Skip to content Skip to navigation menu

How to plan your dream kitchen

Plan your dream kitchen with one of our design specialists

Our kitchen design team will help you every step of the way to achieving your dream kitchen but planning a new kitchen is an exciting task so its worth knowing some of the basic principles and tips on how to get the right space for you.

In recent years we’ve seen a move towards more multi-purpose kitchens, where people can eat, cook, entertain, work and keep the kids happy. A kitchen island or bar worktop is the best way to create a multi-use kitchen. Both can be used for lots of different things, and you can make them work even harder with these tips:

  • If you want people to sit around an island, ensure the worktop overhangs the unit so they can sit comfortably.
  • Make hosting more sociable by including the hob or sink in the island.
  • Ensure the lighting above your island is suitable – if you plan to work or eat there, is it bright enough?
  • Install plug sockets for laptops and phone chargers.
  • Add bookshelves or wine racks underneath.
  • Use the space underneath for storage.
How much time will you spend in ypur kitchen?

To make best use of the available space, think carefully about how you’ll use your kitchen. What will you do in there? How much time will you spend in there? Who else will use it? How much kitchen storage do you need? Ask yourself these questions and more, to get a good idea of how you’ll use your new kitchen.

Once you know how you’ll use your kitchen and what you need in there, you can move on to layout.

Layout – get the essentials right

One social space - Kitchen space for living in. Is it time to change?

Island pop ups - Kitchen space for living in. Is it time to change?

There are three main working areas in a kitchen – the hob and cooker, the sink and the fridge. The planning of these is known as the working triangle as it’s these three areas that are used the most. The idea is to place these three areas in the most efficient layout possible so they are convenient and close to each other.

The Working Triangle

Linear Kitchen Linear Kitchen
Galley Kitchen Galley Kitchen
L-shaped kitchen U-Shaped Kitchen
U-Shaped Kitchen L-shaped kitchen

Now you’ve got your working triangle sorted, you can plan the rest around it. Think of the areas around each point of the triangle as a ‘working zone’ – this’ll help you put things in the right places. The zones are:

Food Storage zone: Includes the fridge, freezer and dry storage. Think about the amount of storage you’ll need, including the size of the fridge and freezer. A worktop near the fridge is really handy for unpacking the shopping.

Cooking zone: This includes the oven, hob, microwave and food prep areas. It’s good to keep the oven close to the sink, so you’re not carrying hot pans too far. Keep pan drawers and cooking utensils close, and make sure you’ve got worktop space for food prep so you’re not carrying food across the kitchen to the oven.

Washing zone: This is the sink and dishwasher. Keep the fridge close to the sink for washing fruit and salad, and a clear worktop above the dishwasher (i.e. not cluttered with kettles and toasters etc) is good for stacking dishes and cutlery that need to be loaded. It’s also best to plan everything that needs plumbing along the same wall (sometimes known as the wet wall) or at least close to each other; do remember that some American style fridge freezers require plumbing.

Savvy kitchen storage

Find storage solutions - Kitchen space for living in. Is it time to change?

Now you understand each zone in your kitchen, you can start thinking about storage around these areas. A detailed plan will help keep everything organised, and it'll let you take advantage of every centimetre which is especially important in a small kitchen. For example, you can make use of a small space by putting in a wine cooler, a spice rack, or even a shelf for cookbooks. Our Design Consultants are always at hand to help you plan solutions to ensure you get the most out of the space you have.

Your kitchen zones will help you decide a cabinet’s function. Those in the cooking zone should be for pans, casserole dishes, cooking utensils and plates. Deep pan drawers are very useful as you can see inside easily and won’t need to reach into the depths of a dark cupboard. A cutlery drawer organiser keeps everything neat and tidy, and you can find ones to fit most drawer sizes.

Cabinets in the washing zone should be for cleaning products and kitchen waste. Bins can be built in to the cupboard space beneath the sink, keeping them out of sight and in a convenient location. There are also solutions for separating out your recycling.

Cabinets in the food storage zone should be for food and drink. Shelf inserts and cabinet organisers will give you more room. If you’re going for a fridge-freezer, think about the size split – do you need more fridge room? Or a bigger freezer?

The less frequently you use items, the further out of the working triangle they should be.

Quick-fire storage tips:

Use pull-out cupboards – It’ll stop you reaching into deep cupboards to find what you want. Floor to ceiling larder cupboards are a great way to make sure everyday items are visible and accessible.

Keep pots and pans by the hob – Deep pan drawers are great for this.

Consider under-oven drawers – These are great for storing baking trays and pans.

Make the most of corners – Fit corner cabinets to maximise kitchen space. We have a wide range of corner options including floor to ceiling corner units to ensure that no space is wasted.

Maximise cupboard space – Use shelf inserts and door-mounted baskets to get the most out of cupboard space.

Keep plates stable – Plate holders stop plates wobbling when drawers are opened and closed.

Think about wall storage – If you’re short on space, use the walls. There are lots of wall storage solutions – from shelves to magnetic knife strips and hanging rails – and they can look very stylish too.

Let there be light

View lighting ideas - Kitchen space for living in. Is it time to change?

Most kitchens are busy places, so you need to get the lighting right. There are three types of lighting you need to consider, ambient lighting, task lighting and mood lighting.

Ambient lighting
You need a light that you can switch on as you walk into the kitchen. Ensure it’s glare-free and offers enough light to illuminate the room for general use. A dimmer switch is a good idea, so you can control the amount of light.

Task lighting
Light up the areas you use for different tasks. Use LEDs under your overhead cabinets to illuminate food prep areas, use covered LEDs above your hob (they’re easier to clean) and feature-lighting looks great over an island or bar. A row of pendant lights with dimmer switches works particularly well.

Mood lighting

Create the ambience you want with mood lighting. Layering light is the best way to do this, so use a variety of different light sources. You can illuminate the inside of glass-fronted cabinets (just make sure you like what’s inside!). Or you could fit lights under the breakfast bar, worktop or plinth for a soft evening glow.

If you’ve got a large kitchen or high ceilings, uplights on top of the upper cabinets highlight clean lines and light the edges of the kitchen.

Make small kitchens feel more open by using directional spotlights angled towards the cupboards and walls. The light reflects back into the room, creating a feeling of space.

Your next step with Wickes

If you want to explore our range further or would like to speak to one of our expert Design Consultants about your new kitchen, please take the next step on your journey with Wickes.

Book a FREE design
Book Design Appointment
Find Your Nearest
Find Showroom
Download a Kitchen
Download Brochure

Inspiration, information and advice

We believe in guiding our customers through every step of finding and fitting their new kitchen, so whether it’s inspiration you’re looking for or assistance with turning your ideas into reality, we can help you on your way to the kitchen of your dreams.

Complete your whole room with Wickes

It’s often the tiles, flooring, accessories and other all-important finishing touches that really bring the dream to life and make the room feel truly yours. Explore ideas for every aspect of your new kitchen below.