Paying attention to sight lines, traffic flow and entry and exit points at the planning stage is paramount. One of the most popular kitchen layouts, the L-shape is great for multipurpose spaces, neatly keeping the work zone restricted to one area and the rest of the space free. In a small kitchen an L shape is ideal as it concentrates all storage and appliances into two sides of the room, leaving the others free and open, so making the overall space seem bigger. Keep the colours on the lighter side so it doesn't appear too cramped. A mixture of cabinets and drawers makes housing pans, pots and general paraphernalia a breeze, while Kilner jars display pretty condiments and dried food to perfection.
Many people these days want a family hub where everyone can come together for meals, but still have room to do their own thing – be that unwind on the sofa, catch up with TV, browse the internet or fit in some homework. Even if you don't have masses of space, having somewhere in the kitchen to enjoy a glass of wine or supper with friends will allow you to be part of the conversation while preparing the meal. When it comes to the functional part of the room, a good layout will make the most of the available space and keep everything well organised, with the most regularly used items to hand. But it's not all about storage. Flow is an important consideration. Especially in an open-plan space or where there are several doorways or an island to work around. Using the layout to steer traffic away from dangerous hotspots and towards user-friendly areas instead, such as a drinks fridge or seating area, will ensure that your kitchen is a practical, safe and sociable space for all its users, including guests and children.
Never pay a deposit of more than 25% of the total contract value and ensure you have a written schedule for further payments. Don't pay in full until you have received delivery of your goods. The KBSA (Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association) has these guidelines for choosing your kitchen company: Visit a company that has a showroom so you can inspect the quality of the product and the standard of installation. Choose a retail member with a track record of good installations and ask to speak to some previous customers. Be careful about paying in full for your kitchen in advance. You shouldn't pay a deposit of more than 25% and as it's likely that you'll be asked to make an interim payment, ask for a written payment schedule. Make sure you have a written quotation that covers every aspect of the job including fitting, flooring and any structural alterations you have discussed. Don't sign anything unless you are prepared to honour your side of the contract.
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