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Getting It Just Right

Buying a new kitchen is one of the most exciting projects when it comes to updating your home. But with so much to consider - from layout, the colour scheme through to cabinetry and appliances - it can be overwhelming, not to say expensive and stressful. By following our guide you'll soon be on your way to creating a kitchen for your way of living.

The Milton range at Kitcheners of Hereford

Planning Your New Kitchen
For many of us the kitchen is the most important room in the home as it plays such a central role in modern lifestyles; so when planning a new one it's essential to understand the focus of the room and how it will be used. The starting point is to review the positive and negatives of your current kitchen. This process shouldn't be rushed, spending plenty of time looking carefully at what works well, but more importantly what doesn't work so well and use these experiences to your benefit. Make a note of anything that annoys you - lack of storage or poor lighting for instance. Over a period of time you can gather ideas from magazines, books and tips from friends to compose a wish list, ensuring there's a comprehensive brief for your kitchen designer to work with.

Consider how your kitchen will be used; by whom at what times of the day, and plan the space around the wide-ranging activities that may take place. There are 4 vital zones that will create a natural and efficient flow to your kitchen; cooking, food preparation, wet area and storage. But if your kitchen is going to be a multifunctional living room also consider the space required for dining (informal and/or formal) and a relaxing living area; uniting one space to prepare food, cook, relax, watch TV/DVD's, catch up on paperwork, entertain or simply chill out. Most importantly your kitchen should reflect and accommodate your lifestyle.

The Look
Getting the look of your kitchen rightAs you become clear on the demands you will be placing on your new kitchen the next step is to consider the wide choice of products and materials. From a functional perspective think about what you will require from your appliances, worktops, storage solutions and sink & tap. You may already have a look in mind for the kitchen in terms of styles, colours and finishes, but it's a great idea to gather ideas from magazines or websites. Enjoy creating a scrap-book or moodboard with cuttings of furniture, flooring, fabric and paint swatches, soft furnishings, vases and accessories - anything that inspires you, even just images with the right 'feel'. A moodboard can fuse together the required functional and emotional needs of your kitchen.

When it comes to the aesthetics of your new kitchen there's a myriad of different styles, shapes, colours and materials available. If you are looking for something classic but not too traditional the latest furniture ranges include features such as wide pan drawers, curved cabinetry and seamless worktops which are appealing design touches for modern living. The worktop plays an important role in bringing the whole design together, natural timber will add warmth to the scheme or for contrast mix different materials for a textural contrast and to distinguish zones in the kitchen.

The Budget
Avant Alabaster kitchen rangeSet your budget but bear in mind that with a kitchen the cost of key elements such as appliances, cabinets and worktops can vary dramatically.

Appliances may account for a considerable percentage of the total cost of the kitchen, for example, if branded to-end ovens, hobs and extractors are specified this percentage can escalate dramatically to become the most expensive element of the project.

Similarly the choice of worktop materials and door style/material may increase the budget substantially. There may be areas of the project where you might have to be prepared to consider a compromise to stay within budget.

The Practical Aspects
Practical ideas for your kitchenYour kitchen layout may be dictated by the existing dimensions of your room, however if you have the luxury of extending the room then you may want to consider the benefits of an open-plan kitchen. Whatever the room shape there are ergonomic and stylish design options that will ensure you can make the most of the space available to you without compromising on the aesthetics.

There are a number of other considerations to make when planning your kitchen, specifically the importance of ergonomically designed storage. Essentially a successful kitchen design starts from the inside out, as storage is a driving factor to achieve an efficient layout. As well as being easily accessible, at the right height and avoiding heavy lifting or reaching it's vital that there is sufficient storage for all the different activities that typically take place in the kitchen. This can be anything from storage for dry and fresh food through to somewhere to stash children's toys and books or paperwork and stationery.

An often overlooked element of the kitchen planning process is lighting. Task lighting is vital to create sufficient illumination to work comfortably. It's particularly important if worktops and splashback surfaces are dark, plus it also helps to make working areas feel more spacious. From a practical perspective consider illuminating drawers and cabinets on sensors to instantly light up when the door is opened making things easier to find and access. Decorative lighting is perfect for making a feature of favourite items in glazed cabinets or opt for a shelf light to display chosen pieces. Also consider the amount of natural lighting that floods into the room.

Take plenty of time to consider these important points to compile a comprehensive brief, which will be essential to take the project forward. Bring along your notes, pictures, room dimensions and budget expectations to us so you can demonstrate the colours and styles you have in mind.

The Designer at Kitcheners
A good kitchen designer is the expert who can work with your initial concept and potentially create a scheme that fulfils and ultimately exceeds your expectations. You'll be guided at Kitcheners on the overall visual look and aesthetics of the interior in terms of colours, materials and shapes, ensuring they blend according to your taste. Our designer will also spend time asking about lifestyle issues such as how the kitchen is used and the make-up of the family to ensure no practical aspects are overlooked. Planning a kitchen is a partnership between you and your kitchen designer and the success of this two-way process will turn initial ideas into your perfect kitchen.

Cornell Oak kitchen range at Kitcheners