Kitchen

Kitchen Appliances

Covered here. There are also some appliances that you don't ideally want in a kitchen and are best located in a utility room if at all possible.

Flooring

Covered in the flooring design section On the subject of flooring though, there are some appliances that simply work better on a solid concrete floor and this is definately preferrable in a new build.

In our current kitchen we are using a Rhinofloor covering because it was available in a wood effect finish that was very realistic. It is also very tough, resistant to marking and warmer on the feet. It is also usable on floating floors like ours, that flex too much for tiles and many other types of solid flooring. It is also waterproof and very easy to clean.

Kitchen Units

Covered here.

Cookers & Hobs

Covered here.

Towel Rail

towel grip
There are various ways to store towels and tea-towels, from hooks to 'push & grip' type holders.

towel grip
Our view is that you need something heated though and ideally in a smart manner. Typically this would mean electrically powered, to provide greater control. We have something stylish in mind and not just a plain old towel rail, something that is also a feature. The advantage of this design is that it provides a nice even heat distribution, to dry towels quickly and evenly.

Plinths

Whether or not you fit plinths, depends upon the style of the kitchen fitted. Contemporary style kitchens generally have plinths. In smaller kitchens these can feature storage drawers, to increase storage space. There is also a growing range of kitchen lighting available to fit into plinths too.

This picture shows our current kitchen with a plinth seal fitted along the lower edge of the plinths. This is a plastic moulding that prevents moisture entering the plinth material and stops dust and crumbs getting underneath the plinth.

Make sure that integrated appliances will not foul on the plinth! Things like dishwasher and oven doors can be a problem.

Some integrated devices will require that you cut holes in the plinth, to ensure they operate as planned. The example shown here is an integrated tumble drier.

Some kitchens now feature low-voltage plinth lighting. The wiring for these lights needs to be considered at an early point in the design and installation is usually done before the unit carcasses are fitted.

Lighting

Getting adequate lighting and getting it in the right places can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are numerous types of lights and light fitting available now. Modern LED and halogen bulbs enable efficient and bright lights to be fitted to ceilings, wall units and even plinths and drawers.

You need to consider carefully the types of lighting required and the need being met. Task lighting is essential for working over sinks, cookers and worktops. Subtle under cupboard lighting may be required and may also be automated to allow people to enter the kitchen at night but, not wanting to be dazzled by intense ceiling lights.

With lighting under wall mounted cupboards, you need to be wary of lighting reflecting off of shiny or reflective counter tops and tiles. Wide-angle bulbs and diffuse lighting works better than pin-spots and individual LEDs.

Another consideration is that the lights used have matching colour temperatures and that the chosen colour works well with the worktops and kitchen unit colours. You carefully chosen kitchen may look a very different colour at night, to one you chose in daylight! LED lighting can be particularly cold in colour but, 'warm white' LEDs and LED bulbs are available. It is often better to standardise on one type of lighting (or bulb) within each room, to avoid different colour zones and contrast effects within it.

A major factor in a kitchen is that you provide control so that lights can switched on or off as required. Be very wary of using too many bulbs as the power consumption can become excessive quite quickly. As an example there are fifteen MR16 bulbs in the ceiling of our current kitchen. If these were all 20W halogen bulbs this would equate to 300W of power.

With spotlights mounted in the ceiling, it is best to mount them just slightly outside of the worktop edge, or the worktop will cast a shadow onto the floor. This assumes they have a wide enough beam to light up the whole worktop though.

Light fittings and the types of lighting are covered in greater detail in the lighting section.

Electrics

It is important to get the electrical elements of your kitchen correct. This includes obvious things like sockets (outlets) and light switches.

Persnally, we prefer for cooker isolation switches and other switches and fuses to be hidden out of sight but, they need to be easily accessible. This may have an impact on units are drawers and which are cupboards.

You need to think about over-counter lighting, plinth lighting, etc. early on in a kitchen design. Things like electricity to a gas hob (for the spark lighter) and extractor fans also need early consideration.

Plumbing

Plumbing need to be designed in from the outset too. This includes water to washing machines, drains, stop-cocks and isolation valves. These too need to be easy to access and may also impact on where you use cupboards and drawers.

Networks

Many kitchens have wired network connectivity for entertainment and other devices. Also consider phone points.

Entertainment

Depending on the size of your kitchen and its layout, it will often be a place for entertainment of yourself (especially if you like cooking) and quite often guests (watching whilst you cook). At the very least, I like to have a decent music system. Many people also like to have a flat screen television and computers for pulling up recipes and home automation is becoming more common place. Tablet devices in the kitchen are also becoming more popular, since it is one of the spaces where family members congregate in the morning and facilitates communications and family notice board functionality.

Check out the entertainments section for some more design ideas.

Ceiling

Use a quality paint on your kitchen ceiling and one designed to handle the high moisture levels that will occur.

Cellar

The kitchen is often an ideal room in which to install a spiral cellar. You can hide the entrance door or make a feature of it as shown here.

Accessories

Covered here.

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