Perfect Planning

The secret to getting the kitchen you want is good planning, but to do that you need to work out what you are aiming for. The first step if you are replacing a kitchen is to take a long hard look at your current one. List its shortcomings so you can deal with them in the new one, but also make a note of anything about it that you particularly like and/or  that works well for you. This is also an ideal opportunity to declutter and get rid of anything you no longer use. 

What’s your style?

Do you love dressers lined with pretty antique jugs and plates and country-style painted cupboards or adore gleaming uncluttered worksurfaces and sophisticated modern materials – or maybe you fall somewhere in between? Be open-minded and look at kitchens you wouldn’t normally consider – you might surprise yourself by falling for sleek curves and gleaming stainless steel when you’d thought you were a traditional kind of person. 

Get inspired 

Gather ideas – look at friends’ kitchens, browse sites like Pinterest or our own site at and invest in some interior design magazines. Keep a notebook and/or scrapbook for ideas you like or make a moodboard. At a later date this will be a rich source of inspiration when planning.

Follow your dream

What does your ideal kitchen look like and what will you use it for? Are you a keen cook? If so, think about things you could include to make the kitchen work well for you such as plenty of storage and worksurfaces or maybe a customised larder. Or your ‘must-have’ list might be completely different – other popular options include space for socialising, a corner for relaxing with a comfy sofa, a home office area and the ever-popular big table for preparing food, family eating, doing homework etc. 

What about specifics? Do you want to incorporate any new appliances or prioritise features that will make your kitchen work better, e.g. extra-tall wall cupboards to maximise space or a feature with real wow factor like an island? Write everything down on a wish-list – it will be a great reference point for your designer and help shape your kitchen’s personality.      

Evaluate the space

You may dream of an open-plan kitchen, but be realistic. Will that really work in your space or would a more fitted kitchen work better? At the same time, try not to be overly influenced by your current kitchen layout – it may be convenient to use existing pipework and plumbing, but is that really the best option? Don’t be afraid to knock walls down, block up surplus doors or windows or even extend out into the garden. This is definitely a time to think outside the box.  

Think practically

You want your kitchen to be beautiful, but beauty isn’t everything. It needs to be practical too. With so many hours spent in the kitchen every day, it’s vital that it works well. The key word here is convenience.

The ‘working triangle’ has for years been the model for kitchen efficiency and it certainly saves time and effort putting fridge, sink and cooker close to each other. However, another option that works well is to divide your kitchen into zones for food prep, washing up, cooking etc. and design the kitchen around the tasks you do, e.g. storing cleaning products near the sink, equipment for food prep within easy reach of the worktop, and pots and pans as close as possible to the cooker. This also makes sense when thinking of appliances as there are logical groupings, e.g. washing machine, sink and dishwasher. 

Go with the flow  

Movement is another big consideration when planning a kitchen. Allow sufficient space to move around freely, especially in key work areas and steer traffic away from potential hazards such as a hot cooker. If access to the garden lies through the kitchen, also try to keep that route as obstacle-free as possible. 

Heat and light

There is a bewildering variety of options to consider so it’s well worth doing your homework. Think about which areas might need lighting and whether you want to use different types of lighting to suit different areas, e.g. spotlights above worksurfaces and hanging pendant lights over a table.

When it comes to heating, radiators can be both highly efficient and good-looking nowadays, while tall versions are very economical in terms of space. Alternatively, you may want to avoid radiators altogether and opt for underfloor heating, but do remember that underfloor heating needs to be installed before the kitchen floor is laid.

Mind your budget 

It’s easy to get carried away, so, before work starts, decide what your budget will be and also let your kitchen designer/maker know so they can help you stick within it. However, always set aside a 10% contingency fund to cover any unexpected costs that may arise during the construction process. Thinking about cost is one thing, but it’s worth bearing in mind the old adage that says you get what you pay for. Nowhere is this truer than in choosing a kitchen. Buying the best quality you can afford will cost more initially, but is a wise investment as a handcrafted kitchen will last for many years. 

Make a statement  

Why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary? This is your opportunity to push the boat out so choose one stand-out feature that catches your eye as soon as you step into the room – perhaps a state-of-the-art worktop, a wonderful larder cupboard or a statement island. This is not just a kitchen, it’s your kitchen.  

Don’t go it alone

Planning a kitchen is a big task, but it’s the most important room in your house and nothing is more exciting than getting it right. However, we all need a little help sometimes. At Irving Sykes we’ve amassed years of expertise in planning and constructing kitchens and nothing gives us greater pleasure than using this knowledge to help our customers. You’ll find us friendly and approachable and full of clever ideas to maximise and enhance your space to give it a look you’ll love. We’d be delighted to share our passion for our amazing handcrafted kitchens with you, so contact us now and let’s begin the exciting journey to your dream kitchen…

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