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Designing a family kitchen that lasts

Kitchen extension with new kitchen installation and kitchen island in a property in Cardiff, South Wales

Being the proud owner of a brand new sparkly yet practical kitchen can really improve the quality of life at home for the entire family. With that said, the high level of daily usage that the kitchen experiences means that a remodel of your kitchen space can cause much disruption and prove rather costly. It's important to get the planning and design of your new family kitchen just right, because problems that may appear relatively minor can't always be fixed so easily or cheaply.

Having an effective plan and design in place, whether as a diy project or with the help of local professional builders, will allow you to avoid many of the common mistakes that inexperienced kitchen fitters make. Below, the team at RGB Construction in Cardiff, South Wales, have come up with a few design issues to think about before you start putting all of the hard work into your brand new family kitchen.

Using kitchen space to your advantage

If structural changes are out of the question, then there is little that you can do to actually change the basic shape and overall size of your kitchen. If you think about how you and your family will make use of the new kitchen, then you can at least ensure that you make the very most of the space that you have available. Some families spend a great deal of time preparing and cooking meals in the kitchen, others would put a greater importance on having plenty of free space to entertain guests and use it as a social environment, but for most of us simply want a practical, functional kitchen area that is easy to navigate and simple to keep clean.

It's useful to ask yourself a few key questions before planning your new family kitchen, such as will you want to use as little space as possible for white goods like fridges and dish washers so that you have a larger, more comfortable area for visiting guests? Is it important for a microwave to take a prime spot on top of the kitchen counter? In fact, which appliances are you actually going to use regularly, and which can be stored away?

Putting a strong focus on your personal priorities as opposed to just going with standard choices that people tend to make should have a very positive impact on how happy you are with the functionality of your new kitchen.

Kitchen design and installed in Cardiff

Considering the workflow of your new kitchen

A well-planned and thought-through kitchen can make cooking for the family an absolute pleasure. Unfortunately, all too often, simple design mistakes get in the way of a kitchen's main duty, making things impractical and tasks not as easy as they should be.

The most common examples of these kitchen design errors include:

  • Fitting the primary work surface and oven too far away from each other.

  • Fitting the fridge freezer towards the back end of the kitchen, rather than nearer the front for easier access.

  • Not fitting enough electrical outlets.

  • Fitting the electrical outlets in inconvenient places for kitchen appliances or for ease of use with other things, like charging a mobile phone or tablet.

Deciding which kitchen quirks you really need

These days, if space permits, it seems almost obligatory to include an island with your modern-day kitchen plans, but it's always worth considering whether or not you actually need one, and whether you'd benefit more with it being there, or with the extra space being available for another use. If the space available is somewhat at a premium, then you're likely to run into some sort of issue. Kitchen cabinet and cupboard doors and drawers not having ample space to open up fully, for example, or the island cramping up the space and restricting ease of mobility around the kitchen. A cook's worst nightmare!

After all, it's unlikely people want to be tightly squeezing past each other just to get to the other side of the kitchen!

This also applies to breakfast bars and other seating areas that you thought were a good idea at the time. Of course, they are a good idea if enough space is available and it works for you and your family, but these are conundrums that will have to be decided.

These things are always nice to have, but consider if they will be used regularly, or simply take up valuable kitchen space while often getting in the way.

Beautiful kitchen installation at a home in Cardiff

Make smart decisions with kitchen storage design

One of the main annoyances that many of our clients bring up when discussing their current kitchen design is the lack of sufficient storage available. Pots, pans, cutlery, boxes of this, boxes of that, it all needs a place. Adding extra kitchen drawers and kitchen cupboards seems like the obvious answer, but that isn't always an easy way to solve the problem unless you already have the vacant space. Even if kitchen space isn't a pressing issue, making poor design decisions can still prove a long-lasting problem.

To give an example, two kitchen cabinets may not be able to open smoothly without the doors hitting each other. This is a very basic, but very avoidable design error - you'd be surprised at the number of kitchens we've seen that were installed a decade or more ago and carry these sort of silly little design errors all the way through their life! Likewise, kitchen drawers shouldn't be blocking any doors or access to white goods, and an open dishwasher shouldn't be restricting access to kitchen cupboards.

