So you want to redesign your kitchen, or want someone do it for you, but have a few problems. Suppose you have inherited this kitchen and it doesn’t really meet your needs, where should you start? How about considering what you want from your kitchen, in the form of a list of likes and dislikes. Once you have a good idea of your kitchen design wishes, then you can consider what alterations will be necessary. Here are a selection of common kitchen design challenges and how best to overcome them.
Not enough storage
Insufficient storage can easily lead to clutter, mess and continued frustration. But some careful and sometimes imaginative planning can help to maximise the space. Even in really small kitchens, generous base and wall cabinets should be achievable.
For example, kitchen corner units are excellent for making use of otherwise unused corner space. They can reach fully into the depths of the unit. In tricky kitchen spaces, a cabinet door can swing open to reveal a pull-out corner basket. This corner organiser keeps contents accessible in an otherwise inaccessible space. Similarly, pan drawers offer more generous storage than cupboards, and are also easier to access. Another option for a small kitchen might be wall units that reach to the ceiling.
There are now plenty pf other clever storage options to consider, such as secret drawers or hidden spice racks. Some kitchen storage options are specifically designed for the provision of smaller items. These include gadgets, hand-held appliances and utensils. These will all help make for a much happier kitchen environment.
Poor kitchen design layout
A badly designed kitchen layout will make your workspace much harder to use. Worse still, it may ultimately stop you from enjoying it. Your new kitchen design needs to work specifically around your requirements. The workflow and layout then needs to be designed to cater to your individual needs.
Points for you to consider here would concern your lifestyle, the number of people in your home, who cooks and what your preferred cooking style is. All of this information should be used in the planning of your layout. Defining separate areas or zones for prepping, washing and cooking can result in a more efficient and personalised design.
Lack of usable worktop space
Insufficient worktop space, or worktops not being positioned where you need them, is a common design problem. Your worktop is needed for just about every activity you’ll carry out in your kitchen. Therefore getting it right is pretty important.
A common mistake is not leaving sufficient space next to or opposite a fridge or oven. With a fridge, this worktop space is convenient. Having space next to or opposite an oven and hob on which to set down hot food is an important safety feature for your kitchen design.
During your kitchen design planning, it’s important to think about all the ways in which you currently use your worktops. For example, you might want space for more than one person to cook at once, or maybe an area where your partner can sit and chat to you while you cook. Or it might be important to include somewhere for the kids to do their homework.
Traffic through your working area
It’s often handy, as well as sociable, for more than one person to operate in your kitchen at once. However, you need to consider how to achieve this so users don’t get under one another’s feet while both trying to reach the fridge, oven or sink.
Similarly, if you have children, you might want to ensure they won’t come charging past as you’re carrying hot food or working with sharp knives. Both of these are examples of how ‘traffic’ can become a problem in a kitchen’s working area.
These problems are preventable with some careful kitchen design planning. This might mean setting up two separate and spaced out ‘prep zones’, or ensuring there’s only one kitchen entry point. This way you can easily see who’s coming or going. You can also ensure frequently used appliances, such as the fridge, are on the periphery of your kitchen, so other household members can still get things out of them without having to fully enter the kitchen.
Badly spaced units and appliances
Units and appliances, while well-positioned for easy use also need to be well-spaced. There should, for example be sufficient space (typically a minimum of 900mm) between opposing units and appliances, so doors and drawers can open clear of each other.
It is equally important that units and appliances are not too far apart. To aid smooth workflow, you shouldn’t have to take more steps between appliances than is necessary. Similarly, it’s important not to place wall ovens and microwaves so high that you can’t safely remove hot food from them.
For maximum ease of use, and where possible, unit and appliance doors should open to the left or right according to the surrounding kitchen space.
Having appropriate extraction will allow for the removal of grease, steam and cooking smells. These can otherwise linger, which is especially unpleasant in open-plan spaces.
Choose the best-quality extractor you can afford, and ensure you pick the right size of ducting to fit your chosen model. This should make for quieter, more effective extraction that’s also more energy-efficient. It would also be less likely to break and need repair in the future. You should also consider how much noise your potential extractor will make, suggest choose a model with a reduced noise level motor.
This is particularly relevant if your kitchen is part of an open-plan living space, or is big enough that everyone frequently gathers in it. They should comfortably be able to have a conversation or hear the TV while someone else is cooking.
Not enough provision for rubbish and recycling
You will need to consider sufficient bin space to suit your household’s needs. Often a bin is present, and fits neatly within an internal drawer, so it maintains the kitchen’s clean aesthetic (and conceals smells), but the reality is the bin is too small and so fills up quickly, meaning constant emptying. Or another common problem is there’s no provision made for separating and storing recyclables.
Fitting a bin with larger capacity, a bin with separate provisions, and/or the inclusion of a kitchen waste disposal unit are all effective solutions to consider.
Insufficient task lighting
Another common complaint is not having enough task lighting. This kind of lighting is important, as it focuses direct light onto areas where you’re preparing and cooking food. These can be the worktop, hob and sink area.
Worktops used for food preparation are often positioned directly under wall units, so without additional lighting here these cabinets can easily cast shadows and darken the surface, making cutting, slicing and other food preparation more challenging than it should be, or even potentially dangerous.
Solutions include spotlights recessed into the underside of wall cabinets, or cabinet lighting to let you easily see the full contents of your cupboards. You might also consider making a focal point of your task lighting. This could be fitting statement pendants over an island, successfully combining practicality with high visual impact.
Poorly planned sockets and switches
We all use our kitchens differently and you should consider your own requirements when positioning these electrical points. Similarly, if you’d like additional sockets, or a particular finish for the socket plate other than the standard white, this needs to be established during the kitchen design and planning stage.
Of course, there are some restrictions governed by regulations and safety, such as you must have a clearance of 150mm between socket and worktop. Similarly, sockets should be a minimum distance of 300mm (measured horizontally) from the edge of a high-level cooker, hob, sink or drainer.
The time and money you put into the project should result in a space that you enjoy immensely. So if you’re excited about your kitchen plans, forge ahead. But if parts of your plan nag at you, go back and review them, looking for alternative kitchen designs. If you’ve done the planning yourself, get a pro’s opinion; if you’ve been working with someone, seek another opinion!
Deson provides a free design service which can help you with all of the decisions you might be faced with. We can also supply all of the materials you may need through our factory and network of suppliers. If you are looking to sell your house and feel that fitting a new kitchen is required, we’d be pleased to assist!
To get further information or to discuss a quotation simply get in touch on 01962 863724. A member of our team will be happy to arrange an appointment to talk you through the options available.