It is a never-ending, all-encompassing dilemma – style or practicality? But when it comes to your kitchen, who says you can not have both? More and more people in the UK today are embracing home cooking, so we want our kitchens to be both stylish, enjoyable and functional.
Whether your kitchen is a traditional, rustic or a modern, contemporary affair, you want to ensure that your kitchen walks the fine line between style and function. Here are a few things to consider when planning your kitchen design.
Your kitchen has to store a lot of stuff. In order for your kitchen to function, you will need storage for food supplies, cutlery, crockery, utensils and appliances but if you have not considered your space and storage thoroughly, you could end up with a cluttered cooking area.
Cupboards are key for storage, and do not just limit them to ground level. Incorporate wall cupboards, tall cupboards and overhead cabinets to really make the most of your space and having them all the way up to the ceiling give you the added bonus of not having to clean the tops! Try to break up the cupboards with shelves to make the area look more varied. If you do not have enough wall space, you could alternatively consider adding free standing open shelving, which ensures that everything you need is at hand. As a bonus, it can also be used as a room divider if you have a large kitchen which you wish to split up.
You could even use your storage as a display area – if you have fine china or ornate crockery that you want to show off, install some cabinets with glass doors or have some smart open shelves.
Also crucial when creating a livable kitchen space are surfaces to prepare and cook food on. Even if all you ever do in the kitchen is prepare yourself packed lunches, you will probably find that you will be grateful for all the space you can get.
Incorporate a kitchen island or breakfast bar. They can break up a kitchen's design and add extra preparation and storage space. They are multifunctional as well because it also serves as a place to have your meals.
When considering what material to use for your kitchen worktops, functionality should be at the forefront of your mind. You want a material which is easy to maintain, as this overall will look better than one which gets grimy and damaged easily over the years. If you are on a budget, laminate may be your best bet and if you have a bigger budget, invest in quartz worktops, which balance the natural beauty of stone with durability and easy maintenance. Avoid tiles, as the grout between them requires a lot of maintenance and steel because it will dent and scratch easily.
There are so many things you can do with light to ensure it is both stylish and functional. Try “task lighting” - using your light to highlight areas which you use during your cooking tasks, for example installing LEDs under your cabinets to beam down on the work surface below or fix lights so that they illuminate from behind shelves light up your equipment. To add a little panache to your kitchen lighting, hang a fixture over your kitchen island – if you are feeling flush you could hang a chandelier, but if not a quirky lampshade can work just as well.
Your main aim, however, should be to incorporate as much natural light as possible, as this is much better for your eyes than artificial lighting. Your kitchen should have plenty of windows; if this is not possible, consider a sun roof. Many people even have patio doors in their kitchen, which really allow the light to flood into the kitchen.
Choosing a color scheme for your kitchen space is your chance to put your stamp on it. If you do want to use a bold color we would recommend mixing it with a more demure shade. For example, if you go for bright blue walls in your kitchen, keep your cupboards and surfaces a neutral grey color, to avoid the room looking too garish.
You can use color to highlight certain areas, and color blocks to break up the space. If you spend a lot of time in your kitchen, use a warm color such as a red or orange, to create a welcoming, cozy environment. Glass cooker splashbacks are a great way to add a spot of color to a dull looking kitchen. You can usually select from a wide range of colors and they are extremely easy to maintain and can handle the pressures of everyday cooking.
This guest post was written by Emma Williams, who recently renovated her kitchen, with the help of K100 Kitchens. K100 Kitchens specialise in creating beautiful, functional kitchens and offer free, no obligation quotes.