Kitchen planning tips from top designers

If the size, shape or style of the kitchen in your home doesn’t bear any resemblance to the one in your dreams.

If the size, shape or style of the kitchen in your home doesn’t bear any resemblance to the one in your dreams, it’s time to call in the experts. Sometimes, a talented kitchen designer will be able to suggest structural tweaks that create a better space, but for anything that extends beyond the units and layout, you may well benefit from extra help.

The most successful kitchens – with a fabulous island, seamless transition into the garden and beautifully coordinated soft seating – are now rarely the work of just one design talent. They’re usually created by a crack team of kitchen designer, architect and interior designer working in tandem to open up ceilings, knock down walls and coordinate surfaces, colours and finishing touches. Creating more space or natural light tops the wishlist of major changes, closely followed by the desire for a more sociable or multifunctional scheme, then increased storage, improved flow and design cohesion.

Unless your project is relatively simple, it makes sense to at least talk to a kitchen designer, architect and/or interior designer about your options. Going beyond mere fabric coordination, interior designers excel at creating an inviting atmosphere, establishing focal points and softening the kitchen’s hard surfaces.

Creating colour schemes that will work across the entire room and beyond is an art
that many struggle to pull off. A skilled interior designer will create moodboards that reflect your style and taste, and recommend colours and patterns that you might not have considered. They are also great at introducing different textures and materials that will soften the space and make it feel more homely and welcoming.

FINDING THE RIGHT PERSON
When you are inviting any professional to make significant alterations to your home, it’s always reassuring if they come highly recommended. Ask friends and family, post on social networks or introduce yourself to the owners of properties in the area who are having similar work done. Your kitchen designer, who will be familiar with local architects and interior designers, can also advise on potential candidates. If a particular practice has caused endless headaches on a previous install, or has a reputation for running over schedule, your kitchen designer probably won’t hold back.

The architect and interior design industries are both supported by professional bodies that can provide a shortlist of members in your area. Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) offers the peace of mind that its accredited practices comply with strict criteria regarding insurance, health and safety, and quality management systems. British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) is similarly scrupulous about its members, who must follow a stringent code of conduct.

1/6 ‘It is important to seek the advice of kitchen designers and architects to make the most of the space and to prevent expensive mistakes. My pet hate in kitchens is gaps at the top of cupboards as these are serious dust traps. Floor-to-ceiling cupboards are much more visually appealing.’

kitchen room with white tiled flooring and kitchen sink

(Image credit: Robert Sanderson)

  • kitchen designers and architects to make the most of the space and to prevent expensive mistakes. My pet hate in kitchens is gaps at the top of cupboards as these are serious dust traps. Floor-to-ceiling cupboards are much more visually appealing.’" target="_blank" rel="noopener" class="share-button pw-button-twitter icon-social-twitter " data-url="https://www.idealhome.co.uk/kitchen/kitchen-ideas/kitchen-planning-tips-from-top-designers-54229" name="Share this page on twitter" >
  • kitchen designers and architects to make the most of the space and to prevent expensive mistakes. My pet hate in kitchens is gaps at the top of cupboards as these are serious dust traps. Floor-to-ceiling cupboards are much more visually appealing.’" target="_blank" rel="noopener" class="share-button pw-button-pinterest icon-social-pinterest " data-url="https://www.idealhome.co.uk/kitchen/kitchen-ideas/kitchen-planning-tips-from-top-designers-54229" name="Share this page on pin

2/6 Give your kitchen personality

dining table with floral printed table cloth and red chair

(Image credit: TBC)

'Add accessories to make your kitchen welcoming. I began collecting old tea towels from charity shops a while ago and I'm thinking of framing some to hang in my new kitchen. Another idea is to transform kitchen chairs with vivid gloss paint and a retro-geometric print made up into seat cushions.'

Cath Kidston

3/6 Create an organised space

kitchen room with white shelves on wall

(Image credit: Jake Curtis)

'Good organisation is the key to a well-thought-out kitchen. A place for everything is important if your kitchen is to function properly.'

Tricia Guild

4/6 Tuck away ugly appliances

kitchen room wih red coffee maker machine and white china jug

(Image credit: TBC)

'Anything mechanical and ugly should definitely be behind closed doors, although it is encouraging to see a good espresso machine on the counter.'

Nina Campbell

5/6 Invest in a range cooker

kitchen with kitchen contours and photoframe on wall

(Image credit: Polly Eltes)

'If you enjoy cooking, buy the best range cooker that you can afford. Not only are they fantastic to cook on but they look stylish too.'

Tricia Guild

6/6 Make a statement in the kitchen

dining room with concrete flooring and red chairs

(Image credit: Hallie Burton)

'Go for something with a real wow factor, such as thick concrete work surfaces, a glass splashback lit from behind with fibre optics, or a statement extractor. If choosing granite, lay it with the reverse side up, as this has a dull finish which is far more attractive.'

Kelly Hoppen

Looking for more kitchen design ideas? Visit our kitchen channel for decorating ideas and shopping guides. Plus, why not follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest news.

Thea Babington-Stitt
Managing Editor

Thea Babington-Stitt is the Managing Editor for Ideal Home. Thea has been working across some of the UK’s leading interiors titles for around 10 years.

She started working on these magazines and websites after graduating from City University London with a Masters in Magazine Journalism. Before moving to Ideal Home, Thea was News and Features Editor at Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc and Country Homes & Interiors.