If you want a kitchen that’s truly special and fits perfectly with your home and lifestyle, you don’t want a ready-made design out of a catalogue. You want to plan the kitchen yourself – from deciding where your appliances will be, to the material used to create the worktops.
Is the time and effort needed for doing everything yourself worth it, though? We’ll take a look in this handy guide.
Which kitchen layout is best for me?
The size of your kitchen space will limit your design choices, but ultimately you’ll pick a layout based on your own personal preferences. Start by thinking what you use your kitchen for – is it just a cooking space or would you like to entertain in there? Maybe you have kids and would like to have enough room for them to sit at the table or breakfast bar. It’s these decisions that will help shape your ideal kitchen layout.
A small but open-plan kitchen
Many modern apartments and flats are now open-plan to make the space seem that much bigger, which means the kitchen is in the same room as the living area. In this scenario, a one-wall kitchen is the best layout option, as it allows you to have a compact kitchen that doesn’t feel ‘closed off’ from the main room, which would make your kitchen feel even smaller!
With this layout, we recommend having the sink in the middle, with some worktop space either side. This makes clean up easier.
If you’re worried you won’t have enough worktop space, you can always add a small island, which will also mean you can face and talk to your family in the living room whilst you’re preparing dinner.
A narrow but efficient kitchen
Galley kitchens are ideal if you only have a long, narrow space to work with, as they are one of the most efficient layouts. There’s a reason why it’s the design of choice for kitchens on boats and planes!
Without a source of natural light, galley kitchens can be a bit dark, but a large window at one end can solve this problem. It’s not the ideal layout for families though, as it means there is no space for a breakfast bar where the kids can sit and do their homework. You’ll need to create a separate dining area elsewhere in the house.
A tucked-away one cook kitchen
If you want your kitchen to have its own room in the house, but you need people to be able to move through it easily, a U-shaped kitchen might be best. The space it offers mean it’s possible for everyone to walk past the kitchen without disrupting the cook mid-flow.
It’s perfect for couples or families where only one person cooks. You can even add a breakfast bar by turning the U into a G – just add another ‘leg’ that half covers the entrance to the kitchen. The room needs to be big enough for this to work though, otherwise the kitchen will feel small and cramped.
Bear in mind that this layout makes it tricky to position the sink next to the dishwasher, which is a small issue that could prove to be annoying over time.
If you do decide this layout is best for your home, then we suggest placing all the appliances on the ‘legs’ on the U, as this will give you the most worktop and cupboard space.
A party or family kitchen
Entertainers and families love the L-shaped kitchen, as the open space makes gatherings easy, whether you choose to include a dining table in the room or not. Plus, it’s suitable for both large and small rooms, as well as households where two people like to cook at once.
The only downside is that you’ll be facing away from your guests while you cook. To rectify this problem, try adding in an island. You can make it raised on one side, so your guests can sit on tall stools and enjoy a cocktail while you chop veggies on the other side. Don’t host many dinner parties? Then it’s the perfect place for the kids to sit and talk to you about their day.
What worktop material should I choose?
The worktop is arguably the most important part of your new kitchen. It’s on this that your meals get prepared (and then where all the dirty dishes get piled up!). You’ll likely need a worktop that’s hardwearing and practical, as well as beautiful.
Let’s take a look at the different materials available, so you can decide which is best for you.
Granite and quartz
These natural stones are the ultimate way to add luxury to your kitchen. Almost every homeowner dreams of having a granite or quartz worktop, not only because they look incredible, but they have many practicalities.
For one, both granite and quartz are hardwearing and resistant to scratches. Even if your kids drop something on the surface, they won’t crack it. Hectic cooks and bakers will be pleased to know that these worktops are burn/heat resistant too, so if you place a hot pan on the surface without thinking, it won’t leave a mark.
Germ-conscious parents with young kids might want to opt for a solid surface worktop instead, as their non-porous nature means they don’t harbour bacteria. Plus, they are also easy to maintain – cleaning them is simple and they don’t need resealing unlike granite worktops.
There are many different brands of solid surface, and each has their own benefits, so it’s worth doing your research first.
If you’re looking to create a bright, colourful modern kitchen, glass is a great option, as it’s available in a variety of vibrant shades. Again, it’s practical too, as it’s tough, easy to clean, heat-resistant and hygienic. Mould won’t grow on it nor will it stain – perfect if you have a busy lifestyle and tend to let dirty dishes pile up sometimes!
Should I design and fit my kitchen myself or use an expert?
Doing it yourself may be the cheaper option, but a lot of hassle comes with designing a kitchen, especially if you have little experience in this area. Here are just some of the problems that can arise if you choose to do-it-yourself:
- You could get the measurements wrong: Even if you’re out by just an inch or two, it will mess up the entire layout of your kitchen. An expensive and time-consuming mistake.
- It will take longer than expected: If you’re not experienced, there is no doubt the job will take you longer to complete than a professional.
- There are some parts you can’t do yourself: Granite and quartz worktops are extremely heavy and should only be fitted by an expert. Choosing to ignore this advice could result in injury or the worktop getting damaged.
- It probably won’t look as polished as you expected: Fitters are experts for a reason. They know how to make your kitchen look amazing and this talent is near impossible to replicate with little or no experience.
While we encourage you to design your own kitchen, it’s best to get an expert to help you when it comes to measurements and fitting. If you need help with your new solid surface, quartz, granite or glass worktop, get in touch We’re happy to give you any advice you need and provide you with a quote.