Interior Design / Make over / Sustainability

How to plan a kitchen

Oak kitchen

When we moved to our Valley House we knew, this will be our forever- home. I also knew that I hated the kitchen. It was a small cherry wood kitchen with no windows in the middle of the house leading on to an old conservatory. In the winter very dark and in the summer boiling hot. So, I started to plan the kitchen.

After a good year in, my better half and I decided that the old kitchen needs to go, even more – the space needs to be bigger to create an open plan kitchen/diner/lounge.

I’m ready to plan my kitchen and at this stage, I knew: I need a clear design process. This process has the following steps:

  1. Create a mood board
  2. Decide on the layout and position
  3. Pin down the colour scheme
  4. Stay within the budget
  5. Let your family have a say
  6. Get as many quotes you can get
  7. See and feel the actual kitchen options
  8. Think about the environment

1. How to create a mood board

It is fun to do this and probably this is not new to you, but an easy way to create mood boards is to use Pinterest. This is my kitchen mood board on Pinterest.

Kitchen Pinterest Board

The only difference in my design process is that I choose not more than 25 images. This ensures that the board is not overwhelming and you really need to consider what goes on it. The first step is to go through Pinterest or the web and pin everything you like on the mood board. After one week of collecting, you look at it again and ask yourself if you like all the images. Question each of the images and what you like on it. Pinterest has an editing feature where you can make notes. Write there about what you like about this particular image. If you don’t like it anymore, delete it from the board straight away. You should reduce the images to 25 to get a very clear idea of what style you are after.

If you find yourself indecisive on two styles, make two boards and after another week look at them and see what images on what board are more appealing to you. This way you can eliminate on style and make a clear decision. If you feel that you have trouble with this you also can use the old fashioned Pro and Cons list for each style.

You don’t necessarily need to use Pinterest to create a mood board. You could also look into magazines or even better go out with your camera and visit a gallery, exhibition or a museum. Make notes and sketches for your mood board. You also can go to showrooms to gain inspiration. The best way though is to pull inspiration directly from nature. Find more tips on how to find real inspiration here.

2. Decide on the layout and position

This part gets a bit technical because it involves getting measurements and drawing a floor plan. You can start with a sketch of the floor plan and the possible layout for the kitchen. Sketch three different layouts and consider the options. Let that sit for two days. In these two days, I suggest to come to your kitchen space from time to time and try to visualise the new layouts in your mind to see if one feels better than the other.

After you’ve decided on a layout draw the floor plan to scale (1:20 or 1:50). Make a few copies of this plan as this will come in handy when going to a kitchen designer of your choice.

If this sounds overwhelming (taking measurements, drawing a floor plan) then why not jump on a discovery call with me and I see how I can help you with this. Simply contact me here.

3. Pin down the colour scheme

It seems obvious to choose a colour scheme right after you created your mood board. But this step shows you if the images on your board really work for your room.

Take your mood board and check if the natural and artificial light could influence the colours somehow. Where are the windows positioned? What is the aspect of the room? Do you have morning sun, midday sun or afternoon sun coming in? How intense is the natural light coming into the space? Light can play a huge part in the choice of your colours. I highly recommend asking for samples of kitchen doors and worktops to take home and see them in the actual space. This way you can see how they look at any time of the day. But not just the effect of daylight is important, also check how artificial light impacts the colour choice. Be cautious to go bold at the beginning. If your kitchen is not installed yet, wait with painting feature walls. It can be a waste of money if you choose a feature wall paint and then the kitchen fronts or the worktop clashes with it. We decided to stay all white as we didn’t know how the kitchen will look in the actual space and the natural and artificial light. I’m glad we waited to decide after installing the kitchen.

What I also found out during the course of my kitchen remodelling is that matt or glossy surfaces are corresponding differently to light. A matt kitchen front seems to absorb the light rather than reflecting it. A glossy surface acts as a mirror and can be beneficial in smaller spaces. If you have children glossy kitchen doors will soon be covered in little fingerprints while matt finishes can hide the traces a bit better.

4. Stay within your budget

I bet you can guess that this one is tough. It is for me! Set a budget at the very beginning of your remodelling and stick to it. You can find your dream kitchen within your budget. Out there are so many kitchen suppliers, there is one for you that meets your budget.

5. Let your other half have a say

I have to admit that I got so absorbed within the kitchen project that I totally forgot that I’m not the only one who is cooking and eating there. After looking at so many kitchens I was so enthusiastic about one particular kitchen but didn’t consider my husband’s opinion. Well, he didn’t like it. And I was upset…how can’t he like it – it’s perfect! He told me that he also wants to have his say and want to be involved in the decision. We should get this kitchen for more than just a few years. He is right! Making this decision a joint venture is important to avoid drama and disappointment. The kitchen should be a happy place not a reason to get divorced.

Plum kitchen

Source: Handleless Plum Kitchen by Sustainable Kitchens UK

6. Get as many quotes as you can get

This is a no brainer. It’s your right to compare prices, designs as well as quality. According to your budget choose at least three kitchen suppliers and get a quote from them. If you have trouble deciding, come back to the Pros and Cons list. Don’t go overboard and get too many quotes and designs as this ends in confusion and pandemonium. Your mind will explode and you find yourself in a dead-end. Your budget will make the choice in the end.

7. See and feel the different kitchen options

It’s tempting to get a cheap kitchen online, but I recommend to go to showrooms and see and feel the surfaces you want to have in your space. This is also the opportunity to get some samples to take home and look at the light and colours within the actual kitchen space. See especially how the worktop will look like and how it feels as this surface is the most used.  I recommend investing in a good quality worktop as it can make all the difference.


Samples: Dekton Natural Laurent, Amtico Rustic Oak, Avenza by Francis Tate Marbleworks

8. Think about the environment

When looking for a new kitchen we are sometimes blinded by the shiny brochures of luxury kitchen suppliers. But thinking about the environment doesn’t have to spoil the fun. There are many companies which switch to sustainable options. Look out for the FSC mark or ask the suppliers where and how the kitchens are made. By asking these questions companies get aware that customers become more conscious and mindful about the environment and the big issue of deforestation.

I’m currently collecting sustainable kitchen suppliers in my Sustainable Source Guide. Please sign up to my newsletter below so you don’t miss the launch of this guide.

Also to consider is the safe disposal of your old kitchen. Is there someone who may want it? It doesn’t hurt to put it on a local buy and sell platform. If your kitchen supplier offers to take care of the dismantling and disposal ask how this will be done.

Wooden kitchen

Source:  Sustainable Kitchens UK

What I really learned along the way: Don’t forget to have fun. Creating a new kitchen should be a fun project and not stressful or even ending up in a fight with your partner. Every time I felt stressed about it I took a step back and considered how grateful I should be that I CAN plan a new kitchen. There are worse problems in the world than my new kitchen design. So let the fun begin!