Not considering the intelligent use of available kitchen space is a common design mishap - especially when fitting off-the-shelf units into an existing space. If you consider these small, but important storage decisions when drawing up your own kitchen plan, it will go a long way to ensuring you avoid any daily nuances in the kitchen!

Which types of kitchen storage should you choose?

When deciding on which kitchen storage solutions you should opt for, as usual, you really need to consider what space is available and how you'll be using your kitchen. If you have a lot of rarely used items and/or utensils in the kitchen, then placing some kitchen cabinets high up on the wall can create a great place to store them when not in use. You also need plenty of storage that can be easily accessed for the things that do get used often, but that you don't necessarily want displayed on the kitchen worktop surfaces.

Shelving thoughtfully placed on the walls can be a very efficient way of using the space available as opposed to large, hefty kitchen cabinets at ground or eye-level, but you will want to consider what you store on the shelves. Again, you won't want everything on display, and on top of that you have to be prepared for the regular dusting and cleaning that would be required. Decorative shelving can help you display the items that you're happy to have on show in the kitchen, and will do so in a much more aesthetically pleasing way than just simple, standard shelves.

Kitchen waste is another thing many people fail to consider, usually leaving it to the last minute and then realising they have no ideal area or place to keep the bins! Nobody wants a smelly standalone bin taking pride of place in the kitchen, so be sure to allocate sufficient storage space for waste, such as a specific cupboard on the end of one of the kitchen units.

Modern kitchen installed at a property in Cardiff

Opt for a design that will stand the test of time

Designing a kitchen from scratch is certainly a great way to give it the personal touch and let your personality and preferences shine through, but just be sure to give it some real serious thought before opting for a design just because it's the current trend or because it's uniqueness stood out from the crowd. Modern kitchens may look the part in a showroom or in a glossy home improvements magazine, but they can soon date in just the same way fashion does. Whats more, many of us have opinions and preferences that are liable to change a year or more from now. The last thing you want to do is splash out on a kitchen that you think is funky right now, but then come to regret in 3 or 4 years time. You want your kitchen design to stand the test of time so that you get as much out of your investment as possible!

One way to add touches of uniqueness that will let your personality shine through is by adding flair and creative little touches to items and materials that are easily altered or changed completely, rather than choosing something outlandish or in-the-moment for the core kitchen components. It's much easier and cheaper to change the colour of paint or other decor for example, as opposed to changing the huge pink, glossy worktop that you suddenly decide is no longer quite to your taste!

Also, don't forget, a happy kitchen will see plenty of use from all of the family! Stainless steel surfaces may gleam and shine when first installed, but they are also prone to showing up every speck of dirt and dust that lands on them. Unless cleaning the kitchen is a much-loved pastime, you may want to consider selecting a more forgiving surface like stained wood or granite. The same will apply to the flooring. Tiles may look the part and increase the sense of space, but they will also become grubby rather quickly unless you're on top of the mopping duties.

Stunning kitchen installed within a house in Cardiff

Remodel or redesign your kitchen

Remodelling or redesigning your kitchen is a fantastic way to inject some fresh new style and convenient, practical comfort into every day life. But you must remember that a kitchen remodel or redesign is one of the most important projects to get right at the first time of asking, simply because it can be such an annoyance to fix. It can be costly and time-consuming as well, not to mention a potentially very dusty job. Whether you're tackling the project yourself or getting professional local builders on board, make sure you use the planning process to effectively design away any potential common problems. You'll definitely be happy that you did!

Whether you're looking for a local kitchen fitter, or reputable builders in Cardiff to carry out other manners of building work, the team here at RGB Construction have the skills to deliver a fantastic finish and ensure you make the absolute best of the space you have available. We offer a completely free quotation and are more than happy to discuss what is possible with you. So, to talk all things building and home-improvement, get in touch with us today! You can contact us on 07946452571, e-mail us at or complete our simple online contact form and we'll be in touch with you shortly!

Photography by Shawn Eastman

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