The kitchen is the heart of every home. Whether it's big or small, guests and family members alike are unconsciously drawn to the kitchen. This makes kitchen design an important part of planning the interior layout. The ideal kitchen design is aesthetically pleasing as well as space optimising. Décor magazines and interior design websites are good starting points to collect references for your kitchen design. An important part of planning a kitchen is to keep it well ventilated and to allow enough walking space for one or more people. Here are six steps to plan your perfect kitchen!
When it comes to designing a house, the kitchen is the most expensive part. This is largely due to the cost of kitchen equipment. Hence, the first step towards planning a kitchen is to set a budget. Along with kitchen equipment, also keep in mind tiling, plumbing, and lighting requirements. Researching the cost of materials like tiles, light fittings, counter top materials, etc. by visiting showrooms, attending trade shows, reading a magazine and browsing interior design websites can help create a realistic budget. When planning a budget it is always better to err on the higher side so keep a buffer between what you think you will spend and the actual budget.
A kitchen layout always focuses on functionality. The layout of the kitchen determines the eases of functioning in the space as well as how much socializing it allows. In an ideal kitchen layout, the sink, stove and refrigerator are placed such that the lines that join them form the smallest possible triangle. Most interior designers suggest the distance between two elements of this triangle be not less than 4’ and not more than 9’. Some of the most common kitchen layouts are a one wall kitchen, galley kitchen, U-shaped kitchen and L shaped kitchen. These layouts may or may not include a kitchen island depending on the space available. Typically, a one-wall and galley layout are suited to small kitchens while the latter are better suited to large open kitchens.
This great layout was designed by La Cornue based in Saint Ouen L’aumone.
Colour is the most important aesthetic element of kitchen interior design. When picking a colour palette for the kitchen, choose colours that are energizing and inspirational. Bright reds, oranges, and yellows are colours you can’t go wrong with. Red is especially popular as it is said to stimulate an appetite. Avoid pastels and tones of beige and grey as these dull the senses. The walls aren’t the only recipients for colour in a kitchen. Along with the walls, also look at incorporating colour on your cabinet doors, window frames, and other kitchen décor elements.
Lighting plays an important role in how a colour is perceived. Hence before finalizing a colour palette for your kitchen design, look at swatches of the colour in your kitchen. While many people prefer yellow light over the white light for home interiors, the kitchen is one space where white light is better than yellow light.
Once you’ve picked a colour, it’s time to move on to the other 3 big ‘Cs’ of kitchen design – cabinets, counter tops, and chimneys. While the cabinets under the kitchen counter should always be shuttered, the overhead cabinets can be shuttered or left as open shelving.
There are a number of materials that can be used for your kitchen counters including marble, granite, quartz, tile and laminate. Each of these has their own pros and cons that must be looked into before finalizing a counter top material.
A chimney is as important as a stove top in the kitchen. A stove hood not only helps ventilate your kitchen but also adds to its aesthetic appeal. Three common types of kitchen stove hoods are cabinet hoods, island hoods, and wall chimney hoods. When selecting a chimney or hob for your kitchen, ensure that it is bigger than the stove top.
Having enough storage is one of the key elements of planning a kitchen. Sometimes, a little creative thinking is required to make the most of the storage space available in a kitchen. When planning the cabinets, take them up to the ceiling. The higher shelves can be used to store pantry items or crockery that isn’t used regularly. Similarly, use the space above the refrigerator by installing a cabinet or open shelf. A kitchen backsplash can be made functional by installing a pegboard as part of it or installing a magnetic strip to hold cutlery. This can also be used to hold metal lidded spice jars. A kitchen cart with two or three shelves that doubles up as a breakfast table is another good way of creating space in a kitchen.
Once the kitchen layout is set, it’s time to decorate the kitchen. Dress up walls with inspiring wall art in the form of photographs or posters. Pick art that inspired you to experiment with food. Use a chandelier or pendant lights to create a focal point in the kitchen. Windowsills are perfect places for small herb gardens. Not only will they accessorize the kitchen, a windowsill herb garden ensures that you always have fresh herbs at hand. Instead of keeping vintage crockery hidden, consider open shelves or glass cabinets to store these beautiful pieces.
Lastly, look at how you can incorporate a breakfast table and chairs in your kitchen. This is an ideal space not only to enjoy a quick bite but also for children to do their homework within sight of their parents. If you have a kitchen island, you could simply install high stools at the kitchen island for it to double as a table. A collapsible furniture is a good option for small kitchens. Use the space between the refrigerator and the wall to store folding chairs while the table can be mounted on the wall to be dropped down whenever needed.
Intrigued to learn more? Have a read of What to pay attention to when planning a kitchen.