What information do you need to design your kitchen?
To get the best design first time a detailed plan of your kitchen is a great place to start. Here is a guide to what information is required:-
Start with standing in the kitchen and imagine looking down from the ceiling. Draw out the shape of your kitchen and show all overall measurements and ceiling height and dimensions in-between doors (from outside of the frame and note opening direction), windows (height from floor, overall height and note the opening direction) , radiators (including depth) , boiler (height from floor, overall height & depth), stop tap, waste position (and direction), SVP (soil vent pipe), any boxing or pipework, stairwell bulkheads, Chimneys, Skirting Boards (Depth & height), light switch, extractor fans, gas meter, electric meter, fuse board and any nooks and crannies.
What should I think about when looking at the layout?
The kitchen should be tailored to suit the way you work in the kitchen, do you like to work alone, or do you like to make it a family occasion? Depending on space you can have galley kitchens, L Shape, U Shape and now you can have curved kitchens.
If you're a lone worker keeping everything within reach (but not too close) and in the traditional working triangle is best for you. Start with the position of your fridge, I like to have it in the corner so it's not standing on it's own monopolising the light and space. Next the cooker, make sure you have working space either side, I like to have a decent prep space, somewhere for your chopping board and space to put all those mixing bowls and electrical appliances. Then the sink with draining board facing away from the cooking area so you have a nice flow of prep/cook/clean/dry.
If there are several people working in the kitchen, work with zones, so if someone is cooking make sure someone can stand at the sink. Make sure the storage in each area is suitable for the area. Near the cooker, pots, pans, knives & mixers and keeping cutlery and plates/glasses and cups in-between the cooker/sink.
Another thing to think about whether you're working in a triangle or in zones, don't forget about rubbish. having somewhere to put recycling, food waste and general waste. There are many types of hidden rubbish bins, just remember to check the size you need and the unit that will accommodate it.
When maximising the working area of the kitchen, also remember you need space to move, make sure the walkways are left clear and that you have enough space to install your appliances. So many time i have seen people install a beautiful kitchen then realise they can't get their fancy Range cooker in!
Plan around your services - If you are re-modelling your kitchen think about the services in your kitchen. For example, don't position an appliance on a Stop Tap. Or try and not have any waste pipes running behind appliances, especially a cooker. If there is Gas, where does it come from and how easily is it to re-route. So by design, plan the sink and wet appliances near water supplies and cooking appliances in a place where you can supply electricity and gas. Also, remember that you may wish to use an extractor, is the cooker on an external wall where the vent pipe can go through the wall/ceiling, If you don't need vented extractors, they do come with charcoal filters, which vent back into the room. you can also get some funky island extractors that hang from the ceiling. In this case make sure you have enough support in the ceiling to hold the weight.
What type of kitchen do I need?
In the kitchen world there are mainly two types of kitchen, drawer-line and full height. Drawer-line, as the work describes, means there is a single drawer in every unit. While this is good to give plenty of drawer space, they really only give space for cutlery and small items. You can improve this with having a drawer pack which provides pan drawers for the larger items. Just remember that the more heavy items in those drawers could damage the runners over time. So make sure you don't overload them. Also, having drawer-line means the usable space in each unit has been reduced.
Using full height doors means you can utilise the whole cupboard while keeping the design sleek. You can then use drawer packs to break up the design near the cooker for your cutlery, and cooking implements. Another great way of storing your items is to have hidden drawers that are fitted to the inside of the cup'd that extract when you open the doors.
Larder cupboards can be good in larger kitchens as you can get good storage from them, but this comes with a price. They are sometimes the more pricey items in the kitchen and also take away worktop space.
How do I light my kitchen?
Lighting can make or break a kitchen, not having enough light can not only be a hindrance, but dangerous. Think wisely about where and what type of lighting you need and how it effects the usability of your kitchen. You can have spot lights, pendant lighting and strip lighting. each have their own merits but positioning is king, for example, don't position a light behind you when at the cooker or sink, otherwise you can cast a shadow. Look out, however, that the wall unit doors don't open and hit the lights!
You can also add extra lighting under or behind wall units that shine down onto the worktops, and if you have a glass splash back it creates a really nice effect.
If you have the budget, there are expert lighting companies that can take a kitchen plan and bring it to life.
It is prudent not only to think about the kitchen area itself, but also the construction of the walls, the route to the kitchen and also the deliveries.
Kitchen construction - What are the walls made from? If they are thin stud walls extra support may be required to support the weight of the wall units and wall mounted extractors.
Route - Is the kitchen accessible from the outside? If so, deliveries can be made without having to go through living rooms or tight hallways. Are there steps down into the kitchen? I have seen kitchens in basements with only tight spiral staircases making it virtually impossible to get large appliances down, so bare that in mind.
Deliveries - Do you live on a main road with limited or permit parking? Do you live down a tight rural road with a low bridge? Do you have a house number or name? having precise delivery addresses makes it alot easier for all parties.