How to plan your dream kitchen, according to interior designers

From lighting to paint, the experts share a few tops tips on planning, decorating and updating your kitchen.

Planning a new kitchen is filled with excitement and anticipation, especially if you’ve spent far too long cooking in cramped or poorly equipped conditions. The objective is a beautiful, efficient kitchen that makes life easier and brings family and friends together. Read on for smart kitchen design ideas and inspiration when planning a kitchen.


Kitchen design ideas

(Image credit: Davide Lovati)


With the kitchen coming under increasing pressure to perform a variety of crucial roles such as family dining, relaxing, working and entertaining, a good layout and adequate storage are more important than ever.

'When planning your kitchen be careful not to be over ambitious with freestanding elements,' says Ben Burbidge, Kitchen Makers, Managing Director. 'Ensure you precisely measure your floor so that an island will fit comfortably within your space. When placed in the centre it should leave enough floor space for you to manoeuvre around and access the rest of the kitchen. The area under the island’s worktop is also essential as it offers ample space for storage and kitchen essentials such as low fridges and deep drawers.'

Kitchen design ideas

(Image credit: Darren Chung)

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A versatile lighting scheme is a must-have for today's multifunctional kitchen. 'These days, a kitchen is not only a place to cook meals, but also a diner, office and even a temporary classroom,' explains Rohan Blacker, Founder, Pooky. 'Lighting the workspaces are key so opt for practical task lighting specific to each area and it’s use. You can complement a statement pendant shade with softer mood lighting and dimmers to create atmosphere when entertaining at dinner parties. Be creative and mix feature lights, colours and materials for a unique feature lighting look.'

Remember to plan well in advance with lighting. Experts agree that the best time to install a new lighting scheme is before you start to redecorate or during the initial stages of a new kitchen design; left as an afterthought and lighting possibilities are limited, impact is lessened and mistakes can be costly and disruptive to put right.

Kitchen design ideas

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

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Choosing colour is such a personal experience – in fact no one knows for sure whether we all even see the myriad shades in the same way. 'As the kitchen tends to be the busy and bustling heart to the home, rather than a serene space, bright, warm, eye catching wall colours can work perfectly,' says Helen Shaw, Benjamin Moore UK, Director. 'Alternatively, smaller pops of brighter shades also add depth and personality to a neutral kitchen space. Using paint to add a splash of colour to a cabinet front, bar stool or shelving unit is not only cost effective, but also allows for a unique burst of personality to be injected with ease.'

Kitchens are rife with colour opportunities, from appliances and flooring, to window treatments and cabinets. Start by deciding how much of permanent commitment you are willing to make. One of easiest and least expensive options is to paint a wall can be easily updated should you tire of it.

Kitchen design ideas

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The floor of your kitchen is likely to be one of the largest surface areas in the room, so its selection deserves careful thought. It needs to perform on many levels – durability, safety and ease of cleaning – and it must look great, too, so give it as much consideration as your cabinetry.

'When it comes to choosing flooring for your kitchen, in addition to style and design, there are three main things to consider: safety, durability and simplicity of cleaning,' explains David Snazel, Carpetright, Hard Flooring Buyer. 'It is likely there will be spills and splashes from food and drinks so choosing a material that is easy to clean is essential, particularly for busy households. Vinyl flooring is a great and inexpensive way to add colour, pattern and personality to kitchen without compromising on safety or quality.'

Kitchen design ideas

(Image credit: James Balston)