So, you need a new kitchen? Perhaps the old one has already outlived its usefulness; you are moving out or starting a major renovation? What important aspects should you think about?
First of all, set up the budget, add 15-20% as a buffer for unforeseen expenses (if you don’t use it, great! But if you have to, good you thought about it in advance) – the proposed amount of spending will pay off any unexpected costs. You’re taking a great risk if you focus on the cost of the kitchen “per meter” or “per unit”: because you get a very approximate price, which, as a rule, does not include the cost of household appliances, the inside of cabinets and other accessories. In fact, the cost of the project is very dependent on the “little things” and can easily double in size. Before going to the kitchen store, draw an approximate sketch of your future kitchen, place the equipment, appliances and the required number of storage places. According to the sketch, an experienced sales assistant will calculate your estimates within half an hour. Having estimates from different stores on hand, you can already choose and compare the best option.
1. YOUR LIFESTYLE
When planning a kitchen, you are not only considering the technical capabilities of the room, but also your needs. Are you going to cook a lot? If yes – you can not save on the size of the working area and hob. Maybe you should think about additional built-in appliances – for example, a large refrigerator and freezer. On the contrary, if you are not a fan of sophisticated cooking, you can get away with a minimal set: two hobs, sink, refrigerator, and microwave.
Another important question to consider: will the kitchen have a dining area, or is it just a cooking place? The dining area can be organized in different ways: like a regular table, a corner with a sofa, a separate or attached bar counter. If the family has children, replacing a traditional table with a bar counter, alas, will not work.
2. ROOM SIZE
When choosing kitchen furniture, “measure twice cut once”. This is not only about ordering kitchen units of the required dimensions. The most favorable shape and even the design of the kitchen are directly related to the size of the room. If you have a small kitchen of regular shape (or an open space in which a place is allocated for the kitchen) – it is better to stick to the L-shaped layout, if it is elongated, do it in two lines. If the kitchen is large – feel free to plan an island, it is very convenient. When arranging objects, consider the light, the size of the corridors and passages, and try to avoid sharp corners sticking out in the way.
Tips: In a small kitchen, modern minimalist kitchen facades with light colors will look good. Dark and warm hues of the kitchen will visually reduce the room. And the classic furniture loaded with details will simply oversaturate the space. Classic is the choice for a spacious kitchen with large open spaces.
3. KITCHEN LAYOUT
The L-shaped arrangement of the working area is considered the most convenient, especially in small rooms with good shape. It allows you to use the corners and conveniently build a sink-cooker-refrigerator route. Additionally, in the kitchen with this position of furniture there is a place for a dining area or even an island.
The galley layout kitchen (optimal for elongated rooms) and is useful in terms of zone and object location. Please note: the passage width should be at least 1.2 meters, otherwise it will be difficult to open the cabinet doors. Also, it should not exceed 2.5 meters, otherwise, you will become a winner in interval running from the refrigerator to the stove. A galley shaped kitchen is an excellent option for a walk-through passage if you need access to a garden or backyard.
In a narrow room, it is advised to make one wall kitchen. The linear arrangement is also good for small rooms, where the kitchen will rarely be used, or a large number of equipment and storage areas are not needed. This option is suitable for a student, young professional or single person.
4. READY MADE OR BESPOKE/CUSTOM MADE KITCHEN?
Ready-made kitchens are usually cheaper than custom-made ones. In addition, you do not need to wait. You can come to the store, plan a layout and come back home with a whole set of cabinets. The disadvantage is – you will have to focus on the standard sizes of cabinets and the existing space for appliances. Empty spaces may remain in the kitchen line, such as empty corners where the unit does not fit. Actually, the choice of cabinets will be greatly affected by the manufacturer’s imagination and the stock of the warehouse.
The custom-made kitchen allows you to take into account all these aspects – unusual space and sizes, protrusions and complex shape. Alas, you will have to pay substantially more.
5. WATER AND GAS
Before fitting kitchen units in place, it is necessary to solve a number of technical issues. First, where will the sink be? It is advisable to install it near the points of connection to the water supply and sewage systems, or no further than 3-4 meters from them. Of course, transferring the sink will incur additional costs for the purchase and installation of pipes. You can only move the water supply point further if you buy an expensive water pump (also, you will have a difficult installation). When planning an island kitchen and a sink in the center – think in advance about the water supply and drains!
