We all want more and more from our kitchens and designing a new one is probably the largest project any of us will undertake so it’s important to get it right. There are some basic designs principles which you can apply to your own home so follow our simple guide and get inspired.
Choose your style
Before you do anything spend some time thinking about what style you want in your kitchen as this will govern almost all your subsequent choices. Unless you are very certain about your own style then it’s important to spend time seeking inspiration.
Spend the months before you embark on a new design project simply gathering ideas. Keep a file for magazine cuttings, samples and colour swatches and take inspiration from the world around you.
Set up a project file where you can keep everything you collect in one place. This will make life much easier when you are searching for that phone number, quote or paint name.
Take photos of anything that inspires you – if you’re out and about and you see something you like get out your phone or camera and snap away.
Get inspiration from friends’ houses, stylish shops, antique stalls, museums and art galleries. All of these are great places for inspiration on colour, displaying collectables and creating an overall style. Historic houses are great places for ideas and they often have incredible kitchens which are a brilliant source of inspiration particularly if you like the country look.
Designers love using a mood board because it allows them to show ideas visually and create a sense of mood that can be conveyed easily to others. It can be very hard to communicate exactly what ‘look’ we want but if we can show a designer a mood board it will help the design process because ideas can be shared.
A mood board allows a level of tangibility and the board or its contents can be moved around to allow you and your designer to play with lots of ideas. Mood boards work best when there are lots of interesting samples and swatches added so collect as much as you can as part of your research. Most companies offer these for free so don’t be shy.
How to create a mood board
Once you have collected an array of samples and colour swatches you need something to display them on. A visit to your local art or craft shop is a good place to start and staff should be able to help. Boards can be made using extra thick mounting card and we recommend the standard A3 size which allows lots to be pinned or stuck on.
Paint your board in your chosen base colour if you have decided or use the board to help you choose by using cut-outs from paint catalogues. Add any other samples you come across or take photos and then stick on using glue or drawing pins. Include flooring, tiles, worktop and fabric samples and try to aim for a cohesive design without clashing. A single magazine photo that encapsulates the look you want can be included as a focal point.
Once your board is finished keep it in the kitchen for a few days to see if any elements need to be changed and don’t forget to take it with you when you meet your kitchen designer.
Pinterest is a social network that allows us to visually share images and things we love by posting images on a virtual mood board. If you haven’t come across Pinterest, it’s a visual feast with hundreds of gorgeous images to browse and is particularly useful for interior design projects. If you are browsing online and stumble across an image you love you can ’pin’ it and keep all your images in one place and then share them. It’s free and easy to set up an account and all you need is an email address. Visit www.pinterest.com to get started.
It’s all in the planning
Once you have chosen the look or style of your kitchen, you can start on the nitty gritty of how to interpret that style into your own space. Understanding and working with the space you have is the key to a successful design.
Structural – do you need an extension or want to change the levels. This will need professional advice from architects and builders.
Layout – most kitchen planners and designers work around a loose triangle of the sink, oven and fridge as this has proved to be the most ergonomically efficient for most kitchens. Work with your designer to come up with a layout that reflects how you will be using your new kitchen.
Colour – a very important decision which will affect the overall look and feel of the kitchen. Experiment with sample pots painted on A4 sheets of paper which can be moved around the room to give you an idea of how the changing light will affect the colour.
A base colour will cover most of your surface area but you can also use an accent colour which can be introduced in smaller areas like tiles. You can be bold with colour and use a striking shade for an island unit or splashback but remember that you will live with your choice for a while so it needs to be well-chosen and not on a whim of the latest fashion.
Texture – a key element of any design and in the kitchen you can introduce texture most obviously with your choice of cabinetry and worktops. Do you want a sleek, smooth finish or does the warmth of wood appeal to you? Don’t forget flooring and any areas where fabric can be introduced to add more textural detail.
Lighting – an often overlooked area but hugely important to the overall effectiveness of your kitchen. Poor lighting is difficult to work in so speak to your designer to make sure you have good overhead, spot and task lighting options incorporated into your plans.
Appliances – there is a bewildering choice of appliances and it is easy to get carried away so make a check-list about what is essential for you and get recommendations from your kitchen designer.
See our guide on choosing the perfect oven.
Have fun. A new kitchen is always an exciting project so enjoy the challenge and get planning!
If you would like to talk to use about your new kitchen then please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.