When designing a kitchen there are so many considerations to be made that often the choices are head spinning. There is the layout, the types of materials you wish to use for the worktops and cabinets and the appliances that you may want to use. All will take careful deliberation and as installing a kitchen is an extremely expensive process getting the choice right is essential. The kitchen is often considered the hub of the house and getting the choice of material for the worktops and cupboards as well as the general layout will make family life easier and maybe even more harmonious.
Firstly there is the floor plan; this can usually follow one of six general kitchen layouts. A galley kitchen possesses just one surface along a wall and is ideally suited to long rectangular rooms, if however you would like more surface area to work on a double galley kitchen utilising worktops on opposite wall can be a brilliant design, but not great for busy families where the restrictive movement can be troublesome. Akin to the galley kitchen is the L shaped kitchen that extends along a perpendicular wall without having to have a surface on the opposite side, once again this will work well in rectangular spaces.
If your kitchen space is more square shaped there are other layout options available to you. The most simple of these is the U shaped kitchen that has worktops on three of the kitchen walls, the benefits of this is that appliances can be added easily and for little extra expense. An addition to the U shaped kitchen is the peninsula, these are worktops that jut out from one wall and create extra surface space, peninsulas are ideal at making a kitchen that is a cook's paradise. Increasingly popular, in conjunction with the U shaped kitchen are island worktops; mainly suited to larger spaces they offer a stylish addition to most kitchens and also extra workspace.
Your choice of worktops is essential, mainly in terms of the material you use. Laminate worktops are still an extremely popular material as it is affordable but also has long lasting attributes; this low maintenance and hardwearing material has been a mainstay in many kitchens for generations. Solid wood worktops are however becoming more popular as homeowners attempt to create a kitchen that has rustic charm as well as timeless elegance. The maintenance can be back breaking though if you own a large kitchen with staining having to be regularly undertaken.
As well as wood, granite is also becoming an extremely popular material for worktops. This can be attributed to new mining technologies that have slashed prices and made it more affordable. Naturally it is a hard wearing material with its own bold stylistic impressions. Other rock worktops include man made quartz which can be less porous than granite and also available in a range of finishes from bright colours to subtle sparkles.
Aside from the worktops a major concern should be the storage present in your kitchen; it is worth considering whether you will need a broom cupboard to hide such items as the vacuum cleaner and ironing board. Also it is worth contemplating how large a larder you would like, in order to do this it is advisable to monitor your shopping habits and see how much food you generally keep in the house. It is also important to plan a kitchen for the future, if you are likely to have more children, include provisions for this in the design, whether it be more space or larger cupboards, it is rarely worth enlarging a kitchen a year after it has been renovated entirely.
A new kitchen is a wondrous thing and will add a new lease of life for your home. This is why such care should be taken in its design, taking a large range of factors into account before beginning installation. Spend a lot of time discussing what you would like your kitchen to do for you and ensure that the new design will fulfil these requirements. If you follow this advice there is no reason that your kitchen will not be the gastronomic heaven you have always dreamed of.
Interior design expert Thomas Pretty looks into factors such as kitchen worktops, layout, and floor coverings in contemporary kitchen design.