I'm a professional kitchen designer - these are the insider tricks I used to design my own kitchen

You heard it here first - these are the insider kitchen design tips worth making note of

Jen Nash kitchen
(Image credit: Magnet/Jen Nash)

Ever wondered how a professional kitchen designer would design their own kitchen? If you're imagining an expertly planned space that utilises every inch of space for storage without compromising on style, then you'd be spot on. 

The best kitchen ideas take into account the specific needs of those using it, the storage that is required for all of the essentials (and then some), and beautiful finishes that make you want to spend time cooking and dining. But there's a reason you call in the professionals to help with the planning - kitchen designing is an art, so there's no better inspiration to follow than the personal cooking space of an actual designer. 

We spoke to Magnet's head of design, Jen Nash, to get the lowdown on all of the features she included in her new kitchen and why. 

How a kitchen designer designed their own space

Where to start when figuring out how to design a kitchen? It's the age-old question that often resorts to needing to call in a professional but to make life simpler, we've asked a kitchen designer for all of the top tips.

'It's important to spend time understanding your needs, how you and others will use the space and what must you change about your current set-up,' explains Jen. 

'Your kitchen designer can offer expert knowledge and advice, but they need to know your habits to create the dream. My partner and I knew we wanted a room where we could indulge in our passion for cooking and dining as well as entertaining friends and family.'

Jen Nash leaning over worktop in kitchen
Jen Nash

Joining Magnet in 2020, Jen built a clear design direction that is expressive and considered, with thoughtful details that elevate kitchens in an aspirational yet attainable way.  With over two decades of experience, Jen recognises how important the kitchen is within the home and how it can be designed to not only be beautiful but purposeful too with her great attention to detail. 

1. Look for inspiration anywhere

Jen Nash kitchen

(Image credit: Magnet)

It can be tricky to know where to start when designing a kitchen, but the key is to keep an eye out to find inspiration anywhere. Looking through brochures and visiting depots might not spark creativity, so making note of colours and textures that you like will inform an overall scheme. 

'A few years ago, I came across a beautiful ceramic coaster at a craft fair and was mesmerised by its graphic design and colour palette. When I saw the worktop I instantly fell in love with it as it reminded me of the coaster. I recommend finding an object or item that you love and using that as your inspiration you can then let the rest of the room design spill from there,' Jen recommends. 

'The Dekton worktop in Awake is one of my favourite features of the kitchen. In fact, the rich terracotta veining and muted oatmeal background inspired our overall kitchen look and feel,' she continues. 

2. Invest in tech

Magnet kitchen with brass tap and green cabinets

(Image credit: Magnet/Jen Nash)

The latest cooking tech is not only super sleek but it will also make everyday life a lot easier. When planning your design, think about how often you cook, how many people you tend to cater for and how streamlined you need your routine to be - this will help you decide on purchasing a boiling water tap vs a kettle, and determine how much space you need in a fridge or oven. 

'I've become incredibly fond of my Quooker tap, which offers boiling and filtered water instantly,' Jen says. 'It's a game-changer.' 

'Initially, I didn't realise how indispensable it would become, but now, I can't imagine my kitchen without it. While integrating technology into your kitchen represents an upfront investment, selecting the right pieces can revolutionise your daily routines and stand the test of time. It's about blending functionality with style, and these features in my kitchen do just that.'

3. Be clever with lighting

Jen nash kitchen magnet

(Image credit: Magnet)

Kitchen lighting ideas will make or break how your space feels and how functional it is. In a world where open-plan kitchens are becoming increasingly popular, it has become more than a place to cook. It's where you host friends for classy drinks evenings, help kids with homework and even work from home. So, the lighting needs to be placed cleverly over functional zones while also providing low-level mood lighting.  

'There is nothing worse than having lighting that doesn't provide light when you need it and I am a firm believer in designing around tasks, especially in the kitchen,' Jen explains. 

'Most people have spotlights and a central pendant which can cast a shadow when working if not planned well. We added wall lights from Dowsing & Reynolds that emit a soft, sensory glow but are positioned above our main task worktop add the perfect task lighting too.'

4. If in doubt, go for earthy colours

Jen Nash kitchen

(Image credit: Magnet)

Earthy colours are a huge kitchen trend for 2024 but they're also a safe choice for those wary of going for a bold tone. The more earthy a colour is, the less likely it is to date. Plus, bringing the outdoors in is always a simple way of making a room feel more calming. 

'The trend towards earthy tones is something I'm incredibly excited about. These tones, including shades like Balmoral, bring a sense of calm, grounding, and connection to nature into our homes,' says Jen.

'They are incredibly adaptable and work beautifully in a variety of design contexts, from minimalist to more traditional spaces. Earthy tones also have a way of making spaces feel more inviting and lived-in, which is particularly important in a kitchen, the heart of the home.' 

5. Think about aesthetics

Jen Nash kitchen

(Image credit: Magnet)

A kitchen is all about practicality - it's a room where you'll spend the majority of your time so you want it to include stylistic touches that feel like home. Kitchen shelving ideas will allow you to showcase your most aesthetic crockery and cookbooks and help to open up a room. 

But there are a few styling tips to consider, as Jen explains: 'The key to stylishly curated shelves lies in moderation and organisation. I recommend grouping items by similarities in shape, colour, or theme to maintain a harmonious look. Sticking to a limited colour palette, in my case, earthy green, enriched brown and terracotta, can unify the space and enhance the kitchen's overall theme.'

She continues, 'Displaying items that hold personal value, like my collection of favourite glassware, plants, and cookbooks, you breathe life and interest into the kitchen, but also having everyday items easily available. The perfect addition to any kitchen!'

6. Don't fall short on storage

Jen Nash kitchen

(Image credit: Magnet)

To maintain a chic kitchen design (which is crucial when you've spent a lot of money on the renovation), you'll need an abundance of storage. Being clever with kitchen storage ideas, however big or small, will mean that every item has it's place and it's as easy to cook as it is to clear away. 

'It's important to plan for what life throws at you!' Jen warns. 'We wanted a space that could house us for a number of years, so we've planned some extra space for us to grow into alongside some nifty pull-outs and clever solutions.'

'Spending time thinking about storage is just as important as the colour and type of tech - it can make or break a kitchen. It's also really satisfying finding a perfect place for everything, helping keep us tidy and organised,' she adds. 

There's no better person to take inspiration from than a professional kitchen designer - which feature are you planning on following first? 

Holly Cockburn
Content Editor

After starting out her journey at Future as a Features Editor on Top Ten Reviews, Holly is now a Content Editor at Ideal Home, writing about the best interior ideas and news. At Top Ten Reviews, she focussed on TikTok viral cleaning hacks as well as how to take care of investment purchases such as lawn mowers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Prior to this, Holly was apart of the editorial team at Howdens which sparked her interest in interior design, and more specifically, kitchens (Shaker is her favourite!).