Cooking up your ideal kitchen

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Fitting a new kitchen might seem simple – just find a cooker and add some cupboards. But it’s vital to consider the layout of this functional part of the home.

There’s long been a principle called the “golden triangle”, where the kitchen is arranged around the cooking area, fridge and sink.

That will never change, but the biggest trend is that families have moved away from separate cooking and social spaces. Combining these functions in an open-plan scheme can be as simple as knocking down an internal wall – and often cheaper than people might think.

Other solutions, such as extensions, may need structural work. Here, bi-fold doors that bring kitchen and garden together are very popular, opening up the space with views and light. Within, kitchen islands are a stylish option, but space is critical.

Allow at least a metre between worktops and islands for circulation. And with appliances, don’t default to expensive brand names. Low cost alternatives allow you to invest more in good worktops and door fronts. I’d always recommend built-in appliances: they’re cleaner and more sophisticated. But expect to leave them behind if you move.

Nowadays householders prefer simple, glossy kitchens that are easy to keep clean – intricate details mean nooks and crannies. I’d also steer clear of off-white cabinets as these tend to look faded from the get-go.

A good worktop can make or break a kitchen. Laminate works well, but can look cheap. If you can, stretch to natural stone – but check its potential for staining. Wood is lovely but requires care, while composite worktops – in dark colours especially – can draw attention to scratches.

Less obvious than worktop and door choices is lighting and it deserves proper consideration - it’s a high-impact way to transform a kitchen, both practically and for atmosphere.

Finally, if you’re intending to sell in the short term, don’t go overboard. Layout is the key factor and kitchen tastes are very subjective; an incredible looking kitchen that doesn’t appeal to someone else is not a great investment.

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