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The seven deadly sins of bespoke kitchen design – according to our experts

Our expert team of designers has witnessed many a potential mistake as homeowners try to plan their new bespoke kitchen. Here they share some of their advice and insider secrets, to help you avoid going down the same route.

No focal point

Every room needs a focal point – an area that draws in the eye and really creates a statement. In a sitting room, it’s usually the fireplace; in a bedroom, it’s often the bed itself, and so the same goes for the kitchen. It might be that you choose a statement island or a freestanding drinks cabinet, or perhaps a cabinetry colour or dramatic splashback as your focal point.

Choosing one feature to lead the design or style also means that other elements play supporting roles so that the room isn’t overpowered with too many ideas.


Separate cutlery from cooking utensils

If you have the space, make sure your cooking utensils are near the hob or range and that your cutlery is nearer to your dining area. Sounds obvious doesn’t it but it makes for better zoning in the kitchen and therefore less congestion in busy areas.

Mind the gap

The main focus of many homeowners is to cram as much storage as possible into their space but at what cost? Often this leaves little room to manoeuvre around the kitchen and leaves family members constantly in each other’s way.

By allowing at least 900mm distance between walls and cabinetry or other furniture, there is plenty of passing room for hungry diners but cupboards and shelves are still within easy reach of the cook.



Proportions are key for wall cupboards

One of the beauties of choosing bespoke cabinetry is that not only is it custom-fitted to your room, it can also be custom designed. This is important in more quirky properties – particularly those with extraordinary ceiling heights.

A very low ceiling height might require wall cabinetry to be adapted from standard measurements to something a little more tailored. For example, a country cottage with wooden ceiling beams may be better suited to much smaller wall cabinets – not only so the doors are unhindered by the beams but also to ensure they do not dominate the room.

Similarly, a vaulted ceiling may require taller wall cupboards in order for the design to feel in proportion and in keeping with the property’s overall aesthetic.


Trends end

Vintage Formica or sunshine yellow cabinetry may make an appearance in lifestyle magazines or on Pinterest from time to time but they are certainly not enduring or appealing to everyone.

When designing a kitchen, the priority is obviously to get things right for you and your household but
a little forethought about whether it would help or hinder a house sale in the future is also worthwhile.

If you really want to be on-trend then consider freestanding pieces that can create standout instead of the fitted kitchen furniture, which is expensive to replace.

Your kitchen designer will be able to help you select items that are easy to replace without disrupting the entire room and by planning ahead, you’ll get that extra flexibility you might desire later on to stay en vogue.


Shelving matters

If you don’t plan the contents of your cupboards appropriately you could end up with vast amounts of wasted space.

With a bespoke kitchen, almost anything is possible so if you’re a great hoarder of glassware, or can’t bear to be without the latest gadget, you’ll need somewhere to put it – and preferably somewhere with easy access unless you want it to gather dust!

Equally important is the positioning of items around the kitchen: you won’t want heavy Le Creuset cookware at head height, and small appliances may need extra shelf height to accommodate them.

An audit of your crockery, tableware and cookware and equipment is a good place to start.


Full disclosure on full height cabinetry

It’s quite common practice to build several floor-to-ceiling full height cabinets. This can work well in a large room as it gives the impression of a false wall rather than a run of cupboards. However, when this is incorporated into smaller rooms, the effect is somewhat different and can lead a room to feel smaller, darker and claustrophobic.

If this is a look you love and space is at a premium, speak to your designer about incorporating features across the run of cupboards that break up the uniformity. For example, adding some glazing not only mixes things up but can also reflect natural light and brighten up the room.

Our kitchen designers have literally been there and bought the t-shirt so it always pays to listen to their advice. Designing a new kitchen from scratch is so much more than combining a number of beautiful items and materials – the space needs to work really hard for the family too. Getting this balance between ‘form’ and ‘function’ is crucial to your new kitchen being a successful addition to your home and standing the test of time.

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