In a small space, you may prefer to have the look of a U-shaped kitchen while swapping out one long run of units on one side for an island unit. This may make your space more useable and is especially useful if your kitchen incorporates a back door. Don't be afraid to showcase your personality in a compact room. Here an array of houseplants add a homely touch. Swap wall units for open shelves on one side of a U-shaped kitchen and it will help to open up the space a little, especially next to a full-height cabinet such as oven housing. Using a contrasting wall paint will help to highlight the absence of cabinetry. Pops of red and pink on small appliances, kitchen linen and accessories enliven this predominantly green scheme. While chimney breasts and windows can prove tricky to design a U-shaped kitchen around, tackled well they can turn into design features in their own right. The integration of a hob, oven and cooker hood into this chimney and the fit of base and wall units around the adjacent alcove and window spaces bring oodles of charm and character to this space. A lovely warm green on walls makes the perfect backdrop to country-cream units and oak worktops.
Call in the professionals. So, you've found your kitchen designer, chosen your layout and style and you've paid your deposit. What happens next? You need to find a team to install it. It's important to remember that the way your kitchen is installed can make all the difference. A bad fitter can make any kitchen look terrible, but a good one will ensure even inexpensive units look amazing. Ask friends and family for recommendations, or source a skilled person through a registered trade association, such as the FMB (Federation of Master Builders). It may be a simple refresh so you'll only have the kitchen supplier and fitter to co-ordinator. However, if it's a big project, then there might be builders, electricians and plumbers to consider, too. It's important at this stage to get some form of project manager in hand, whether that's yourself, your kitchen company or an architect. Everyone need to be clear about what needs to be done when, as delays and mistakes in kitchen planning can be costly.
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.
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