Granite, composite and solid surfaces are all good investments as they are tough, durable and will give your kitchen a luxurious finish. Next, make sure your cabinets are of good quality. Don't be tempted to skimp on thin carcasses, as they'll not last very long. You want at least a 15mm thickness all round – if not more. Think about savings on your choice of doors. We can't all afford rich wood veneers, so why not recreate the same look with a laminate or PVC foil finish instead? Even hi-gloss doors come in different price brackets depending on whether they are lacquered or laminated. ‘While they all essentially look the same, a lacquered kitchen can cost considerably more than the laminate equivalent,' explains kitchen designer Paul Bagguley from In-Toto Batley. Spend wisely on appliances, too, buying the best oven and hob you can afford – but perhaps consider a less expensive brand for the laundry and do without the coffee machine and wine cooler. It's all about compromise if your budget is under strain, so make sure you spend on the things that matter – you can always add luxury small appliances and accessories in years to come.
Good flow in your kitchen will put everything you need to hand and make it a joy to use. Ergonomics is the study and design of equipment that fits the human body and its cognitive abilities. Applied to kitchen layouts, it focuses on creating a smooth, intuitive passage through the space, as well as the most efficient and comfortable cooking environment. Worktops and cabinets are positioned to effortlessly suit the physicality of the user and the job in hand, provisions and utensils are stored where they're most frequently used, and sinks and appliances are located to encourage logical movement between tasks. When deciding on a layout for your kitchen your choices are to a great extent dictated by the shape and size of your room, but that doesn't mean you have to be restricted when it comes to design. Whether the space is small, medium or large an L-shape layout works with both contemporary and traditional cabinetry, and the form is flexible enough to adapt to structural needs, such as sloping ceilings or large windows.
In a larger room, you might have enough space for an island or a table and chairs at the centre of the U. Or, in a classic kitchen-diner, the third leg of your u-shape could be a peninsula – a long island joined at one end to the wall, between kitchen and dining areas. If your room is open-plan and you spend a lot of time entertaining, you may want to think about having the bulk of your kitchen designed as a u-shaped island, which can then become a real cook's theatre. Or create a G-shape, with a peninsula joined to one of the walls. What is it? A common solution for medium-sized rooms is to run the units round three walls in a U shape. or ultimate efficiency, with everything at your fingertips choose an ultra practical U-shape design.
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