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Lighting, layout and storage: What makes a great kitchen? We spoke with 3 designers to find out

Buying your first home? Here’s what to look out for in the kitchen.

Image: Shutterstock

ONCE UPON A time, kitchens were used solely for cooking and eating. Today, they are the heart of the home for the entire family.

Hosting everything from homework to midnight snacks to social occasions, the role of the kitchen is a hugely important one. And if it’s your first home, there are even more decisions to be made.   

So how do you know when you’ve spotted a good kitchen while house hunting? 

We spoke to three interiors experts to discover the ingredients of a good kitchen – from the smartest layout to the best materials.

A great kitchen is… one you’ve put time into planning

According to Darran Heaney, interiors expert at Old Victorian New, thinking about how you will use the space on the day-to-day is a good place to start.

Planning a good kitchen layout requires time. While choosing the cabinet colour and worktop material might send your head in a spin, getting the layout that works best for you is key. 

If you’re planning a kitchen from scratch, take the time to measure carefully, sketch out floor plans and think about how you will use the space. For any kitchen, keep the work triangle in mind and ensure you can move between the sink, fridge and cooker with ease. Factor in sufficient worktop space too and consider a pantry to reduce overhead kitchen cabinets.

You want to ensure that the cabinets are good quality. A kitchen is a hard working room in any home, it has to stand up to plenty of use.

shutterstock_667219141 Source: Shutterstock

Power points are very important to think about when considering your kitchen space. Will you need them on your island? Lighting can be another thing people find tricky. Task lighting is important for cooking and cleaning, but by adding simple things like dimmer switches or island and wall lighting on separate switches, you can adjust the light in the kitchen to suit the use at the time.

A great kitchen is… one that’s tailored to your individual needs

Interior architect and designer Aoife Tobin from Style So Simple recommends taking the time to consider you and your family’s individual needs and what it is you want to achieve from the space. 

The first thing I look at in a kitchen design is the workflow and how the client wants to enjoy and live in their space. A kitchen is very individual as to how people see this space; is it more of a functional or a social area? I would advise buyers with a new build kitchen to write down their main needs within the space for them and their family. Does it have enough storage? Is the layout going to work for you and how you plan to spend your time in the kitchen?  

For example, when adding an island some of my clients want it to be an area to cook at while chatting to their family or guests, so a hob on the island would be ideal. Others want their children to be able to gather around the kitchen, drawing or doing homework. For those clients, a worktop-free island, if it’s an option, could work well.

shutterstock_1176854770 Source: Shutterstock

It’s important to look at the materials in a kitchen too: is it something you can repaint in a few years if you want to? Is the material going to be hard-wearing enough to last through the years?

A great kitchen is… one that has nailed the smaller details 

The importance of paying attention to the smaller details – like the correct plumbing and wiring for your appliances – cannot be underestimated, says architect and design consultant Denise O’Connor of Optimise Design.

When visiting a show house, it can be easy to focus on the aesthetics and miss some of the important practicalities. 

Depending on the appliances you select you might require additional plumbing or wiring. For example, some steam ovens need to be plumbed-in, meaning you will need to fit a water supply and have a waste pipe installed. 

shutterstock_1499396738 Source: Shutterstock

A hot water tap will require power to heat the water which means extra wiring. It’s crucial that the contractor knows in advance what appliances you intend to put in your kitchen otherwise you may find there will be additional costs after the work has started that you hadn’t budgeted for.

At Glenveagh Homes, our vision is that everyone should have the opportunity to access great-value, high-quality homes in flourishing communities across Ireland. We understand that buying a home is possibly the biggest decision you will ever make in your life – but we want to make it your easiest. Click here to find out more about Glenveagh developments.  

Sponsored by:

Glenveagh Homes

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