27 Design ‘Nuggets’ that could make the difference between ‘Fine’ & ‘Fabulous’…

Not many of us will have the opportunity to create our ‘dream kitchen’ more than once, so it’s vitally important to know that what you choose and how things are laid out will stand the test of time.

kitchen designer cardiff b&w 200pxI’m Andy Brown and I’ve been designing and installing kitchens for nearly 20 years. So when I set about creating a dream kitchen for a client the process is pretty much second nature as my sub-conscious starts ticking off all of the elements that go to make up the perfect functional space.

So I thought it would be a good idea to put pen to paper and make an actual checklist of all the elements that my brain considers whenever I sit down to design a kitchen and share them with you lucky people!

To my surprise, I found that once I started writing I couldn’t stop and actually had to condense them down to the 27 points below. This is still a pretty comprehensive list and whilst I appreciate that budget and space will almost always mean that you can never tick every box, I promise that there will be a few golden nuggets here that could just make the difference between ‘fine’ and ‘fabulous’…


  • Dishwasher position – Ensure, where possible, when your dishwasher door is open that you can access the units where you intend to keep your pots, pans & crockery etc.
  • Cutlery Drawer – The cutlery should be as close to the sink as possible
  • Work Triangle – Everyone has heard of the theoretical triangle that connects the three main work areas in a kitchen however this is not always possible as it relies on you kitchen being a square room with three unobstructed walls which is rarely the case. As long as every effort is made by your designer to make the distance between your oven / hob, sink & fridge as minimal as possible the design should work well.
  • Storage – Big pan drawers are a better use of space than base cupboards whilst making access easier as well.
  • Soft Close – Soft close doors and drawers not only give a look and feel of quality but will prolong the life of the kitchen and stop the kids door slamming tantrums too!
  • Pull Out Storage – Avoid pull out storage solutions that put a lot of weight on running gear with bearings. Pull out carousels like the ‘Le Mans’ unit and internal drawer larder units will last longer than ‘Magic Corner’ or ‘Pull Out Larder’ Units
  • End Panels – Using end panels or ‘Blenders’ will dramatically improve the finish of any kitchen. Even if there is a wall at the end of the run, using an end panel and filler looks far better than just a filler.
  • Corners – Avoid using anything smaller than a 500mm door on blind corner unit as anything less will make access a problem.
  • Washing Up – Try to position the sink in front of a window or in an island as centrally as possible. (Who wants to stare at a wall when washing up? Actually who wants to wash up at all??? Get a dishwasher!)
  • Electrics – Place switched electrical sockets for appliances into an adjoining base units to avoid cluttering up the wall with isolation switches. As long as the switches are easily accessible they will conform to regulations
  • The Fridge Door – When placing a fridge freezer next to a wall make sure that it is far enough away to allow the door to open fully so that the drawers and shelves are removable for cleaning.
  • Eye Level Oven – If you have the space, eye level ovens placed in tall units are much better for access and cleaning.
  • Left or Right? – Give some thought to how you will use each cabinet and which side you will be accessing it from and make sure the door is hinged accordingly.


  • Door Size Big – Big handle-less doors will make a kitchen feel more spacious and less fussy.
  • Door Size Small – Too many small doors and drawers with lots of handles will make a kitchen feel smaller and more cluttered.
  • Door Style – Wide horizontal wall unit doors, (eg. bi-fold units) give the illusion of wall space, make the room feel wider and won’t close the space down as much as standard units.
  • Symmetry – Units either side of a feature appliance, such as an oven or range cooker should ALWAYS be symmetrical unless it is absolutely unavoidable.
  • Splashbacks – Glass splashbacks will make a kitchen feel more spacious, brighter and are easier to clean.
  • Finishing Touch– Using square cornice and pelmet will give the units a framed effect whilst hiding lighting & cables etc from view.
  • High Gloss – Laquered and acrylic high gloss doors offer a better finish and will last longer than their foil wrapped and MFC counterparts.
  • Contrast – Creating a contrast in colour between the floor, base units, worktop and wall units will avoid a bland, washed out look.
  • Door Colour – Stay away from dark colours if there is limited natural light in the kitchen… At the other end of the scale if you have lots of natural light through the day, High Gloss White might not be a good choice unless you want to go all ‘rock star’ and wear your shades indoors!


Work Surfaces
  • Real Wood – As lovely as they are, real wood worktops come with a lot of baggage! They will require alot of aftercare to keep them looking their best. Typically they will need sanding down every 12 months and will need 3 – 5 coats of worktop oil applied. There are some polyurethane based products on the market that require less maintenance but when these do eventually break down they are a lot harder to remove ready for re-application.
  • Granite – Lighter coloured or heavily ‘veined’ granite will need sealing every 1-2 years to avoid staining whereas black granite is much harder and less porous so is the better choice.
  • Quartz – Man made quartz based surfaces are fast becoming the preferred choice due to their non porous qualities and consistency of shade and pattern. Priced similarly to granite they are the obvious choice if a lighter shade / colour is required.


  • Lighting – Under cabinet and plinth lighting is inexpensive makes a massive difference to the overall design. It is also MUCH easier to fit while your kitchen is being installed.
  • LED or Halogen? Always choose LED lighting over Halogen. They are cheaper to run, last longer and are more versatile.


There you have it, my 27 point kitchen design checklist… How did your current design stack up?

If you haven’t started planning your new project yet feel free to print this checklist off and use it as a reference for any future designs…


Better still, give Artisan a call or Book a FREE Showroom Consultation online and secure some one-to-one time with one of our kitchen designers.