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      If you have just moved into your new home, you may be looking at planning a new kitchen, so we thought we would bring you some expert advice to help you on your journey. Of course, we are on hand to help but many people want to approach their showroom visit with an accurate idea of the kitchen they want to achieve.

      There are limitless ideas and inspirational images on our website, which show all the ranges and accessories available. Each project has to start somewhere, so consider this the first step of your journey to your dream kitchen.

      Start off by finding a tape measure and drawing up a floor plan. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but a ‘bird’s eye view’ of the kitchen is very helpful when it comes to planning. If you are able to make several copies, do so, it will help when considering different layouts! If the new kitchen is going to be in a yet-to-be-constructed extension you may have architect’s plans available, which will show accurate measurements and placement of windows and utilities.  However, remember to allow some tolerance so that fillers can be added where units stand between two walls.

      The trend for kitchen-family-living spaces is here to stay, and consequently, there is usually more floor space to consider when planning a kitchen. It’s not necessarily just about a ‘kitchen’, but how it blends with the family’s relaxing and social spaces, and whether there’s room for a homework spot as well as a working-from-home space.

      Consider the Layout

      Consider how the layout works in terms of entering the kitchen, the position of the back door, and whether there will be new French windows or folding-sliding doors. Think about how you like to cook and socialise in the kitchen. Are you the ‘head chef’ who likes to be in charge of all aspects of prep and cooking? Or are you happy to delegate the chopping and mixing to other family members?! Think about how much storage space you need, perhaps consider including a walk-in pantry or a utility room. If the whole layout is to be re-configured, there may be an opportunity to create more kitchen space by opening up the kitchen into a connecting room, hallway or corridor.  Think about where the natural light enters the room and what kind of artificial task lighting you will need.

      There are endless layouts to choose from, yet many kitchens follow similar layout plans for a very good reason – they work! A kitchen can be designed precisely to suit individual needs, using clever combinations of cabinetry and interior fittings, along with the right appliances and accessories to help the kitchen run smoothly.

      Popular layouts include L shapes or U-shapes with either an Island or breakfast bar. For smaller spaces, a single or double galley is always a good choice.  When an island is included, it’s often positioned to separate the working and storage areas of the kitchen from the eating/sociable areas. An island with a seating area is perfect for casual dining, everyday breakfast or a quick snack whilst supervising the children’s homework. If there isn’t sufficient floor space for an island, a peninsula can be a good option. A peninsula can extend out from a run of cabinets, providing a bar/surface area that separates the kitchen from the living area but doesn’t take up the same amount of space as an island.

      Make a Wish List

      A wish list is a good start to the dream-kitchen journey and provides useful details of your lifestyle, cooking habits and storage requirements for your kitchen designer. Make a list of all the types of things you have in your current kitchen cabinets and decide where they will be housed in your new kitchen.  It’s not just about the cabinetry, the appliances play an important part too. What must your new kitchen absolutely include … Do you want a range cooker, or do you like the idea of having a bank of built-in ovens? Do you want a separate hob on the island or peninsular? If so, you’ll need to consider the extraction and ventilation.  Do you want a breakfast cupboard to house small appliances such as the toaster, coffee maker and blender/juicer? Would you like tall pull-out storage racks for dry goods and groceries? Perhaps a big larder cupboard with spice racks on the inside of the doors? Does the idea of open shelving appeal to you? Do you want a focal-point freestanding fridge-freezer or integrated models hidden away behind cabinet doors? What about the dishwasher, ideally it should be positioned next to the crockery cupboard and cutlery drawers for swift and convenient unloading as well as near to the sink for rinsing before loading. Think about work surfaces too. Surfaces play a large part in the budget, so it’s wise to have a couple of options up your sleeve – perhaps combining a more costly option for the island, with a less costly choice for the perimeter cabinets.

      Now it’s time to start adding some details to the wish list, such as the number of plug sockets, charger stations, lighting ideas, and so on. If you can, draw a plan of each vertical wall and indicate structural details such as a chimney breast, taps, gas connection, radiators, doors, existing switches and sockets, heights and widths of windows. If the kitchen is to be in a conservatory-style extension, perhaps with roof windows, that will affect lighting and extraction positions. Naturally, take lots of photos! These will serve as the ‘before’ pics too, so you can look back on your kitchen journey. These plans, plus pics, will be an enormous help on your first visit to us. It’s helpful to have a budget in mind as well. We will then have a good idea of what your goal is and how you can achieve it.

      Choose a Style

      Now it’s time to decide upon the style of cabinetry. Decide whether you would like a classic or modern look, then browse our kitchen styles, which range from the Shaker style Austin design, which is elegant and timeless to the modern Alta, in a matt painted or gloss finish. All the designs are available in a range of colours and finishes, so there’s definitely something for all tastes and to suit all styles of home. Whether you’re adding a contemporary extension to a Victorian home or revamping a country cottage, there will be a kitchen style to suit. The colour range is extensive, ranging from pale tones such as Platinum, Pearl Grey and Cashmere to bolder shades such as Anthracite, Bottle Green and Midnight Blue. The choice of handle will have a big effect on the overall look of the kitchen too. Combining a sleek bar handle with the New England door will look more contemporary or opting for a chrome knob and cup with a Shaker door will emphasis a timeless, classic look.

      Design Features

      There are numerous clever design details which will add the perfect finishing touches to your dream kitchen. Choose clever storage such specially designed cutlery inserts or knife blocks for the utensil drawer too – keeping all those bits and pieces safely organised. Pull-outs can include drawers and baskets that extend fully, meaning that every inch of storage space can be utilised.

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