How to Design a Kitchen

Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

Date 08/12/21

The kitchen is often regarded as the main focus of the home.

It is after all where the family spends a considerable amount of time in each others’ company for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or where you like to entertain guests.

Therefore it’s important to bear in mind some key factors when designing your kitchen, to ensure you make the best use of the space available.

You also want to make it as convenient and as aesthetically pleasing as possible.

Read on to find out more, or use a jump link below to skip to a desired chapter:

Table of Contents

  1. List Your Must Haves
  2. Consider the Best Layout for the Space
  3. Create a Floor & Wall Plan
  4. Consider an Island
  5. Places for Appliances
  6. Consider Storage Needs
  7. Get Inspiration
  8. Choose Your Materials
  9. Choose Your Colour Scheme
  10. Choose Your Worktops
  11. Choose Your Backsplash
  12. Choose Your Flooring
  13. Design a Lighting Scheme
  14. Electrical Outlets
  15. Window Dressing
  16. Shelving
  17. Conclusion

List Your Must Haves

Your first step should be to make a list of what you really want to have in your kitchen.

Note that as you prepare this list, you’ll become aware of certain things that you may want, and others which you simply must have no matter what.

So you should be able to distinguish between what you want and what you need.

In your existing kitchen you may wish to consider what is currently in place.

There may be aspects of the current kitchen that you really like and wish to keep.

But there could also be certain things about your existing kitchen that it currently lacks.

And this is key to designing and creating a better kitchen with improved form and function.

This process will help you decide what can be reused or recycled.

Consider the Best Layout for the Space

When planning a kitchen, one of the most important decisions will be the layout.

Some spaces are ideal for an L-shaped kitchen, whereas others are more suitable for a galley kitchen, or a U-shaped one.

The best layout should be selected to make the best use of the space available, whilst taking into account other factors, such as:

  • Will the layout selected suit our lifestyle?
  • Will there be a working triangle that is not too restrictive at either point?
  • Where will the kitchen table be placed?
  • What can work best with regards to the kitchen shape.

Create a Floor & Wall Plan

Once you have decided on the best layout, you can then move on to the floor plan.

It is important to draw out a detailed kitchen floor plan, and it’s best to make your drawings to scale.

Measure the floor area.

Then, start by marking the location of the doors and windows, as well as the location of the water pipes, and if required, the gas supply.

Then plot the kitchen cabinetry and the places where you will be installing the appliances.

A detailed floor plan will give you a good idea of the way to design your kitchen, and you will also be able to plan accordingly, thereby avoiding any mistakes or unnecessary extra costs.

A wall plan should also be prepared as you need to consider the type and number of cabinets that will be hung to the walls.

You need to be aware that kitchen walls are typically covered up in cabinets, and this might appear rather heavy.

Long blocks of cabinet doors look rather boring, so you may wish to consider some design ideas which will make them look more aesthetically pleasing.

This can include some glass doors, display shelves, and wine storage.

Consider an Island

An island can work very well for some kitchens, but it can be a huge mistake for others.

Hence you need to carefully evaluate whether a kitchen island will be suitable in your case or not.

Kitchen islands are great when it comes to offering more storage space, as well as additional surface space.

However the feasibility of an island will depend on your kitchen layout and space.

You will need to get the positioning and its size right.

For instance, you do not want the island to be neither too big nor too small.

This needs to be considered in relation to the floor space.

So you need to make sure that there is sufficient walkway in certain busier areas, such as where one needs to pass to reach the sink and the fridge.

Places for Appliances

You have compiled a list of appliances as well as any fixtures that you will be needing in your kitchen.

It is best to be rather specific as certain decisions may impact other considerations.

For instance, what oven size are you considering, and what size and configuration do you want for the sink.

Once you have decided on such factors you can then plan where you will be placing the appliances and any fixtures.

Draw them on the plan you prepared earlier.

Consider Storage Needs

One of the most important considerations for kitchens is the storage space.

There are so many things you will be storing in your kitchen, and chances are that you might be worrying if everything will fit in, especially in case your kitchen is rather small.

