A new kitchen is usually high on the priority list for many home improvers. When designing your new kitchen you need to think about how you will use the space as well as the features you want to include.
Perhaps you are after a super-sleek contemporary-style kitchen, or maybe a classic, traditional kitchen is more your thing.
Whatever your preferred kitchen style, we’ve listed 10 great features to include in your new space – from small design details that will keep your space stylish and functional to the smart tech that is well-worth considering.
(MORE: Kitchen Design)
1. The Multi-functional Kitchen Island
Even those with small kitchens can consider a kitchen island — just scale it down a bit. In fact, kitchen islands can actually make the most of the space available, incorporating storage, appliances and dining space all in one.
For it to work well, you need to have enough space around your chosen island so that it does not feel in the way — work to a minimum of 1,000mm clearance space and take into account open oven doors, fridges and the like.
Uses for a kitchen island include:
- wine coolers or racks
- extra storage
- somewhere to dine
- work station
2. Freestanding Kitchen Units
Mixing up fitted kitchen units with freestanding pieces lends a relaxed vibe to room, while also allowing for a degree of flexibility in terms of furniture placement.
Don’t feel restricted to traditional ‘kitchen furniture’ either — get creative with console tables, ladder shelving and bookshelves — all provide useful storage and create a more relaxed, individual look to the space.
(MORE: Kitchen Storage Ideas)
3. Include a Kitchen Larder
Whilst traditional walk-in larders or pantries are hugely useful, it is not always possible to find the space for them. However, a good-sized built-in larder is the next best thing.
4. Mix and Match Worktops
There is no need to stick to just one worktop material in your new kitchen — in fact it is rare for kitchens to have just one type of worktop finish these days.
Mixing up two or more materials not only adds visual interest, but also makes sense on a more practical level.
Use a hardwearing stone, such as granite, or a composite for those areas which need to be heat and moisture resistant.
5. Eye-level Appliances
For a sleek, streamlined look with plenty of storage, floor-to-ceiling units and built-in appliances are the way to go.
Eye-level appliances were once the norm before falling from favour — now they are back with a vengeance.
Allowing you to get food in and out without stooping, built-in eye-level ovens have seen a surge in popularity in recent years, as have built-in coffee machines and microwaves — ideal for contemporary kitchens.
(MORE: Modern Kitchen Design Ideas)
6. Create a Kitchen-diner
Kitchens are now the very heart of the home and most families these days seem to spend most of their time together there. It therefore makes sense to have your day-to-day dining space located in the kitchen too — even if you still want a more formal dining space elsewhere.
7. Clever Kitchen Storage
You can never, ever have too much storage in a kitchen — however many units you include in your design, it never seems quite enough.
Sneaking in extra shelving and cubby holes around the cooker, clever drawer divides and pull out units, racks and rails wherever you can will provide somewhere for the cooking essentials without eating into precious worktop space.
8. ‘Smart’ Appliances
Your kitchen should make life easy — which is why more and more 'smart' appliances designed to do just this, are appearing all the time.
From boiling water taps delivering instant hot water (some supply sparkling water too) and ovens that clean themselves, to refrigerators that update your online shopping list — there is an appliance out there just waiting to ease your workload.
9. More Drawers, Less Units
Whilst kitchen units still very much have their place in kitchen design, deep kitchen drawers are currently winning in the popularity stakes due to the many benefits they offer.
Not only do they look great, but they also offer lots of storage space and can be fitted with all kinds of racks and systems to accommodate whatever will be stored within them.
The trend for drawers in the kitchen has carried on into the world of appliances too — with dishwasher drawers, freezer drawers and warming drawers all featuring heavily on many wish lists of late.
10. Pull Out Units
Kitchen companies are constantly inventing news ways to help us squeeze the very most out of the spaces we have available.
From up-and-over 'garage door' style unit fronts that require no out-swing space, to retractable shelving. The pull-out shelf is a really nifty idea, allowing for easy access to frequently used appliances, such as your beloved coffee machine or smoothie maker, without having to clear off worktop space for them.
Natasha is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Associate Editor. She is at the end of the DIY renovation and extension of an Edwardian cottage.
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