Installation of Karndean Da Vinci stone kitchen flooring

Katie Georgeson is from kitchen appliance manufacturer, Stoves. Here, she shares her top tips for planning the perfect kitchen.

Planning a new kitchen can be one of the most exciting home projects, but it can also be stressful. From picking a designer, to settling on the perfect layout and aesthetic, there will be plenty of things to think about.

If you’re struggling with where to start, there’s no need to fret. I’ve put together a step-by-step guide to ensure your kitchen overhaul is as easy and straightforward as possible.

Assess your current kitchen

The simplest way to decide what to prioritise in your new kitchen is to make a list of what you do and don’t like about your current one. Whether it’s the lack of worktop space, or the distance between your sink and fridge, there are bound to be a few layout elements you want to change.

This will ensure you don’t completely lose aspects of your original kitchen, which will help to keep down costs. It’ll also let you improve the parts which don’t work as well, so you can create an idyllic cooking space for you and your family. If at this stage you decide your kitchen needs big changes, such as removing internal walls, you should then think about getting a structural contractor in to see if this is possible.

Set your budget

Big changes can equate to big price tags, so it’s important that you have an idea of how much you are willing and able to spend. A new kitchen comes at an estimated cost of £8,000, according to Household Quotes, excluding any preparation work like tearing out the old kitchen. Although this figure can be slightly unnerving, understanding the typical costs of your project and setting your own budget will be a good way to avoid any unnecessarily expensive additions.

Once you’ve got the budget sorted, you can then decide on important elements like the layout, appliances and colour schemes. And, if you think rationally, you might be able to cut costs elsewhere to get that ultra-sleek cabinetry you’ve had your eye on.

Think carefully about appliances

Installation of Karndean Tiles in a new kitchen

The appliances you choose will be the heart of your kitchen, particularly if you’re an avid cook. So, it’s worth considering whether you want to go more traditional with freestanding models or add contemporary touches with integrated ones.

Freestanding appliances are typically simpler and more convenient to install, and they can easily be removed if you want to switch them for newer models or designs in the future. In addition, these also benefit from having no height restrictions, so you can choose taller fridges, whereas your choice of integrated appliances will be limited by the design of the cabinetry. Plus, as freestanding appliances don’t require as much installation work, they tend to be a more cost-effective choice.

In contrast, integrated appliances are housed behind cabinets, so they offer a seamless look and can be just what you need if you’re going for a simple, minimalist effect. Integrated designs are extremely clever and can disguise most appliances, ranging from microwaves, dishwashers and even washing machines! So, your kitchen will also look neater and more organised.

Decide which layout you want

The layout of your kitchen should perfectly fit in with your lifestyle. So, if you feel your current set-up lacks a sociable aspect, an open-plan design could be the one for you, as it will allow you to combine cooking and recreational spaces.

If you’re an avid cook, having plenty of cabinetry for storage is likely to be important to you, so a galley kitchen design — where there’s a single run of units filling one wall — might be preferred. Alternatively, if a lack of workspace is bothering you, positioning your units across three walls will give you a handy U-shaped effect. This is also a great way to incorporate the work triangle (where the fridge, sink and hob are all in reach of each other) so your kitchen will be both functional and stylish.

Picking a functional kitchen layout will ensure you create a space you love. And, with possibilities to reconfigure the area completely, you’re sure to achieve the look you want.

Choose materials wisely

Installation of luxury vinyl flooring in a new kitchen

Picking the right materials doesn’t just mean choosing ones that go with your theme, but also ones that will suit your lifestyle. For example, wooden cabinets may look more attractive than laminate ones to you, but the latter tends to be more resistant to scuffs and scratches, as well as being easier to clean.

The flooring you choose can make a huge difference to the look of your kitchen as well. With luxury vinyl tiles, natural stone and a range of hard-wearing woods to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice when picking your new flooring. All of the above will lend different characteristics to your cooking space, so decide whether you want to embrace natural with solid wood or opt for a sleeker look with porcelain tiles. However, be aware that different types of flooring will be more or less suitable for various lifestyles. If you have pets, you might want to pick a hardier surface like stone, as wood will be susceptible to scratches. The same might apply if you host a lot of dinner parties or have a lot of guests, too.

Each flooring style will differ in cost, so be sure to consult your budget at this stage as well. If you’re working to a tight budget, make sure you consider imitation alternatives: for instance, wood-effect flooring will have the same appeal as real hardwood, but is a more affordable option.

When considering a new kitchen, you’re bound to already have some ideas. But, with the help of my guide, you’ll be well equipped for planning and designing your perfect kitchen aesthetic.