Kitchen Design Ideas
The number of kitchens being remodelled is increasing year on year, as the people of the UK are absolutely obsessed with kitchen renovation. The kitchen has evolved from simply somewhere to prepare foot to the social hub of the household. Regardless of how perfect your existing kitchen is, there will always be some sort of design anomaly that can be improved upon and certainly made better.
When looking at ways to improve your kitchen, people tend to concentrate on the kitchen appliances first of all. New appliances can really transform a room into something very modern and stylish but if your current appliances are up to grade then there is no point in taking this step. Buying kitchen appliances can be expensive, so it is best to shop around online until you find a good deal. I would avoid the high street if possible when purchasing these items, as you may end up paying over the odds. Opting for built-in options that mask the utility are becoming increasingly popular and existing appliances can be built-in to most kitchen units.
Giving the onset of celebrity chefs on television, home cooking has now become a phenomenon and many homeowners opting to carry out more elaborate cooking projects. This means a modern kitchen must be comfortable to work with in regards to preparation and cooking space. Preparation islands are a must for those who like to cook and have the space to be able to fit one. This could be as simple as a table in the middle of the room or it may contain a hob and a submerged fridge. Deeper and wider countertops should be incorporated into the design, as this should supply you with enough preparation and external storage space.
The choice of material for your worktop is also very important, with some materials being more suitable than others. Granite provides a cool surface which can be used for preparing meat or making bread and this material can also be easily cleaned. The choice of material makes all the difference, depending on how you tend to use your kitchen and often you plan to cook in it.
Kitchen storage is also very important when designing your kitchen, as you do not want your countertops cluttered with utensils because you do not have the room to store it anywhere else. A pop-up plate holder, similar to those used by catering firms can be easily installed and will give you easy access to your plates and save cupboard space. Also the position of these storage implements must be considered also, as you will want to easily access these utensils from wherever you are working from.
Designing For Kitchen Lighting
The purpose of lighting in your kitchen is to create an environment that is both comfortable and safe for those who use it. Most of the kitchen can be lit during the day using natural light but it is important to consider those areas where natural light cannot reach. At night natural light will not be available, so it is important to make sure that the entirety of the kitchen is lit to perfection. Artificial lighting plays a significant role in lighting your kitchen and is arguably more important than natural light. Multiple sources of light is required in any kitchen to diminish glare, blind spots or shadows and make sure that those areas the most need light are given an ambient supply.
Lighting can be broken down into three specific modes:
- Accent Lighting: This type of lighting is used to accentuate certain features of the kitchen, that act as the focal points of the rom. These lights tend to be strong in terms of intensity and generally come from recess lights or hanging lights.
- Ambient Lighting: The type of lighting is used to illuminate the whole room and is usually provided by fluorescent lighting in the centre of the room. The number of these lights used should be enough to eliminate all dark spots and provide a comfortable level of light in the room.
- Task Lighting: This type of lighting eliminates all shadows within the room and concentrates light on certain areas i.e. food preparation areas. This lighting is normally provided by strip lighting or under cabinet spot lights.
It is important that each of these lighting types have their own dimmer switch, so the light in the room can be adjust to provide the perfect light equilibrium. You can also adjust the mood in the room depending on what the room is used for. For example, the task of preparing food would require a lot more light than the task of dining.
There are also three distinct types of lighting:
- Fluorescent bulbs: These are available in numerous colours and heat levels that help create a certain mood within the room. Fluorescent bulbs are energy efficient and generally are more robust than traditional bulbs.
- Halogen Bulbs: This low-voltage bulb omits very bright white light, that cannot be matched by other bulbs. These lights also last considerably longer than standard bulbs.
- Incandescent Bulbs: This is the traditional bulbs used in most homes. These lights are not energy efficient and produce a lot of heat.
Decorating Your Kitchen
Just a quick flick through some kitchen design brochures will show you the massive amount of choice that is available to you when decorating your kitchen. Long gone are the days when neutral shades, smooth textures and white appliances are the only options available. Kitchen designers are now willing to view the kitchen as a completely blank canvas where anything is possible. In terms of colour, the degree of choice is now astronomical and basically any colour can now be incorporated in to the room. Cold colours with their resemblance of clinical hygiene have historically been used when adopting a colour scheme for the kitchen. This stems from the traditional blending of blue and white which was often used in 19th century kitchens and food preparation halls.
Use of Colour
When the fitted kitchen came to prominence in the early 1900s, white was used to reflect, not only the cleanliness but the efficiency of the room. This is where the term ‘white goods’ comes from when discussing kitchen appliances or household appliances in general. The use of natural tones in the kitchen stems from traditional country manor kitchens which encompass a heavy amount of wood, tile and brick. Recently, this dated approach to kitchen design has been quashed and a strong colour approach has now been adopted. This seems to be the final step in transforming the kitchen from a functional work area to a living space, on par with other rooms in the house. Kitchen colour used to be restricted to incidental accents echoed by cookware or a fruit bowl but is now used positively to define a living area. White kitchen appliances are now available in a variety of colours and are now fully part of the design scheme.
