If you’ve ever designed your kitchen from scratch, or decided to embark on a kitchen renovation project, then you know that it can become very overwhelming, very quickly.
That being said, there are people who effortlessly design and organise kitchen builds and renovations for a living, and seem to do it with ease. The kitchen is one of the areas you'll spend a lot of time in and it deserves special attention when it comes to designing and building a new home. We decided to gather a few of those expert designers together and ask them all one question:
What are the top 3 things to consider when designing a new kitchen?
Their responses were incredibly valuable and insightful, and I’ve listed them all below.
Rhoda - Southernhospitalityblog.com
What they say about the 3 key spots in a kitchen being in a triangle is very true. Make sure the sink, stove, and refrigerator are not too far from each other, as those 3 areas are the busiest in a kitchen and need to be in fairly close proximity.
Think about the overall look you want in a kitchen and don't get too caught up in trends. Kitchen designs change drastically every 10 years or so and it's important to keep that in mind for longevity in a kitchen design. Classic and timeless are things to strive for.
Design the best functioning kitchen that you can afford. Not everyone can afford designer kitchens and a nice kitchen can be made on a reasonable budget. I did an Ikea kitchen and it turned out fabulous!
Kevin - Thouswell.co
Designing the kitchen is known to be one of the most expensive rooms in the house, so one of the most important aspects of the design should be its timelessness. When you're investing so much in this room, you'll want to stay away from trends, especially materials, that may fade out of style in a few years.
At the same time, investing in classic, although perhaps more expensive materials, will give you a kitchen that brings real value to your home and stand the test of time.
While I love the aesthetic elements of kitchen design, the functionality of the room should also be carefully considered! Think about how you and your family use the kitchen - or want to use the room, and design around your work flow!
Suzy - Betterdecoratingbible.com
I would definitely consider choosing a pretty white/grey marble countertop. You can't beat marble, and it's the only stone that will look glamorous and luxurious for many years to come!
If you are doing white for the cupboards and drawers, consider warming up your whole look with beautiful brushed brass hardware.
Then, make a statement with your kitchen island by switching up the white with dark, deep wood. Hang up a pretty chandelier above and you've got yourself a designer decorated look in no time!
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Lucy - Lucygoughstylist.com
Natural light. Where is your light source? If your kitchen is small consider using gloss cabinet doors as this will help maximise light bouncing around the room.
Flooring. If your kitchen is in an open-planned home you need to consider whether you will have the same flooring as the rest of the house or if you might ‘zone’ your kitchen and use different flooring material.
Storage. A lot of traditional British kitchens have dead space above their wall-hung cabinets. I think it’s worth installing taller cabinets that stretch up to the ceiling to help maximise your storage!
Ruthie - Ruthiestaalsen.com
Is it going to be able to be the gathering place in the home, because we all know that is where everyone wants to hang out!
Do you have enough task lighting? Add plenty of accent lighting so you can turn off overhead lights and have mood lighting that can be adjusted with a dimmer.
Are there enough separate serving areas for hosting parties. Having different areas for cold drinks, hot drinks and the main meal is crucial. Keeps everyone spread so they aren't on top of one another when your home is full of loved ones.
Rani - Lamaisonjolie.com.au
There are quite a few things to contemplate when designing or redesigning a kitchen however, my top 3 things to consider are:
Layout (which is the kitchen triangle) - i.e. imaginary lines that connect your sink, cooktop and fridge. At the centre of that triangle is your food prep space.
Integrated Appliances - Look at setting your appliances into cabinetry with matching handles to create an illusion of space even in the smallest of kitchens. This creates a seamless design, look and flow in your kitchen space. Microwaves and ovens can be set at eye level which is more ergonomic than bending down or stretching up, fridges and dishwashers inside matching cabinetry and you can never go wrong with an integrated pullout pantry.
Design Elements - which include the splashback, sink, faucets, cabinet handles, task lighting and benchtop. Choose elements that complement your overall colour palette and design and also create heaps of visual interest.
