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.
Design tips Try to separate the cooking zone from the wet area with a length of worktop in between – the worktop in total should be at least three metres long. Aim for at least 1.2m between facing doors and include an efficient triangular cooking zone with the fridge on one wall and the sink and hob opposite (or a variation on this theme). if space allows, it's best to avoid having tall units which might accentuate the narrow space. For the same reason, stick to paler colours to help keep the room light and airy. Be careful not to install too many wall cupboards, as it may make your kitchen feel cluttered. hy choose it? It's the ideal layout for narrow rooms, but is also a popular option in open-plan spaces where a long island runs parallel to the units along one wall. Though it's traditionally long and narrow, it can be exceptionally functional if planned correctly.
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