Use of Textures
Vibrant use of colour applied to a single wall can give the kitchen a feeling of delineation which is very useful in open-plan kitchen dinettes. Using colour confidently and robustly can enrich the character of the room and give it a feeling of rich vitality. In its most basic form, cooking is task that involves an element of touch and feel. With this in mind, the room should also echo this nature with its use of colour and textures throughout the kitchen. Smooth kitchens, with seamless lines represent a rather unnatural environment within which to prepare food.
Budget Kitchen Design
It is always a mistake to rush into a kitchen fitting, without taking into account a few factors that are very important. One of those factors is the budget you have to work with to carry out the installation. If you are not working on a tight budget, then this article is probably not for you but it is definitely worth a read anyway. Time is another factor you have to overcome but it is a mistake to try to tighten this constraint too much, as you should always take your time when designing and fitting a kitchen.
The budget available will have a big influence on what materials you should use in your fitting but this should not be the only element influencing your decision. Everyone wants to have a beautiful state of the art kitchen but the last thing you want is your kitchen to become a financial headache. Taking out a large loan to renovated a kitchen used to be relatively risk free because the work would add a lot of money on to the value of your but this is not the case anymore. House prices are still falling in many areas and renovating your kitchen is unlikely to halt this. It is important to make a list of all the fixtures and appliances you want in your kitchen. Go over this list again to try to see if there is anything on the list you do not really need. Once you have completed this, you will have a better idea of how much your kitchen will actually cost you to install. This method will not only ensure that you will only fit the essentials in your room but will also save you a lot of time further down the line.
When carrying out any DIY project it is important to not be afraid to get your hands dirty. When your kitchen fitter is billing you for a job, they will take into account the amount of hours spent on the job. You can drastically reduce tis amount by carrying out a lot of the laborious tasks yourself. Do the demolition of the old kitchen yourself, as this does not require any specific trade skills and can be carried out by anyone with a crowbar. The more effort you put into your kitchen fitting, the less money it is going to cost you and I would regard this as the number one tip for saving money. When choosing what jobs to carry out, it is important to be realistic and to use some common sense. If you are not trained electrician do not try and carry out all the electrical work, for example.
Now that we have saved some money on the labour, it is time to save some money on the materials. It is important to decide what luxury materials you want to have in your kitchen (if any) but then make a decision on what you can afford and what you can’t. Some of these materials can be substituted by cheaper imitation materials, such as replacing granite countertops with laminate worktops. A synthetic countertop can look as luxurious as a granite or marble version and in some cases they actually wear better. Also, it is good practise to buy your kitchen units yourself, as your contractor will always add a handling fee at the very least, if he purchases the units for you. You can also save money when choosing the type of flooring you will use in the installation, as there are some great synthetic options available on the market. Vinyl or laminate flooring is much cheaper than installing ceramic or marble tiles and can leave your floor with a stunning finish.
Fitting a kitchen does not have to be out of your reach financially, as there are many ways to save money if you just know where to look. You kitchen fitting should not be a financial headache but should be a project you are excited to undertake.
The Indoor/Outdoor Kitchen
Cooking outside with the sun shining on your face can be one of the most pleasurable culinary experiences you can encounter. Family barbeques, summer picnics and camp fire cooking provided some of my most memorable cooking experiences as a child, with food always seeming to taste that much better when outside. Many people want to incorporate this feeling of being outside into their own kitchen design and many designers have merged the two concepts together. Outdoor cooking is simple, to the point and unassuming. This makes it very appealing to both the chef and those who will be sampling the outdoor delights.
When considering how to incorporate outside space in your kitchen design, it is important to look at it from an outside as well as an inside perspective. Textures, lines and patterns must be consistent between the two areas for the inside/outside design to look seamless. The most basic approach to incorporating outdoor space in your kitchen is to provide access to the outside from the kitchen via patio or French doors. If the kitchen is not situated on the ground level, a roof terrace can be used to extend the kitchen outside. The pleasure of outdoor eating as part of your kitchen set-up is available to most people if they choose to include it in their design. To increase the sense of inclusion you may want to use the same flooring for the inside and outside area, so the floor looks like one continuous level as opposed to two separate floors. Extending the countertop from the inside kitchen to the outside area also gives a sense of inclusion, as a continuous preparation area is provided.
Metal or wooden framing is used to house windows or doors that bridge the inside and outside areas but reducing this framing by using the entire wall as the room connector helps open up the area. Having the inside/outside approach can also help involve areas that where unused, such as side passages. The kitchen can be re-designed to absorb this space through the fitting of a conservatory wing that joins on to the kitchen. Adding more glazed elements to the kitchen is a great way of giving an open-air outdoor feeling to the design, even if the outside is notphysically accessible. Glazing has evolved to provide a membrane that can be expansive without leaking or sagging. Special low-emissivity glass is now available which dramatically reduces the amount of heat loss attributed to glass. If privacy is an issue you for you, perhaps purchasing Photovolfaic glass which can change its opacity with the flick of switch may be a viable option. Whatever needs you may have, there will be an indoor/outdoor solution that can suit your requirements.