Kitchen Design Checklist

To consider

The main reasons people renovate are:

To refresh a tired looking kitchen.

To add to the comfort, usability, and value of the home.

To tidy it up to sell.

If you plan to stay, the first step will be to take a long look at what you have already and how best to use all the available space in order for it to become your dream kitchen.


Only a facelift?

Kitchens become dated or some eventually start falling apart. So, at some point some TLC is needed. New is nice, but if your budget is tight then remodelling is a possibility by making fairly inexpensive changes to revitalise your kitchen.

If you are renovating to sell, it is likely that you’ll want to give the house an inexpensive makeover to freshen it up and make it more attractive to buyers.

The first thing to check is whether the carcasses of your cupboards are still strong and in good order. If they are, then it is possible to replace the doors and handles. Choose something modern and select nice new handles to offset the doors to give a completely new look. Replace the worktops with something that is colour coordinated and lay new flooring. Your kitchen will look like new.

Or go new ...

However, if you want to reconfigure your kitchen to make the space more workable for your lifestyle then a new kitchen is the answer.

Key questions ...

What do you want and what do you need?

Is there a deadline for your renovations?

Decide on a budget - What things are a “must” and what’s a “nice” to have?

What drives you nuts about your existing kitchen?

What do you love about your existing kitchen?

What style, look or feel do you want your kitchen to create?

Professional Designer

PlanWhether you need a designer depends on the extent of work to be done.

Major renovations involving moving walls around, adding new rooms or having a new kitchen put in will benefit from the design expertise of a designer.

A professional kitchen designer will know how to make the most of the available space and will suggest ideas that you probably never have thought of.

Yet, the person who ultimately knows best is yourself - communicate your ideas clearly with the designer.

Play with ideas

The first thing to do is to sit down with a pencil and paper and draw up some initial ideas and to make a mood board – it helps to explore more possibilities. Its best to have clarity in your own mind when you eventually sit down with the designer.


Consider a central island if the space is there. Decide if you would like your white goods to be hidden behind matching doors. Going for ultra-modern or classic country style is a personal choice. It is perfectly acceptable to install an ultra-modern kitchen in a period property. The more luxurious the better, as this dates much slower.

Shape and Layout

No matter whether you have a large kitchen or a galley shaped one, the layout is essential. This is where the conflict between practicality and aesthetics begin – what is practical and what looks good? For example, do we place a goodsized cupboard or pan drawer close to the cooker or rather a pullout spice rack? One would ideally place the sink opposite the cooker but will it look good?

It’s the little things that will make your kitchen special.

The work triangle


 The dominant geometric shapes in most kitchens are the four-sided variety, from rectangular cabinetry to square appliances.

The kitchen work triangle consists of the distance between the sink, refrigerator, and cooker.

The total distance from the sink to the stove to the refrigerator and back to the sink should be not less than 3.6 metres total nor more than 8.5 metres. Each triangle leg should measure between 1.2 and 2.7 metres in length. The kitchen isles should be at least 1.2 metres wide to allow people to move around easily and for appliances to be opened with ease.

Cabinet Height

The total height of the worktop might be very important for some, however, most UK standard kitchen cabinets are supplied as a standard height.


The standard UK cabinet height is about 870mm - includes the legs that are 140/150mm. Then one needs to add the thickness of the top to this. In other words a kitchen unit is in the region of 900/910mm tall.

The only feasible way to adjust the height will be by using height adjustable legs.

Similar questions apply to the wall cupboards. For some it is no good having to climb up on a step ladder every time you want something from the top of a cupboard.

However, the height at which they are fitted depends on the height of the ceiling and the height of your tall units.

 Individual needs

For persons with more critical individual needs there are now many products available such as adjustable worktops, adjustable wall units, adjustable corner units and adjustable tables, hobs or ovens, sinks. Some can be fitted to existing cupboards, many have anti-entrapment safety mechanisms. Most models can be operated by seated users.

Any special questions?