Try to plan a sufficient number of drawers, to prevent having too many drawers taking up the space where a cabinet could fit, as naturally the latter is better for storing bigger items.

You may wish to plan how you will be organising your food storage areas, to make sure that there is sufficient space and that everything will be within reach easily.

Get Inspiration

One of your main goals is to make sure that your kitchen is both convenient as well as aesthetically pleasing.

There are several different kitchen design ideas you could opt for, and it is a good idea to do some research and get inspiration by looking up photos of different kitchens.

You might love rustic or country kitchens, or more contemporary and modern ones.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to picking your favourite kitchen design.

While this may depend mainly on your preferred style and your home’s features, you may wish to get creative too.

Planning a kitchen can be a fun experience, and it will be great to look up other people’s kitchens to get inspiration and some ideas.

Choose Your Materials

It is very important to choose the best materials for your kitchen.

At this point you will probably have a good idea of what you want, both with regards to the style and the preferred materials and finishes.

While the choice of materials may depend on your budget, it’s recommended that you consider the durability and the quality of the materials carefully.

You want to make sure that the kitchen will last and that it will retain its good looks for years to come.

In the case of a traditional kitchen, most people opt for hardwood or plywood.

The latter is less costly and it makes for a good choice in case you are on a tight budget.

Hardwood is more hard wearing and robust, and it is often the most popular choice for kitchens that are designed with a traditional style.

On the other hand, if your kitchen is rather contemporary or modern you will want a sleeker look.

Fibreboard is the material which is generally used for such styles, as it has a smooth surface but looks chic and elegant despite being a minimalist style.

A word of caution - when it comes to kitchens you should stay away from wood veneer and particleboard.

These are affordable but not ideal for kitchens as they can easily peel and chip.

Choose Your Colour Scheme

The colour you choose for your kitchen cabinets is of utmost importance too.

White remains a popular choice for many, and there are other alternatives to it, such as off-white and cream, as well as pale grey which are also very popular.

The main reason is that the more pale coloured a kitchen is the more options you will have when it comes to choosing the decor, such as the tiles, as you will be able to go bolder.

Moreover, if your kitchen is small it is important that you stick to a light palette or soft shades to visually make the room look bigger.

Darker tones are also popular, especially in cases when there is plenty of light in the room and so you can afford to go darker.

Dark kitchens are also preferred by those who opt for a modern or contemporary style.

Choose Your Worktops

Kitchen worktops are another key consideration.

You will need to work with your budget, while also taking into account your particular preferences both in terms of materials as well as colours.

It is important to keep an eye on quality as kitchen worktops will naturally be exposed to considerable wear and tear, spills and possibly, stains.

You also need to take into account the cleaning and maintenance factors.

There are several options to choose from nowadays.

Make sure to consider the various pros and cons of different worktop materials to choose the best one for your kitchen.

Let us check out different options in some more detail.


Granite remains a very popular option as it looks so beautiful, but it is important that it is sealed and well cared for.

It is also a bit expensive too, so in case your kitchen is rather large you may end up paying a considerable amount on granite worktops.

Having said that, granite is ideal if you want something that looks natural and that has a unique tone and pattern.


Quartz is another good option and it has increased in popularity recently as it is heat resistant and relatively affordable.

There are also several colours to choose from, and it can look nice both with traditional as well as modern kitchens.


Marble countertops look beautiful and if well maintained, they will increase your kitchen’s value.

However, they are expensive and heavy.

Another disadvantage of marble is that it is porous and so it can stain easily, and is not so resistant to scratches and chips.

This makes it rather problematic for kitchen countertops.


Corian comes in various colours and patterns and so it can complement most kitchen styles nicely.

Corian is a strong material and so you will not have to worry about scratches and stains.

It is quite heat resistant too.

Since it is solid, it is a durable material, making it a very popular option for kitchen worktops.

However, it is rather expensive.

Butcher's Block

Wood may look nice and warm, but it requires plenty of care on a regular basis to keep in good condition.

Butcher’s block and wood certainly look beautiful and complement rustic and traditional kitchens nicely.