Vikkie - Thecarpentersdaughter.co.uk
Consider your "work triangle" where you can access things, eg, hob, sink, fridge, bin etc without having to walk too far.
Consider which way your kitchen doors open. Eg, when you open your dishwasher, you don't want to block access to the plate kitchen cupboard for easy unloading.
Think long and hard about the way to maximise worktop space and kitchen cupboards. It took me a year to design the best layout, which meant opening up an archway and blocking up the old access. Quite a few times, I nearly did things in a rush, but I'm glad I waited.
Kezz - Kezzabeth.co.uk
I think Lighting is so important to consider when designing a kitchen - no one wants to be peeling potatoes in one horribly dim space. Consider the areas you’ll need to light up - food prep areas etc and also areas where you don’t want to be casting horrible shadows, such as placing a light over the corner of a built-in fridge. I personally really like ambient lighting in a kitchen as well as practical lighting - which is perfect if you like to do a lot of hosting!
Storage is also another huge consideration - where will you put the pots and pans, the random stacks of plastic tub-ware, the multiple once-a-year small appliances? I recommend writing down everything you need to store and grouping them into categories, making sure you’ll have enough cupboard spaces for all of them. Obviously, you’ll need to consider food as well! You can maximise your space by having more shelves inside a cupboard or bigger cupboards for bigger items.
And finally, layout. A bad layout can totally kill the prettiest of kitchens. Islands are beautiful, but they only work if you have the space for them, or you may end up not being able to fully open cupboard doors. Consider how the room will look from different angles and how it will look from other rooms too. If you have beautiful glazed patio doors, you don’t want to be blocking light from them with a poorly placed American-style fridge freezer. How you use your kitchen will define whether it works or not - I personally like to have the sink fairly close by to the cooker.
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Tamsin - Fawninteriors.co
There’s a lot to think about when designing a kitchen but these are our three key considerations.
Everyday life: One of the questions we ask when designing a kitchen is, “How does it work for you?” Whether you’re single, in a couple or have a family, your kitchen needs to function in the best possible way for you. So we consider things like whether you need an island to entertain while you cook or to feed the kids in the morning, or adjoining play areas so children are in-sight but not under-foot, or a variety of other solutions to your everyday needs.
Storage: A place for everything and everything in its place’ is one of our mantras. You can’t work properly in your kitchen if you haven’t got enough storage, but you don’t need a large kitchen to have lots of storage space…from slimline pull-out larders to deep pan drawers to extra storage in islands, it’s about being clever with all your available space.
Usability: The flow between the basic elements of a kitchen (fridge, sink, stove) is intrinsic to helping you be a more organised chef. If they are too close together or too far apart, there can be a great difference as to how much you enjoy cooking. With careful consideration putting a meal together should be like a coordinated dance around your kitchen.
Linda - Makedoanddiy.com
The kitchen is the hub of your home. It’s the room that will work the hardest and the place you will spend the most time in, so designing one can be a little overwhelming. It needs to be right! If I could offer any advice to someone planning a new kitchen it would be….
Think about how you and your family (and guests!) will be able to move around the space. Is there enough counter space for more than one person to be involved in the cooking? Is there room to pass each other in the highest traffic areas. Is there somewhere where people can naturally lean with a glass of wine to keep the chef company? Making sure that you can answer yes to these will turn your kitchen from a food prep area into a warm, social space.
Think about how you want the storage to work for you. Now is your chance to make your life easier! I personally hate unloading the dishwasher, and clutter drives me insane, so I would install drawers to store all my day to day dishes, cups and glassware right beside the dishwasher, making unloading it so much quicker and easier, and I would include cabinets designed specifically to store things like baking sheets and small appliances. A place for everything, and everything in it’s place!
Lastly, think about how technology will play a part in your kitchen. I personally can’t cook without music, and I would love to be able to replace my little stereo perched on top of the fridge with something built-in. A tablet mount would also be a must for me, to keep my screen out of harms way while I’m using it to view recipes. Add in a drawer with built in outlets specifically for charging phones etc and my counters would be clutter free and my gadgets safe from spills and splashes. So there you have it. I’ll be living with my less than perfect kitchen for another while yet, but when I do eventually get to design my own I’ll definitely be taking these things into consideration!
