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Your top tips for a well designed kitchen?

(60 Posts)
NancyDroop Fri 30-Jan-15 09:20:14

I'm designing a kitchen from scratch (eek!) as we're knocking down the wall between the kitchen and dining room and swapping them.

I would love to hear your top tips for what makes a kitchen 'work' or alternatively what you would avoid at all costs.

Thank you!!

Lelivre Fri 30-Jan-15 09:25:23

I've got a brilliant post that I saved on my phone, but I can't recall who posted it, I can copy and paste it for you hold on...

NancyDroop Fri 30-Jan-15 09:47:24

Thank you Lelivre

Lelivre Fri 30-Jan-15 09:51:03

From anonymous clever mumsnetter:

We are just coming to the end of fitting our new kitchen. I have spent 12 months thinking about it and planning it, and everything is right for my space and how I work.

My advice would be to take your time planning it. The style of doors can be relatively easily changed, but locations of appliances and worktop space isn't as easy to alter.

Look on Houzz, in magazines, on the internet for ideas of styles of doors, clever storage ideas, and just things you haven't even thought about. The kitchen lessons learnt thread on here is great for ideas too.

Think very carefully about the layout, the Ikea software is good for tinkering about with unit positions, even if you don't buy an Ikea kitchen. Don't be afraid to ask a designer to re-design it if it will not work for you as everyone is different. If you're not very good at visualising it, use newspaper / masking tape on the ground to mark it all out full size and walk round it pretending to cook etc to check it will work for you.

Think about where you will put hot things out of the oven to check them? Where will you put hot pans if you need to take them off the hob? Where will you put your plates or serving dishes when dishing up a meal? Where will you put your dirty stuff before you load the dishwasher or if you need to run two loads (eg after a large meal, so a load for pans / cooking stuff and a load for plates, glasses and cutlery etc)? Will this be on show and will it irritate you while you're eating? Where will you put the toaster or kettle? Where will you use appliances that you don't keep out (eg blender, mixer, slow cooker etc?), will they be in the way of anything else such as where you dish up or where you put the food from the oven? Where will you prepare food? Can you fit people in doing different tasks, such as preparing a meal / cooking, making a hot drink, emptying the dishwasher etc without being in each other's way too much? Can you empty the dishwasher without having to close the door to access a storage cupboard for lots of the items? Think about where you are going to store everything - your everyday plates, granny's best china, cutlery, cooking utensils, herbs & spices etc, tin foil etc, bins, cups, glasses, bread, veg that doesn't need to be in the fridge, baking stuff, appliances that you don't want / need out all the time, roasting tins, the worlds largest turkey serving plate, wine, cooking alcohol, cook books, tea towels (in use and storage), kitchen paper, etc etc etc. everything needs a home, otherwise you will be cursing every time you need it or have to move it to reach something you use more often.

Think carefully about the lighting design, you will want focused task lighting in strategic locations and softer lighting that can be left on which is fine for making drinks etc at night.

I'm sure there are other things I thought about too, but they are the main ones. Hope that helps!

Lelivre Fri 30-Jan-15 09:51:48

Hope it helps you as much as it has me, apologies to whomever posted for not recalling your name!

NancyDroop Fri 30-Jan-15 10:25:05

Thank you that is a comprehensive list. Thank you Lelivre and hats off to the mystery poster smile

Apatite1 Fri 30-Jan-15 11:46:55

Very good list!

My own considerations:

1. How tall are you? I'm only five one and I can't reach high cupboards, so I won't be having any. Also, what height do you want the counter tops to be so you (or the main cook!) can cook comfortably?

2. Large, deep pan drawers work better than deep cupboards

3. If you have deep cupboards, then pull out sections make it easier

4. Make sure you get a correctly positioned, vented and ducted and powerful extractor hood.

5. Consider your worktop carefully. Do you want a low maintenance top that you can put hot pans on directly, doesn't stain and is easy to clean? Or do you want a wow factor marble top that needs more care?