And besides, it is not that expensive either, especially when compared to granite for instance.


Laminate is an affordable option.

Many opt for it if they are on a tight budget, but looking for something practical and relatively long lasting.

In fact, laminate is very easy to look after.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel may not be a popular option for all worktops.

However it is resistant and looks sleek and professional.

Some may consider it as being too silvery and cold looking and in case of a traditional or rustic kitchen it would not complement it well.


Copper is a good option for kitchen countertops.

It is relatively long lasting and resistant.

It is a sustainable material and completely recyclable.

Moreover it is naturally antimicrobial and easy to clean too.

However, since it is relatively soft it could dent easily and it is susceptible to scratches.

Choose Your Backsplash

The backsplash may seem like a minor detail but it is actually quite important.

It can serve as a unifier between the cabinetry and at the same time protect your walls.

There are various materials you can choose from, including:

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles remain a popular option as they are affordable and resistant.

They are also very easy to clean.

Glass Tiles

Glass tiles may be beautiful but they are not so practical.

Besides, they can be quite expensive too.


Looks beautiful but apart from being costly, it is important to ensure a regular sealing from time to time.


A Quartz backsplash will complement any kitchen style and its seamless finish is an undeniable advantage.

It is also easy to clean.

However it can be rather expensive and is not very heat resistant.


Marble is an expensive option and it can stain easily due to its porous nature.

It will also require regular sealing.

However, it certainly looks aesthetically pleasing and it is durable.

Choose Your Flooring

Kitchen flooring needs to be hard wearing as it has to deal with splashes, stains and high levels of condensation.

Hence it is important to keep these factors in mind when choosing your kitchen flooring.

Here are some options and their respective pros and cons.


Tiles remain the foremost preference for many households.

There are countless types and colours to choose from.

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are very popular, and real stone is quite popular too.

Tiles are durable and resistant, but they can be relatively expensive.

However they are easy to clean and maintain.


Hardwood is not recommended for a kitchen since the high moisture levels in the room are not that great.

However you may wish to opt for engineered wood, which looks just like real wood but is more suitable for a kitchen’s temperature and moisture levels.


Another relatively popular option is laminate flooring.

It is an affordable material and it is great since it looks like wood, or tiles, and in most cases it has a very realistic appearance.

Do make sure to check different types of laminate though to opt for the best quality, as some may not be of a high grade, and are thus not recommended especially for a kitchen.


Vinyl is another budget friendly flooring option.

You can find several designs and colours that mimic natural materials.

Vinyl is recommended as it is quite durable and very easy to clean.


Concrete flooring is becoming increasingly popular for kitchens.

It is durable and highly resistant to spills and stains.

It is also quite affordable.

Design a Lighting Scheme

Lighting considerations are of utmost importance when designing a kitchen.

You will need to carefully consider the task lighting, as well as ambient and accent lighting.

There are different lighting options to choose from and so you will need to choose carefully.

From LED lights underneath units and lighting cabinet lights, to pendant lights over islands and spotlights, the sky’s the limit when shopping for kitchen lights!

Here are some tips in this regard.

Electrical Outlets

Consider the number of electrical outlets needed, as well as their locations.

You should bear in mind smaller kitchen appliances too, such as toaster, electric kettle, coffee maker, blender etc.

It is a good idea to install multiple outlets and this can be done along the backsplash, as well as on the island, if you will have one.

You may also wish to consider outfitting a drawer with outlets as in this way they will be discreetly hidden away.

Window Dressing

All window treatments in a kitchen should be as easy to clean as possible.

They should be unaffected by any possible splashes, especially if they are close to the sink.

Shutters work well, and you can also opt for kitchen blinds as they are practical and made from ideal materials.


Consider any shelving in the kitchen.

Shelving can come in different styles and sizes.

It can be indispensable to store certain items as well as for organising.

Moreover shelving works very well to spruce up the wall bit rather than seeing only cabinets.


Through this overview of various kitchen design tips and guidelines, you should have a better idea how to go about this process.

We hope that we offered you a good helping hand so that you will be able to design the kitchen of your dreams!