Having produced and installed kitchen designs in Bath for the past 14 years, we thought it helpful to present tips and advice to help you with your kitchen renovation.
Most people crave open-plan living; a family hub where everyone can cook whilst enjoying each other’s company. Perhaps you do too. So we produced this blog based on our experiences to lead you through a summary of basic practical steps to successful kitchen design.
As you read this blog, jot down essential points to use in your own checklist. Then you’ll be sure that everything is covered.
We undertake kitchen design in Bath and Bristol and have done so for over 14 years. Ours is a total service, producing the design and overseeing installation by local trades. If any building work is required, we manage that too. Whilst you may have an idea about your cabinets and appliances, we specify everything: construction, plumbing, heating, joinery, lighting and electrics, decoration, flooring and everything else required for the complete kitchen design. Please see a selection of our kitchen renovations.
Kitchen Design Principles
The basic kitchen design process is as follows:
- Specify your personal requirements for a new kitchen.
- Plan your kitchen layout using an online program or scaled drawing.
- Show specific cabinets and appliances on your drawing to scale.
- Overlay your electrical and lighting design.
- Select worktop and splashback.
- Define all other requirements: flooring, heating, paint scheme, home entertainment.
Because ours is a city of such architectural diversity, kitchen design in Bath poses an interesting challenge. Most of our designs are contemporary in nature although the occasional classic twist works well as in the example above.
Your Requirement for a New Kitchen
Write down what you want from your kitchen: how you would use it; what works and doesn’t work with the existing space. List and measure what you need to fit in it. List your likes and dislikes. Also, highlight any special features like a reduced height working surface. If the kitchen is to be part of an extension or knock-through, then you’ll need to consider building requirements too. Your written brief will clarify matters in your own mind, and provide background for discussion with professionals.
For our clients, most of whom are looking for kitchen design in Bath, we provide a briefing questionnaire which leads them through this process.
Above all, we believe that a kitchen should be as low maintenance as possible. You should make this part of your requirement; to be easy to keep clean and hygienic. In this page and the links to other pages on kitchen design, you’ll find many references to features that make this possible. Avoid grout lines in high grime areas, avoid timber in wet areas, avoid ledges, joints and small surfaces that will pick up grease and dirt.
Flush-mounted appliances reduce dirt traps; lay on door designs allow you to sweep out crumbs without getting trapped; flat panels have no grooves or mouldings to catch dirt. Porcelain floor tiles are very easy to wipe clean as is a glass splashback. There are many choices you can make in your kitchen design if you think ahead to cleanability and you will be saving yourself hours of difficult and messy jobs over years to come.
With a list of requirements for your new kitchen design, the next step is to lay out the floorplan, which is usually dictated by the size and shape of the room, its windows and doors, boiler location if applicable, and how you want to use the space. L-shaped, U-shaped, and galley kitchens are common, increasingly within a form of open-plan kitchen-diner.
An island might be appropriate for a large space, but be warned; islands look great in catalogues because they fill the foreground of a photo. But you need at least 1m all round for access and so they demand much more space than might first appear, particularly if you want to fit in a dining table as well.
Several of our clients had set their hearts on an island, but we had to show them with scale drawings that it wouldn’t work in practice.
There are plenty of free, easy-to-use kitchen planning tools on line. Many DIY shops offer one if you search in their menu for planning or kitchen design. Most kitchen units are a standard size so you can use one of these on-line planners without restricting yourself to a specific brand. Remember that, at this stage, you are only producing a space model; later you can adjust your plan to suit specific units from your chosen supplier.
Time spent learning to use a simple on-line 3D computer tool is time well spent because you will make a lot of changes as you go along. It’s much easier to do this on a computer than with bits of sticky paper. If you do resort to pencil and paper, remember to consider room features that won’t show up on an aerial plan view – like a sloping ceiling, a beam, a step or low window.
If you plan to extend or otherwise modify the space, and an architect is drawing up plans, make sure he or she designs the kitchen completely to your requirements. Often they include a space marked kitchen with no detail. This might not actually work for you, so lay it out to see that it functions with proposed new doors, windows and other features.
