Kitchen Units

When you put together the blueprint for your dream kitchen, you probably start with a big stove oven and a double door American-style fridge. But plain old storage units and worktops are every bit as important - both for aesthetics and functionality. If you're stuck on how to fill in the gaps, you've come to the right place.

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Making the most of space

Not everyone has the luxury of a big open plan kitchen, and for those of us who have to make do with a boxy or narrow room, it's important to make use of every bit of space to keep clutter to a minimum.

One way of doing this is to install kitchen units that contain multiple shelves instead of the standard single one. Although this will limit what you can store in them (big cereal boxes, for example, are generally a no-no) you will be able to fit more basic kitchen items such as plates and utensils.

For the standard utilities unit beneath the sink, consider going for something that will accommodate a small bin, or a rack where you can hang cleaning equipment. This will free up extra space around the room, and keep everything neat and tidy as well.

Choosing a surface

Storage is important but most people are more interested in impressing their friends, and that means your kitchen has to look the part as well.

Worktop surfaces are arguably the most important component of a kitchen's appearance because the surrounding decor and colour scheme will generally be chosen to match them.

Wood

These days wooden surfaces aren't very popular because the look is a little dated and they don't tend to last long (particularly when water is brought into the equation). Don't completely rule it out though: it is generally least expensive option, after all.

Granite

Granite surfaces tend to have a long life-span but that doesn't mean they aren't prone to scratches and burns. They do look and feel nice but you need to be a cautious cook - and they are expensive at the outset too.

Marble

Most people agree that marble is the best looking kitchen surface, and as it's available in dark and light colours you can usually make it work in any environment. The only downside is the time that you need to put into maintaining and cleaning it.

Shopping around

When it comes to kitchens, the UK market isn't the most competitive and that means your options are generally limited to the big name wholesalers - provided, of course, you want to keep within your budget constraints.

If you're looking for a full kitchen set, Wickes are a safe bet because they offer discounted rates when you buy in bulk. The quality (and crucially, durability) is about as good as it gets - even if the aesthetics are somewhat limited.

For those in the market for an individual unit to fill in a spare corner, Ikea are worth a look - but do bear in mind they don't carry the greatest of reputations when it comes to long-lasting furniture.

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