Large white house

When designing a new kitchen there are a lot of factors to consider: The colour palette, style of cabinetry, appliances, storage, and seating – the list goes on. While it is easy to get swept up in the excitement of creating your new kitchen, there is one factor of interior design that should always be in the forefront of your mind – the architecture of the space.

What’s the difference between architecture and design?

Before we start, we thought we’d cover the basics – what’s the difference between architecture and design? We have to admit, the line between architecture and design can be pretty blurry, especially with many professionals calling themselves a ‘designer’ or ‘architect’ while doing seemingly similar roles. It is not unheard of to have an architecturally clued up designer, or an architect with a flair for design.

Technically, an ‘architect’ refers to someone who is qualified and accredited to design and modify the structural elements of a building. While ‘designers’ are normally those who artistically and carefully design the decor and furnishings, but at the same time they have to consider the structure of the space that they are designing.

At its most basic, architecture is the structural design and layout of a building or room, whereas the design is how that space is decorated and styled. In a kitchen, the architecture of the space will affect the layout of the kitchen cabinetry, whether you choose to include an island and if so what shape it takes, as well as colour schemes, lighting and points of interest. So how do you design your kitchen in a way that keeps the architecture in mind?

Get inspired

A great first step for any home design project is to find inspiration. Create Pinterest boards, read home magazines to explore the many possibilities available. By collecting ideas of the types of kitchen design that you like, you will form a better understanding of how you would like your own kitchen to look and how you can incorporate ideas you like into the space. Whether it’s layouts that you love, colour schemes that draw your eye, or eye-catching details that add that little bit extra to the room – collect all these ideas to create a visual mood board that will inform your design decisions. Taking the time to visit kitchen showrooms and studios can also help to work out what type of design you like by seeing different kitchen layouts and designs in person.  

Kensington townhouse

The architectural style

Every home, whether a period townhouse or newly built selection of apartments, has an architectural style and a good starting place for your interior scheme is to understand the architectural style of your home. By identifying the style and then researching it, you will gain an understanding of the design details and nuances that have been incorporated into the design of your home which will help to build a picture of what your interior scheme may look like.

When looking at the architectural style, it is important to also consider the location of the property as well as the time period. A property in London is likely to look very different to one in Sussex, even if it was conceived and built at a similar time.

The history

With more recently built properties, we can sometimes be quick to conclude that they have no history, however, we believe differently. Every property, no matter when it was built, tells a story of its heritage. When was it built? Who designed it? Why was it built? What was its original purpose, if not still the same use today? How did it differ or align with other properties within the area at the time of its conception? All of these questions tell a story of the properties’ heritage and can be drawn on to shape your design. For example, an ultra-modern home built in an area known for Victorian period properties tells a story of someone with an ambition to renounce the status quo within the area. Equally, a period property may be steeped in rich history dating back for centuries.

The same goes for taking into consideration the structural style of your home. Instead of trying to make a traditional house look like a modern build, or a new home look like a listed building, work with the architecture you have. That doesn’t mean you have to limit your design. But by thinking about how you can harmonise the interior design with the architecture of the house, you can create something that works with your home but also fits with the type of design that you are looking for.

The locale & lifestyle

The location of the property can sometimes communicate the lifestyle of people living in that area and evidence of this is often found in the building’s design. A property in the country might be more geared towards farm and country living when owners may take many long walks, perhaps with their dog too. Therefore, a boot room to remove dirty welly boots and perhaps even a dog shower, may be a fairly repeated feature – however, you’d be less likely to find these in a city townhouse or apartment.

Large mansion

Creating your interior scheme

Once you have gained a good understanding of your property’s architectural style, history and the local area, you can now decide how you would like to use this information to influence your design.

When it comes to design, there isn’t a set recipe for ‘getting it right’. It’s not as simple as identifying the architectural style and then creating a design to match this. The design you create can be an interpretation of the architectural style, created for the modern day. Or, you could choose to blatantly contrast the property’s style. The latter option is particularly popular for extensions with many people opting for contemporary extensions adjoined to the traditional main body of the building. If done well, this can bring a fresh, modern dimension to the design of your home.

When choosing to mix styles, the interior scheme becomes all the more important. Having a colour scheme and interior aesthetic that runs throughout the old and new areas of the property will help to tie the two parts of the building together.

You can also pay homage to your home’s architectural styles in smaller ways, such as drawing attention to a traditional fireplace, taking advantage of wide wall space to create feature walls, or bringing out points of interest like wooden ceiling beams or large windows through a carefully selected layout. By harmonising your kitchen design with the architecture, you can create a beautiful space that fits with the rest of your home.

The position of the kitchen

One important aspect of your kitchen’s design and harmony within the home is the room’s location. In the majority of homes, the kitchen is found towards the rear of the property backing onto the garden – the way it has likely been since we first built houses with kitchens. However, our lives and lifestyles are continually changing at a rapid pace and so a layout that might have worked a century ago could likely benefit from being updated to reflect modern lifestyles. After all, if we hadn’t changed the layout of our homes we would still have outside toilets. Moving the kitchen to a different part of the home will more easily encourage a positive flow of your family through the home.

If choosing to move the location of your kitchen, ensure that you consider service locations as moving the services will have an impact on your building costs. You will also need to check planning permissions, particularly for listed or period properties. If your home is listed, you will have to take this into account from more than a surface design perspective as this will be the key factor in shaping your design. Often rooms cannot be re-purposed in Grade 1 listed buildings, or if they can, the new design has to be very sensitive to the original design and layout. Therefore, whilst turning a drawing room into a kitchen isn’t impossible, it can be a very delicate task and it’s best to seek advice from companies that have experience working with listed buildings.

Whatever your scope for your project, ultimately it’s about creating a kitchen that feels right. We love daring, unusual and creative aesthetics that create a space that is truly yours whilst providing you with the practical and functional requirements that make your environment a pleasure to live in every day.

To assist you in bringing about your dream kitchen in the space that you have, the Extreme Design team is here for you. Highly experienced in bringing ambitious ideas to life, our team can help you create a perfect kitchen that works seamlessly into your home. Contact our studios today.