Kitchen Planning Guide

Kitchen Project Questions

[an error occurred while processing this directive] Although not exhaustive, this set of project questions will set you on the right road to create your dream kitchen.

It is important for everyone in the household to consider their own specific requirements from the kitchen and to answer any of the relevant questions below so that you fully understand what they all want from the new kitchen space.

Consider all aspects of your current lifestyle where the kitchen has an integral part to play.

Many TV Makeover programmes show kitchens being transformed into "living" areas and rooms with a "lifestyle" theme. This is fine providing the space is large enough for such transformations.

We must still consider the basic function required from a kitchen and that is to prepare and cook food. Sometimes this can get forgotten when we are re-designing the space. Too many beautifully designed kitchens are totally impractical for the purpose.

To help you further, here is a list of relevant project questions below, the answers to which will result in a better functioning and designed space.

As you answer the project questions, mark each one as "important" or "nice to have". You may need to compromise on some of your answers later due to planning and design guidelines or regulations - or just down to the lack of space! But don't worry about that just yet.

What do you like (and therefore want to keep) in your existing kitchen? What don't you like in your existing kitchen?

How many people will be using the kitchen and for how many different activities?

Does the kitchen double up as a dining room or eating area?

Do you often entertain; does everyone end up in the kitchen?

Are there pets that eat and/or sleep in the kitchen?

Is your new kitchen going to be part of an extension?

What, if any, structural work needs completing?

Is there a boiler in the kitchen; is it going to be moved?

What are the major activities in the kitchen? Cooking; Laundry; Homework / Office work; Entertaining; Eating; Other:

If activities other than cooking are listed make sure you fully understand the extra demands you have from your kitchen. Breakfast bars and Island units can help create mini-rooms within your kitchen in which to carry out different activities. The space can be organised for more than one cook, or for one cook and an audience!

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What type of flooring would you prefer?

What type of wall covering - tiles, paint, etc?

Do you want ready made kitchen cabinets or flat-pack?

Do you need to store a lot of dry goods?

Dried goods will require storage that makes them easily available (for the cook), but does not impact either on the storage of pots, pans and utensils; or on the working areas within your kitchen layout. Look around at different storage options for frequently used items (e.g. spices), and for storage options for goods NOT regularly in use.

Are you a gadget collector?

Do you have a large quantity of pots and pans?

Saucepans can often be the most difficult items to find adequate storage for, especially if cupboard space is limited - one option is to go for deep pan drawers.

Do you have any items you would like on display?

Is open shelf space or closed cupboard space preferable?

What type(s) of fuel do you plan to use for cooking?

Do you have more than 6 electrical appliances in your kitchen?

Often the position of appliances makes the most difference to a well laid out kitchen. This is especially important as the number of built-in appliances increases. Be sure to list which appliances you have and in what position/location they will best suit your needs

How much frozen food do you need storage for?
If you keep a lot of frozen goods then it may be necessary to consider a separate freezer or a refrigerator with a large deep freeze section.

Do you or will you use an extractor hood over the cooker or hob?
Issues such as how ventilation can be routed outside, as well as placement of the extractor will need to be considered. There are also many different types of extractor fans and cooker hoods so you may find that a particular model is better suited to your kitchen.

Will you have a dishwasher?
There are many varieties of dishwasher to choose from including integrated or free-standing machines. There are also new slim-line models which would be suitable for a small kitchen, so incorporating a machine is now less of a problem than it used to be.

What configuration of sink do you prefer?
If you have a lot of large pots and pans to clean then a single bowl and drainer may not be adequate. This may be an opportunity to separate your food washing from the general washing area. SPACE may also be a consideration for the size and type of sink.

Will the washing machine be located in the kitchen?
Some households are lucky enough to have a separate laundry/utility room. However, if the washing machine is to be sited in the kitchen then you will need to consider whether an integrated, freestanding or a slim-line model is best suited to your kitchen.

Could the laundry equipment be located elsewhere?

Will you require storage space for washing powders, etc?

These project questions will help you focus on what is important and what is a nice to have in your dream kitchen. Highlight the important factors first then you will see how much room is remaining for all other features you want in your dream kitchen.

Spend as much time as possible reviewing the answers to the project questions so they can be used as a foundation for the planning and design stage of this process.

An essential factor is to ensure that everyone who has an interest in the design and/or budget of the new kitchen should review the project questions with you.

Nowadays, the kitchen is a room where everyone congregates and uses for their own purpose. Allow them to have their say and input - you can ignore it later!

Ensure you keep reviewing the project questions and your answers throughout the planning and design stage. There will always be compromises and you may find yourself changing the answers as your ideas are challenged. Don't be afraid to go one step back in order to re-adjust to a new pathway forward.

However, your answers to the project questions above will most certainly get you on the right road to achieving your dream kitchen.

After satisfying yourself that your project questions have solidified your ideas, you're now ready for the next step.

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