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Designing a Custom Kitchen: 8 Things to Consider

A custom kitchen is one which has been made to order and unique to your specifications. This means you can let your imagination run wild, and create a truly individual new space in your home.

Custom kitchens have many benefits that you just don’t get with off-the-shelf designs. Since every single element is designed to your tastes, you’ll have a one-of-a-kind kitchen that’s as functional as it is stylish. What’s more, although you’d expect a custom design to be more expensive, it can actually save you money in the long run. If you have a beautiful kitchen perfectly tailored to your every need, you won’t need a revamp any time soon.

However, when you have free choice over every aspect of the design, it can be hard to know where to begin. These are some of our top tips for designing the custom kitchen of your dreams.

Harvey Jones bespoke kitchen in baby blue

Our top custom kitchen design tips

1. Set a budget

A custom kitchen isn’t something to skimp on — you’ll be spending a lot of time here, so it’s definitely worth investing in properly. However, you should still be realistic about what you can afford, which is why setting a budget is essential. This can help you make important decisions when it comes to design features and sharing this figure with your custom kitchen designer lets them be as creative as possible within the confines of your price range.

Handles and knobs are another easy way to completely change the look of our furniture, and we can point you in the right direction from an almost infinite number from around the world. Alternatively, if you’ve seen something you like elsewhere, you can even source your own.

2. Create your custom kitchen wish list

Our designers work with you to create a ‘wish list’ of features that you want to include in your new kitchen. They’ll then set to work putting together a best design which ensures that you leave your stamp on the finished product. The best way to do this is to look at your current kitchen and think about what could be improved. Perhaps a bespoke kitchen island would be a valuable addition, or maybe you could streamline your storage solutions.

It’s also worth considering what you really enjoy in the kitchen, as this can lead to great feature ideas. If you’re a wine lover, a spectacular wine chiller (or even a cellar) can be a great focal point. Alternatively, if you’re a dab hand with spices, displaying them in an open shelf or drawer will look lovely, and make it more convenient when you need to grab the garam masala.

3. Match your kitchen layout to your space

The layout of your custom kitchen is crucial in terms of its look and functionality. Even if you have a dream arrangement in mind, prepare to be flexible to find the layout that best compliments your space. Pursuing the wrong design could leave your kitchen could feel cramped and cluttered, or your main appliances may be too far away from each other. Talk to your designer about how you and your family typically use the space, so they can come up with a layout that matches.

4. Consider your kitchen lighting scheme 

Kitchen lighting is incredibly important, especially if the room doesn’t receive much natural light through the windows. And if you’re planning to use your kitchen for multiple purposes, such as cooking, dining, working and entertaining, you must incorporate a variety of options to suit each occasion.

You’ll need task lighting (the brightest) at your work stations, mood lighting to add ambience to more relaxing zones, and accent lighting to highlight any points of interest. Choose from LEDs, ceiling-mounted fixtures, wall lights and more to create a scheme which will be perfect for all situations. It’s a good idea to make your decisions as early as you can, rather than risk committing to a design with limited lighting possibilities.

Harvey Jones bespoke kitchen with copper details


5. Compare materials that are built to last

Choosing attractive, durable materials is crucial for long-lasting custom kitchen units. Hardwood and plywood are great options for a traditional aesthetic, while fibreboard works perfectly as part of a chic, minimalist design. While the low cost of wood veneer and particleboard may be appealing, these aren’t ideal because they tend to peel and chip. Our designers can help you find the best materials within your price range.

6. Use colour to create character

Your furniture can be painted in any colour, so the possibilities are endless. Different shades of colour on base and wall units can look stylish and modern, while another popular trend is to paint the interiors of some units in an accent shade. You could also go for a bespoke finish if you’d like to add texture, metallics or glazes to your custom kitchen design. Explore our gallery and filter the designs by colour for inspiration.

7. Transform furniture with handles and knobs

Handles and knobs can completely change the look of your custom kitchen furniture, and whether you want traditional decorative styles, or sleek modern ones, we can point you in the right direction. Functionality is also hugely important, and you’ll need the right grip to suit your particular needs. For example, those with large hands or arthritis will have unique requirements.

Our team has access to numerous striking designs from around the world, though if you’ve seen something you like elsewhere, you’re more than welcome to source your own. Alternatively, you could choose a handleless kitchen design for an understated, minimalist look.

8. Pay attention to worktops and splashbacks

These are really important elements of your custom kitchen, and go a long way to shaping its overall design. When choosing a kitchen worktop, granite, composites, timbers, and more unusual materials like steel and concrete can all look fantastic. As for splashbacks, you might consider using stainless steel, pressed metal, tiles, or even environmentally-friendly recycled glass. Remember that some materials will require more cleaning and overall care than others.

If you’re ready to start building your custom kitchen, get in touch for advice on your project. Call 0800 389 6938 to speak to a designer in your local showroom, or click here to request a complimentary design consultation.


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Our blog contains guides and tips to help with designing the kitchen and beyond. Browse some of the related articles below.


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