6. Fridge doors need to open beyond 90 degrees for you to pull out drawers, so remember that when positioning. I've been in kitchens where they forgot this!

7. Dishwashers are best kept close to sinks, so you don't walk far with a dripping dish that's been soaking.

8. My cooker is in the island, have been advised to get a small prep sink for quick rinses, draining pasta etc next to it as the main sinks are behind me. Makes sense!

9. If you have underfloor heating, don't put the bin directly onto it as it will smell. So we're having in inbuilt ones.

10. I like quooker taps and in sink disposals.

That's all I got for now!

FantasticMrsFoxx Fri 30-Jan-15 12:27:38

Great advice above! Bookmarking page!
See also:http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/property/a1554664-The-MN-lessons-learnt-kitchen-thread

magimedi Fri 30-Jan-15 12:38:16

I have my bins under the sink with a pull out arrangement.

I can't tell you how much I love not having a free standing bin in the kitchen. I'd sacrifice storage space for this - it's wonderful.

TranquilityofSolitude Fri 30-Jan-15 12:41:55

Ha! I was just about to say to think carefully about where to put the bin because mine is under the sink and it drives me mad. I love not having it on the floor but when DH is doing the dishes and I am clearing the table I keep having to ask him to move so that I can put stuff in the bin so that he can wash the plates.

Rivercam Fri 30-Jan-15 12:43:07

I remember reading ages ago that, in the kitchen, you should form a triangle with your sink, cooker and fridge. Ie. If poss, they shouldn't all be in a straight row

TenMinutesEarly Fri 30-Jan-15 12:47:28

I designed my own kitchen. The things about it I love are

Tall cupboards next to the integrated fridge freezer.
Pan drawers
Curved edge which meant I could take the units right up to the patio doors
Wooden worktop painted/varnished with osmo.
I have wooden up stands and only have a glass splash back directly behind the hob which is induction and fantastic.

Think about how many plug sockets you need and get a couple more. Don't forget to get plug sockets in the dining area.

RaisingSteam Fri 30-Jan-15 13:14:33

I am a big fan of workflow planning as per this website

If you follow it you will end up with dishes next to the dishwasher, utensils near the prep area etc. and ideally can make a cuppa without moving your feet. It drives me nuts to see really expensive kitchens (who should have known better) with the hob shoved in a corner next to the draining board, or even worse marooned in a chimney breast, and no useful prep space where it's needed. There will always be something that doesn't quite fit the plan but you get the idea.

Also think about walking routes through the room - if you have people going from hall to sitting room or back door to hall, make a clear route which doesn't go through the work area.

In our kitchen I like:
- no wall units above the prep area so unrestricted light and headroom,
- All base units have something that pulls out in them - bin unit, pan drawers, wire baskets behind a cupboard door. You can fit much more in than on shelves, because you never lose anything at the back.
- tall larder - if well designed with spice racks etc you can fit masses in them.

I don't like that I couldn't find somewhere satisfactory to put the microwave so it's shoved on the corner of the worktop!

chicaguapa Fri 30-Jan-15 13:47:54

There's a fab picture on pinterest of a hidden power point which I've vowed to have on the island in my next kitchen. (Hopefully I've added the picture ok)

There are some great tips on this thread. I love the idea of having a whole wall of units and leaving the rest of the kitchen clear.

TheSpottedZebra Fri 30-Jan-15 13:50:26

That 'Lessons learnt' thread that MrsFoxx posted is excellent. Make yourself a big cup of tea and settle down for a long read...

NancyDroop Fri 30-Jan-15 14:00:45

Thank you all for your replies and links! I am going to write out a list of considerations to work through, in the style of Apatite1.

The bin issue is thorny and one we can't decide on!

TranquilityofSolitude Fri 30-Jan-15 14:35:58

Thinking about it, if I were doing my kitchen again I'd just put the bin in the other side of the cupboard. I have a double unit under the sink but the bin is attached to the door on the sink side (leftt). In fact I might just see if I can get a bracket to attach it to the right-hand door and put it on the other side. That would be much easier.

