There’s no other way of putting it: the kitchen is the heart of every home. It’s where you go for your morning coffee, to prepare dinner, hang out with your family, catch up with friends, grab a bite to eat in between meals and tell Alexa to, “play 80s power ballads,” when you’re halfway through a bottle of wine. In short: it’s the hub. That’s why it’s so important to consider everything you can when choosing your new kitchen, especially the finer details.
From selecting the ideal larder for your needs to picking out a dreamy colour scheme for your kitchen layout, the big decisions always take priority and we get it. However, it’s the little things that make a kitchen perfect, such as making the fridge easily accessible when cooking, having a special place for your chopping boards and knowing where to put your bin so the functionality of your shaker kitchen is flawless.
After all, one of the cornerstones of every kitchen is combining function and practicality with your wants, needs and personality. That’s why you should always start your kitchen design process by understanding how you might use your space, especially when preparing and cooking meals.
From maximising your kitchen space to designing multipurpose islands, to getting creative with your storage, here are our top tips for creating a functional yet stunning kitchen.
Counter Space is Your Best Friend
When planning out your dream kitchen, the priority should be using every inch of space available, with an added focus on worktops and counter space. From preparing your meals to displaying your gadgets and appliances, storing your washing up to working from home, eating your meals to hanging out with your favourite people, it’s easy to underestimate exactly how much counter space you’ll want, so make sure you consider exactly how you might use your worktops.
Creative Storage Solutions Are A Must
When it comes to designing a kitchen, there is no such thing as too much storage and the best way to maximise your storage solutions is to get creative in every way possible. Install magnetic strips to utilise the space between your wall and base cabinets, add a spice rack to the back of your larder doors and talk to our designers about cleverly organising your under-sink storage.
Use a larder at the end of your worktop and folding corner cupboards to make the most out of pull-out storage options, have drawers installed into your kitchen island to give your bulkier items an easy-access home and consider a harvest table to utilise any extra floor space by creating an extra food preparation area. Whatever you have in your kitchen, make a plan for it by allocating a storage space for everything, no matter how big or small it might be, and then stick to that plan.
Keep A Clean & Tidy Space
One of the most overlooked parts of designing a kitchen is deciding where your bins will go. It may not be the most glamorous part of the planning process, but it remains one of the most important for the simple fact waste is unavoidable and so it’s vital you factor in where your recycling, general and food bins will be positioned. This could be done with an integrated bin that pulls out from under your food prep station, with a freestanding bin hidden out of sight in a tailor-made cabinet or a dedicated space at the end of your island. Whatever is most viable for your space, now is the time to consider the layout of this kitchen necessity.
Lighting is Absolutely Essential
Lighting plays an essential role in every room, especially the kitchen. The reason for this is simple: it has a functional use as well as an effect on the aesthetics. Consider concealed spotlights beneath your wall cabinets to make prepping food easier, statement lights above your kitchen island that you can control on a dimmer depending on the mood you want to create and even plinth lights that fun along the base of your floor cabinets to subtly illuminate your kitchen walkways after dark. You could even add lamps to your kitchen worktops as another way to change the ambience. Whatever you decide, consider how each option will add to the function and atmosphere of your kitchen so that your space serves every purpose possible.
Be Practical With Your Power
One of the best things you can do when planning out your new kitchen is think about how you’ll use the space. Consider your workflow, your preparation area, coffee-making station and whether you’ll ever use your island as a work-from-home space — everything you can to make sure you get your plumbing and power supplies in the right place. From deciding whether you’ll have an integrated microwave or need to add a counter top plug to picking a place for your toaster to sit, the more you can envisage now the better prepared you’ll be for these decisions down the line.
Always Hire An Expert
Looking at the bigger picture, the smartest investment you can make at the beginning of your new kitchen project is bringing on an expert design and installation team. Renovating a kitchen is a massive project full of complex stages throughout the process, from wiring, plumbing and ventilation to getting an expert’s vision on how to best use your space.
At Olive & Barr, as well as our free design service, we also offer an on-site kitchen design service, meaning we’ll come to your home and help design your perfect kitchen, taking into consideration everything, from your personality to the practicality of your day-to-day needs. On top of this, we also offer a top-quality kitchen installation service led by our team with over 30 years experience installing handmade, in-frame kitchens. That’s what allows us to consistently provide the very best quality right the way through your project.
Have A Budget And Stick To It
This may sound like obvious advice, but one of the most common mistakes during a home renovation is going over budget. That’s why you should never-ever start a kitchen renovation project without having a plan in mind and a carefully considered budget that accounts for furniture, installation and contents. Beyond that, make sure you understand the quality of the service you are getting, as well as the materials and appliances you have chosen. For example, at Olive & Barr, we design and make our kitchens with the utmost care, taking pride in the level of attention shown by our cabinet makers, designers and installation experts alike. So much so, all of our handmade kitchens come with a 15 year guarantee.
Timeless Over Trends
Following the latest kitchen trends is impossibly tempting, but if popcorn ceilings, artex walls, beaded curtains, carpeted bathrooms and taxidermy are anything to go by, trends very rarely date well. Thankfully, this expert guide to creating a timeless kitchen will help you design a space that is forever in vogue. From choosing a Shaker-style kitchen to picking a subtle colour scheme, to opting for brass hardware, we recommend opting for timeless and classic choices and then finding ways to have fun within these parameters.