This morning, I paid a visit to the National Home Improvement Show – the place to go for inspiration and advice for your personal home projects. There were all sorts of products on offer, from work surfaces to bathroom ranges and Scandinavian timber supplies for outbuildings.
Rounding off a fortnight of design events, the show has a unique selling point – the ability to sit down with a design professional and discuss your own project, no matter how large or small. One of these experts is Michael Holmes, Editor-in-Chief of Real Homes, Homebuilding & Renovating and Period Living magazines. For those that can’t fit in an appointment, there’s the chance to listen to a range of seminars delivered by industry experts.
I went along to Michael’s lunchtime talk on kitchen design tips and inspiration, where he discussed the golden rules for creating that perfect family kitchen that we all desire. There were so many good kitchen design tips, that I’ve shared my favourites with you below.
Get the space right first
When we start projects, we tend to go out and collect a number of home magazines, eventually pick a kitchen design that we like and then install it. The result being that it doesn’t match up to that glossy picture on the page. What we might really like is individual elements of that design – maybe the open plan layout, the lighting scheme and views or the flooring. As Michael pointed out, these things might not actually be present in your own home. You need to get the space right before you start selecting a kitchen worktop.
Match your wishlist to your lifestyle
This plays a large part in getting your space right. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like people watching them cook, then the novelty of having the kitchen in full view of the living area will soon wear off. Think about other annoyances too. Would the noise of a washing machine irritate you if you had friends over for the evening?
Consider its location
Squashing a popular myth, Michael explained that we don’t need to place our kitchens in the traditional back of the house spot. It doesn’t matter that the wiring is all in place – this can be fixed. Instead, think about where it makes sense to have a kitchen. Maybe it’s in the same space but maybe you’d like it closer to the front of the home. All that matters is that it has direct hallway access because going through a room to get to another room will drive you mad!
Prioritise the best lighting
We all know that we need to let in as much natural light as possible in our homes. Not only will it literally show our homes in the best light, it’s healthier too. Michael reminded us that we should think about what a side glass panel will reveal. We don’t want to look out upon a set of bins. If the bin area is a good source of light, consider installing high windows to act as a highlighter.
Keep good circulation and flow
Within a room, it’s important to keep the most direct walking route free. A sofa may look quirky in a particular angle but it’s no good if it blocks the quickest route from the living room to the kitchen in an open plan layout. It’s the same for non-open plan schemes too. Within a stand-alone kitchen, you don’t want to block the quickest route to the door with a set of dining chairs.
The National Home Improvement Show runs until the 29th September 2013 at London’s Olympia. For more information, visit the official website.
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