Most householders are unfamiliar with buying a new kitchen…
After all, it’s unlikely that we will have to do it several times in a lifetime. So it’s natural to feel daunted by all the choice and pitfalls. An expense of this size is not to be undertaken lightly, so the more help and advice available the better.
Before you buy a new kitchen, think carefully about what you really need. Or you could end up with something totally unsuitable. Work out what works well and what doesn’t in your present kitchen. Then make notes for your kitchen retailer so a new kitchen can be tailored to your precise specifications.
What to consider:
- The style of your kitchen
- The layout of your kitchen
- Fitted kitchens
The style of your kitchen.
When choosing a new kitchen, there are many different styles and materials to select from. From ultra-contemporary to traditional farmhouse style kitchens,
Like in any other industry, kitchens have their fashions too. In recent years there has been a shift from traditional detailing towards a more modern, cleaner look.
At present, the most popular look is the high gloss unit. Which is available in many different colour options and offers a very simple, clean look. A recent survey revealed that 38% of people having a new kitchen would choose a contemporary wooden finish. And 26% would choose a contemporary high gloss kitchen.
White and cream are still the most popular colours…
Totalling 62% of the people surveyed, with 5% choosing black, 4% blue, 3% red and 26% preferring another colour.
Grainy woods have also been a recent trend. And a cherry wood finish is rising in sales along with the more unusual woods including: apple wood, pear wood and bamboo!
Simple stainless steel handles enhance the effect and make a compact kitchen look larger too. And there are even drawers available now that can open with a simple push, so handles are no longer needed!
Stainless steel is still a major trend in both modern and traditional kitchens at present…
And it is likely to remain a strong influence in kitchens for some time to come.
Granite has also become much more popular as a worktop material. A large 47% of those surveyed preferred a granite worktop. With 11% choosing wood. And 10% preferring a composite material such as Corian.
If you’re thinking of buying a new kitchen, make sure it’s one which will be a real showstopper .Try to get an idea of what you like before you visit your kitchen retailer by looking for inspiration in home interest magazines. Or even here on our website. And take along pictures of the kitchens that you like.
The layout of your kitchen.
There are a number of recognised types of kitchen layout (as seen below). Most new kitchens will fall into one of these basic designs. And your kitchen retailer will help you to decide on the design which will best suit your needs and space.
The simplest of layouts is the single galley for narrow rooms. Suitable for two people to use at once, single galleys are best with a sink in the middle of the run. And built-in or built-under appliances to make the most of valuable space. There should be adequate “setting down” space beside or above the oven. Plus an area of usable worktop between the hob and sink.
DOUBLE GALLEY KITCHENS
A double galley, with two facing lines of cupboards, is slightly more versatile. With the possibility of the sink opposite the hob, providing the room is not a through room. There should be at least 1.2m between the two lines of units.
An L-shaped kitchen has cupboards along two adjacent walls and benefits from a lack of through-traffic. The hob, fridge and sink should ideally be separated by areas of worktop, to provide adequate preparation space. A corner cupboard gives the opportunity for a generous amount of accessible storage. Either by use of a carousel or a magic corner.
U-shaped kitchens are also an extremely effective design solution. By utilising three full walls of a kitchen. The cooker, sink and fridge can all be surrounded by a large amount of worktop. And there is usually sufficient space for a good selection of appliances and cupboards too. A peninsular unit that juts out into the centre of the room from one end of the L- or U-shape is a particularly effective way of creating additional storage and food preparation space too. They are often used to separate cooking and dining areas or to create a breakfast bar arrangement. It is also worth making cupboards accessible from either side for crockery and cutlery.
The remaining standard design is the island layout. This is only suitable for larger rooms. Careful planning is needed to prevent wasted journeys around the island though. But it can be used for either storage, a hob, or a sink. And a stunning cooker canopy can make a good focal point of this area of the kitchen.
The average kitchen is of a modest size. Glossy magazines and catalogues feature kitchens that are large and this makes smaller ones seem inadequate. However, good kitchen designers relish the challenge of small kitchens and take pride in creating space. While at the same time, incorporating generous storage facilities and all the appliances you want.
Quality kitchen manufacturers make a huge range of cabinet sizes to order too. So there is no need to waste precious inches with filler panels. Ingenious internal fittings give easy access within cabinets and again ensure that every inch of space is available for use.
Wall cabinets can be extended to reach the ceiling to accommodate rarely used items and reduce dust traps.
Choose light colours such as white, cream, pastels, pine or limed wood effects. Or go for a high gloss unit as this will help reflect the light. Worktops have a strong visual impact and they too should be light in colour. Giving a mild contrast to your choice of cabinet. You can then go for stronger contrasts with your choice of accessories or tiles.
There are even special cupboards and hardware for cutlery, spices and implements between the floor and wall cabinets. The wasted space at plinth level too, can be fitted with drawers or even heaters.
Special slim-line appliances offer modern facilities in a reduced space too. Cooling and laundry appliances can now be stacked. And you may even select a double oven that fits under the worktop. A two ring hob will allow extra worktop surface and glazed wall cabinets will give the impression of more space.
Appliance brands also offer fantastic built-in steam ovens, coffee machines and microwaves will leave your worktop clutter free. Some national kitchen manufacturers are even installing flat-screen TVs within wall units to offer you a hi-tech kitchen in a small space!
At one time having a fitted kitchen meant a standard kitchen that looked the same as everyone else’s. Furniture consisted of ‘boxes’ which all had exactly the same front. Even appliances were integrated into the design by being concealed behind matching doors.
But the choice and quality of fitted kitchens has changed considerably. And fitted kitchens are now much more flexible and interesting thus allowing designers to be more adventurous. Mixing and contrasting for a truly exciting look.
Kitchen manufacturers now encourage the use of different effects by offering a choice of styles and colours that can be mixed and matched to provide an individual style to your kitchen.
Different heights are also becoming more popular, with high breakfast bars and lower storage units being incorporated into a design to add yet another element of interest and contrast.
This allows the option of taking one common design and mixing the colours, which is very popular at the moment. For example, you can have contrasting wall and floor units or even mix a number of different colours randomly to create a bold, vivid look. The options are now much more diverse – you can literally choose from hundreds of standard patterns.
Appliances are not necessarily hidden away anymore in the kitchen.
And you will find that microwaves, ovens, steam ovens, coffee makers, washing machines and fridge freezers are not only designed to be on show, but to stand out and make a statement!
Ovens and microwaves are ultra contemporary and stylish, with simple designs in stainless steel and black. Freestanding range cookers, washing machines and dishwashers are available in a large variety of colours or even patterned, and the fridge freezer has almost become a measure of wealth – the bigger, broader and bolder, considered the better!