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Our recent kitchen makeover was a budget, cosmetic-only affair. But we do have fantasies plans of doing a complete gut job and calling the pros to start from the ground up. Living in the space as it is now will give us a feeling of how we use it and what our needs are so when we do come to create the dream kitchen we can be confident it will work for us.

Here are some other questions we’ll be asking ourselves while we save our dosh for the real deal:

How many people need to work simultaneously?

In our townhouse’s kitchen, whoever was playing sous chef had to squeeze their chopping board onto a too-small bench for prepwork. If you regularly cook with more than one person (or would like the option to do so) ensure you have two generous work spaces.

How do you tend to cook?

Similarly, how much space do you need for the kind of meals you normally cook? If you’re happy being a one-pot-pasta kind of person then bench space will be less of a priority (particularly around the cooktop) than for the type who regularly hosts three-course dinner parties.

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What items do you need to store?

Catalogue every type of item you need in your new kitchen. Figure out how much space it will take up and consider what will be the best way to store it (shelves, drawers, racks etc). It may seem like overkill but the last thing you want is to spend tens of thousands on a brand new kitchen only to find you have to store your cake stand in the laundry and you can never find the spice jar you’re looking for.

Are your needs likely to change?

In addition to noticing how you use your kitchen now, consider if future plans will affect your needs. Are you and your friend getting serious about your on-the-side cupcake business idea? Are you planning to have children so safety and durability will be crucial?

Do you need to change the layout?

If you find your current layout is working well for you, it may be wise to stick with it since moving plumbing, gas and electricity will significantly increase your costs. Of course, if an unworkable layout is your whole reason for an upgrade, then the infrastructure costs will be a worthwhile investment.

Do you want space to eat or just to cook?

Anything goes with kitchens these days. Include a breakfast bar, freestanding table or have a separate dining area; it’s up to you. Again, consider how you normally like to dine. If you normally eat your toast standing up you’re never going to sit at a dining table so consider a breakfast bar. If you can’t relax over dinner with piles of dishes in your sightline, you’ll want a separate dining room. Those who have spacious kitchens and enjoy casual meals will like an eat-in kitchen.

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Open plan or separate room?

Open plan kitchens are de rigueur now but they’re not for everyone. Those who want to stay in the conversation while entertaining guests and or need to keep one eye on the kids while cooking will love it. But if you like to be able to shut off the mess when guests come over, you may prefer a kitchen with a door.

What functions does it need to have?

These days kitchens perform many more roles than cooking and eating. Kids’ homework, paying bills, charging phones, dumping keys… you’ll want to ensure you consider the requirements (space, lighting, storage, seating and power points) for every activity that happens there.

With a few careful considerations you’ll end up with a kitchen that’s not only beautiful but suits your lifestyle perfectly.


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