Key Things to Consider When Planning a Kitchen
It’s been a while since I’ve written about how we designed our shaker style kitchen (it was in fact one of my first ever blog posts!) and yet it’s still one of my most visited pages on ohsokel.com. You can read our kitchen choices to help you plan yours here.
I also have a kitchenware collection as part of my unique chic homeware business where you’ll find beautiful stoneware mugs, table place setting accessories and super cute decor for the perfect shelfie.
We’re due to move house to a renovation project in the autumn so I’ve started to think about the key things to consider when planning a kitchen to make sure we get our design right.
6 years on from our new existing kitchen I still absolutely love it, it hasn’t dated and I wouldn’t change a thing. My aim is to do the same in our next house!
If you’re about to embark on designing a new kitchen, here are some key things to consider to make sure you make the right decisions that you’ll be happy with in years to come:
Think about how you use the space
It’s really important to think about how you live, where the high traffic areas will be and whether you’ll have sufficient space to move around when cooking and prepping (also known as the Kitchen Triangle). This will help determine where to place appliances, plumbing and plug sockets too.
We wanted our kitchen to become the hub of the home where we could socialise, entertain and spend time together as a family. That’s why we created a peninsula with a bar stool so one person can chat to the other when they’re cooking and added a banquette seating area so we can entertain and eat as well as cook in it.
It’s a great spot for doing work and homework too because there’s a lot of light and you get a view of the garden.
Our kitchen really isn’t big at all but we have managed to maximise it to meet our needs and create an indoor-outdoor living space by adding bifold doors to connect the kitchen to the garden.
If you have a bigger budget it’s obviously worth considering whether you extend your kitchen and/or knock through existing walls to open the space up. Open plan living is hugely popular and it’s easy to understand why!
Prioritise sufficient workspace
Once you’ve established how you’ll use the space it’ll be easier to plan out your workspace. We ideally wanted a kitchen island (which I’m hoping we’ll have in the new house!) but there wasn’t enough space so we compromised with a peninsula instead. Both options provide more countertop, storage and opportunities to socialise around it.
According to kitchen designer Tom Howley ‘‘The importance of walkway space should be a key consideration. When designing your layout, always leave a metre of walkway space either one or two sides of your worktop, island, or peninsula counter,’ ‘This is a functionally and aesthetically effective dimension to keep in mind.’
When considering the type of worktop you choose, it’s important to think about durablility along with heat and stain resistance as well as the obvious ‘look’ and value for money.
We chose quartz because of its excellent quality and beautiful design so it ticked both boxes! 6 years on it looks the same as it did when fitted and I’m so glad we ran it behind the hob to act as a backsplash as well as the windowsill.
The only thing that does annoy us is the join at the peninsula because it collects grime and crumbs so ideally in our next kitchen we’ll have one clean piece of quartz if possible.
Consider clever storage solutions
Larders are becoming hugely popular, as are floor to ceiling units as both maximise the space and storage. Because our kitchen is fairly small we had to really work hard to ensure we had adequate storage.
We achieved this by having lift up bench seating around the banquette for things like dog food and less-used items such as cake tins and barbecue utensils.
Behind the banquette are standard push-close kitchen cupboards that have been built in to look like a panelled wall and this was an absolute game changer! In here we have wine glasses, casserole dishes, ‘posh crockery’ and cookbooks. We also have a USB charging port in there.
I’ve shared our dimensions and storage ideas for the kitchen banquette here.
Above the integrated fridge is another storage cupboard for our baking stuff.
Choose your cabinetry style wisely
Choose a style of cabinetry that won’t date and that matches your existing decor and style of house. If your home is really contemporary it may be wise to stick with sleek door fronts, whereas in a traditional cottage this may not work.
Our new-build home was inevitably a bit void of character and my personal style is very transitional as seen in many American homes, so a shaker style unit was the perfect choice for us. Because the transitional style marries traditional with modern it tends to not date either.
Be mindful of the colours you choose
Going crazy with colour in accessories and even wallpaper (we went bold tropical leaf print for a period of time!) allows you to add personality and change things up at far less expense that going crazy with colour on things like cabinets and tiles. You can see the changing faces of our kitchen here!
Blues and greens are becoming a very popular colour choice for cabinets and I’m not saying don’t choose them, just be absolutely 100% sure that you won’t get bored of it when your style and preferences change. It’s also worth bearing in mind the size of the space; light colours will inevitably create a lighter space, in turn making it look bigger.
If you have a really small kitchen you could even consider a mirrored backsplash to bounce the light around.
I’m personally a huge fan of sticking with classic neutral shades for expensive permanent pieces and having fun with the easily changeable accessories
Whites, greys and creams can be classic, modern, transitional or boho and scandi in style so you have versatile choices with these shades. Adding texture and interest through statement lighting, hardware and taps, and accessories is where you can elevate this look.
I’ve written an article on how to style your kitchen like a magazine to help you with the finishing touches once your new kitchen is in and my kitchenware collection is full of beautiful pieces for styling perfection!
I hope these key things to consider when planning a kitchen was useful and I can’t wait to share our next kitchen journey when we (hopefully!) move.