By Meg Escott
How to design a kitchen? That's a big question. With the kitchen being such a high activity area of the house it’s worth finding out how to design a kitchen – even if you’re using a kitchen designer or architect. Knowing what’s involved in the process will help you design your own kitchen or give a detailed brief to your designer.
This page makes up part of the kitchen design layout series.
As always, the first place to start is thinking about how you're going to use your kitchen.
What appliances and fixtures will you need to carry out these activities. What are the must haves, what are the nice to haves?
What other activities will happen in your kitchen apart from those related to food? How about a sitting area with a TV or games console? Office type activities such as computer time and paying the bills are also popular in kitchen spaces.
Have a think about how your kitchen will relate to the spaces surrounding it. If it’s open plan to a dining space or living space what kind of view does the people in these areas get of the kitchen?
How to design a kitchen? More like how to design your main living space.
The second step of how to design a kitchen is to create a plan of your kitchen 'space' - the floor space and the wall space.
First decide if you're working in feet and inches or m, cm and mm. For example in the United States and Canada kitchens are designed and sold in inches, in the UK and Australia it’s millimeters.
Time to measure up! Take your time and be accurate and measure using the right measurement for your country. Measure floor dimensions, niches, windows, doors, where the water pipes (and gas supply if applicable) come up from the floor.
Now it's time to draw up the plan.
You can do this on paper by following the instructions on draw floor plans but just for your kitchen rather than the whole house. Or you can use one of the online kitchen planners or software available (a bit more about that at the bottom of this page).
If you stick to the paper option, it’s a good idea to adjust the scale so that you fit the kitchen onto a sheet of paper rather than the whole house. The scale you can use depends on how big your kitchen is and how big your paper is.
It might be really obvious what shape your kitchen is going to be. If so, go ahead and have a look at the relevant page links below. If not you use the page links below for inspiration!
Also take a look at the kitchen dimensions page that goes through some important kitchen planning guidelines.
Using your paper drawing, online kitchen planner or software plan in the outline of where you will place the base cabinets, wall cabinets, islands and tables in your kitchen in plan view (looking down from above). Don't worry about where the appliances and fixtures will be placed just yet.
You've already got a list of appliances and fixtures that you need. It's time to get a bit more specific about exactly what you want.
If you can identify the specific models you want all the better.
Then draw in the the appliances and fixtures onto your plan and come back here for the rest of the steps.
You’re back? Phew – that’s kitchen storage done. At this stage you should have the wall plans filled out with all the fixtures you’re planning.
Head on over to the kitchen lighting ideas page for some ideas here. Then it's back here for the next step.
Your kitchen company may have some integrated lighting options.
Plan the electrical points (outlets and switches for appliances) for your kitchen.
There are several options for outlets in your countertop and island.
If you have an appliance garage, a cupboard mounted microwave or want a TV in your kitchen think carefully about the best position for outlets.
Time to find out where you're going to source the elements of your kitchen. The main element of which is your cabinets and then there's the counter top, ordering the appliances, the backsplash etc...
Off-the-shelf kitchen companies deal in standard sizes and a range of finishes. You can read more about standard sizes on the kitchen cabinet dimensions page.
You can work out how the standard sizes will fit into the size and shape of your kitchen. If you have spare space left over at the end of a run of cabinets your options for using this space may be limited. Most flat pack kitchens have panels available that match the design of the kitchen that you can use to board off any extra space. This does lead to a bit of wasted space.
A custom firm will build a kitchen to fit your kitchen exactly so if they do a good job, there won't be any wasted space. They also generally capable of delivering anything you want (for a price)!