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Creating your Kitchen

What to consider before planning the layout: One of the most important aspects is creating flow between the three main areas, the cooker, sink and fridge - this is often referred to as 'the working triangle. The aim is to limit the space between the three components for efficiency - walking all three sides of the triangle should be a distance of no more than 7 metres. Plan down to the last detail, and 'store it where you use it' when it comes to the insides of units, such as having saucepans stored next to the oven for example.

1 How do you use the space?

Is it just a place to prepare meals, or are you after an open plan living space with at least a dining zone, perhaps a sofa with tv too? Is this a place for entertaining? or mainly for family meals? How much storage do you need? Now is a great time to have a good clear out in your current kitchen so you’re not trying to find space for things you’ve not used in years. Note down which aspects of your current kitchen work for you and those that don’t.

 2 Draw up a kitchen wish list

Nail those must-haves, whether that’s sleek Corian worktops, a statement island or lots of cupboards for storage. What type of cooker do you wantand with which functions? And which other appliances can’t you live without. Everybody has their preferences and their own way of working; so make sure you’ve really got to grips with yours before you set foot in the showroom. The more information you can give, the better your design will be.

3 Find inspiration

Collect together images that inspire you. Tear images from magazines, scour kitchen company websites. Something as simple as a pretty plate, tile, piece of furniture or scrap of fabric can be a great starting point for choosing a theme or colours. Don’t worry about what you can and can’t afford at this stage – it’s all about pinpointing the style.  Share your images with your partner & family.

4 Look for a kitchen company

Flicking through magazines is great way to access a range of kitchens. Search the kitchen company websites too, as most have great portfolios of previous projects. Find companies through your local directory and order brochures to see even more. And of course pop into nearby showrooms. Word of mouth is still a great way to find a good company, with the added bonus of knowing that the service offered has lived up to expectation.

5 What your kitchen designer can do for you

To get the best layout, the best use of space, and a room that really works for you, you might wish to go straight to the kitchen companies, or, if you’ve got complex job on your hands, consider using an interior designer or getting a kitchen company involved through your architect. However, if you are on a budget and you’ve got a good eye for design, you can create a design yourself, but don’t underestimate what a good kitchen designer can bring, The Annex is proud of its:

  • Years of experience and know how
  • Ideas and solutions that you may not have thought of
  • A good understanding of flow and how people interact with a space
  • Up-to-the-minute knowledge of products, fixtures and fittings
  • The ability to source everything on your behalf, often getting good deals
  • The ability to create a kitchen that works as efficiently as possible

6 Budget for your dream kitchen

Be honest about your budget from the outset so your designer can help you decide where to save and where to invest. There are clever ways to make a small budget go further – open shelving is less expensive than wall cupboards, for example, while generous pull-out storage may mean you need fewer wall units. It’s easy to get giddy when faced with all-singing, all dancing shiny appliances with countless programs and functions, but do think rationally about what you will really use. Don’t forget to budget for all the extras – flooring, tiling, splash backs and installation costs, as well as any other professional services you might need  such as a gas safe fitter, electrician or a tiler.

7 Time to visualise your kitchen design

Once you’ve chosen your kitchen and  found a designer who shares your vision and can make it happen, you’re well on your way to creating your dream kitchen, so enjoy the next phase of fine-tuning the design and working through the visuals. Most companies produce CAD drawings which will give you a good idea of how the design will look in the space in 3-D. This is then time to talk through worktops, sinks, taps, splashbacks and flooring. Good designers will be able to help with ideas for materials beyond the cabinetry.

8 Find a good professional

There’s no point in investing in a designer kitchen and then having it fitted badly. Poor worksmanship will ruin your kitchen, but a good installation will ensure even inexpensive units look amazing. Ask friends and family for recommendations, or source a skilled person through a registered trade association, such as the FMB (Federation of Master Builders). If you’re planning a larger refit or build, you may need Planning Permission or Building Regulations approval. Visit the government’s Planning Portal for easily accessible advice.

9 Count down to completion

Re-fitting such an important part of your home will always cause an upheaval. A good kitchen company will ensure the process is quick, smooth and painless as possible, with all the right people on site at the right time, but do draw up a contingency plan. Set up a basic cook station somewhere else in the house with a microwave, kettle and the basics that you need. Plan to stay with friends of family during the most disruptive stages or plan a short break away. Relax, be kind to yourself and look forward to what’s to come.

10 Decorate your new kitchen

The final additions are what make your kitchen your own. Add in an accent colour in the accessories, subtly linking finishes – pair a timber breakfast bar with wooden stools, for instance, or upholster the seats with fabric that ties in with your splashback. Little details, such as your choice of handles and art on the walls can transform a scheme and add real personality.