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.
An important consideration in open-plan space is flow. Curves are great at subtly directing traffic, keeping children away from danger spots and stopping guests from getting under your feet. The curved end of the Shaker-style unit also ensures there are no sharp corners to knock into. Heating a large space can also be costly. The best solution is to install underfloor heating for all-round ambient warmth. Follow our simple steps on how to plan a kitchen, from inspiration to installation. Choosing a new kitchen is one of the most exciting projects when it comes to renovating the home. It can also be the most expensive, stressful and time-consuming. From picking the right style to finding a designer and agreeing the layout, there's a lot to take on board. However tempted you are to rush into a showroom and choose your design, it's vital that you take plenty of time to consider what it is you really want.
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.
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