Essential Facts for Planning a New Kitchen

Working heights

The standard height for pre-made kitchen units, from ground to working-surface level, is between 760mm and 915mm, with a depth of 535mm.

Kitchen units are available in pre-assembled whitewood, pre-finished, or as self-assembly units, which are either pre-or unfinished. Alternatively, you may prefer to make your own units, which can be tailored to fit a non-standard sized kitchen.

Unfinished units may be painted or stained, polyurethaned or laminated, to name a few treatment possibilities, to merge with your colour schemes.

Focal interest

Domestic chores are more acceptable if there is a focal point of interest outside the kitchen.

Ideally, the sink should be near or beneath a window. If the outlook is dull-for instance a drab wall-consider brightening it up with a coat of light paint. This will not only enliven the view but also reflect light back into the kitchen.


Colours are a matter of personal choice, but a useful guide is to decide the effect you want-cold and clinical or warm and homely.

Colours in the blue, green, yellow spectrum will make the kitchen look colder than warmer colours such as brown, red and orange.


All main working areas should be well lit. Fluorescent lighting gives shadowless working light. Spotlights can be used to provide extra light or localized light-for instance, over the cooker.


Access to storage is important, and to allow for unnecessary expenditure of energy, store the most frequently wanted items just above or below worktop level and those less needed either lower or higher than this.

Wall cupboards are best positioned about 300mm above working surface level up to a maximum of 1.83m. Open shelving is another form of storage.

There is no advantage in having shelving that is too deep and 300mm is probably the deepest normally needed and then only suitable for storing larger items.

A shelf of between 150mm to 200mm is quite deep enough for most kitchen cartons, boxes and jars. Drawers with a depth of 150mm are useful for storing cutlery and kitchen utensils. Drawers which are very deep are only useful for storing bulk items and large cooking utensils.


Storage of food safely and hygienically is important. Perishable food is best kept in a refrigerator.

Doubling up

Many kitchens double as a laundry room, with a washing machine and spin-dryer often sharing the same plumbing services. Ideally, the area used for washing clothes should be as far as possible from the cooking area. In a large kitchen you might partition off an area as a laundry.

A space as small as l.52m x 1.22m, with a sliding door and a window, will take a front-loading washing machine, laundry basket, as well as shelves for washing powder. A slightly bigger area would also house brooms, mops and cleaning materials.


When thinking of appliances, not only do you have to provide for the appliances, you have to try to anticipate future acquisitions. Washing machines, electric cookers and refrigerators are now considered almost standard equipment in many homes. You may add a food mixer, coffee grinder, toaster, home freezer, dishwasher, waste-eliminator, extractor fans and so on.

Plug sockets

Plug sockets should be at working-top level, spaced roughly at l.83m intervals round the room. No plug sockets should be within l.83m of the sink. Sockets for ‘fixed’ appliances such as cookers, refrigerators and washing machines may be fixed lower down.

Before adding extra sockets, check that your wiring is able to cope with the potential extra load and renew and augment as necessary. Always remember, if you are in any doubt consult a qualified electrician.

Refuse disposal

Refuse disposal is always a problem in the kitchen. One of the most hygienic ways to dispose of food wastage is by means of a waste-eliminator.

The pedal bin with plastic liner bag, foot operated, is a less-sophisticated means of disposal. Some disposal-bag systems are designed to fit on the wall or back of base-unit doors.

Cooking smells

Unwanted cooking smells can easily permeate the house, caused by the natural convection of hot air. As it is difficult to keep a kitchen door closed at all times, an automatic door closer will help to solve the problem. Smells will be contained and steam will not spread out into the rest of the home.

A more effective way of combating cooking odours and condensation is to install a powerful extractor fan, or an air cleaner, sited near the cooker; these can either be wall or window mounted.

It is better to use a fan than to open a window as natural ventilation tends to blow the steam and smells back into the room while a fan draws them out.

It is possible to fit a cooker hood which incorporates an extractor fan. A simple version draws up fume-laden air and the smells are neutralized by passing through a charcoal filter pad. These pads are renewable.

More complicated extractors have a powerful fan which pulls the fumes out, through a tunnel, connecting the cooker hood with an outside vent.


Condensation occurs when steam reaches a cold surface, and turns back into droplets of water. Windows, cold spots, such as lintels over doors, and cold wall surfaces are vulnerable areas.

Adequate heating, by means of a radiator from a central-heating system, a high-level infra-red heater, or heat from a domestic boiler, will help to raise the temperature.

Polystyrene tiles or sheeting, which should be fire retardent, can be applied to the ceiling. These are now made in many decorative effects. Not only do these help to provide thermal insulation, but they also raise the touch temperature of the ceiling surface which reduces condensation.

10. November 2011 by admin
Categories: Featured, Handyman Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Essential Facts for Planning a New Kitchen


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