Designing your dream kitchen can be an exciting experience. The process is filled with opportunities to create a beautiful, stylish and highly functional space that suits you perfectly.
Designing your dream kitchen can also be a minefield – there is so much to consider! You need to think about unit specifications, measurements, colours, styles, tolerances, appliances, worktops, even the kitchen sink!
Which is why I will be sharing super helpful tips and tricks on what to consider and what you should know when you are starting to look at creating your new kitchen.
Let’s start with kitchen worktops!
When it comes to kitchen worktops, there are three main contenders: laminate, quartz, solid wood. You may have heard of a few other types, such as resin composite or granite. But the three main ones I get asked for everyday as a Kitchen Designer are the above.
So what are the main differences?
Manmade and super strong, quartz is arguably the most versatile worktop option, with so many colours and patterns the mind boggles! You can find plain whites and neutrals, right through to sparkly purple and gold and even bright blues.
Quartz worktops are made up of ground quartz, mixed with resins and pigments to bind it all together and give it the desired colour. In some designs, glass or metallic particles are used to give the quartz an extra sparkle or flecked look. It is super pretty and eye catching for a kitchen space if used correctly.
Because of the way it is made, quartz is highly stain and scratch resistant, making it a very good option in the kitchen. It doesn’t need to be sealed and is incredibly long-lasting. Expect it to last A LOT longer than the lifespan of the rest of your kitchen. It cleans easily – just warm soapy water please! – and won’t let any of those nasty microbes or moulds grow inside it.
When it comes to installation, it is important to leave it to the professionals. Most quartz suppliers provide a ‘template, supply and installation’ service as part of the quoted price. They know exactly what they are doing. They can cut drainer grooves into the quartz exactly next to where the sink is going to go and they can even create splashbacks and upstands in the same material, so that your kitchen will look cohesive and on point!
Here’s the not so good news…
Quartz is not the cheapest answer to having your dream kitchen surfaces. It’s pricey! And there is no way of getting a ballpark figure without first having your design for the kitchen done. The price is determined by the plan, how the worktop will be laid out and the labour that will be involved. It is not determined by length or metreage. But when you consider the longevity of this material and the beauty it will add to your kitchen… it’s definitely worth the investment.
The pros far outweigh the cons with quartz and it would definitely be my first choice for my kitchen.
2. Solid Timber
There is no better Designer than Mother Nature herself. Bringing a living product into your kitchen adds such warmth and a sense of connecting with Nature. It gives a whole new dimension to your design. Solid timber worktops come in a variety of finishes, from the rich and intense Walnut, to the light and soft European Oak. Each timber breathes a sense of elegance and texture.
Being a natural product, timber will never have the same durability as quartz, but it certainly lives up to the challenge of being hardwearing enough for a kitchen worktop. If it is maintained properly, your solid timber worktop will age with dignity and look fabulous while doing so!
Speaking of maintenance…
Expect to treat your timber worktops at least once a year (likely more often) if you get them. Treatment depends on the finish you choose to have, but you can expect to sand down the surfaces and oil them if nothing else. Its a small price to pay for the beautiful end result, but if you really don’t want to have anything to do other than cook and clean in your kitchen (most days I’d rather not do that!) then timber is probably not for you. Unless you know of someone else who you can get to do it….
Ah, hello my laminated friend…. what a bad rep you have had, yet how far you have come!
Laminate is generally the cheaper option out of all three worktops… but it is certainly not the poor cousin of the work surface family! The variety that is now available is vast, with different profile options, different finishes- from high gloss through to completely matt – and the price range can vary greatly too. But out of the three options, laminate is lower maintenance than timber and much cheaper than quartz. So, depending on your priorities when choosing a worksurface for your new kitchen, laminate should be a strong contender.
Laminates are the easiest for fitting too. Most kitchen fitters/joiners should be set up to fit laminate worktops easily and getting a price from a supplier is simply about figuring out how many lengths you would need and working out how much it is per length.
Popular at the moment is the slimline laminates- 22mm thick worktops that create a streamlined modern finish to your kitchen. They are currently available in less colours than the standard 40mm versions, but they look great! Make sure you check them out when you’re looking at your new kitchen design!