Professional advice for stylish and practical kitchen design

The kitchen is arguably the busiest space in the home so versatility is key to making this all-important room work. Kerry Baulch, head of product management at Häfele UK, the living solutions specialist, explains how making the most of the lighting, storage and electrical options available to you can take a kitchen area from a functional food preparation station to a contemporary entertaining space

Selecting the right storage

Today’s homeowners are keen to invest in a kitchen that will stand the test of time so designing a space that will remain both stylish and operational, is key.  Choosing soft closing hinges and assisted opening function for drawers and cabinets will ensure that the kitchen remains functional, elegant and easy to use for years to come. Clever storage will also help to increase the amount of space available – high quality baskets for inside pull-out cupboards and larder units are ideal for making the most of cabinet space. Larders and corner cupboards are also enjoying a resurgence in popularity – a full length swing-out larder allows easy access to contents from either side, offering huge amounts of storage potential.

Many storage requirements are also being met by wide or deep drawer units, as an alternative to cabinets with hinged doors. The average household draws holds around 25-30kg worth of weight so when installing wider drawers, consider fitting runners that are capable of handling heavier weights. Flexible products and accessories are proving ever-popular as they can accommodate a range of bulky kitchen essentials, such as large pots and pans. For a smaller sized kitchen, investing in lifting or flat fittings can make drawers and storage systems easier to access.

Adding the right spark with lighting

With functionality such a key consideration in kitchen design, ‘task lighting’ is essential for illuminating practical spaces. Down lights are also popular as they offer a concentrated light source that is ideal for illuminating the worktops, cooker and sink. The various shapes and styles available can create a truly individual look and provide functional lighting where it’s needed most. Angled down lights are a great choice for achieving a softer look with practical functionality. LED strip lighting is another great example of a flexible and cost effective approach to kitchen lighting. Profile mounted flexible strip lighting adds a continuous ray of light along plinths and inside drawers to illuminate contents or under wall cabinets to brighten worktops. LED strip lighting is also an ideal alternative to overhead lighting, eliminating the need for bulky lights and lamps that take up valuable room.

Creating an entertaining space

 With both budget and luxury kitchens, it’s important to design a multi-purpose space that serves for both preparing food and entertaining friends and family. Using layered lighting can highlight particular features in the kitchen and dining space, as well as differentiating between the two areas.

Fixing dimmer switches is also an effective way of transforming the atmosphere of the kitchen and using warm or cool white lighting can create a relaxing, ambient mood.

Setting the right mood isn’t just about clever lighting, music also has huge impact on changing the atmosphere of a room. Today’s homeowners are looking to integrate the latest technology

into their property, so look to incorporate music into the kitchen with speakers that can be placed on a worktop or mounted under a cabinet. Alternatively, by fitting a built-in Bluetooth audio system into the kitchen, music from a tablet or smartphone can be connected from anywhere in the room, giving all around sound that doesn’t draw attention to itself. When designing a kitchen, think about the number of power sockets you’ll need for appliances and where electric cooking utensils are likely to be used. It’s also worth adding USB ports and powerdocks on kitchen islands.

Whether your kitchen project is about creating the right ambience through innovative lighting and electrical solutions, or incorporating stylish storage options to maximise room functionality, there is a solution to suit.

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