Everything You Need to Make a Perfect Kitchen
Looking to revamp, or completely redo your kitchen? You need to read this
The majority of us will spend much of our day in the kitchen, preparing meals, getting snacks, making cups of tea, so it’s important to make sure it has everything you (and those demanding children of yours) need. Whether you’re planning a brand new space or redesigning your current kitchen, we’ve rounded up the most important things to consider. From size and layout to storage and utensils, here is what makes a perfect kitchen. And we should know. Our job at Plum Guide is to scrutinously judge them for you, after all.
It’s easy to immediately overlook factors like size and layout, and focus instead on the gadgets and tools to stock up on. But before you even begin to think about knives, juicers or breadmakers, it’s important to consider where these items will go. The tried, tested and all-round favourite kitchen layout is the ‘working triangle’: a design that places the resource area (fridge, freezer, food cupboards), the preparation area (sink, chopping surface, etc) and cooking area (hob, oven) in conjunction with each other. Regardless of kitchen size, these three elements are integral in any cooking scenario. If you design your kitchen with this in mind, you can make sure everything you need is in easy reach of each other, making the time you spend cooking seamless and much less hassle. (And just to go back to it, no, you really do not need a new juicer.)
Once you’ve figured out the layout of your cooking area, the next thing to think about is the space. The space needed in your kitchen will differ depending on your lifestyle – whether you host frequently, live with children, dine out a lot, etc. The triangle layout can work in small or large spaces, so you can work around that to create designated areas for other features. If you’d like to include a social area, perhaps a more open plan design like The Debut's kitchen space would work, allowing you to cook and host simultaneously. If you have a large family, you might like to have more surfaces for preparation and serving. It’s important to consider the size at the initial stages, in order to link zones and ensure a cohesive layout to make a perfect kitchen.
Most people have a specific aesthetic in mind when planning their dream kitchen, from The Paramount's homely yet luxurious feel to clean-cut and modern like The Glass Box. Whichever style you choose, there are a few important features that need a little extra thought. Firstly: flooring. However clean you may be, the floor will always endure a bit of wear and tear. While softer surfaces like rubber or cork may seem appealing for safety reasons (they are softer and therefore less likely to smash plates or bowls when dropped), hard marble or tiles are easier to clean and are much more durable. Similarly, the splashback area above the hob should be carefully considered. Mess while cooking is unavoidable, so easy to clean, durable splashback surfaces can save you some hassle and look much better in the long run.
There are so many options of hobs, ovens, sinks, taps out there, it can be hard to choose the right one for you. Ultimately, it comes down to lifestyle, however there are a few decisions that could help you out in the future. Wall-mounted electric ovens are often a good idea, saving space for dishwashers and storage space in lower cabinets – and they save you having to crouch down every time you need to check the oven. (Most appreciated.) For hobs, four or five rings should be plenty for a typical-size kitchen, but the key is to make sure the cooktop is wide – people on average use hobs more often than ovens, so it’s a good idea to make sure you have enough space. Electric or gas hobs are largely down to preference; some say electric is easier for cleaning and maintenance, but often come with more expenses and a lack of control when cooking. Try placing your hobs above storage space with drawers for keeping utensils, wooden spoons and so on.
The most perfect kitchens are often those with nifty storage spaces and clever tricks. Make sure you use your space wisely, utlising corners and islands, with longer pull-out drawers and add roll-back shelving in cupboards for extra space. Open shelving units are also a good idea for easy access to frequently used items such as glasses, mugs and plates. As well as helping out the environment, having multiple bins for food waste, recycling and plastic can help keep things looking neat and tidy, and can save you time and effort later down the line (so you don’t have to spend hours elbow deep in binbags trying to sort through the rubbish). It sounds obvious, but it’s helpful to keep a bin for food waste near or under the sink, whereas recycling and other bins can be hidden away in clever storage units or utility rooms. Similarly, multiple sinks help a lot with kitchen layout. Some can make do with one sink, but sometimes having one for food prep and one for washing up can help save crowding in larger households.
After putting in the groundwork of figuring out layout, spacing and main features comes the fun part. Browsing for the best utensils can be time consuming, and it’s often tricky to figure out what tools and gadgets
are best you really need. Start with the basics: a sharp, durable knife set such as a Sabatier five piece collection is always a good idea, or add a splash of colour with the Kuhn Rikon Colori knife set. And don’t forget to buy a good quality knife sharpener too. Saucepans follow a similar rule: don’t skimp on price at this stage. Le Creuset are always a safe bet, their stainless steel saucepans are great for durability and easy to clean in a dishwasher, and any copper-bottomed or cast iron pots are equally long lasting and reliable. Take a look at the collection in Copper Cabana to spark inspiration. Avoid carbon-based saucepans as they mark very easily and quickly look worn. Invest in a good pair of refillable salt and pepper shakers, such as this Peugeut pepper mill. These make a massive difference when cooking and are often overlooked in favour of plastic, shop-bought ones that don't look anywhere near as good run out all-too-quickly.