Malcolm - Designsixtynine.co.uk
For me, the most important thing to think about when designing a space, is how to make it work for YOU. There are lots of 'rules' out there such as 'the golden triangle', but they don't necessarily work for everyone, or everyone's space. What do you need to store? What do you use the most? And how do you intend to use the space? Be realistic, not idealistic. It's lovely to think that you're going to be hosting lavish parties all the time, but if this isn't the reality, it's a lot of money to spend on a fantasy.
Make use of every available space. Take wall units or shelves right up to the ceiling. This can visually heighten a space AND better utilises it. Use dead space; small gaps can be built-in with sliding storage for trays, pan lids etc.
Consider lighting very early on. Good lighting can make a world of difference to a space, bringing it to life and creating atmosphere. I plan on using LED spotlights, as well as central pendants, under cabinet lighting, glass cabinet display lighting and wall lights in my upcoming kitchen renovation.
Anya - Simplydanishliving.com
I would say that my top 3 things to consider when designing a new kitchen naturally depends on the size of the actual space, but functionality is key - making sure you have the utilities you need at hand. Also, make sure the appliances fit - and that you can move around without bumping into one another.
2 is power points. In my kitchen, they are at both ends of the kitchen and it is almost impossible to use the kitchen top without being able to reach plug points.
3 is, of course, to create some hygge - making sure that your space is cozy so you can enjoy some time there. I have a large table in my home and often the kids gather around whilst I cook dinner and they do their homework.
Amanda - Houselust.co.uk
I would say my top 3 things to consider when designing your kitchen are....
Budget: Such a boring one, but probably the most important. Spend your money on fixtures and fittings such as taps, handles, worktops and lights which you and your guests will notice more. Spend less on the actual cupboards/ carcasses.
Sourcing/ Research: Do your homework and research online. Use Pinterest for inspiration, but don't forget that those pretty images which we all see on pinterest are exactly that... Pretty pictures and aren't 'real life' homes. When researching your fixtures don't be afraid to shop around and buy your sink from somewhere different to the taps.
Layout: Choose your layout wisely. Make sure you have enough cupboard space/ shelving and worktop space. Think about where you want to prep your meals. Do you need to be near the cooker? Does the built in bin need to be near where you make hot drinks and prep food. Is there a window near to fumigate when cooking. Would you like to look out a window when washing up? Is there space by the sink for the dishwasher? Lastly don't forget Plumbing/ draining will also impact on where appliances can go so plan your layout wisely.
Annie - Goldvibesonly.com
Invest in the quality: Purchasing a kitchen can be one of the most expensive things you pay for when owning a home. You will probably be tempted to save yourself some money wherever possible. But as far as your budget allows, purchase the best quality products. Investing in good craftsmanship and finishes will mean that your kitchen looks high end and will last a lifetime.
Go Neutral: As colour trends are ever changing, you will always want to purchase a kitchen that has a neutral colour palette. The main advantage to this choice in tone will mean that you can interchange accessories and styling pieces to create a completely different look as frequently as required.
Go for function: Probably the most important and key part of designing a kitchen is the function of the space. This will of course depend on the size of the room you have and, for instance, how many people live in your home that will be using the kitchen. You will want key zoned areas where possible and good storage that can be hidden. If all of your appliances are hidden away, the kitchen will instantly become more open and airy.
Sarah Latham - Etonsofbath.com
When it comes to Georgian interior design ideas for kitchens, Etons of Bath would suggest three key pieces of advice for designing a kitchen. Create a simple open space that is functional for everyday modern living, whilst respecting and enhancing the period of the property. Then, to create this, consider low-level strong coloured cabinets juxtaposed with a light marbled worktop. Then complete the scheme with an antiqued mirrored glass back splash that enhances the feeling of space and creates the illusion that you have double the depth of kitchen. You can see an example at https://www.etonsofbath.com/portfolio_page/bath-showpiece/ - with a sneak peak below.
