George Clarke’s complete guide to planning a new kitchen

First and foremost a kitchen is a working space, so always start your design by looking at how you function when preparing and cooking meals. Evaluate what you need immediately to hand and any other activities like children’s homework that may go on in the space. More and more, a kitchen designer will also be looking at the space as a whole, and that often includes a dining area, and perhaps a living zone and a play area too.

What should you spend your budget on?

Kitchens are the heart of the home; they’re where you cook, chat and spend a fair chunk of your time, so they should definitely look good too. If you haven’t got the time and budget for a complete kitchen makeover, but you’d love something shiny and fresh, it’s actually easier than you might think to make a kitchen look like new. You can compromise on cabinetry and joinery but never skimp on a good work surface. You want one that is durable, resilient and easy to clean.

Future proofing tips?

Embrace technology in the kitchen. Good lighting and integrated tech can really change the look and functionality of your space. Consider underfloor heating for tiled kitchens. Cost-effective and efficient, it’s a great way to achieve an even heat distribution in rooms of all sizes.

What are the most common planning mistakes?

Many people often get lighting, electrics and power wrong. Remember to plan well in advance with lighting. Experts agree that the best time to install a new lighting scheme is before you start to redecorate or during the initial stages of a new kitchen design; left as an afterthought and lighting possibilities are limited, impact is lessened and mistakes can be costly and disruptive to put right. You may want to seek advice from a lighting expert or interior designer who will have a vast knowledge of the different sources of light, the many fixtures and fittings on offer, as well as today’s hi-tech control systems. Always employ a qualified electrician to ensure a safe and well-fitted installation.

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