4 important things to consider when redesigning a kitchen
The period before work is carried out on a kitchen renovation — when you’re still figuring out what to get and where to put it, as well as the basic colour scheme and materials – is such an exciting time that it’s easy to get a bit carried away. Sometimes it's equally easy to forget about the practicalities of why you are carrying out the renovation in the first place.
It is important to stay grounded if you want your kitchen makeover to be a complete success. Here are four things that everyone should consider before redesigning a kitchen…
Form must follow function
This maxim of modernist design first coined by Louis Sullivan, is especially true when it comes to the kitchen. While you might think it’s a good idea to just place the oven, fridge or freezer wherever it looks good, you actually need to give careful consideration to the practicalities of each item.
The best way to plan your kitchen is to break it up into zones by function, grouping relevant items close together within each zone. For example, a ‘clean up’ zone where you position the sink, dishwasher and bin to speed up cleaning. You also need to create a cooking zone where you place your oven, hob and storage for pots, pans and cooking utensils. The idea is to make the kitchen as practical as possible which, consequently, will create the a more beautiful kitchen.
Remember, you should also position your zones in places that mean you will not have to run around all over the room to do consecutive tasks. For example, you are likely to spend a lot of time going from the food prep zone to the cooking zone, so these areas need to be within a few steps of each other.
You need to work with the space you have
If you’re not increasing the actual size of your kitchen, you need to work with the space available. Even the smallest of kitchens, if intelligently planned, can accommodate most modern amenities, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to magic more room out of thin air.
For instance, fitting an oversized island into the centre of a small kitchen will probably wreck the flow of the room. Work with a kitchen expert who will be able to advise you the best design options for the space you have.
Prioritise your budget
It’s easy to get a bit carried away in all the excitement of dreaming up what your new kitchen will look like, especially if you are trying to keep the project to a tight budget. It’s important to be honest with yourself, as that's the only way you can guarantee a kitchen that you will get the most out of.
If no one in your household really enjoys cooking that much, and you use the kitchen as more of a social space, there’s no point in spending thousands of pounds on a beautiful, top of the line cooker. Instead an inexpensive contemporary range with all the mod cons may do you just fine. This way you’ll have more money to spend in the areas of the kitchen you’re more likely to get use out of such as the social area, or a work space.
Last, but not least, remember to think carefully about where you will put your kitchen’s lighting, and what kind of lighting you want. Lighting is one of the key areas of room design that many homeowners overlook in home improvement projects across the board.
Kitchen designers suggest that in an average sized kitchen you want at least two types of lighting — task lighting and ambient lighting.
Task lighting includes bright overhead illumination that could come from a large pendant or series of recessed LED lights that can be switched on when cooking or cleaning the room.
However, you will also want to include some ambient lighting if you’re intending to use the room as a social space. This is the type of indirect, dimmer, warmer lighting that’s perfect when enjoying a glass of wine and some olives after a long day at work. There are a number of options from upward-facing cabinet mounting lights, to simple floor lamps with special warm-light LED bulbs.
Before you start your kitchen journey
There are many things to think about when considering a full kitchen renovation. From the flooring and backsplash, to the appliances, colours and materials used for your worktop. All this choice makes it easy to lose sight of the original motives behind the project. Did you want to simply modernise your kitchen? Were you looking to make it brighter? Or a better space for socialising? The best way to ensure you achieve your goals is to talk to an expert kitchen designer who can help you get exactly what you want.