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Kitchen makeover: 12 tricks of the trade

Want the kitchen of dreams? We bring you the trade secrets of kitchen design, all wrapped up in 12 neat tips, get planning now.

Kitchens are the beating heart of every home – whether you’re a Nigella-level gourmet or a takeaway queen – this central hub of any house is where it all happens. Whether you’re lusting after a pin-sharp, sleek and contemporary vibe or some new touches to your rustic idyll, wouldn’t it be just a lot easier if you knew how the experts design them?

Step forward Jamie Dixon of Dixon & Grey Kitchens, a family business in Nailsworth who design, supply and install bespoke kitchens. With 20 years experience in the kitchen industry we wager he knows what he’s talking about. Over to you Jamie.

Jamie’s 12 tips for designing the kitchen of dreams

1. Is your kitchen layout properly planned?
Everyone would like an island but you need to make sure you have enough space around it to work in. Think about how you move around the room and make sure that any thoroughfares or doorways are given enough space.

2. Take into consideration the work triangle
One thing to consider when planning your kitchen is the flow of your workspace, or as we in the design world like to call it, the work triangle! The work triangle is the distance between your hob, refrigerator and sink. A good triangle will result in an efficient workflow and allows you to move with ease between the three most used points. A poor work triangle will cause you to run all over your kitchen to access the most important aspects. Imagine running across the room to empty a steaming pan of boiling water.

3. Consider if you ‘ve got the right kind of storage?
You need to consider how much you want to store, there is no point installing a new kitchen and finding you have less storage than before. Deep drawers are great for access as you don’t have to dig around at the back of a cupboard. Pay attention to smaller details, too: ask yourself whether you have planned storage for items such as spices and dried foods close to the preparation area.

4. Pay attention to the small detail
Of course you want the kitchen to look good but you need to think about how you use it. Range cookers look great but an oven at eye level is more practical. You need to allow enough space around the oven/hob to place your hot dishes. Also try to consider the electrical points, make sure you have them where you need them, including the island. You can get pop up sockets with built in speakers and built in wireless phone chargers.

5. Think about how the kitchen is used
If you are lucky enough to have room for an island you need to think about how you will use it. I feel it is better to have a hob than a sink on an island as you are more likely to be cooking whilst chatting with your guests rather than washing up.

6. Consider the workspace
Think through your needs for meal preparation to help guide your countertop choices. Make sure you allow space for food preparation, think about how many people will be using the kitchen at any time and try to incorporate more than one area to work at. If you have children that enjoy cooking you might want to add an area with lower worktops for them to work at.

7. Pick your kitchen cabinet colour carefully
There are some very popular dark colours available at the moment, indigo, dark grey and now bottle green. You need to be careful if you have a darker room, the lighter colours will reflect the light and make the room feel larger. Try to think about the colours used elsewhere in the house and try to tie them together.

8. Pick the right finish for your kitchen units
High-gloss, mid-sheen or matt finish for your kitchen cabinetry? This is really down to the style of your home. If it’s contemporary, high-gloss units will fit right in, as will mid-sheen and matt finishes. If it’s a traditional home or period property, steer clear of high-gloss and stick to mid-sheen or matt finish cabinetry.

9. Match your kitchen cabinet design with your house
As with the your colour choices you need to think about the style of the cabinets. The handleless flat doors are popular at the moment but if your house is more traditional you might what to consider a Shaker style door.

10. Get the lighting right
Planning kitchen lighting needs be done early on, many times it is an after-thought. Task lighting is a given, but don’t forget to work in ambient lighting, dimmable options and good-looking pendants. Thanks to the use of LED lighting it is now very easy to add some great lighting solutions, think about how you want it to look while you’re eating or socialising.

11. Is this going to be easy to clean?
Open shelving is very popular at the moment but I would avoid having it too close to the cooking area otherwise you will be forever having to clean it. Consider a glass splashback rather than tiles to avoid having to clean the grout. Try to use your extractor fan, they are designed to remove smells but they will also catch the grease from from cooking.

12. Go as high quality as your budget will allow
Think about where you are spending your money. The worktops get the most wear and tear, I always suggest splurging on stone or quartz as they are the most durable option. The appliances are quite often an afterthought but these will also get a lot of use so buy the best you can. Make sure you look at the quality of the ironmongery, (the hinges and soft-closers on the doors) the less expensive ones will need replacing more often. Don’t be scared to share your budget with your designer as it will help them to plan the best kitchen for you within your budget..

How Dixon Grey can help? …

Jamie says: “There’s no place like home and no room like the kitchen. It’s the most important living space of all, where families come together, friends chat and couples unwind. At Dixon & Grey, we create a kitchen that you’ll love. A place where not just spectacular food, but memories are made and shared. 

“Choosing a beautiful new kitchen is an exciting experience. After all, it’s a chance to put your personality into one of the most important rooms in your home. There are plenty of fabulous styles to choose from in our kitchen collection, from the time-honoured traditional timber designs to the more adventurous high-gloss contemporary look.”

Book an appointment with Dixon Grey or call 01453 297 370 to chat about your dream kitchen. From showroom consultation and bespoke kitchen design concept to full installation.

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