JugglingChaotically Fri 30-Jan-15 14:45:00

Ours goes in next month so will update then but for planning one of my key concerns was not having the children in my work area so.....
Fridge, toaster, prep sink, microwave and baking area do not cross with sink, oven, hob, dishwasher!

RaisingSteam Fri 30-Jan-15 19:15:20

If you have bins in a sort of high-fronted drawer pull-out (rather than the back of a hinged door) under the sink, the wash up person only needs to step backward a bit for you to pull out a few inches and chuck things in.

FindMeAPixie Fri 30-Jan-15 20:29:59

And think about where you will hang hand towel/tea towels.

I was designing my kitchen when the lessons learnt thread started - it saved me oodles of mistakes. I planned for my bin (drawer system in a cupboard next to the sink - it is perfect).

I also sat with post it notes and lists of "things" - plastic pots, plates, baking trays, baking ingredients and kind of did a workflow of where stuff would be useful. So baking ingredients could be separate from the rest of the food - and I wanted them next to the kitchen aid/big long work top. I wanted cupboard space big enough for cereals on the dining table side of the island. We have lots of water bottles (sports, hiking etc) so where would I put them? Napkins? etc etc. Having every category of stuff on a post-it enabled me to arrange and re-arrange stuff. Where would I use it. Where would it be best. Where would it be a fucking irritation (as above cereal on the wrong side of the island). I have a tea and coffee (and toaster) designated area - whereas in our last kitchen it felt like you had to walk in several circles to get a hot drink.

My resulting kitchen really, really works for me. I love it.

Pannacotta Fri 30-Jan-15 20:49:56

I used the lessons learnt thread when I planned my new kitchen.
The things I am really pleased with are the pan drawers, deep worktop, sink away from bin, tea/coffee things near the kettle.
I also think lighting is important, I have under unit lights, spotlights and fairy lights so I can vary the lighting depending on the time of day.
I also got a Brita tap which is great, no more filling up a brita filter every day.

Sidge Fri 30-Jan-15 21:05:55

We've just done our kitchen in DPs house - I love it.

My "things" are:

Large double sink - one bowl is not enough
Pan drawers
Those pull out things in corner cupboards so no wasted space
Lighting is crucial - we have bright LED lights that are functional for working, then softer mood lighting for the evening when you just want to pop in to make a cuppa or pour another glass of wine
Wine cooler fridge - extravagant but I LOVE it
Charging sockets - normal plug sockets with two USB points for charging phones and iPads
We chose a Neff oven with a door that pulls down then slides back in - no more bruised hips!

I think it's all in the planning. We played around a lot with the layout and went for as many cupboards as we could. Never underestimate how much storage you need.

wiltingfast Fri 30-Jan-15 21:26:24

If you can afford, go for drawers under the counter where possible.

Buy QUIET appliances. You can hardly hear our dishwasher.

If you have a very big space, your working triangle shoud still be small.

I'd have loved my bin off the floor, we just did not have room sad

Plus we didn"t put lights under the overhead cuppboards (budget saving measure) and I really regret that.

Basically you need to walk your space and walk it again and walk how you will use it, map out your favourite kitchen activities and plan accordingly!

Good luck.

NancyDroop Fri 30-Jan-15 23:42:15

Thank you so much for your advice MNetters! From your posts and links (including the Kitchen Lessons Learnt thread) I humbly present Version 1.0 of the "List of Kitchen Design Considerations"

It's a jumble of warnings, advice, ideas and personal preferences (sorry if I love your pet peev!) I’ll update anon with additional things I can think of (please add your wisdom too MN!) and hope to use it to plan a well-oiled machine of a kitchen!

