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.