How old is your house? If it’s relatively new I would recommend staying with the same basic layout, especially the location of your existing sink and range. Probably the home builder has already designed the kitchen with the best (and safest) use of space in mind. (You don’t have to change things just for the sake of it – new kitchen cabinets and countertops will transform it anyway).
· Modern houses normally have rectangular shaped rooms with few physical features to hinder your design. However if your bathroom is directly above the kitchen then there might be a pipe-box in one of the corners or pipe in a soffit above your wall cabinets.
· In older properties you may have to contend with a chimney or an old pantry that might need to be worked-around or removed before the new kitchen will fit. (Now that we have modern refrigerators, many people do away with pantries in favor of a larger kitchen).
· The usual culprit here is the central heating radiators. Older style, large, floor-mounted radiators are obtrusive and inefficient compared to modern equivalents. Consider renewing and/or relocating it if it’s getting in the way and your budget allows. This can be a big expense.
· Likewise if the home has central HVAC installed, the vents may need to be moved in order to accommodate your new floor plan. This would be straightforward if you have access under the floor.
· If you’re enlarging the kitchen with an extension, or knocking a wall through to a dining room maybe, then your options are greater. But if you do think of moving the kitchen sink and etc., remember that water, gas and electricity supplies may have to be moved too and this can get expensive.
(Despite what a kitchen salesman might tell you, you don’t have to fill it all with units just because you have extra room available – sometimes a room can look too ’busy’ with no open wall space).
Tip: By removing or moving walls you can created some pretty spectacular rooms - BUT if the wall is a ‘supporting (bearing) wall’, then you must get a building permit so I would highly recommend seeking specialist advice (having your upstairs rooms downstairs is not good)
· How many people live in the house, how many will use the kitchen, what ages are they – do you have a young family?
· Who is in the house, their ages and their ability to reach kitchen cupboards (young or old) should be on your mind here. Are you single, a couple, a family with young children or teenagers? Or maybe looking after an elderly parent? Kitchens are often multi-functional for most families ranging in use from food preparation to hobby and homework areas.
· Think whether you want a breakfast-bar area to sit at for snacks, coffees and reading the paper, or maybe you need space for a proper table and chairs. Of course, a lot depends on the size of the room and this will largely dictate how you use it and what you put in it.
· Also give thought to who’s cooking in it and what their cooking style is – are you the next Gordon Ramsay or more of a microwave-meal cook? This will also reflect in your choice of oven & hob, sink & tap and fridge freezer – basically all your food preparation and cooking equipment.
· Think twice before moving any of these items. If your plan shows them any more than about a 3 to 6 inched away from their existing location then the plumbing and electrical work might take a larger part of your budget than you thought. Having said that, in some situations it makes sense to do so if these items were in a poor position anyway.
Also moving the sink, or range to an ‘island’ location in the middle of the room can look amazing and become a focal point of the whole room (and house!). Just be aware of the practicalities of moving the services (the type of floor is your biggest consideration here – wood: easy, concrete: not!)
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