Which Kitchen Should I buy?
Choosing the right style of kitchen is a tricky business. For most people, it’s a big investment and a lot of work, so whatever you decide is going to be with you for some time and it’s important to get it right. Here are some tips on understanding what it is you like and value, then putting it into a design.
Step 1: What kitchen is right for me?
Close your eyes and imagine yourself in your kitchen.
What is the overriding feel of the kitchen? How would you describe it? Cosy, warm and homely; sleek, bright and minimalist; organic, textured and with lots of natural elements; dark, functional and rustic; opulent, theatrical and sumptuous?
If you’re struggling to picture a kitchen, then picture something that you think is attractive, something that gives you the right kind of feeling. It may be something as simple as colour, a city street you enjoy walking along, an outfit you feel good in, even just a single item like a vase or table that pleases you. It’s the same idea as a fashion designer’s muse; something in this idea inspires a positive feeling in you and it is this feeling that you are trying to replicate.
Write down the words that come to mind. Don’t worry if they aren’t very specific at this stage, it’s a general trend that you’re looking for, a guideline which will then direct and test all the other decisions you need to make.
If you’re struggling a bit, try thinking about opposites; each time having to choose one or the other and then gradually honing in on those answers chosen e.g.
|dark or light||light|
|shiny or matt||matt>|
|chrome or wood||wood|
|sharp lines or organic shapes||organic|
|velvet or hessian||hessian|
As you can see, as soon as you start to have to choose between two opposing ideas, your taste becomes apparent. It’s an interesting exercise, kind of like wandering round a showroom and seeing which kitchens you are drawn towards, except here, you get to break it down to a series of simpler decisions which are easier. A whole kitchen is formed from a series of such decisions and so at one stage or another of the process, the decisions may have veered from the path you would take, so you end up with a sub-optimal design for you and a kitchen that is only quote nice. This way, you get to choose at every step of the way.
Step 2: Planning Your Kitchen
Yes, it’s mood board time. Clichéd as it is, this is a great way to start putting some shape into your concept. You can stick anything on a mood board (or at least a photo of it)and it doesn’t have to be anything to do with kitchens;
- maybe the feel of an E-Type Jaguar car is what you’re looking for, as it suggest retro glamour and youthful vitality; it uses polished materials such as chrome and glass; you see masculine surfaces or feminine curves, high energy contrasts or flowing lines.
- a well-loved (battered) old teddy bear might suggest warm milk and large cookie jars, woollen throws and a big, oak larder.
- a favourite recipe for Italian tomato sauce might attract you by its idea of family or organic farming, it might be the colours, the contrasting textures of the matt vine against the smooth, shiny surface of the tomato skin; natural finishes, or just an overall atmosphere you wish to recreate.
- a photo from Vogue might suggest a lifestyle to which you’re attracted, whether it’s Ralph Lauren tweeds and woollens, Chanel creams and silvers, or Victor and Rolf asymmetrical shapes and outlandish tones; a photo may convey anything from colour palette, to textures and materials.
- a beautiful sunset suggests calm and serenity through its soft light and shifting; complementary tones might suggest a colour palette and mood.
Mood boards are fun and creative, so add whatever takes your fancy and then hone down from there when you look at it with your kitchen concept words in mind.
Step 3: Kitchen Practicalities
Practicalities. What will you be doing in your kitchen and who will be using it? Sounds obvious
, but is it? How much of your time will you actually be spending cooking? How much time will each family member be spending in there and what will they be doing? In what ways will your kitchen have to multifunction e.g. kids’ teatime may be followed by cocktails and canapes with the smart set; surfaces may be used for algebra, to making your own pastry, to displaying your latest collection of decorative vases from Liberty.
It’s a good idea to jot down all the likely things that will be happening in the kitchen and then rank them in order of importance and/or duration e.g.
|Feeding time at the zoo||1 hour per day|
|Cooking||2 hours per day|
|Time spent messy / in practical use||4 hours per day|
|Time spent tidied and in order||10 hours per day|
|Days prepared to do more than cursory clean||3|
This allows you to see how the days actually pan out and which bits of those you actually value most, rather than what you either assume of would like to happen. With this information, you can better assess your priorities in terms of form over function and so on e.g. if you thoroughly clean your kitchen almost every day, then very light or dark cupboard fronts shouldn’t be too much of a problem, even if you have a household of people with small, grubby hands; with a busy job and highly social weekends, vast quantities of cooking apparatus and storage space are probably less relevant than beautifully lit display cabinets, aesthetically pleasing pots, or floor coverings that don’t mark with high heels.
Step 4: Budgeting For Your Kitchen
Have a think about the budget you have to spend and, more importantly, roughly how you would like to split this. Do oak interiors and dovetailed cupboards give you that desired feeling of luxury, or would you rather spend a little bit extra on beautiful door handles and an in-built Gaggia coffee machine? Be true to yourself as to what is right for you and those you live with, as ultimately that is what will bring you the most benefit.
Step 5: Deciding On Your Kitchen
Time to meet your maker – in this case, hopefully your cabinet maker. Not only will all your planning and thought stand you in great stead for choosing the right partner with whom to work on this exciting project and substantial investment, but going in prepared means that you are much more likely to be able to explain your needs, wants and aspirations and so hopefully lead you to the best possible solution for you, leaving you with a kitchen you walk into every day and can’t help letting out a little smile of satisfaction. Have fun!
Please call Oliver’s Kitchens on 01572 503015. We’d love to help you with your new kitchen.