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5 Key Kitchen Design Tips

It’s Pancake Day and no doubt, like me, your thoughts have turned to your kitchen. Today more than ever we wish we had the perfect space to accommodate for all of that pancake flipping! If you’re more of a Jamie Oliver than a Miquita Oliver, take note. Here are some kitchen design tips for creating a chef’s kitchen that’s worthy of being called the heart of the home.

kitchen design tips

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Top kitchen design tips

The ideal work surfaces

A cook’s kitchen undergoes a lot of wear and tear. You want to be able to chop potatoes without making a dent in your countertops and move a hot pan of food from the oven without worrying about leaving a permanent ring imprint. The tricky thing is that there’s no perfect work surface so you’ll need to use a mixture of materials that are appropriate for different tasks.

Wooden butcher block is very cost-effective at £25-92 per square foot and great for cutting on as it’s essentially a giant chopping board but it’s best to avoid placing it around a sink as it can swell and blacken when it comes into contact with water. You’ll also need to seal it regularly to make it food-safe.

kitchen design ideas

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Cooler surfaces such as marble and granite lend themselves to baking and moving pots and pans thanks to heat-resistant surfaces – just steer clear of using them where guests are likely to perch and make a cup of tea as they don’t react well to tea or coffee stains (or red wine for that matter). At £60-245 per square foot, they sit at the higher end of the market, however they’re ideal for the surfaces which are in close proximity to the hobs on your oven.

No doubt you’ve seen many a stainless steel countertop on a cookery show too. It’s popular because it’s very hygienic and kind on your bank account at £48-54 per square foot. Easy to clean, waterproof and heat-resistant, the only downside is that you can’t cut on the surface without leaving visible scratch marks. Fans of the industrial look will welcome it for kitchen dining as long as they’re not the elbows on the table types. If you find yourself in the latter camp, you might find that it’s just too cold!

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There’s almost an endless choice of countertop materials, all with their pros and cons, so before you buy, I would always talk to a kitchen specialist who is trained to advise you in the best materials for your home.

The right type and amount of storage

Do you tend to cook from scratch more often than not and shop fresh instead of relying on freezer based items? In that case, you can cut down on freezer storage and invest in more fridges to replace the common fridge freezer. You can even buy multiple under the counter fridges and line them up in a row, although I’d be wary as they tend to retail at over £2,000 each. Sub-Zero’s ID-24R Refrigerator Drawers price in at £2301.39, without the cost of installation added on top!

Although all good kitchens should have a quality extractor fan, avoid open shelves wherever possible as they’re a magnet for dust and grime. Likewise, heavily detailed cupboards with moulding and deep grooves may look pretty but you’ll find it hard to keep the room clean. Stick to less ornate cabinets that are deep to accommodate stacked plates and bowls and raise all wall-hung types to ceiling level to really maximise space. When you’re busy cooking, small round knobs on cupboards aren’t easy to open either so swap to U-shaped drawer handles to make cooking more enjoyable.

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A low hung shelf that reaches across a good amount of wall space will provide opportunity for storing recipe books, while hooks for saucepans and frequently used kitchen tools such as spatulas are a good investment. As for that all important knife storage, designated slots in drawers are perfect  – particularly those that incorporate wooden block dividers to keep them sharp.

The best appliances

Double electric ovens which heat evenly and contain pull-out racks will allow you to check on your food and assess it without the risk of dropping it on the floor. The ideal interior has a porcelain coating – which might seem a strange choice but its popularity comes down to it being easy to clean. Grease and grime marks will be highly visible but that’s not such a bad thing in an area which should be kept sparkling for health reasons.

designing the perfect kitchen

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Moving to the top of the oven, induction hobs replace gas or traditional electrical hobs as they provide you with instant heat and keep that heat isolated to directly underneath the pan. Because of this, food cooks faster and you’re saving energy by not needing to heat to the right temperature. Much like electric hobs, the hob is the same height as the countertop surface, meaning that there’s less heavy lifting and more sliding required. Moving saucepans couldn’t be easier.

Appropriate lighting

A good mix of kitchen lighting is important throughout the home. In the kitchen, you need task lighting to aid your chopping and preparing of food, natural lighting to prevent mould issues and protect your health and ambient lighting to create the right atmosphere and make the kitchen a nice place to be!

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Under-cabinet downlights will illuminate countertops, while the sink is a great place to welcome in natural light and prevent that 25-40% slice of your energy bill creeping up to 50%. Dimmable light switches positioned over seating areas will help guests relax.


You can have everything that you’ve ever desired in a kitchen and it won’t be enough if you haven’t paid enough attention to layout. Think practically and design three areas – food preparation, cooking and cleaning – which accommodate for the tasks that you’re going to carry out.

Make sure that you have a water resistant surface near your fridges for unloading shopping and position your oven near a sink so that you can easily drain food without having to walk halfway across the room with a heavy saucepan. If you can, position the stove so that it doesn’t face a wall too. Our first instinct is to move appliances as far back into the walls as possible to open up floor space but cooking closer to the centre of your floor on an island, will give you the chance to look out into your garden or into the next room and talk to guests while you’re working. Cooking shouldn’t be isolating!

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Kitchen professionals work to a triangle where the distance between the sink, the oven and the fridge should be no less than 4 feet and no larger than 9 feet. The sum of all three sides of the triangle should be between 13 feet and 26 feet. If the distance is too small, your kitchen can feel cramped, while if you exceed the measurements, you’ll find cooking more of a task as you move around from one area to another.

If you need advice from a kitchen specialist, post your job and up to three tradesmen will get in touch to quote. You’ll be emailed links to their profile pages, complete with ratings, to help you decide who to hire.

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One Comment

  1. I use toastie bags for my toast and that seems to work well. We have seaprate sides of the kitchen but still share utensils etc. I think I will get rid of all the wheat flour though it does get everywhere I remember that from making something with flour a while back mistake!I do most of the cooking so mostly everything we eat is okay, there’s just the odd things which are gluten containing, mostly cereals and breads and they are on the other side’. oh and the cat food!!I do think I need to replace the wooden spoons though, and I’d love a new dishwasher ours is seriously rubbish!!

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