We see architect’s drawings with a notional kitchen shown, but it is so important that the kitchen is designed fully. This may even mean modifying the drawings to suit the kitchen, as we advised in a recent project. In this case, our clients’ architect had failed to consider how the run of kitchen units would be installed. It was only a simple tweak but saved significant extra cost and difficulty in installation later.
An extension offers scope to design your kitchen with fewer constraints. Indeed, most of our work involves some form of construction in addition to the kitchen itself.
With a kitchen design in Bath in particular, we often need to submit a planning application to the Council. This is part of our standard process; we cover everything in delivering the finished renovation to our clients.
Kitchen Layout and Equipment
If you have a small kitchen, consider fitting wall units only on one wall, with glass fronted units or open shelves on the other. This will prevent the space feeling claustrophobic. Also see whether you can open doors outwards to create more usable space in the kitchen itself.
With your basic layout in mind, you will have decided on free-standing or integrated units and appliances (or a bit of both). You will need to fit some of the following onto your floorplan:
- microwave or combination microwave oven
- warming drawer
- cooker hood / extractor
- fridge freezer
- sink with tap
If you can’t find space for a washing machine and tumble drier elsewhere in your home, then you may have to include these in the kitchen design too. Consider stacking these appliances in a large cupboard to keep them from view and provide more storage in the kitchen, if you have no utility area.
Don’t forget your surface equipment – toaster, kettle, coffee-maker, which take up space and will need an adjacent socket. In planning their positions, make sure you still have sufficient clear working surface, particularly near the oven where you need to be place hot items quickly and safely, and around food preparation areas. Allow at least 600mm of clear surface on both sides of a hob for this reason, and preferably a lot more.
Kitchens and the Working Triangle
Conventional wisdom speaks of the working triangle: fridge – oven/hob – sink. It is sensible to keep this triangle as small as possible to save walking miles whilst preparing a meal; but don’t be completely led by it; unless you have a really large kitchen, a few extra metres doesn’t make much difference.
What you should focus on, however, is having items close to hand where they are needed; so pots, pans and cooking utensils adjacent to the hob; cups by the kettle; the bread bin by the toaster; and so on. If the hob and ovens are separate, keep them close; you should avoid walking around the kitchen with oven-hot items.
Kitchen Sinks and Taps
For your sink and tap, decide whether you want a single, a bowl-and-a-half, or a double sink and with drainer to the left or right. To help you decide, if the dishwasher is to the left, this may be the natural direction of the drainer. Different sized sinks fit different base units so check whether you need a 600, 800, or 1000 sink unit. Choose as large a sink as you sensibly can.
Storage is also key. You may find that you have the same storage requirements in a new kitchen as in the old, so it is a case of totting up existing shelf, cupboard and drawer space and working out the numbers and types of new cabinets that provide this; then map items from old storage to new storage. Other storage options include ceiling hooks, pan-danglers and wine racks which could make use of those small filler niches around the kitchen as in the image below.
With the general arrangement decided, we now lead you through other aspects of kitchen design before you finalise your specification, make your final choices and understand the full cost.
Whilst planning your kitchen design, give some thought to the area just outside: if you need a PIR floodlight fitted, add a separate switch to your kitchen design for manual use. If you could use an outside tap (remember this should be unsoftened water), add it to your requirement. If an external socket would be useful along with some attractive plant lights, add these to your electrical design. We discuss these further in the individual sections.
Kitchen design in Bath
When we produce a kitchen design in Bath, our clients ask how this might affect the property value in the city. Local estate agents will tell you that the money you spend on a kitchen will be reflected in the increase in price. They might also tell you that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses, because that’s what influences a buyer most. So by spending on your kitchen, you should see a comparable rise in value of your home. If you feel you may need some help with your own kitchen design in Bath, please look into our kitchen design service.
A kitchen can be an expensive investment, so getting the design right before you start is critical. We hope you have found our practical guidance of interest, whether you are searching for a kitchen design in Bath or elsewhere. If you need more information please get in touch through our contact page, and feel free to peruse our portfolio. You can also read our guidance on the cost of a new kitchen.
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