Inject refined rustic style into your kitchen with painted wooden cabinetry. In a traditional space, use painted wood to co-ordinate kitchen cabinets with walls and architectural features; in a contemporary scheme, to soften the sharp edges of minimalist design. Go for a mid to deep grey shade, like this one, as it oozes easy elegance and sophistication. Where space isn't an issue an L-shape ending with a central island unit provides informal dining space for the family or a place to chat with friends over coffee. Keep the cooking and kitchen chores tightly together in an L and let the rest of a large room be given over to family life. Add personality and character with quirky signage and curios. Lack of size does not have to mean lack of style.
How to plan a kitchen layout. In most cases, the size and shape of your room will determine the most suitable design, and it's always helpful to consider the classic ‘working triangle'. This concept is designed to minimise effort and walking distance between the sink, fridge and cooker by placing them on three points of a triangle. This approach works with most kitchen layouts, although, if you have to run all the appliances and the sink along one wall, you may need to ‘flatten' the triangle. To do this, position the three points in a line with just a few steps to walk in between. However, nothing is set in stone. ‘If the triangle works in your kitchen that's great, but don't feel you have to be a slave to it,' says kitchen designer Mark Wilkinson. ‘If you have to walk a few extra steps, it will be worth it if it means you're able to include an extra element you really like that wouldn't otherwise fit into the design.
Consider lighting options. When planning lighting it's a good idea to make the system quite flexible so you can regulate areas of your kitchen independently. Secondary lighting, such as spots above cooking and preparation areas, is also useful. Consider your kitchen must-haves. Do you long for sleek worktops, a statement island or lots of cupboards for storage? Or are there some specific appliances that you think will make your life in the kitchen much easier? Everybody likes to work in their own particular way and each person has a different list of priorities, so it's important to write yours down right at the beginning to ensure your kitchen is tailored to your family's specific needs. This will also save a lot of time and trouble when it comes to discussing your project with a kitchen specialist.
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