Finding the right company and kitchen designer is so important to ensuring your journey to a new kitchen is a smooth ride, but a little bit of prep work beforehand will provide them with the tools to make it perfect.
It might seem counter-intuitive but your old kitchen is a great place to start when looking to plan your new one. Before you even step foot over a showroom doorstep take time to make a note of everything that does and doesn’t work about the existing design. It really will help you and your chosen designer to build a better picture of how your new kitchen will need to look and function. This could be anything from layout to storage needs, lighting to seating.
Room size is a good place to begin – particularly if it becomes clear at the start that there’s not enough space to fit in everything you want and you might be looking at knocking down walls or extending. Of course, budget is also key but so is how long you’re likely to remain in the house, the longer you’re likely to stay the wiser it might be to invest as much as you can on a quality bespoke design that will give you a forever kitchen that is timeless.
Whether you’re a fan of beautiful hand-painted Shaker, clean-lined contemporary or hand-made classic kitchens, how you will use the room and how many people it will need to accommodate is equally as important as its outward appearance. It is key in ensuring your new kitchen not only looks good, but functions as well as it can for your needs. It sounds obvious but when your head is full of door designs, paint colours, tiles and work surface choices it can be all too easy to let go of some of the essential things that make a space workable. Take time to think about whether you need to plan for a place for the children to do their homework, for instance or about how a work surface will cope if there’s more than one cook at any given time. An efficient layout will help to make the finished kitchen more usable and your designer will help you to ensure everything is in the best place for its use. This is particularly important if your room provides more than one function, a kitchen-diner for instance, as considering storage for china, glasses and table linen will mean you’re not walking backwards and forwards to distant cupboards every time you want to lay the table.
Buying a made-to-measure kitchen is a bit like buying a bespoke suit, the more effort you make to check the fit, the more likely a good outcome is. While designers have lots of knowledge and plenty of experience, the more time you spend thinking about your kitchen at the start of the process, the better. Obviously, the clearer the vision you can give to your chosen designer, the better but as long as you have the main elements and a wish-list, a good kitchen designer will be able to help you create your optimum layout.
Spend some time doing your research and getting inspired. Glossy homes magazines and Pinterest are great places to start – cut out pictures or pin images to create mood boards so that your designer can get a really strong feel for what you are trying to create.
Don’t forget to take note of things that cannot be adjusted, such as doors, windows, fireplaces and boilers. Considering if you need to move any of these elements to achieve your perfect scheme is also worth doing early on as it is bound to affect your budget if you want anything moved.
As a kitchen is first and foremost a place to cook, a good place to start is what kind of cook you are. Do you have a big family and need plenty of prep and workspace? How many ovens do you need? Do you cook from scratch for the family or are you a couple who eat on the go? Is a large American-style fridge freezer on your wish list and if so, where will it best sit? Is there somewhere to comfortably put down the weekly grocery shop? Elements as seemingly simple as a somewhere to unpack your shopping, close to where you will store it is vital for ensuring a design works efficiently.
An ergonomic layout, particularly when it comes to storage of all kinds will mean that everything is where you need it. Pan drawers below a hob, everyday china and glasses close to the dishwasher and food storage close to a prep area are all important. Don’t forget to talk about seemingly ‘dull’ elements such as plug points and lighting, as these will need to be planned before the kitchen is fitted. There’s nothing worse than a gorgeous looking kitchen that can’t be used to its fullest because there’s no convenient plug point for your mixer, or there’s a dark corner that’s unusable at night because of a bad lighting scheme.
A second list with all the other elements – building, power and plumbing quotes – should help you to get a rounded idea of your expenditure and give your designer an idea of fitting schedules. To begin with it might all seem a lot to think about but in the long run a bit of prep is the best way to help you and your designer achieve your dream kitchen.