Kitchen design tips

If you're planning on renovating or extending your kitchen, it's really important that you consider all aspects of the design, including the layout, lighting, flooring and accessories, you should also consider your budget as how much you're willing or able to spend can have an impact on the design. Michael Holmes offers his expert advice.

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ABOVE: This kitchen extension was inspired by Italian design. Light enters the open-plan extension through the folding sliding doors and the skylight, while ceiling lights add to the spacious feel of the kitchen design. See more examples of kitchen extensions…

If you’re planning on renovating or extending your kitchen, it’s really important that you consider all aspects of the design.

The layout

  • Try to find space for a separate utility room and avoid having a WC opening into the kitchen.
  • Consider access to the garden for alfresco dining, using glazed doors to link the inside and outside.
  • Create zones for cooking, dining and living and treat each one like an individual room, with circulation space and separate lighting circuits.
  • Ensure the kitchen and dining area link directly.


  • Introduce light from a variety of directions.
  • Choose appropriate lighting so the kitchen will work well in a dark area of the house. Leave the space with the best natural light and views for dining and living.


  • Keep flooring and decorating consistent in an open-plan space.
  • Stone or tiled flooring is ideal, especially with underfloor heating, but wooden or vinyl flooring works well too (find out more about kitchen flooring).

Your budget

  • Redesigning costs less than extending, but as the kitchen is the most important room in the house for most people, it’s worth investing in.
  • If your budget is tight, keep the design simple.
  • A good quality painted kitchen can be good value, as you can change the colour and look when you decide to redecorate.
  • If you have to prioritise, invest in high-quality worktops and taps.
  • High fashion kitchens can look great, but you may tire of them in time.


  • If you don’t like extractor hoods, plan ahead for a downdraught extractor within the unit housing the hob.
  • Consider fitting a boiling water tap such as the Quooker – £830 for a PRO3-VAQ tank and a polished chrome finish tap. It is convenient and energy-efficient.
  • Tiled spashbacks suit a traditional look, but for a more contemporary style, consider using coloured glass or the same material as your worktops.