As the heart of the home, the kitchen is the single most important space. As such, designing a room that works on a practical and aesthetically pleasing level is important. Much as with the bathroom, spending as much as you can possibly afford on the renovation is the best approach. However, no matter how much cash is in the budget, sensible planning is important too.

Preliminary sketching

Having a look through the latest kitchen designs and trends and ideas in magazines and online is a good idea. It helps give pointers, and can also inspire. However, most important is to plan the kitchen in sketch form, as this helps you decide where things will go and, need to go. A good builder will be able to help with this too.

Design for use

When sketching the plan and talking to the contractor, it is essential to think how you want to use the kitchen. For example, the trinity approach is a good idea to follow. This is where you have the sink, the fridge and the hob/oven in a triangle. This cuts down on movement and mess. If an island can be accommodated, this should be in the centre of the triangle.

Colour and lighting

Getting the colour of a kitchen right is important, and this is a very personal thing. Unless redecorating for a sale, you can really let your imagination go to town. Bright colours work well, but so do monochromes. Country kitchens demand thought too, but it is all about planning something that you will be comfortable to spend time in.

Lighting a kitchen is naturally important, and bright lights are an essential for all the work areas. As well as strong overhead lights, under wall cabinet lighting ensures shadows are not cast over the work area. As an entertaining space, subdued lighting from above and below could also be planned.

Appliance science

A kitchen runs on appliances these days, from dishwashers and microwaves to ovens and coffee machines. Integrated appliances are often the way to go, so working these into preliminary sketches is essential, to ensure they go near existing power points and plumbing, or new fixtures can be introduced.

For many reasons, seeking the most energy efficient appliances is also important. While these may cost a little more in the initial budget, they will end up saving the household cash which can be used for far better things. Living green is also sensible these days.

Flawless flooring

An often overlooked aspect of kitchens is the flooring, but it is important. Fortunately, the carpets of the 60s and 70s are long behind us. However, there are many options today from natural slate and stone to woods and laminates, so the cost and positioning of these need to be planned for early. Similarly, the worktops and cabinetry needs to be planned early.

Building success

Perhaps the most important part of a kitchen renovation is getting the right local builders to work with. The best contractors will not only complete the job on budget and to time, but will also lend expertise to also save cash and time, and help with the design elements.