The secret to working efficiently and successfully with a kitchen designer? It’s all in the brief

You’ve got colour swatches, a Pinterest board and bundles of kitchen design ideas ready for your first meeting with a architect or designer. Great start! However, there are a few extra details they’ll need before designing your dream kitchen.

The key to creating a bespoke kitchen space you love is in the planning. And though working with a kitchen designer or architect can be well worth the investment, you’re not getting your money’s worth unless you give them a comprehensive kitchen brief. Here’s our advice on a collaboration that’s sure to succeed.

Kicking Off a Kitchen Brief
Thinking about floor plans and backsplashes already? Put that on hold for now. The first part of the kitchen brief process is asking yourself this: What do I like and dislike about my existing kitchen? As simple as it may seem, the answer to this question helps kitchen designers understand how your dream kitchen can look, work and feel – and what to avoid at all costs.

Be detailed, be honest and be pedantic. Maybe the daylight hits your worktop perfectly but you’re tired of rooting around in that hard-to-reach corner cupboard. Perhaps you don’t want to downsize your extra large fridge but are keen to squeeze an extra couple of seats around the breakfast table. Got the idea? Now get listing!

A Versatile Space
A kitchen can mean many things, so think about the role yours plays in your daily life. Is it just a cooking space or a dining space also? Will it be an area for you to entertain guests – or even a workspace? Be realistic! These details inform your entire kitchen brief, so make sure your designer knows exactly how you live – and want to live – in your space.

Make sure your designer knows exactly how you live – and want to live – in your space. © Siematic

A New Kitchen – But Who For?
This is your very own kitchen – so make it feel like it! Kitchens can be custom designed for any height, age and ability. If the adults in your house are a little taller, raise the work surfaces. If teeny tiny feet will be pattering around the space (or there’s the chance that they may do in future) then sharp corners and easy-to-reach handles might not be on your shopping list.

Make sure your kitchen brief details exactly who will be cooking, dining and playing in your newly designed space. The designer will help you avoid potential disasters long before you discuss the finer kitchen design ideas.

Selecting Appliances
Picking the appliances you wish to fill your kitchen with happens sooner than you may expect. After all, squeezing in a family-size fridge freezer at the last minute will waste precious time – and won’t make for a happy kitchen designer either. Think honestly and realistically about the large domestic appliances that will bring your kitchen to life, that being the oven, fridge, dishwasher, hob, and perhaps a washing machine and tumble dryer too.

It’s also worth thinking about whether you’d like your kitchen appliances built-in, so that they’re flush with the cabinets. This design touch will provide a smoother, integrated kitchen appearance, but may well require a little extra planning.

An integrated kitchen appearance may well require a little extra planning. © Leicht

Scrimping and Splurging
Bespoke new kitchens often come with a hefty price tag. No surprises there then! That’s why you’ve got a kitchen designer on board – they’re pros at helping home-owners like you stretch budgets and scrimp sensibly. But they can’t work miracles.

Go into your first design meeting with a kitchen brief that details your priorities, be it high-end appliances, luxury surfaces or top-of-the-range fittings. Your kitchen designer will need to know what’s top of your wish list in order to create a bespoke kitchen that exceeds your every expectation, without exceeding your budget.

An Honest Kitchen Brief
Working with a kitchen designer or architect to design a new space? Be completely honest with yourself. Know what you want, not what you think you might want, and be realistic about your budget and the needs of those who’ll use the space. Collaborating with a kitchen designer or architect can be a highly productive and efficient process, so long as you brief them thoroughly and honestly. After all, you don’t want to pay for someone else’s perfect kitchen in your home.