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Kitchen ideas

Looking for beautiful kitchen ideas? It’s where we cook, eat, entertain and socialise, so it’s important to create a kitchen design that ticks all these boxes – and more. Whether you’re ripping out and installing a new kitchen, moving your kitchen into a new room or just tackling a small project to update your current kitchen, we have all the inspiration and practical guides you need.

For a busy family home a fitted kitchen is a bespoke solution that will offer fantastic functionality and streamline the space to make the most of every inch. If you’re on a tight budget consider revamping kitchen cabinets or investing in some new kitchen worktops to refresh the style and add years of service to the busiest room in the house.

Renovating a kitchen is a smart bet for increasing the value of your home, so that beautiful kitchen island could turn into a great investment for the future.

Ready to get started? Browse through our kitchen ideas gallery below to see a huge range of styles or narrow your search to modern kitchens, traditional kitchens or country kitchens if you’ve got your heart set on a specific look.

Kitchen decorating ideas

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Before and after: from dark impractical layout to super-sunny kitchen

The owners of this north London property spent five years living in their house before they decided to update the…

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Before and after: lightening and brightening was the aim of this kitchen makeover

Living in Australia for eight years made the owners of this four-bedroom Seventies detached property in Middlesex look at houses…

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Before and after: from dark and dated space to bright family friendly kitchen

‘Previously, we lived in a four-bedroom Victorian house, but with the surprise addition of twins to our family, we realised…

Makeover split Before and after: from awkward-shaped room to spacious kitchen-diner

Before and after: from awkward-shaped room to stylish and spacious kitchen-diner

When the owners moved into their Victorian home in Surrey, the whole house needed renovating, so while they tackled the…

Kitchen makeover split Kitchen shelving IH Feb p112 Short kitchen makeover

Before and after: self-made cabinets kept costs down in this kitchen makeover

When the owners bought their house in 2014, the kitchen hadn’t been updated for years, which suited them perfectly, as…

Makeover split Hawes kitchen extension SAH Feb p100

Before and after: take a look at this kitchen extension project

When the owners moved to their home five years ago, they weren’t particularly looking for a modern house, but they…

Before and after: from jumbled layout to open-plan extension, take a look at this stunning modern kitchen makeover

When the owners of this four-bedroom 1930s house moved in, it hadn’t been updated for years. The ground floor was poorly…

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Planning and decorating your kitchen

Kitchens are the most hard-working room in the home. In many modern households they are so much more than a place to cook and clean. They’re the hub of the house, where people come together to eat, relax and socialise.

With all these different jobs to perform, getting the right kitchen design is essential. Kitchens must, of course, be practical, but with an ever-increasing range of kitchen cabinets, kitchen appliances, kitchen worktops and kitchen accessories to choose from, they can also be a stylish space that reflects your personality.

How to design your dream kitchen

People use their kitchen in different ways depending on the amount of space they have to play with and their individual lifestyle. However, there are a few basic guidelines that apply to any kitchen design and will provide the groundwork for designing the perfect kitchen.

Begin by separating your kitchen into different zones for cooking and work (food prep and washing). Your cooking zone includes your oven, hob  or range cooker, an extractor fan and a microwave if you have one. Make sure this area is not in the pathway to a door or blocking the main thoroughfare through the room – handling hot cookware while people are trying to walk past you is a recipe for disaster.

Other things to consider include leaving enough space next to the hob for setting down pans, allocating an area for serving up dishes, and making sure there is enough space in front of the oven for the door to open unhindered - a minimum of half a metre is a must.

The work zone is where will have your fridge-freeze as well as your kitchen sink, dishwasher and kitchen waste bin - these should all be as close together as possible so you can tip leftover food into the bin, rinse the plates then stack them in the dishwasher with minimum effort. You might want to position your kitchen cabinets and drawers for storing crockery and cutlery close by as well, for ease of putting away.

If you don’t have a separate utility room, you may also need to factor in a washing zone for your washing machine and tumble dryer. A combined washer-dryer will save space and can be tucked away behind kitchen unit doors when not in use.

In an open-plan kitchen, you will also need a separate dining and/or living area, placed as far away from the work zone as possible so as not to disturb anyone eating or relaxing in those areas. A breakfast bar is a smart way to squeeze in informal seating in a small kitchen.

How to choose the right kitchen layout

The kitchen layout you choose will be dictated largely by space. A U-shaped kitchen  is one of the most space-efficient designs, and is perfect for small kitchens. It packs maximum storage and worktop space into minimum square footage. Make sure you include corner cupboards with carousels so not an inch of storage space goes to waste.

An L-shaped kitchen works well in an open-plan kitchen design. A row of kitchen units runs along one side of the ‘L’, while a row of low-level units runs along the jutting out portion of the ‘L’ – an easy way to create a barrier between the kitchen prep and dining or living zones.

Galley kitchens are the top choice of professional chefs and aspiring amateurs as they are super-efficient. Two runs of kitchen units run parallel to one another, putting everything within easy reach. This may not be the best solution for small kitchens, as you need an absolute minimum of 120cm between the runs of units to allow for safe traffic flow – 140cm if more than one person is likely to be cooking.

A more open-plan version of the galley kitchen is to have a run of kitchen units along one wall with a kitchen island unit opposite. As with the L-shaped kitchen, the island unit can form a divide between the working kitchen space and the dining area or living area. If space allows, the non-work side of a kitchen island is a great place to include bar stool seating or open shelves to store cookery books.

How to create your kitchen style

Once you have devised the perfect layout for your kitchen, you can start to inject some of your own taste and personality into it with the cabinets and finishes you choose. Finishing touches such as kitchen worktops, kitchen splashbacks, kitchen doors, kitchen flooring and kitchen handles will all have a huge impact on the overall look and feel of your kitchen.

If you’re a fan of contemporary design, sleek handleless kitchen units with modern kitchen  worktops in Corian or steel may be up your street. If you’re running a busy family household, painted kitchen units with hardwearing laminate worktops might be a more practical choice. The great thing about painted units is you can easily repaint them for next to no money when they get marked and scuffed.

Make sure you include enough kitchen storage

It’s easy to underestimate how much kitchen storage you will need. Make a list of all your kitchen equipment – pots, pans, crockery, cutlery, appliances, linen, cleaning products – as well as anything else you may need to store in your kitchen, from food and drink to the ironing board and vacuum cleaner. Once you have your list, you can design storage solutions around it.

A pantry or pull-out larder is the most practical way to store food, while a built-in wine rack, or even a wine fridge or wine cooler, can also come in handy. Kitchen cupboards with built-in spice racks or kitchen drawers with built-in dividers for cutlery are a great help when it comes to keeping things organised. A pull-out bin with an integrated recycling compartment makes it easier to do your bit for the environment.