Plan your kitchen carefully and it could last you a decade. Kara O’Reilly explains how to work around budget, design and trends to make sure you don’t go off your new kitchen design before the paint dries 

Before you start designing a new kitchen

If you are planning a kitchen revamp, do your research and have a sense of what you need before meeting with a kitchen designer. ‘It’s always helpful if the client knows what they do and don’t like, and if there are specific appliances that they would like incorporated into the design – such as a range cooker,’ says Robert Burnett, Head of Design at Holloways of Ludlow ( ‘Also think about how you use your kitchen and make sure the design matches your needs,’ advises Jamie Telford, Director of Roundhouse ( ‘For example, are you a serious cook who needs acres of prep space and robust work surfaces, or do you do a lot of entertaining and need a dedicated dining area?’

Timeless London kitchen ideas

A luxurious, slick kitchen by Holloways of Ludlow in a striking, high-gloss, Farrow & Ball off-black finish with a stained oak breakfast bar and Siemens appliances;

How to get more for your money when it comes to kitchen design

Think about how much you really want to spend and that way you will maximise what you get for your budget. ‘Pick a price and stick to it,’ says John Sims-Hilditch, co-founder of Neptune ( ‘Once you have your budget, look at what you want to achieve; will it require a complete revamp with building work? Generally, planning permission isn’t required when installing a kitchen unless it’s part of an extension or a listed property. You should also consider how long you plan on staying in your home – don’t spend all your savings on a kitchen you will only use for the next five years.’

‘Usually approximately 50% of the price of a kitchen is spent on cabinets; the rest is on appliances, worktops and installation – which will cost the same whatever the kitchen,’ adds Robert. Get your final quote in writing and make sure it includes labour and installation costs. Finally, ‘it’s always worth putting aside 20% of your budget to allow for margin of error,’ says John.

‘Although a bespoke kitchen is a significant outlay, an “off-the-shelf” kitchen may mean continual maintenance after a few years, just to keep it going,’ advises Jamie. ‘Remember that the kitchen is the most heavily used room of the house. It’s at the heart of the home, a social hub as well as a food factory.’

Timeless London kitchen ideas

This elegant Spitalfields kitchen by Plain English is truly timeless;

The benefits of a bespoke kitchen

Go bespoke and these specialist companies really can make your dream kitchen come to life. ‘For example, they won’t say no when a customer asks if their cabinets can extend to the ceiling or if they want the worktop to be 955mm high,’ says Robert. ‘A bespoke kitchen gets designed to make the best of all the available space. Also, there is no limit on the size of the cabinet, the shape of the cabinet, the colour or type of material. Clients simply end up with a much finer, more practical kitchen with greater storage capacity.’

Timeless London kitchen ideas

This Suffolk kitchen by Neptune epitomises modern country chic;

Current kitchen trends

‘With pressure on every inch of space in urban homes, combined with the desire for a large social area, open-plan kitchens with a large, multifunctional island are the most popular,’ says Jamie. ‘Classic, hand-painted, “in-frame” kitchens appear to be making a comeback, particularly in period properties,’ adds Robert. ‘When considering the colour of your kitchen, soft, neutral tones such as minks and blue-greys are timeless choices.’

‘Kitchens that display craftsmanship, functionality and are designed to be unique are more likely to withstand the test of the time, in the same way as a well-designed and crafted piece of furniture,’ Robert concludes.

Timeless London kitchen ideas

British Standard specialises in understated, timeless kitchen cupboards



Andrew Macintosh Kitchens (020 8995 8333;
Boffi (020 7590 8910;
British Standard (020 7870; 7688;
Bulthaup (020 7495 3663;
bulthap by Kitchen Architecture (145-149 Lower Richmond Rd SW15 1EZ; 020 8785 1960;
Connaught Kitchens (020 7706 2210;
Chamber Furniture (01959 532 553;
The Dovetail Joint (020 8291 5578;
DT Kitchens (190-192 Lavender Hill, Battersea SW11 5TQ; 020 7223 2026;
Dulwich Design Kitchens (020 8693 6666;
Eclectic Interiors (65 Abbeville Rd, Clapham SW4 9JW; 020 8673 0572;
Harvey Jones (020 7228 4454;
Holloways of Ludlow (020 7602 5757;
Ian Dunn Woodwork & Design (020 8613 1781;
In-Toto, Dulwich (020 8761 7402;
John Lewis of Hungerford (020 7371 5603;
Konig Kitchens (19 High St, Wimbledon SW19 5EG; 020 8946 3539;
Laurence Pidgeon (020 7610 6166;
Linear London (5 Zennor Rd, Balham SW12 0PS; 0208 675 3605;
McCarron & Co (020 7584 5736;
Neptune (020 7371 9997;
Plain English (020 7486 2674;
Poggenpohl (020 7902 5245;
Ray Munn Kitchens (429 Upper Richmond Rd West, Sheen SW14 7PJ; 0208 487 5774;
Roundhouse (020 7297 6220;
Smallbone of Devizes (020 7581 9989;
Tim Moss (020 8444 9911;