Practical Tips To Make Sure Your Kitchen Works For You
When you’re planning a new kitchen, there’s a lot to consider, from budget, to materials to kitchen supplier, but one area that can’t be overlooked is the opportunity a new kitchen affords to devise a cooking and social space that works around you and your family.
Most people think about a general look and feel and maybe take time on things like suitable storage when considering a new kitchen, but there’s more to take into account, from electrics to spacing between units. The art of new kitchen design can be tricky, so here are our practical tips to ensure your new kitchen works for you.
Whatever the dimensions of your kitchen, it’s usually possible to keep everything at a reachable and easily workable height, whether that’s drawers, worktops, fridges or microwaves. Think about who the principal user/s of the kitchen will be - are they short, tall, elderly or do they have an impairment or disability? All of these things could affect the ideal height of your kitchen worktops and units.
As a good starting point, a typical kitchen worktop in the UK is 90cm high, but that is not your only option. Some kitchen suppliers will exclusively work with standard measurements, so make sure to speak to an organisation that is happy to work around you.
Something that is often underestimated in a new kitchen is the need for accessibility to electricity. Whether it’s the toaster for your morning soldiers, a coffee maker for a stimulating pick-me-up or a blender for that healthy smoothie, appliances are a major part of kitchen life. These days, it’s not just appliances either; you’re equally likely to be charging your mobile or tablet as you read a recipe or watch a film whilst cooking.
To make sure you’ve got all the juice you need (and not the type in the fridge!) it’s wise to install electric outlets in multiple locations across your backsplash and or/island to ensure you can use whatever tools or utensils you need wherever you are in the kitchen.
Islands are fairly common additions to modern kitchens and their appeal is understandable, they can bring a new dimension and offer a central hub for the room. But, ask yourself, is an island purely an aesthetic desire or could there be a better use of space?
Just make sure, if you are considering an island that it has a set purpose. Don’t fall into the trap of having an island just to have an island. Unless it fulfils at least two or three of the following functions, it probably isn’t worth giving over space in your kitchen to: Preparation. Serving. Cooking. Washing up. Storage. Equally, bear in mind workflow in the kitchen; will your island end up as more of an obstacle to get around than a helpful addition? If you are short on space, it’s a real possibility.
As ever, to help understand what options are available to you and how best an island might work in your kitchen, get in touch with an experienced kitchen designer, who will be able to advise as to the best solution.
If you’re a keen cook, consider shelving next to or on either side of the cooker, providing easy access to the ingredients you use most. Often, these areas are left clear, but with the help of the right designer, there’s no reason why you can’t add to the look of your kitchen whilst making it more practical. Whether it’s oil, herbs, spices or sauces, having everything at arm’s length is a boon for most home chefs.
Consider innovation outside of traditional cupboards to suit your style. For example, if you’re a white wine fanatic, why not include a wine fridge? Or, how about narrow drawers for items like chopping boards, spices etc.? This keeps items with similarly narrow dimensions together and is a great use of space.
Instead of traditional large cupboards with few shelves, consider numerous drawers instead; this helps organise your cutlery, utensils, crockery and kitchen miscellania and means no more rummaging at the back of a dark cupboard for those tinned tomatoes! Also, to make things easier and improve flow, store crockery near the dishwasher (easier to put away) and baking trays next to the oven.
There are plenty of novel and innovative methods of creating smart storage solutions in a modern kitchen, speak to the experts to find out more.
Go With the Flow
Think about the main user/s of the kitchen. Are they right or left handed? Can you move the order of things to better suit their needs? Consider the order in which meals are made: typically, this might be preparation (requiring fridge/freezer access, worktop space and bin access), cooking (requiring hob/grill/oven), serving (crockery and cutlery), followed by washing up (sink or dishwasher) and putting away (cupboards and drawers). Does your new kitchen design make each of those steps a simple and flowing process, or would you need to move around obstacles and constantly go back and forth between different areas?
Sustainability and lessening environmental impact is of crucial importance to many people, so why not include your commitment to recycling in your new kitchen’s design? Ready a cabinet with separate areas for glass, plastic, cardboard etc. so you can recycle as you go.
These practical tips to make sure your kitchen works for you are just some of the things to consider when planning your new kitchen. To make sure your new kitchen is designed from the ground up to suit you and your requirements, your best bet is to speak to the professionals; here at Essex Kitchens and Bedrooms, we have over 30 years’ experience and our friendly experts are ready to guide you through the whole process.
Get in touch for a free consultation using the contact form below or by speaking to one of our team on 01621 893 491.