Kitchen Installation Tips - Part 2 - Planning Your New Kitchen

Let's get right to it and discover what we need to think about in terms of kitchen layout and what you should consider before moving a hob or sink...

Kitchen Planning - Section 1

Existing kitchen layout

  • How old is your house? If it’s relatively new I would recommend staying with the same basic layout – certainly location of sink, oven and hob. A qualified architect will already have designed the room with the best (and safest) use of space in mind. (You don’t have to change things just for the sake of it – new kitchen units and worktops will transform it anyway).

Existing room features to be worked around

  • Modern houses normally have rectangular shaped rooms with few physical features to hinder your design. However if your bathroom is directly above the kitchen then there might be a pipe-box in one of the corners or a sloping section of ceiling if the staircase is in that part of the house. (Remember this when planning wall or larder units).
  • In older properties you may have to contend with a chimney breast or an old pantry that might need to be worked-around or removed before the new kitchen will fit. (Now that we have modern refrigerators, many people do away with pantries in favour of a larger kitchen).

Existing equipment features to be worked around

  • The usual culprit here is the central heating boiler. Older style, large, floor-mounted boilers are obtrusive and inefficient compared to modern equivalents. Consider renewing and/or relocating it if it’s getting in the way and your budget allows.
  • Likewise if the kitchen has a heating radiator installed, it may make sense to relocate this or change it for a narrower towel rail type if it’s spoiling your plan. This would be straightforward if you have access under the floor, but if the pipes are buried under concrete it’s not going to be so easy.

Is room being enlarged or changed shape?

  • If you’re enlarging the kitchen with an extension, or knocking a wall through to a dining room maybe, then your options are greater. But if you do think of moving the kitchen sink etc, remember that water, gas and electricity supplies may have to be moved too and this can get expensive. 
    (Despite what a kitchen salesman might tell you, you don’t have to fill it all with units just because you have extra room available – sometimes a room can look too ’busy’ with no open wall space).

Tip: We’ve done a few kitchen/dining room knock-throughs now and created some pretty spectacular rooms - BUT if the wall is a ‘supporting wall’, then you must get a Building Warrant so I would highly recommend seeking specialist advice (having your upstairs rooms downstairs is not good)

Kitchen & dining room with...

partition wall removed

The finished result - a modern, spacious cooking &

entertaining area

Kitchen and dining room with partition wall removed - The finished result - a modern, spacious cooking & entertaining area

How many people live in the house, how many will use the kitchen, what ages are they – do you have a young family?

  • Who is in the house, their ages and their ability to reach kitchen cupboards (young or old) should be on your mind here. Are you single, a couple, a family with young children or teenagers? Or maybe looking after an elderly parent? Kitchens are often multi-functional for most families ranging in use from food preparation to hobby and homework areas.
  • Tip: we rarely specify extra tall wall units (900mm) anymore as they’re just too high for most people to reach without steps – as a result the top shelves become a home for clutter and things you’ll never use. Also, the smaller gap between ceiling and the top of the unit tends to make the room look smaller and darker.
  • Think whether you want a breakfast-bar area to sit at for snacks, coffees and reading the paper, or maybe you need space for a proper table and chairs. Of course, a lot depends on the size of the room and this will largely dictate how you use it and what you put in it.
  • Also give thought to who’s cooking in it and what their cooking style is – are you the next Gordon Ramsay or more of a microwave-meal cook? This will also reflect in your choice of oven & hob, sink & tap and fridge freezer – basically all your food preparation and cooking equipment.

Existing location of sink, oven & hob

  • Think twice before moving any of these items. If your plan shows them any more than about a metre away from their existing location then the plumbing and electrical work might take a larger part of your budget than you thought. Having said that, in some situations it makes sense to do so if these items were in a poor position anyway. 
    Also moving the sink, oven or hob to an ‘island’ location in the middle of the room can look amazing and become a focal point of the whole room (and house!). Just be aware of the practicalities of moving the services (the type of floor is your biggest consideration here – wood: easy, concrete: not!)

This was another knock-through which created enough space for a stunning island with hob & hood