Designing your kitchen

Cook up a storm in your home with our top dos and don’ts for designing a kitchen!

Often referred to as the ‘heart of the home’, the 21st century kitchen is so much more than what was once just a functional space to prepare meals.

Ok, yes we do still use the kitchen primarily for that reason (obviously), but it’s also become the hub of family life and a place to entertain guests.

So the question is, what ingredients do you need to rustle up a functional yet fashionable kitchen in your home? Check out our top dos and don’ts below...

We hope you find our tips useful. If you are buying a Taylor Wimpey home, your Sales Executive will be able to advise you whether the features described in this article are available in your home.

Interior design inspiration - designing your kitchen

1. Do make sure you have good lighting

To make the most of your kitchen and create the right ambience, it’s best to layer the lighting according to zones. In other words, decide which areas of the room will be used for what and use this as a guide to determine the type of lighting required.

Work surfaces need to be well lit to ensure you can prepare food safely so avoid fixtures that create shadows, and instead opt for under-cupboard spotlights that shine directly onto the counters. This is known as ‘task lighting’ and should be used in food preparation areas as well as over the stove and sink.

If you have a dining table or breakfast bar in your kitchen you may want to highlight this space using a low-hanging light as a focal point. Perhaps install a dimmer switch here too, so that you can adjust the brightness depending on the mood you want to create.

Of course natural lighting is also needed to ensure your kitchen has a bright, fresh feel. Avoid dark curtains or blinds – these won’t let as much light through and will make your kitchen feel stuffy and uninviting.

2. Don’t interrupt your work surfaces

People often underestimate how much counter space they need in their kitchen and then complain that there’s not enough room to prepare food. Avoid this problem by creating a kitchen that has an uninterrupted work surface.

Remember to allocate space for appliances including the microwave, kettle and toaster, plus any other utensils you like to leave on display like scales, kitchen roll holder, chopping board etc.

Finally, make sure that larger, static appliances – like a tall oven or a fridge freezer – are not positioned anywhere that will interrupt the flow of the work surface.  

3. Do keep your kitchen tidy

Keep your kitchen organised by storing your utensils, pots, pans, cutlery and crockery in order according to how often you use them.

Deep bottom drawers are a great option for large pots and pans, while a cutlery tray in a shallow top drawer is ideal for your everyday knives, forks, tablespoons and teaspoons!

Don’t be afraid to use wall-mounted shelves for additional storage space if you need to, and the oven can come in handy too for hiding baking trays and roasting tins.

For crockery, the rule is to slot not stack. Plates will be much easier to lift out when slotted horizontally than when there’s a big stack and you want the one that’s right at the bottom!

4. Don’t overlook the importance of accessories

Yes ok, we’ve established that the kitchen is primarily a functional space used to prepare meals. But we also know it’s the ‘heart of the home’ – so accessories are a must!

Treat your kitchen with the same love and attention as you would in any other room and make it homely with things like photo frames, wall art and fresh flowers.

You can also include accessories that serve a purpose – things like clocks, pin boards and to-do lists are always popular in the kitchen.


5. Do keep associated items together

Traffic flow through the kitchen can cause chaos when there are two or more people trying to prepare food or make a cuppa at the same time.

This is easily resolved by placing associated items together. For example, keep your tea, coffee and sugar near the kettle, your breadbin near the toaster, your olive oil near the stove and your tea towels near the sink!

6. Don’t create health and safety hazards

There are lots of potential health and safety hazards found in the kitchen but most of them are easily avoided with a bit of common sense! Have a read...

Install a sufficient number of electric sockets at key points around the kitchen and make sure they are positioned at a safe distance away from the sink (or any other water outlet).

It’s good practice to have a fire extinguisher or fire blanket to hand in the kitchen for emergencies. You should also invest in a good extractor fan to keep the air clean and well ventilated in the kitchen.

Install anti-slip flooring to avoid any nasty accidents from inevitable spills and splashes. A well-anchored rug can help with this too.

Keep your knives stored at a safe height out of reach from children. You may also want to think about what cleaning products you’re keeping under the sink if your kids can access them.

7. Do consider integrated appliances

Appliances that hide behind cabinet doors can help create a sense of flow throughout a kitchen, especially in an open-plan living space.

However, if you’ve chosen appliances that are there to make a statement (e.g. a trendy American-style double fridge-freezer or a country-inspired range oven) then don’t be afraid to show them off!

It’s the mundane dishwashers, washing machines and tumble dryers that are best kept concealed.

8. Don’t forget to create a space to eat

The type of table you pick for your kitchen can really change the feel of the room so do choose wisely.

Consider who will be using it – a large wooden dining table is the traditional choice for families who want to gather round and enjoy mealtimes together, while a tall breakfast bar is a more casual option for a contemporary feel

If your kitchen is on the smaller side, your best bet may be a folding table that can be stored away when it’s not in use.

9. Do allow for room to socialise

If  you have enough space, try and include an area in your kitchen that’s specifically intended for socialising and small talk.

People tend to gravitate towards the kitchen, whether it’s friends popping by for a brew or kids sitting down to do their homework. It’s important that they don’t invade your space and get in the way of your cooking.

An island unit is the ideal solution for this. Simply add a few stools and you’ll find people will automatically gather around it.