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Seven Mistakes to Avoid when Planning a Bespoke Kitchen

Davonport Kitchen & Home has shared its expert designers’ insights into seven of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when planning a bespoke kitchen.

Richard Davonport, managing director at Davonport, commented: “Designing the perfect kitchen is so much more than simply creating a beautiful space, it needs to be able to meet the demands of busy family life and be as practical as it is pretty. Finding the right balance between form and functionality is ultimately a personal decision but we’ve asked our team of kitchen designers for some of the most commonly made major errors that they’ve seen homeowners make.”

1. Lacking a focal point

When designing a kitchen, one element that can often be overlooked is the importance of including a focal point. In larger rooms, this could be something such as a mantel, statement island or even freestanding drinks cabinet or larder. However, in smaller kitchens, it can be as simple as a splashback, a patterned work surface or the colour of the cabinetry.

2. Cutlery drawer placement

A common mistake is to store cooking utensils and knives with table cutlery. By separating the two you can position the cutlery nearer to the dining area and out of the way of the cooking area, leaving space for the chef to work their magic.

3. Allow space for more than one

Kitchen islands have become a must have for many homeowners, however, when designing an island, the practicality of the space around it can be overlooked. At Davonport, we design islands with no less than 900mm distance to the adjacent wall, cabinetry or furniture. This allows enough space for two people to pass but means cupboards, pantries and fridges are still in easy reach.

Additionally, it’s worth considering the depth and length of the unit. If the island is too large it will make cleaning the middle a much harder task.

4. Cupboard, cupboard on the wall

It’s important to consider the height of wall cabinetry, not purely from the perspective of maximising storage, but also from the point of view of the room’s proportions.

Standard height cupboards may be dwarfed in a room with a vaulted ceiling and conversely, tall wall cupboards can dominate in a cottage kitchen with lower ceiling height.

A bespoke kitchen means that wall cabinetry can be planned to be in proportion with the room and when painted, can almost disappear into the fabric of the home if that is the chosen aesthetic. Similarly, if there is sufficient floor space, a kitchen designer may suggest excluding wall cabinetry altogether.

5. Style over lifestyle

It is easy to design your kitchen around an Instagram or Pinterest post, but will the colours, textures, materials and layout be practical for the way you live and accommodate the needs of your family, as well as harmonising with the rest of the home?

With the opportunity to plan a dream kitchen from scratch, it is easy to be tempted by the latest trends and styles but go too far down this route and you might regret it when home fashions change.

If you’re keen to have some very on-trend items, consider freestanding items or accessories. Failing that, speak to your designer about selecting materials and products that can be easily updated should you fancy a change.

6. It’s what’s inside that counts

Right at the start of your journey, it’s important to consider your specific storage needs to ensure the new kitchen can accommodate the household’s often-sizeable collection of crockery, tableware and cookware.

For example, if you’re a budding mixologist and have a prolific collection of glassware, it’s important that shelves are designed at appropriate sizes. Similarly, if you are a great baker, you might want to plan extensive, easy-access storage for a mixer and similar kitchen equipment. For heavy enamel cookware and saucepans, you will need to have drawers or shelves which can bear their weight. Don’t just plan ‘cupboards’, plan ‘cupboards with a purpose’.

7. Overusing solid cabinetry

Too much full-height solid cabinetry can make a room feel cramped and dark and even have the claustrophobic effect of reducing the size of the room. It’s still possible to incorporate the full length of a wall into cabinetry design, but by using varied design details, such as open shelving, reflective glazed doors and countertop style cupboards, the visual effect is softened and less utilitarian.

Richard Davonport continued: “It’s vital to ensure no stone is left unturned and all possibilities are considered when designing a bespoke kitchen. A great kitchen designer will not only be able to steer you away from making common mistakes but should also really understand your family dynamics and lifestyle too.”