Layout (straight from the mystery clever mumsnetter!)
Where you will put hot things out of the oven to check them?
Where will you put hot pans if you need to take them off the hob?
Where will you put your plates or serving dishes when dishing up a meal?
Where will you put your dirty stuff before you load the dishwasher or if you need to run two loads (eg after a large meal, so a load for pans / cooking stuff and a load for plates, glasses and cutlery etc)?
Where will you put the toaster or kettle?
Where will you use appliances that you don't keep out (eg blender, mixer, slow cooker etc?), will they be in the way of anything else such as where you dish up or where you put the food from the oven?
Where will you prepare food?
Can you fit people in doing different tasks, such as preparing a meal / cooking, making a hot drink, emptying the dishwasher etc without being in each other's way too much?
Can you empty the dishwasher without having to close the door to access a storage cupboard for lots of the items?
Think about where you are going to store everything - your everyday plates, granny's best china, cutlery, cooking utensils, herbs & spices etc, tin foil etc, bins, cups, glasses, bread, veg that doesn't need to be in the fridge, baking stuff, appliances that you don't want / need out all the time, roasting tins, the worlds largest turkey serving plate, wine, cooking alcohol, cook books, tea towels (in use and storage), kitchen paper, etc etc etc. everything needs a home, otherwise you will be cursing every time you need it or have to move it to reach something you use more often.

Lighting
Install plenty. Ensure good lighting in the food prep area.

Sockets
Get double the number you think you need, or a double socket at least every m along the wall, 20cm above the worktop.
Get a certified electrician to install, not the kitchen fitters.
Put some sockets inside cupboards for charging electronics or running small appliances.
Don’t have them too close to the corners or you won’t be able to reach.

Heating
Underfloor heating is mellow and lovely although limits the range of flooring.

Worktop
Find a beautiful, low maintenance worktop at a reasonable cost….

Flooring
Tiles can be difficult to keep clean and everything that lands on them seems to smash.
Wooden floor should be treated with yacht sealer to avoid staining and aid clean up.
Put floors down before the cabinets to enable moving of cabinet and keep wildlife out.

Food storage
Pull out larders are very useful; similarly a pantry cupboard. A walk in larder is the stuff of dreams.
Do measure the height of your typical food products (e.g. cereal boxes and bottled water).
Plan your spice storage.

General storage
Cabinets should be extended to the ceiling to avoid the smelly, sticky dust, although accepting that the tallest cupboards will never be used.
Write out every kitchen category on a post it note and plan where it will live.
Drawers are better than cupboards (in particular for under counter storage).
Plan to have a takeaway menus & batteries drawer.
Just say no to carousel cupboards.
Magnetic knife racks are recommended, although particularly by burglars.

Waste disposal
Plan with great care where your bins (waste, recycling) will be – freestanding, under the sink or in a cupboard. This is a topic of great debate.
Apparently bins directly on underfloor heating are smelly.
People quite like their Insinkerators. The safety of small animals is uncertain…

Sink
Have one wide sink, not two small.

Kitchen Tap
A mixer tap controlled by one handle is useful.
A mesh diffuser if a must or you will be splashed every time you run the tap.
Some people love the boiling water taps although they seem a bit scary.
A water softener saves scrubbing.

Dishwasher(s)
Should be close to the sink, but must be openable without vacating the sink station & without impeding opening of other drawers.
Some people recommend having two.

Oven(s)
Don’t have to be in the same place as the hob.
Higher up ovens may be easier to use.
Don’t forget the microwave.

Hob/extractor hood
Hob: induction all the way apparently.
Get an extractor that actually extracts steam rather than redistributing it around the kitchen.
Make sure it isn’t installed too low so you don’t bang your head on it daily

Fridge/freezer
Check the internal volume – this varies hugely
Fridge doors need to open beyond 90 degrees for you to pull out drawers.

Towels
Plan where the following will live: tea towels, hand towels, kitchen towel

Organisational HQ
Have a space for the family calendar, recipe books, papers and all the rest that ends up in the kitchen.

123rd Sat 31-Jan-15 00:23:45

Brilliant. This is exactly what I need right now. Just in the first throws of designing a new kitchen. ATM I have a Wishlist posted to the back of a cupboard door, if what I want. I shall pour over all of this again. Thanks everyone.

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