A step-by-step guide to planning your dream kitchen

by | Jan 7, 2022 | Design

Creating your dream kitchen from scratch is extremely exciting but can also be an overwhelming project. Visualising through Pinterest boards, ordering samples and visiting fancy showrooms allows you to really engage with your creative side. However, considering your kitchen hosts a range of essential tasks every day, including food prep, cooking and storage, it’s also important that the design not only looks the part but is functional too. From the layout and style, to the furniture and appliances, there’s a lot to consider. So, where do you start? Let us help guide you through the process.

1.    Assess your needs

Take a look at your current space and identify what you love and hate. You might adore your hand-painted cabinets, for instance, but loathe the lack of storage. What is your kitchen’s purpose? Do you have a big family or are you a single person that eats out a lot? Do you host dinner parties and gatherings often? You should also think ahead to the future and consider a design style you’ll still love in five years’ time.

More specifically, consider how and where you store items, and where the most practical place is for them. Incorporating a pantry, installing integrated appliances and adding drawers to your island are all great storage options, while a breakfast nook is a good solution if you need more seating, for instance. Additional lighting may also be necessary if your main cooking area lacks light. These are just a few examples to get you thinking about what your kitchen needs.

2.    Pick a style and layout

There are so many different kitchen styles to pick from, including modern, country and industrial, and each one can influence other design elements. The best thing about choosing a kitchen style is that it can really represent your taste, personality and rest of your home decor. If you’re not sure what you want, it’s always a good idea to seek inspiration. Whether it’s on Pinterest or on a kitchen designer’s website, this can help you streamline your vision. What’s more, many of these sites have clear explanations on which ranges work best for each style. Harvey Jones, for example, states that its: “Linear kitchen range offers the most contemporary and minimalist look”, while its “Arbor kitchens deliver a clean silhouette, focused on the craft and attention to detail of handmade furniture.”

The layout of your kitchen is another vital element to consider. While this is naturally influenced by your floor plan, optimising the area to work more ergonomically is possible. No matter what size your kitchen is, a clever layout makes all the difference. For example, an L-shaped kitchen is an open-plan design offering flexibility when it comes to placing appliances and work zones. It has cabinets along two perpendicular walls, and is practical for both small and large kitchens. Don’t forget the most important aspect though — the kitchen work triangle. This creates a clear path between the food preparation, cleaning and storage areas, ensuring your room is as functional as possible.

3.    Set a budget

Remodelling your kitchen can be expensive, and daunting as a result. There’s so many things to think about, which is why setting a budget prior to approving work or purchasing materials is a good idea.

Write down your must-haves, such as appliances, cabinets and lighting. Then, the things you’d like to have, like a wine-fridge or kitchen island, and figure out what you’re willing to pay. What can you afford? Elements like multi-oven cookers, quality kitchen units and worktops all ramp up the overall cost, while unexpected expenses can really throw a curveball. We suggest allowing 20% of your budget for such situations.

Most kitchen renovations cost between £5,000 and £14,000, including VAT and fitting. What you pay, though, depends on the work carried out. Minor changes like repainting walls, refacing cabinets and upgrading appliances are cheaper than a project replacing all cabinets and worktops, for example. Prioritise the most important aspects and allocate money to each area. It may seem like you’re forking out a lot of money at first, but it’s an investment into your future that will pay dividends later on if you decide to sell your property. In fact, over two-thirds of homebuyers would pay more for a property if the kitchen had been refurbished or modernised.

4.    Don’t forget about plumbing and electrics

It’s all well and good selecting your new kitchen features, but any significant structural changes may require plumbing and electrical works to ensure the kitchen is in safe and in working order. Moving appliances might render current piping and wiring useless, for example.

During planning, pinpoint whether the existing systems will get in the way of the new design — if so, changes will have to be made. For example, having an island with a sink fitted may mean the plumbing needs to be moved, while new lighting fixtures will require electrical work. These must be carried out prior to the full renovation.

This work should be properly planned and completed by a professional, otherwise you risk having faulty appliances and electrics. When planning, remember to book a plumber or electrician ahead of time so that you’re not left with a kitchen that doesn’t function after the renovation is finished.

It’s also worth considering that if you need these works, it’s likely the mains will have to be disconnected and your kitchen will be unusable for the duration. Though, if you’re not having any plumbing or electric work done, it’s always worth having a professional check the condition to ensure they’re safe.

5.    Consult a kitchen designer and hire professionals

Remodelling a kitchen isn’t easy, especially if you’re opting for bespoke features, which is why it’s best to consult with a kitchen designer beforehand. They have expert knowledge of kitchen design and can ensure every element blends together seamlessly. A designer can save you time and money, increase the value of your home and turn your dreams into a reality.

Professional builders and decorators are also necessary. High-end appliances and cabinets are often built-in, meaning assistance is required for the design and build. Tradesmen are essential for structural changes, especially for projects involving extensions or knocking down interior walls. Although there are some things you can do yourself, like repainting and building flat-pack furniture, most design elements are best left to the experts since they’re highly skilled and can ensure your kitchen is built to a high-standard.

Read through our useful guide for more information

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