Some of you will remember that I began this series earlier this year with a post on the three most important questions you need to answer when it comes to decorating any room in your house. Those questions are Who, What and When and if you ask those – and crucially answer them with honesty – you can avoid many costly mistakes.
In short: WHO is using the room? Is it a family? Or a couple? A family with young children might want to factor in low storage that kids can reach so they can make their own breakfast at the weekend. Is it someone who is always in the kitchen at parties or a person who likes to experiment? You get the drift. Answer the question of who the room is for as the first priority.
The Who then plays into the WHAT. It is someone who likes to cook? Or someone who likes to eat? To microwave or entertain? To bake or to fry? Yes I imagine it’s probably a mix of all of those things but you need to think about it if you want to get it right. For example a cook might want a fancy oven. An eater a breakfast bar and wine fridge. But the person who heats up a quick ready meal and stores their shoes in the oven will have different requirements. The baker might need space for mixers and blenders while the steak lover will need to think about good extractor fans. Do you see?
Finally, once you have established who is doing what you need to think about WHEN. Because this is about paint colours and lighting and the flow of traffic through the space. The kitchen is one of the rooms where the answer is probably – all day. So you need to choose colours that work in both electric and natural light. You need spot lights on dimmers and, if the room is big enough pendants or table lights for ambience. You need to consider if you have to factor in four people shouting and shoving at 7am or two people silkily ignoring each other at 8. Ask these questions, write down the answers and then, and only then. you are ready to plan your kitchen.
To help you further, I have partnered with Naked Kitchens this year and their co-founder, Jayne Everett, has offered her top five tips to help you plan the perfect kitchen below.
I would add one other point to this. This kitchen is for you and how you live. Don’t be afraid to disagree with an architect or a designer because they won’t be living there. You don’t have to be conventional if that’s not how you live – see Jayne’s point on orientation for example.
Start here, says Jayne. There are so many places to look now – Pinterest, Instagram, Houzz and blogs of course. Start here and gather a list of pictures and ideas that you would like to use in your own home. But don’t stop there – you should look outside too. We find some of our best colour combinations come from nature. Our workshop is based on the north Norfolk coast and we see so much beauty there that we know we can translate into kitchen design.
You need to make sure, above all, that the space you are working with is practical for yourself and others. You need to make sure the work area is large enough to be safe. If you have a large family or you like to eat in the kitchen you need to consider how much space you will need, and if you have enough, to be able to do that without being cramped. One way to do this is to imagine yourself in the space thinking about what jobs you need to do in there. It’s also crucial that you don’t just design a kitchen for now but think about the future and how your needs might change. A kitchen is a big investment and you need to make sure it will last for years to come.
You need to think about the flow of your room when you’re designing a kitchen to make sure that all your key appliances are in the appropriate places with sufficient room around them. This makes it a good time to think about updating. There is so much amazing technology out there now that it’s worth taking the time to research what you might want and factor it into your budget. One example is the BORA downdraft extractor and hob. * This is an incredibly clever pice of technology and means you don’t have to compromise the look of your kitchen with an overhead extractor fan, which means you can balance form and function.
Not much you can do about this one but it’s crucially important. If you’re starting from scratch you need to think about window placement and walkways and which parts of the room you want to work in and which to relax in. If, for example, you only sit down to eat at night then think about putting the working part of the kitchen in the lightest part of the room rather than putting the table near the garden when you rarely sit there. Instead put the dining part further back in a darker part of the room and think about adding a breakfast/lunch bar at the lighter, kitchen end.
If you know there are colours or materials that you want to use then don’t compromise on them. This is an important part of the design process and one that you need to get right. You may be able to compromise on a different part if you can’t afford to have everything you want.
*I can’t find a price for the BORA product and as I’m writing on a bank holiday there’s no-one to ring up and ask. Having said that I imagine the usual rules apply – if you have to ask you can’t afford it. Having said that I did a little research and found a similar product made by Caple which costs £2,879. It’s an interesting idea and one I would definitely investigate but remember the extraction working have to go underneath which means you might lose storage or oven space. But you will win on form as you won’t have the overhead extractor cluttering up your sightlines.
**This is part of my paid collaboration with Naked Kitchens. I had included them in a couple of posts as it’s a brand I admire and they approached me about a formal partnership. They offered me some kitchen cabinets from their 80/20 range in return. The work is now done and I will be showing you soon. They gave me ten cupboards, including a dishwasher front and two oven housings. I paid for the installation.