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Evija - Fromevijawithlove.com
The most important thing when designing a kitchen is choosing the correct layout that works for you and your family. Consider how you use the space and plan around it, ask profesional design team to advise you on how this can be achieved. Know your budget and make your decisions based on your budget, invest in key pieces and important things for your kitchen and try to save in other areas that aren't as crucial. Lighting is also extremely important, consider natural lighting in your kitchen and plan for various types of lighting around specific areas that are not only functional but will also create the right atmosphere.
Gina - Stylecurator.com.au
Layout - often referred to as the ‘triangle design’, it’s important to consider the positioning and distance between your sink, oven and cooktop, and fridge. Ideally, to create an ergonomic and functional kitchen, there would only be several paces between each. Take the time to explore different kitchen layouts - you can never really spend too much time in the design and planning stage - before locking in the design.
Cabinetry solutions - by selecting the right cabinetry, you can almost double the amount of usable storage space in your kitchen. Consider using deep pullout drawers rather than cupboards with shelves wherever possible, and why not look at carrying your cabinetry all the way to the ceiling leaving only a shadowline? It will create a contemporary look and give you additional overhead storage that’s great for partyware or items you need less frequently. While on the topic of cabinetry, the range of finishes on the market today is wider than ever before - from timber veneers in every colour to painted cabinetry, textured or smooth, glossy or matte, you can find an option to create your dream kitchen. Be brave and push yourself outside your comfort zone to explore colours or finishes you wouldn’t usually during the design process - you can always rule them out if you decide to but at least you would have considered the idea. I used a black timber veneer finish in my kitchen and absolutely love it.
Luxe for less - it’s easy to spend big dollars when designing a new kitchen but there are ways you can create a luxe look without breaking the bank. Perhaps you could add a hint of bling with cabinetry hardware or tapware? Brass is a beautiful option that pairs well with most colours, including dark navy for a moodier kitchen. Perhaps you can’t afford the stone benchtops you’d love so a way around this could be to create a statement splashback that draws the eye. Fish scale tiles or subways laid vertically are on-trend choices at the moment.
Kristen - Simplygrove.com
First and foremost, a layout of the kitchen must be made. Consider the traffic patterns of your kitchen and start there, if your kitchen isn’t planned properly you’ll find yourself all over the kitchen, unorganized, and probably pretty frustrated with your time spent in it.
After planning the layout, picking my color scheme is one of the first things I do. I consider what my cabinet, counter, flooring, and tile colors will be and how I will be placing those colors throughout the kitchen.
Finally a third tip I have, consider creating a focal point, in lots of cases I get inspired by a certain product, color, or pattern and more likely than not that inspiration becomes the focus point of the space. Creating your focal point or finding your inspiration is a great jumping off point into getting creative and finding what it is that you want to compliment that and complete your design.
Jennifer - Insideoutcolouranddesign.com.au
The most important thing when designing a kitchen is really understanding how those who will be using the kitchen operate. The bench height needs to suit the person who will use the kitchen the most. Then will there mainly be one person at a time in the kitchen or two? If two then there needs to be ample room in passageways for a person to pass while the other is standing at the bench. Enough room, for instance for the dishwasher to be open and someone walking behind it. Once the measurements are suitable, then working out what will go in the kitchen and ensuring there is sufficient cupboard space and bench space. If there is a home for everything the kitchen design will be successful.
Jo - Jochrobak.com
Budget - For most of my clients this is usually the driving force, although my key point with this is - don’t discount things you love because of “budget” - your designer is there to help you balance your budget so that you can achieve your desired end result. They are the professionals - let them figure it out, don’t take the stress on yourself thinking “I’d love to have that, but I just can’t afford it” - maybe your designer just has to be a little more creative…
Context & Flow - Your kitchen is part of your whole house so it really is important to style your kitchen appropriately to the rest of the home. A country cottage kitchen in a high-rise flat just looks out of place. Get your designer to figure out what it is about the “feel” of the country cottage kitchen and get him or her to help you recreate that “feel” without the literal translation. This gives you a more “intelligent” (professional looking & expensive looking) design.
