
You can also opt to add plinths, cornice, pelmets or corner posts to your kitchen.
These all add little something to the kitchen and simply depends on your taste.
Shelving can add a lot to a kitchen. They’re a great place to store cook books & display ornaments. The can be a good way to add interest to a redundant wall and make the kitchen feel homely.
10. Your makeshift kitchen
While your kitchen is being ripped out and re-fitted you will need to think about how you are going to cook in the meantime. Making sure that you have somewhere you can cook, wash up and wash clothes is very important, especially in the even of any delays (which will almost certainly occur with any building work).
- Electric hot plates are great. You can literally plug it in on any table and cook a meal.
- Washing machine – my plumber always left at the end of the day leaving the waste water pipe connected to my washing machine. Having a young family this was especially handy.
- Camping stoves are also great for cooking things you’d normally cook on your hobs.
I can’t stress this enough! This process can take a lot of brain power & energy and it’s worth putting this in. It can be stressful at times, but if you have the chance to design your own kitchen you’re very very lucky, so enjoy the process.
I hope this article has helped you along your way on taking on an exciting challenge to design you new kitchen. Please share what fittings you like or find handy in a kitchen, happy designing & enjoy your new kitchen 🙂
Our kitchen transformed in photos
This was our kitchen before. The flooring made it feel quite dark and units didn’t make the best use of the space for storage.
We spent a lot of time drawing up our kitchen on paper, shuffling cabinets & appliances to try and fit the island in, that we so wanted. Once we had decided on the kitchen a friend of ours put it all into the SketchUp program, we could then use these drawings to order our kitchen.
Work begins! We are lucky enough to have a brother-in-law plumber and my Dad who is a carpenter/builder. We rip the old kitchen out, take up the floor (saving for our garage revamp) and prepare the back wall for the new doors. Our son Tayden loved helping out 🙂
The patio doors were finally installed. This completely changed how we used our kitchen. With direct access to the garden, we could easily entertain guests in the garden and the kids could safely play in the garden whilst I cook.
After fresh plaster, we could finally start painting the walls in preparation for the kitchen to be delivered and installed.
The second most exciting stage, next to the patio doors being installed, was the delivery of our new kitchen 🙂