The kitchen is one of the most used rooms in any household. Its design can provide a defining space for a home, whether a homeowner is looking to create a modern look, a period kitchen or a more country design. Building or renovating a kitchen involves plumbing, tiling, carpentry and other specialties. As a result, many homeowners opt to use a professional kitchen fitter to help design and build their kitchen.
Careful planning is needed before starting any kitchen installation project. When planning a new kitchen, everything from design to costs must be taken into account. Consider how you use your kitchen and what layout would work best for a new or refurbished kitchen, including how you use worktop spaces, the amount of storage required, the location or appliances and other day-to-day needs.
If designing an entirely new kitchen, make sure the number of sockets and the location of all amenities reflect how you currently use a kitchen. The positions of sockets and plumbing as well as doors and windows will affect the layout, especially in a preexisting kitchen where structural works are not being undertaken.
In addition to undertaking installation work, a number of companies can assist with planning a kitchen. For example, B&Q, John Lewis and Wickes offer planning services to homeowners. Local kitchen fitters also provide planning services. Many kitchen installers also maintain showrooms with sample layouts and designs, which can help provide inspiration.
Kitchen Design Ideas
A fitted kitchen is a good solution when building or rebuilding an entire kitchen. A fitted kitchen can involve only cabinet and worktop spaces, or can be a more comprehensive makeover with new flooring, wall tiles and appliances. The extent of the project will depend on individual needs and budgets.
Fitted kitchens can be entirely bespoke and custom-designed to meet a homeowner's individual needs and design preferences. Alternatively, homeowners might opt for a pre-manufactured fitted kitchen. Pre-manufactured fitted kitchens feature common materials, colours and designs. In many cases, pre-manufactured kitchens can be altered to fit your space.
It is important to land on a design concept before selecting a pre-manufactured fitted kitchen or designing a bespoke fitted kitchen. A kitchen can reflect a country or rustic design for a rural feel. Kitchens can also feature contemporary designs with modern materials and lines. For heritage properties, a kitchen can also reflect a period design with Victoria, Georgian or other period features. A kitchen installer or planner can help determine the appropriate colours, contrasts and lines to deliver a modern or traditional look.
Kitchen Layout Ideas
An along-one-wall kitchen features cabinets, worktops and appliances fixed along one wall. This type of layout is also known as a one-wall or Pullman kitchen. This option is convenient for small spaces, including smaller flats where the kitchen shares space with living areas. A one-wall design might also feature an island for additional work and storage space.
Galley kitchens feature worktops, appliances and storage areas along two parallel walls. A galley design is lean and ideal for smaller spaces. It builds on the one-wall kitchen concept by using walls for fixing cabinets and appliances. They are designed as a walk-though corridor between two spaces rather than as a separate, dedicated room.
An L-shaped kitchen makes the most of corner space. It is often used for medium-sized kitchens, but is also found in smaller spaces where maximising space is desirable. This layout features countertops along two adjoining walls to form an L. An L-shaped kitchen design might not be ideal for a larger space where homeowners have more space to be creative and add extra features, such as an island.
U-shaped kitchens has cabinets, appliances and worktops along three walls. This layout creates a work triangle without any obstructions, such as a door. This design is a good option for homes with dedicated spaces or rooms for a kitchen without through-traffic.
A free-standing kitchen creates a relaxed look and often reflects a more contemporary design. Free-standing kitchens often feature moveable furniture rather than cabinets and islands that are fixed to a wall or floor.
For larger spaces, homeowners have greater flexibility to create a unique kitchen with a lot of workspace and storage areas. A larger kitchen can feature an island for addition work and storage space, in addition to cabinets and workspace along walls. An island can also be used for appliances, such as an oven or sinks.
Finding Kitchen Fitters
When choosing a contractor for a kitchen installation, ask friends and family for recommendations. Good kitchen fitters provide free estimates and planning advice. Meet with prospective kitchen fitters and ask questions about their qualifications, insurance coverage and experience. Always get at least three quotes from prospective installers and request references. Choose among businesses that have been operating locally for several years and maintain a local address. Also, avoid contractors that demand up-front payments in full or cash payments.
The Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installers is a good resource when looking for experienced and trusted kitchen fitters. The institute is a membership-based trade association that sets installation standards and supports installation professionals.