How to improve your kitchen
Wednesday, 22nd May 2013, Lucy Mccoy
Serving as one of the busiest rooms of the house, every large scale revamp of a property should start in the kitchen. This is where people prepare food, eat and congregate, which means it requires constant improvements to remain functional and fresh.
The trouble is that most of us don't cook in our dream kitchen. We work around the quirks and inconveniences because we feel changing anything is too big a job. What we need to realise is that change doesn't need to happen overnight and that in this particular section of interior design, slow and steady really does win the race.
You don't have to hire a builder change everything all at once - you can just oversee the improvements when you've sufficient time and money to do so. Then, with everything finally in place, you can finally enjoy cooking, eating and even cleaning in your dream kitchen.
Just to get you started, here's a selection of areas that might need a bit of attention.
People usually like their appliances, surfaces and tiles to blend in with the primary shade of the room, which is why it's wise to pick one before proceeding any further.
To set the right tone, you need to decide what kind of ambiance you want filling the room. All-white, chalk or pale grey are hugely popular colours as they never go out of fashion. Darker tones can make a stronger impact, helping the room look modern and sleek. Don't be afraid to go with brighter or more saturated colours, but always look for a sample of what you're getting before ordering the paint.
Your choice will often reflect the type of space you're working with. Interior designers often recommend the use of bright shades like yellow in kitchens where there is very little empty wall space and the paint acts as a border around the cabinets. A striking shade can make these items pop out, much like a frame does for a painting.
Light, cool, neutral colours on the other hand make small rooms appear larger, while warm, dark colours make the room feel much more intimate. Consider the themes in your other rooms along with your own design tastes and preferences when choosing your theme.
The way you light your kitchen will have a direct impact on the functionality of the space and how you feel when spending time there, so you must research plenty of solutions before making a decision.
There are three main categories of products in this area. General room lighting is found up in the ceiling, where it either hugs the wall or is recessed into it so no visual space is taken up.
You then have task lighting, which provides light over the area in which you work. Place these fittings over areas like the kitchen sink where you wash the dishes, under the cabinets where you prepare your food, or over the table where you eat. Finally, there's accent lighting - like track fittings - which are used to add depth and dimension to the environment.
It's not as simple as just choosing one type of lighting; no single layer can stand alone. Scatter general fittings on the ceiling and choose task lighting for a couple of key spots, only using accent fittings where necessary.
Most people like to choose their worktops at the same time as their cabinets, mainly because their styles need to compliment each other for the kitchen to please in a visual sense.
Granite, quartz and marble are just a few of the most popular surfaces to go with. While you can research what kind of colours go with these products, it's also worth considering their properties and features. For instance, unlike granite worktops, quartz worktops don't have to be sealed and therefore require little maintenance. Find a worktop which matches your style preferences and lifespan expectations.
Then you must cover your storage requirement. As well as considering style and material, see how far the cabinet doors extend - this being a key factor when choosing a set for a small kitchen. Finally, always ask to see an example of the cabinet to see just how much storage space you're getting, because that's their key function.
It's easy to think you need a dishwasher and a fridge with an ice dispenser when choosing your appliances, but being led by impulse can have serious repercussions. Buying each appliance one-by-one means you'll have enough time to save up for a quality piece of kit, while this should give you much more time to find the perfect solution.
Read the small print on each product description and ensure you have enough room to accommodate each appliance before you start narrowing down your shortlist. Thinking long term should also help you make a shrewd investment, as a reliable solution will last you for years. The only downside is they tend to come at a price.
Those with bigger spaces have the luxury of being able to scatter pieces of artwork and all kinds of decor around their kitchen. If you're lucky enough to have the room, try not to get drawn into buying lots of accessories at one time. Build up your collection slowly to get the best selection.
To start, fill the big gaps of space with pieces that really catch your eye, while leaving the smaller areas for things you'll pick up later on. Don't just think paintings or photos either; clocks, mirror and even lampshades fall under this category. Go on to consider how your cutlery and plates work with the colour of your room as well as the appliances and artwork on show, although this may something worth thinking about at the end.
So there you are. By considering all of the above and conducting your changes step-by-step, you'll be well on the way to building a kitchen you can be proud of.