As renovating a kitchen is an extremely costly business. It is imperative that the design and layout that you choose is one that will work for you and your family. It is common practice these days for the manufacturer to design the kitchen for the client. This is a wonderful service, but the onus is on you, the client, to ensure that the finished product is one that suits YOU and your way of life. This is worth remembering even if the kitchen in designed by a top notch architect or interior designer.
The steps are slightly different depending on the scale of the work to be done. If you are building from scratch or undertaking major renovations, you have the luxury of a clean slate - you can choose where you need plugs and water outlets etc. If you are doing a simple face-lift, you probably have to work with the existing outlets and plugs - but you may still have the option of moving things around: for example, what was your fridge plug could become your dishwasher plug.
Either way, the best way to start even before you speak to a consultant, is to draw the floor-space of your kitchen on a large piece of paper.
Add the following:
The doors and windows
All the plugs - doubles and singles
The outlet for the sinks, washing machine and dishwasher
Tap points for both cold and hot water
The electric and/or gas supply to the oven and hob
Your budget and space will determine whether you need space for the following:
Stove (all in one)
Now visualise working in your kitchen and consider the following to help you choose a layout that works for you.
Central Island: needs a clearance of at least 1000mm all around? Do you want to cook/ prepare/eat at the island? It will not easily work for all three. If it is going to be for cooking, make sure cooking utensils and pots are at hand. Store your everyday crockery and cutlery in the central island, within easy reach. Make sure there is a plug for electricity supply.
Grocery Storage: a large walk-in pantry or grocery cupboard? How often and for how many do you shop - how much food storage space do you need?
Do you want a separate laundry area? Place a double sink, the washing machine, tumble dryer, ironing equipment and the broom cupboard in the scullery. Dishwashers, for easy reach, may be placed in the main kitchen: machines are quiet these days and if placed behind doors it become even more so. The main kitchen should also have a large Butler's sink instead of just a small prep bowl which has limited use.
Alternatively, if you do not favour an island, a central dining table is an option - or nothing at all if you like free flow.
Space is at a premium in smaller kitchens and often a centre island or table become impossible. Of course it is much more difficult to fit everything into a small kitchen, with the result that needs must be prioritised. Space-saving tactics to be considered include:
placing the tumble dryer on top of the washing-machine or removing them to a garage or under-cover yard area
moving the ironing to another room
using an especially compact dishwasher
corner sink units or a small double sink
use wall/ceiling space effectively i.e. a narrow cupboard above a doorway
sling the microwave under a wall mounted cupboard.
Decide if you want to eat in the kitchen. Eating areas can take up a great deal of space and it is essential that this is planned early. Options include a central table; a counter; a 'nook'.
Broom Cupboard: an essential part of any household
Place the washing machine/tumble dryer and broom cupboard out of sight if possible if there is no laundry.
It is essential to have an extractor fan in an open plan kitchen.
Make a 'work station' for each kitchen activity.
Beverage Station: place your everyday tea cups and saucers, mugs, sugar bowls, teapots, kettle and milk jug in one 'station' - not too far from the fridge (easy access to milk). The tea, coffee, hot chocolate etc also belongs here. Kitchen glasses and fruit concentrates/cordials can also be placed close by. A tray cupboard should also be here.
Baking Station: if you bake often, put all your beater, baking utensils and ingredients in one area.
A Cooking Station: include your stove and storage for pots; oven gloves and aprons; spoon-rest and counter protector. Close by would be a griller or other small appliance and utensils such as egg-lifter; sieves, wooden spoons etc and spice-rack. Make sure there is at least some open counter space on either side of the stove/hob for hot pots.
Laundry area: washing machine; tumble dryer; and cupboard for ironing board; iron; washing powder and fabric softener.
Food Preparation Station: should include a chopping area; storage for a cutting board (if the budget allows, insert a granite chopping slab flush with the countertop); place a pull out bin directly below this area for scrapings; a sink should not be too far for rinsing vegetables and fruit; draws with knives, can openers and other utensils; vegetable baskets; everyday crockery; the dishwasher (it is close to the sink for the water and waster pipes); the grocery cupboard or pantry; toaster; breadbin
Gas cooking is a pleasure and cost effective. In a new build or major renovation, the conduits joining the appliance to external gas bottles can be laid in the slab (drawings must show this). In a renovation, a smaller gas bottle can be placed in a cupboard Cooking uses relatively small amounts of gas and a 9kg bottle will usually last a long time.
Once you have your layout, ensure that the plugs are in the correct positions. Make sure they are easily accessible - don't place a plug directly in the 'centre' behind the fridge - rather to one side so it can be reached more easily - but still out of sight! Plugs must be included in the following stations: food preparation; baking; beverage; cooking; laundry. Use a double plug wherever possible as it costs less i.e. for the washing machine and tumble dryer combined. Think about what electrical appliances you use in the kitchen and make sure there are sufficient, well placed plugs.
inlet and outlet pipes for appliances must be correct on plan
accurately measure all your appliances to ensure space is used optimally
ensure ventilation is adequate
allow space on either side of the appliance to pull it out for repairs
removal kickboards in front of appliances for access for repairs
some appliances, such as a fridge with a built-in ice-maker need a water supply - the pipes need to be drawn into the plans well in advance and stop-cocks are needed for a washing machine's water supply
It always seems there are never enough cupboards so careful planning is needed to use one efficiently. Be careful to include the following:
grocery cupboards must have an area where the shelves are wide enough apart to store cereal boxes pull out shelves make for easier access to items at the back of the cupboard if there is no room for a separate tray cupboard a narrow partition can be made within a cupboard shelving racks can be placed on the inside of doors - ensure some racks are large enough to take tall bottles recipe shelf must be able to hold tall books dishwasher can be placed at least partially under the 'draining' section of a sink
This is where you need to do homework. Spend time in bookshops and browse though home décor books and magazines Visit many showrooms - even the ones you can't afford as you can still get ideas. Copy a look that you like - almost any look and colour scheme can be copied using less expensive materials. Try to make your kitchen as 'timeless' as possible - it is not something that can easily be changed.