Dream - Renovating your kitchen for most of us happens maybe twice or three times in our lives, so the needs in your kitchen will also change depending on who lives in the property, where it is and what stage of life you are in. The investment is also usually pretty hefty for most, so why not really dream about what it is you have always wanted? Why “wait for the perfect time” to install that dream bench or window seat. I find that client’s limit themselves with their own expectations. I love showing people what is actually possible - don’t forget we have years of training, just because you can’t see the potential doesn’t mean we can’t surprise you with the most amazing space you could have ever dreamed of! I often hear “our house is the same as all the others in the street, so we can’t really do anything really different” - Please, please, please let me show you how amazing it can be!
David - Forwardfeatures.net
When designing a kitchen, the first thing to consider is its function. Are you a large family where storage is going to be paramount, or a wine-connoisseur who would benefit from a built-in wine fridge? Think about your needs and build the kitchen from there.
Lighting is key. Make the best use of natural lighting where possible. Install a skylight, create an open plan kitchen-diner or extend the kitchen into an outdoor space. Make best use of worktop lighting and where possible make lighting a feature. If you have an island, hang beautiful statement pendant lights for an impactful look.
Finally, make the most of splashbacks. There are so many amazing options out there, from natural stones and marbles through to beautiful tiles. It’s a great way to really showcase your personality in the kitchen.
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Eva - Evasanchezdesign.com
The 3 things I consider essential to get the maximum enjoyment out of a kitchen are:
Light: if natural light is available, use it! The atmosphere becomes more relaxed and inspiring. If artificial light is needed, its location and intensity can transform a functional kitchen into a inviting/beautiful and still functional one.
Waste: having the tools to be able to dispose of waste to hand makes it easy. Space for recycling and composting waste are essential for me.
And of course, Space: having plenty of counter space is essential. I don’t mean counter space to be filled with gadgets and other kitchen items, but empty space where food can be prepared properly and also appreciated. Giving the “stage” to the actual dishes also helps with the flavour. ;-)
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Anne Marie - Verymeinteriors.uk
It may seem obvious but people often forget that kitchen is a part of the house, therefore it should be treated like one. As kitchens are the most expensive rooms in the house to design, they're often left till the very end, when all the other rooms are finished. And that's when lots of us decide to follow the current trend, and go for a completely different style than the rest of the house. This however is not a good idea. Trends come and go but the kitchen will stay for many years. So rather than following the trend try to complement the rest of the house with your kitchen design.
Zoning out the space is also important and it's shouldn't be implemented only in big kitchens. Small kitchen's practicality is even more important. At the end it doesn't matter if you have a lot of worktop space if you have to run between one corner and the other while preparing a meal. If possible you want to have a place next to your sink to put away your washed dishes. Next to the hob you need a space for preparing the food, so at least the size of the chopping board. And also having even the smallest worktop next to your fridge will save you from running around.
And finally the last on my list will be the storage. Having a well designed kitchen doesn't mean just beautiful cupboards and top of the range appliances. What's inside is equally important as what's on the outside. In fact kitchen is the only room in the house where practicality is more important than the look (but always try to score both). Having well organized cupboards, with boxes and baskets that are clearly labelled is your key to success here.
Kristie - Elementsathome.com.au
I love a considered kitchen design. A space that incorporates every part of the homeowners personality and adds ease and enjoyment to their busy lives. I like to create a room that is functionally stylish but innovative and humble. This is the Hub of the home and the place that your guests will talk about when they arrive and wish for when they leave. You should make it a space that you are proud of and that you can use no matter what your kitchen skill level is. If you are not a home chef, make sure you enjoy the space for its other innovative and stylish design ideas like adding a tech zone or office additions.
There are so many ideas to consider when designing kitchens. Here are my top three:
Know your appliances, the sizes, the colours and what looks you want to create (do you wanted under Mount Range hood, gas or electric hotplate, oven stack or under bench oven)
When considering the colours of your kitchen choose your bench top colour first. If your budget includes stone visit one of the stonemasons to see the selection in person if your budget includes laminate, then visit the Laminex showroom to see the colours in larger sizes. This will be the starting point of your journey.
