Getting a new kitchen fitted is one of the biggest investments we ever make as home owners. Along with changing a bathroom, it’s something that we try to get in balance.

Firstly, we want to improve on what we’ve already got. If you’ve got a bit of a wreck of a house that you’ve bought as a ‘do it up’ job, then that’s not going to be hard at all. On the other hand, if it’s a family home that’s just grown a little tired, or perhaps you’re going to use some of that lump sum from retirement to do the work you never got around to, you’re going to want to get things as perfect as possible.

Secondly, We want to make sure it appeals to buyers if we ever choose to move on and sell up. That usually means nothing too outrageous, and making sure that all the popular appliances are accommodated. In other words, just because you don’t want a huge fridge freezer, it doesn’t mean a family of five that move in when you leave don’t want (or even need) one. These details can cause a lot of headaches later on, and even cause you to lose a house sale (or get a huge chunk knocked off the asking price if they need to change things).

So, we need to think with heads as well as hearts when planning. In our next update, we’ll talk about what goes into the kitchen after it’s finished, but first, we need to cover the physical layout of your dream kitchen.

You can ask most good kitchen designers to sit down and help you design what you want, and usually these days, they’ll have computer software available to work out all the different configurations of units and spaces for appliances that you might want to consider, given the available space in the room itself. It will even tell you about things like cupboard doors opening, and in some cases help you to visualise things like having enough space to load the dishwasher or washing machine.

Getting the balance right between wall mounted cupboards and free-standing floor units is important. You don’t want to load excessive weight into wall units, as that may risk them coming away from their fixings over time, particularly if your walls aren’t the solid external type. It’s also generally desirable to load cups and mugs into higher cupboards, so that you’re not bending down every time you boil the kettle for a brew. Of course, the gaps between units for appliances like your fridge, freezer, dishwasher and washer/dryer will need to be at ground level, so that will often have a significant influence over the number of wall units you’ll need as they reduce the floor space.

With all that considered, you’ll then be able to begin to think about the colour and finish of the cupboard doors, their handles and so on, along with whether wooden worktops are acceptable or you’d rather step up to a stylish granite alternative. There’s nothing quick about designing a kitchen, and you shouldn’t try to make it so. It’s a huge investment, and in many ways needs far more thought than comparable projects like replacing bathrooms.

Using these simple techniques can help avoid regret later. In the next update, we’ll talk about the items you want to consider fitting into your kitchen, such as a fancy top rated bean-to-cup coffee machine, so that what you expect to be a vast expanse of workspace doesn’t disappear under gadgets!

Now that you’ve got a few ideas about planning the perfect kitchen layout, you can let your mind wander on to what you want to put in it. This needs to happen well in advance of the time you order your kitchen and think about installation dates. First and foremost have a look in your existing kitchen, and make a list of all the things like gadgets, appliances, jugs, jars and anything else that sits out in the open for all to see. It might be that you’re opting to conceal some of these things, perhaps with a build in fridge freezer, or more cupboard space for those utensils that are currently in the big jug next to the hob.

You need to think beyond the white goods (even though most aren’t white these days), as if you’re spending thousands of pounds on a new kitchen, you’re probably going to spend at least a few hundred pounds on some new creature comforts. Perhaps you’ve opened a magazine or visited a website with the latest hot drinks maker to get recommended by the pro baristas, or fancy one of those healthy fryers that are popular at the moment.

It doesn’t need to be something pricey or extravagant though to be on the list – you want to include everything from the toaster and kettle to space for a vase if you like to have flowers on display regularly. The point is that you need a place for everything, and everything in its place (as my parents used to tell me far too regularly).

All of this needs to be slotted into the diagram you created when designing your kitchen in our previous update. Make sure you think about size too, a microwave seems small in your mind’s eye, but in reality it may take up more space in your new kitchen that you think. A great tip is to go online and have a look on a website like Amazon, as many of their products will provide the dimensions as part of the description.

The name of the game is to finish with a kitchen design that not only maps out what will be fitting by your chosen installer, but also shows where permanent items will site on your worktops, helping you to be sure that you will have enough space left to be a comfortable area to cook in!