How to think outside the box when it comes to kitchen design

When it comes to kitchen design, don’t fall back on what you know, think about what you need and keep it simple, stupid (K.I.S.S.)!

Ironically kitchens are like coffee, you now have a huge choice of what you can have, but you don’t know what everything is, or what combinations you can have and ultimately you play it safe and go with what you’ve always known – the cappuccino of ‘standard’ fitted kitchens.

When it comes to planning a kitchen we like to K.I.S.S. What space is available? How do you use your kitchen? What do you cook, drink, eat? There are some simple planning tips and not even ‘tricks’ of the trade, but appliances and innovations out there that those of us in the industry know about, like a ‘Triple, Venti, Half Sweet, Non-Fat, Caramel Macchiato’ you may have no idea existed, but for you is the new ‘black’.

Simple planning tips that will help you with your initial kitchen designs

Start with your layout

If you don’t get the layout right at the initial planning stage, then it is complete waste of time. With clever planning and design, you can make your kitchen look like you’ve extended it. That is why planning a kitchen should happen as early in a project as possible, especially if you are renovating or extending.

The all-important questions is, how do you want to use your kitchen. More and more people want to create a multi-use space where you can cook, have dinner, work, watch the TV or even incorporate a bit of a play-room. When was the last time you used your dining room? Why not integrate your dining room into the kitchen to create a larger area for the whole family.  There is so much that can be achieved with islands, breakfast bars and wide work surfaces to help integrate the kitchen with the rest of the home. We have moved tiny windows, sinks and wall-hung cupboards to make way for bi-folding doors to bring light and life to a kitchen without the loss of any workspace or storage.

Alphabet kitchens – The I, C or U?

I-Shaped Kitchen

A single galley kitchen, works well in small spaces such as kitchens in cottages or town apartments. Great for simplicity, affordability and often looks stylish. Clever hidden storage like a Butler’s Pantry can add an inordinate amount of storage space without the need for claustrophobic wall-hung cupboards.


C and U-Shaped Kitchens

A U-shape or C-shape kitchen offers a great deal of space, keeping everything within easy reach from oven to sink. With an island on the outside, it doubles up as a breakfast bar or work surface.

Think about hiding away your bulky appliances. Juicers, mixers, toasters, even kettles all take up space on your work surface and add to the general kitchen clutter look. Large under-counter drawers are a solution to hide away your appliances or add in a separate cupboard such as a baking station to help keep your kitchen tidy and organised.


Modern drawer runners mean that we can now have large and deep drawers strong enough to hold your kitchen gadgets and even your entire saucepan set, and the beauty of the drawer is they open out to you rather than you having to go rummaging in a cupboard. Simple!


Take time to look at kitchen technology and don’t just go with what you already know. Choosing a new kitchen is not an everyday activity, neither is selecting what appliances you are going to have. This is where it is important to think of the simple questions of what you eat and how you cook, don’t have a double oven and range if all you’re going to do is steam cook your food. Investigate options like a steam oven. The Miele Experience Centre in Abingdon offers cookery lessons to show you how to use a steam oven for example, give it time and the microwave will become redundant as more people are moving towards steam cooking.

Mood boards, Pinterest boards and lists

Now you have a better idea of where to begin and what you could be thinking about when you start talking to a kitchen design company, start a list of how you use your kitchen; what you cook, when you use it the most. Collate photos of kitchens you like, and don’t like, it is good to have something to refer to, even try starting a Pinterest board, like one of ours. Your kitchen measurements would be handy or even the floor plan of the house or planned extension or development, essentially your canvas. At this stage all plumbing and electrics can be planned effectively around the design, so get thinking and planning, the earlier the better.

Need help planning your kitchen?

You know where to come… J&S House of Design are expert kitchen planners and always consider the needs of the family before the placement of appliances. We are available during the events held at the National Self-Build and Renovation Centre in Swindon, or on the phone. Just give us a call on 01865 596768 for an informal and enlightening chat.