To change gas pipes in the room, additional funds will be required, and also supported project documentation and permissions from local authorities. Only registered gas safety specialists from approved organizations can perform this work. If we are talking about a house that is built from scratch, then you must foresee these aspects in the process of planning and before the property construction stage.
Another technical point that is important to think about in advance is the points of connection to electricity. If updating furniture in the kitchen is part of a major renovation, then take care of the required number of sockets and their convenient location in advance. If you just want to replace one cabinet with another, you will either have to put up with it or spend money on transferring connection points.
Electricity will be needed for all household appliances. In fact, it is forbidden to connect the refrigerator through an extension cord and the plug should be a meter away from the place where the device will be physically installed. Also, the hob is connected through a particularly powerful 3.5V socket.
Ideally, sockets for dishwashers, ovens and other appliances should be hidden from view behind the bottom line of the cabinets or behind the cabinets. But sockets for a kettle, food processor, blender, toaster, and other small appliances are best to have in easy access.
There are many diverse solutions that allow you to preserve the look of a beautiful kitchen front, such as integrating sockets into kitchen furniture (from behind). Retractable designs are very convenient, a simpler option is small storage with a hinged door. Finally, you can fix overhead sockets to the bottom of the upper cabinets, but to use them all the time will not be very convenient.
7. HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES
Another question that you need to decide in advance is what kind of household appliances you will install in the kitchen. Do you need a washing machine and dishwasher (and is there a room for each), a microwave, a slow cooker, and a breadmaker? Which of these devices will be built-in, and which ones will stand alone? Each option has pros and cons. Free-standing equipment is cheaper, but the integrated one is more ergonomic. The appliances, hidden behind take up less space and allow you to move much more freely. So, the built-in oven can be in the cupboard at the chest level, and a small refrigerator can fit in the lower tier of the kitchen.
8. BUILDING A WORKING TRIANGLE
The location of the sink, refrigerator, and hob should ideally fit into an equilateral triangle with sides of 1.2 – 2.7 meters. If the distance between the elements is less – in the kitchen you will be confined, if it is more – the cooker will get exhausted running around while preparing soup. A well-thought-out arrangement allows you to save the cook’s energy, making their work more convenient.
The working triangle is optimally aligned when planning a galley kitchen or in a kitchen with an island. The angular layout is quite convenient for the cook in this sense. A galley kitchen will not allow you to significantly save energy. The only option is to install the refrigerator separately from the line, closing the triangle.
9. CHOOSING A SINK
Do not save on the size of the sink. If the area of the kitchen allows you to install a large sink – use it, it is always more convenient than a small one. The best option: a sink with two bowls. You will soak and sort in it, use special devices like a colander or wash dishes in four hands at the same time.
Choose models with a deep bowl – it will be more convenient to rinse baking sheets or large pans.
Consider the location: try not to push the sink into the corner – this, of course, saves space in the kitchen, but is extremely inconvenient to use. An ideal place is under a window or on a separate island.
10. USE CORNERS
Corner kitchens are more difficult to design than “straight” ones. First, you need to determine the design of the corner cabinet: it can be a regular rectangular unit without one door, an L-shaped case or a pentagonal one. A pentagonal kitchen cabinet (pentagonal, with a sloping angle) is a bit more expensive and takes up a bit more space, but it allows you to more inside storage space: a rotating “carousel”, or even ordinary shelves. In other cases, you will have to buy quite expensive swing-out designs or put up with the fact that the box volume will not be fully utilized, or part of the content will be difficult to access. A stylish solution is the corner drawers. By itself, it will cost more than an ordinary drawer, but you will save on space.
11. ARRANGEMENT OF KITCHEN UNITS
The most space-saving inner version of the kitchen units is ordinary shelves, they are already included in the price of the cabinets. But such a solution is suitable only for the upper line. To get into the lower cabinets, you have to bend a lot to get something from behind. Therefore, for the lower tier, it is better to choose units with drawers.
Take a closer look at the doors. Inexpensive swing doors are not always good, especially in a small kitchen. For the upper tier, vertical opening or sliding doors are much more convenient – alas, they’re more expensive. To balance: get some of the cabinets (often used) equipped with more technological solutions, and those that are used less often should be left with ordinary doors.
When designing a kitchen, do not forget about lighting – especially if you plan to hang cabinets in the upper tier. They will inevitably block the upper lights and it will be dark in the working area. The built-in illumination LED into the cabinets is stylish but not the most cost-saving solution. Perhaps it is worth planning the lighting of this zone in advance and mount additional lights.