Is there anything more exciting than buying a new kitchen? I might be biased, yes, but seriously, after weeks (if not months or even years!) of thinking about what your dream kitchen could look like, hundreds of images saved to your Pinterest and Instagram boards, plus serious house envy when flicking through pages of magazines, getting to the point of getting plans on paper and signing off your new space is up there with the top house renovation goals.
Once you’ve researched kitchen layouts, thought about what style of cabinetry and colours you like, set a budget and discovered showrooms near to you, you’ll be onto a winner. Just remember these six things when buying a new kitchen, too, put together by design aficianado and @kbbmagazine journalist Charlotte Luxford…
Find a designer you like early
Naked Kitchens’ design director Jayne Everett recommends involving a designer as early as possible, as while lead times for manufacturing may be a few months, it can take double the time to finalise the design before the order is confirmed and made. “Even if you have a few months before you need the kitchen, it’s best to put all these timelines into your designer’s thinking so that no nasty surprises occur! Also make your designer aware as soon as possinle if your project is experiencing any delays. For example, if your kitchen is due to be delivered but the environment isn’t ready for it to be stored in, it could damage the cabinetry due to warping. If they know in advance, they can hold off assembly or delivery.”
Think about your kitchen layout for life today
Whole families are spending more time at home together, which is having a huge impact on kitchen design. If you’re reconfiguring your ground-floor space, consider a more fluid open-plan layout so that the living room can become an extension of the kitchen to allow for easy interaction, and make a designated dining space a key priority. Ensure there are break-out areas for work and, if space allows, incorporate a cupboard-style home office with pull-out desk that can be shut away at the end of the day.
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Work the triangle
Most people are aware of the ‘working triangle’ – sink, hob, fridge within close proximity for maximum efficiency – however, it’s really important to take into account prep space, too. You want to make sure there’s enough room to work at within easy distance of each of these three elements. As long as you have a single clear zone for prepping, you might not actually need as much worktop space as you might think.
Try before you buy
Now that kitchen design has largely moved online, it’s never been more important that you get samples of pretty much everything. There’s nothing more disappointing than receiving a long-awaited order to find it’s the wrong colour or the finish isn’t up to scratch. A lot of companies are now offering a larger range of samples, many free or returnable, with quick delivery, to accommodate the current showroom limitations.
Keep it clean
With a fresh focus on hygiene and cleanliness, it’s worth factoring this into your design from the start. Look out for innovations such as Naked Kitchens’ new antibacterial paint additive for cabinetry, which kills 99.9% of bacteria. Tom Howley’s Sandy McConachie also recommends quartz worktops, as its non-porous texture prevents bacterial growth. If space allows, he suggests designing two sink spaces so that general cleanliness of hands and home can be kept separate from food prep.
With restaurants not as accessible, home cooking has become a serious business and family mealtimes more important than ever. If you’re a serious chef, it’s worth splashing out on appliances such as large-capacity fridge-freezers and ovens with a dual-cook functionality that allows you to cook two dishes simultaneously at different temperatures. Also with smaller appliances like stand mixers and coffee machines seeing much more action since lockdown, you may want to consider building in a bi-folding breakfast cupboard that’s easy access but also easier on the eye. The trend for home bars is on the rise too, with many integrating wine fridges and racks into their kitchen design. Open shelving is another must-have, providing storage for cookbooks and a place to grow fresh herbs from scratch.
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Featured image: Martin Moore