Designing Solid Oak Kitchens: Part Two – Cabinetry
Now you’ve got an idea about the different areas of your kitchen, you can start to choose your units. If you already have some cabinets in place, it might be useful to measure the dimensions of these so that you glean more insight into what you have to play with. This isn’t absolutely necessary but can be helpful. You’ll certainly need the overall measurements of your space before you can begin.
Putting the puzzle pieces together
Make sure you know what appliances you want, where, and their sizes. Now you can begin to plug your cabinets in – fitting the pieces together in a life-size jigsaw. Remember that a good practice is to line up wall cabinets with base cabinets below; the symmetry is attractive to look at and works well in functional terms. As you progress around the room, match the widths of the wall and base cabinets below and above.
A Good Starting Point for Cabinet Planning: Functional Cabinetry
Before contemplating storage cabinets, it is valuable to consider your appliances and how cabinets might house these.
A helpful jumping off point is the sink. Look for a conveniently placed window; this provides a focal point, below which is a common installation place for a sink. If you are unable or do not want to place your sink beneath a window, consider the work triangle again and decide on an appropriate location.
A belfast sink is a popular option. We would recommend centring a cabinet below the window/in your chosen location to hold your sink. Our solid oak belfast sink cabinet is 600mm in height (including leg) and houses a standard sink (495mm x 590mm) with a bowl height of up to 270mm.
Smaller height Belfast sinks (less than 270mm) can also be accommodated, though it may necessitate mounting a worktop shelf underneath the sink (which can also act as a feature). Please visit our specialist oak cabinets page to learn more.
You might also decide to place a cabinet between your sink base and the dishwasher; alternatively, the dishwasher can be flush with the sink cabinet. Whatever your decision, a close juxtaposition of sink and dishwasher is convenient in making use of the sink plumbing for water supply.
Oven Housing/Fridge Housing
First of all, it’s worth deciding on the type of appliance. For the oven, what type would be most suitable for your needs? Would you like something set into the wall (perhaps with storage above and below) and a separate hob, or a hob with an oven below? Our specialist oven cabinet (H720mm X W600mm X D570mm) is designed to mount an oven in a base unit, with an option to set a hob in the worktop above. We can also accommodate wall ovens into our tall kitchen cabinets (there is a special dowel fixed shelf within the cabinet for this purpose).
Similar thought needs to be given to your fridge. Space considerations are similarly valuable here: would you like a freestanding, large refrigerator, or a more compact version? Our base cabinets can be used to house smaller, standard fridges. If you allow a few inches on each side of the fridge dimensions this will help you to choose the appropriately sized cabinet.
Also remember to not only consider your present needs, but also future considerations; you might be aiming to one day install a full size fridge. In that case, be sure to incorporate generous space into your current floorplan; it will make things much easier if you come to change appliances.
If you now have an idea of the types of major appliances you wish to incorporate and their location, you can begin positioning these and the other cabinets around them. A good idea is to draw your kitchen blueprint to scale on graph paper, and then also produce some to-scale cut-outs of your appliances/housing. You can then move these around your kitchen blueprint and try out different combinations.
Your kitchen should be a space in which you feel comfortable. As such, it is important to carefully consider all the combinations possible within a given space. This is the beauty of cabinets: flexibility. For example, if your kitchen layout affords a space of 800mm wide, there are a great range of options: for example, you could house one large cabinet, two smaller cabinets of 400mm, or even two smaller cabinets of 300mm and a wine rack of 150mm width. Within those cabinets, there are even more options to consider:
- Drawers – depending on the size of the cabinet, you could have a number of different sized drawers; a standard base cabinet with two deep pan drawers would create an excellent storage facility for your pots and pans, for example. Visit our solid oak drawers page for more details of our excellent range.
- Shelves – some cabinets come with shelving installed, but you could also buy a shelving pack and install a greater number of shelves.
- A combination of doors and drawers.
- With doors or without? Open shelves can be very useful and are also a fashion feature, transforming a traditional shelved cabinet into an exposed spice rack, for example; a beautifully constructed door can be very attractive and provide a protective element.
- Wirework – the introduction of some metal wirework can increase your storage space and reduce clutter. Do consult our dedicated kitchen wirework collection when making your decisions.
Ultimately, your cabinet needs should be shaped by your lifestyle; it’s therefore a good idea to ask yourself a few questions before you start to choose.
- Does your kitchen need to be child-friendly? Do you need to keep fragile/dangerous items out of reach?
- Do you need storage areas closer to the ground for children to access?
- Do you entertain often, or cook for large numbers of people regularly?
- Do you prefer to make quick and easy meals or to spend a longer time cooking?
- If you are a keen cook, do you spend a great deal of time baking?
- Is your kitchen a space for gathering or solely for food preparation/clear-up?
- Do you have any pets?
- Does your kitchen need to be tailored to several users of different heights, or wheelchair friendly?
Once you’ve answered all of these questions you should have a good idea of the kind of kitchen that will suit you: but don’t forget, our friendly Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets team are on hand to help! If you’d like to discuss your requirements or send us a proposed kitchen plan, please feel free to contact us.