Top Kitchen Design Tips for Style and Function Thu 11 May 2017

While the overall look is important when it comes to kitchen design, functionality and practicality play a huge part too – from your choice of kitchen flooring, to making sure you have enough storage. Here are some top kitchen design tips to consider when planning your perfect space.

striking red island unit by the Shaker Kitchen Co adds personality and drama to this kitchen

Expert kitchen planning advice

You may already have some ideas about your kitchen design, or you may not even know where to start. From safely positioning your appliances, to the durability of your kitchen flooring and clever ways of utilising available space, taking expert advice is always a good idea.

An interior designer, kitchen flooring specialist or professional kitchen installer can help you really make the most of your kitchen – but remember it’s your lifestyle the kitchen design needs to accommodate, so don’t be talked into things you don’t need.

Shape and space

The shape of your kitchen and the space you have available plays a predominant role in the overall kitchen design, as does its purpose – whether it be simply somewhere to cook, a family area, a sociable space for entertaining, or a combination of all of them.

Your kitchen design should focus on its functionality as well as its style, so plan how you will use the space. If you’re a keen cook, excessive detail will only take up precious work space and collect dirt. However, if your kitchen design is to sway more towards a family room or entertaining area, you can afford to be more decorative. If you’re going to add a sofa or other soft furnishings, make sure the upholstery wears well.

Kitchen style

Trendy doesn’t have to mean it can’t be timeless – there are an array of highly fashionable options that offer longevity, such as classic stone flooring, oak wood flooring and porcelain tiles. And a modern/rustic mix is easy to achieve and highly stylish.

I love combining contemporary and traditional influences in a design, and the kitchen is one room where you can go to town with technology,” says world-renowned interior designer, Nina Campbell.

This period style kitchen has been given a modern twist with up to date appliances and concealed lighting

If you have a small area to work with, glass-fronted cabinets are a good way to give an airy feel, and the right kitchen flooring can give the illusion of a much larger area. Stone tiles are a great way to open up a kitchen, in lighter colours and larger formats they can really create the impression of more space.

Add personality to your kitchen

While it may be a room of ‘function’, it doesn’t mean you have to be boring with your kitchen design. Injecting some fun and personality will give your kitchen a real sense of warmth and make it an inviting place to be, for the whole family. You could add a chandelier for a splash of character, or a feature wall using porcelain tiles, alongside subtle, natural stone floor tiles.

The whitewash oak flooring and blue centre island give this lovely kitchen bags of charactor

Convenience and practicality

Think about the practicality of your kitchen – how and where you use items can avoid wasted steps. For example, store breakfast items near the breakfast area, keep a cupboard free by the sink for separate containers for food scraps, glass, plastic and tins, so you can easily pop them in there for recycling.

Think of ways to reduce cleaning time in the kitchen – refrigerators with glass shelves are easier to clean than those with wire, flush-set or under-mount sinks don’t have a rim to catch crumbs in, and matte finishes won’t show the dirt as much as gloss.

Kitchen work surfaces

Choose a work surface that suits your design and is durable enough to withstand the demands of your kitchen. Limestone flagstones can be used to create a highly robust work surface, and porcelain tiles are also a great choice for both style and practicality.

Make sure you have plenty of work surfaces around the areas you use most – such as where you prepare food and wash up. But don’t sacrifice what could otherwise be useful space to have surfaces you don’t really need.

Storage

A mistake many people make when planning a kitchen design is not allowing enough storage. But don’t go crazy with cabinets. Unless you really need loads of storage, don’t fill your kitchen with an abundance of cupboards. “A good layout is a balancing act between storage, function and aesthetics,” says designer, Robert Bakes.

This stunning large kitchen has clearly defined kitchen and living spaces brought together by the limestone flooring

Cabinets that go right to the top of the ceiling are a great way to really gain maximum amounts of storage, as well as being easy to clean (no dust gathering on top) with no temptation to store anything on top and make your kitchen look cluttered. Using cabinets to store appliances is also a great way to reduce cluttering, especially if you aren’t planning to replace all your appliances to meet a new kitchen design.

Kitchen flooring

Safety, durability, ease of maintenance and style are big considerations when it comes to choosing your kitchen flooring. Stone tiles are a great choice for any kitchen design, and wood floor is a classic complement to any décor. Porcelain tiles are also a fabulous choice for a stunning and hardwearing kitchen floor.

“Natural stone looks fantastic, and the organic look and feel of it is very popular,” says Flagstones Direct consultant, Nik Cameron.

Natural stone flooring is a practical and beautiful choice for kitchens

Effective kitchen lighting

Carefully consider lighting, not only to enhance your kitchen, but also to offer a degree of flexibility. If your kitchen is a family space, think about separate lighting for areas where you’ll eat, socialise or the kids might do their homework.

Overhead lighting isn’t enough in a kitchen, like other rooms in the house, so think about under-cabinet lights that will shine directly on work surfaces.

A family friendly kitchen

If child friendly is high on your list, think about the positioning of your appliances. “Make your kitchen as family friendly as possible by planning for good visibility to backyard or indoor play areas from the cooking area,” suggests home safety expert, Dorothy Bell.

Keep the oven or hob away from walk-through areas that will see a lot of traffic. Keep appliances away from corners of work surfaces, and think about the height of work surfaces and having rounded edges to counters. When choosing your kitchen flooring, go for slip-resistant options – like textured stone flooring or porcelain tiles.

Refresh your tired kitchen easily

If your existing kitchen design works for you, or it’s not cost effective to have a complete overhaul, you can easily give it a facelift. “Just changing your work surfaces will instantly transform and modernise a kitchen,” says interior designer, Nina Campbell.

A simple change of work surface and kitchen doors can transform a kitchen for far less money

To find out more about our fabulous range of kitchen flooring, stone floor tiles, wood flooring and porcelain tiles, please visit our showroom in Cirencester. Or, you can order a flooring sample on our website. 

This stunning red kitchen island by the Shaker Kitchen Co is a practical and stylish design feature

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