Make a list of all the appliances you have and how much room they currently use. This will allow you to incorporate the right style and size of storage as you create the next functional but stylish kitchen.
Marilen - http://marilenstyles.com/
As an interior stylist with a degree in Interior Design, the top 3 things to consider when designing a kitchen would be layout, materials and natural light.
It is important that there is an efficient work flow in the kitchen thus the rules with regards to distances of major appliances must be followed when creating a layout.
The materials used to construct a kitchen are very important. Specifically the materials for the flooring, counter top and cabinetry. Kitchens need to be a clean space and if you use the wrong material, mold and bacteria can grow on them. The floor needs to be made of a non porous, non slippery material that is easy to clean. Kitchen counters need to be made of non porous material so that mold and bacteria don't grow on it. Even the type of silicone and adhesives need to be mold resistant. While there are many different types of kitchen cabinet materials, learning their differences will be beneficial. You will want something sturdy so I recommend staying away from budget medium density fiber boards. If you live in a country with high levels of humidity, make sure you use kiln dried wood if you prefer to work with real wood for the cabinets.
Lastly a beautiful and inspiring kitchen is achieved with lots of natural light. Large windows invite light in and reduces the need for you to use anything artificial . If you have smaller kitchen windows consider leaving it bare without curtains or blinds and perhaps using plants to decorate the area instead.
Emma & Kimberly - http://www.impeccablenestdesign.com
The Layout. Are you looking for open concept? How do you use your kitchen? is this the hub for family activity and/or entertaining? These are just some of the questions that must be answered to get your best layout. And a restrictive or poor layout will waste your money and frustrate you.
Make a Statement. Don’t be afraid to go bold with your lighting or tile selection. This space needs to reflect you and your personality. Or at least the person you want to be!
Details. Details. Details. We can’t say it enough, it IS all in the details, especially in the kitchen. From the appliance selection to the orientation of your outlets, there are no trivial details.
Louise Parker - www.studiogabrielle.co.uk
Designing a kitchen is a constant balancing act between aesthetics and functionality. Every kitchen should blend style and human ergonomics with the surrounding architecture simultaneously. But how?
Functionality. The kitchen needs to fulfil its main function first, to cook. But for who. For large dinner parties with many courses? For bachelor's dinners? For a working family? Everyone is different. The kitchen needs to firstly start with a checklist of requirements, which outline the core functional elements. That then extends to personal requirements. What do you need and then what do you want? For example, a couple who entertain friends on the weekend may need: #01 An expansive worktop space, #02 Two ovens instead of one and #03 A kitchen island for cooking and conversing with friends.
Aesthetics. Take inspiration from the London’s infamous Wigmore Street, a mecca of kitchen showrooms that ooze inspiration. What do they all have in common? They hold the same design savvy audience in mind throughout, they create innovative solutions even to the last detail. Use these elegant Italian-designed solutions as inspiration for unique shapes, proportions, colour and material combinations.
If high-end brands like Bulthaup leave you thinking, how am I supposed to recreate this? There is an easier solution with on-trend Nordic style (see our trend report showcasing Scandinavian minimalism). Copenhagen based company, Reform offer an ingenious solution to aesthetics without the price tag. They start with a basic ingredient - elements from the IKEA kitchen and add their architect-designed fronts and countertops to create an aesthetic and a personal style that combines quality construction, function and timeless design.
Styling. Noted, we all have a lot of ‘things’ but if you have carefully considered your storage requirements and functionality, the rest of the 'open' space can be used to showcase style. With spice collections, objet d’art, cook books (have you seen the Pulpo cookbook by Russell Norman - it’s a must have) or even framed artwork. All of which are far too elegant to be kept in a cabinet - so show them off.
So there you have it! A huge "thank you!" to all of our contributors for sending us their best tips. If you found this post helpful, please give it a share!