AskSARA is the Disabled Living Foundation (DLF)'s free online self assessment tool. AskSARA will ask you questions about yourself and your environment and then offer relevant advice, product suggestions and supplier details.


When designing your dream kitchen it is key to consider your storage space, along with ample countertop space.

The first place to look for extra storage space is your corners. Try adding rollout trays in your base kitchen cabinets to help access your pots and pans, or in your pantries in order to reach cans and dry goods more easily.

Cabinet designs

Pantry Units

A new kitchen should create more storage space, improve workflow, as well as look good.

Soft close hinges

Hinges that are designed with a mechanism that prevents a kitchen cabinet door from slamming.

Push Release

Cupboards 'Push to open' cabinet hinges are used where the design calls for a clean line, without the need for handles.

Under the bench rubbish bins

A practical solution to help cope with kitchen waste while keeping your bin hidden. Sliding Doors and Blind and Retractable

Pantries units

hese pantry systems eliminate wasted space. Worktops Consider your family lifestyle in your choice. Your budget is going to play a large part in deciding what to choose.

Be practical.

A natural wood top, for example, might probably not the best choice if you have small children who like to chop things for you, as they scratch easily. If you can afford real granite, then great, if not, there are some excellent imitations around.


Naturally, you will need room for a washing machine, dishwasher, refrigerator and cooker. All these come in different sizes. If space is limited, and if there is just one or two people in your household, is it really necessary to take up room with a range cooker or a huge American-style fridge. Smaller appliances can do the job as well and will free up space for more cupboards or a breakfast bar.

How to plan a perfect kitchen layout


No matter how much you spend on your kitchen, if the layout isn’t right, it’s a waste of money.

Article by Jack Trench -  The Telegraph, 25 Apr 2013

When embarking on a new kitchen the first and most important step is to plan the layout in a way that makes the best use of the space.

hough every home is different, there are four or five classic layouts, each with their own benefits: single and double galley kitchens with one or two continuous runs of cabinets; L-shaped kitchens that are built into a corner and offering optimum counter space; and U-shaped kitchens, which surround the cook on three sides with everything within easy reach.

Think carefully about how you plan on using your kitchen.

Over the past few years one of the most common requests we have had is to create a multi-use space where clients can cook, eat, open the post, entertain and help with the children’s homework. It’s a reflection of the way many of us are choosing to live these days. Dining rooms are increasingly redundant, sacrificed to create a single, larger space where people can gather.

Central to this is the installation of an island (or a peninsula), the ultimate multitasking space. A work zone and social hub, the island provides additional work surfaces and can also include a breakfast bar.

You can make it work even harder by incorporating sockets for charging phones and laptops and by adding integrated coat pegs under the lip of the counter. You could also add wine storage or bookshelves. In the case shown above, the extra storage space gained by the island allowed us the luxury of not having wall cabinets so that the space remained light and open.

And with the new generation of extractors (integrated into the ceiling as shown above, for example) there is no reason not to have your hob located on the island itself. The island can also delineate the kitchen zone without cutting it off, a plus if you like to socialise with guests while cooking.

Sight lines are another important layout consideration, particularly when designing for an open-plan space. The sight lines from key views and entrances should be kept as clear as possible so that the room feels open and spacious.

Regardless of the layout, there are some key things that should be a part of everyone’s plan. Keep the dishwasher near the sink, and try to keep the bin within easy reach of the dishwasher, the food preparation area and the hob zone. This is all part of the ‘golden triangle’, a three-point rule for the placement of the sink, fridge and cooking areas. This is a good rule of thumb and is simply about keeping the most-used areas of the kitchen in close enough proximity to each other.

Finally, plan down to the last detail: utensil drawers, pots and pans stored next to the hob and oven, knife block and drawers adjacent to food preparation areas and, most important of all, measure all your crockery and tableware – you’ll want them to fit perfectly in your new kitchen.


This Kitchen Checklist & Planner from the Lincoln Sentry Kitchen Design Centre is a good guide that will take you through every step of your detailed planning process.