Designing a Kitchen for your Needs

Designing a Kitchen for your Needs

The Benefits of a Bespoke Kitchen

Here at The Kitchen Partners, we believe in effective kitchen design that allows the user to work effortlessly whilst they’re in the space. Poorly designed kitchens are frustrating, to say the least, especially when you consider the amount of time the average homeowner spends in them. From installing appliances in handy places, to designing a bespoke kitchen island to best suit you, there are always ways we can better optimise kitchens to suit the way we use them.

No two kitchens are going to be alike, since we all use our kitchens differently and we all have our own way of doing things.Working in a kitchen that doesn’t suit the way you operate can create frustration and stress. This is completely unnecessary, especially in your own home. The problem is that most kitchens hinder the way we naturally want to work and cook, especially when you haven’t had a say in the design of the space.

Having a bespoke kitchen is a breath of fresh air for those that use their kitchens regularly. Kitchens are truly the heart of the home so it’s important that they’re designed to be used effortlessly.

Ways to build your perfect kitchen:

Using design principles like “the work triangle” allows us to create truly bespoke kitchens that perfectly suit your needs. When you work with The Kitchen Partners, you collaborate with a team that can design a kitchen that complements the way you work. We pair this with the aesthetics you want for your kitchen, making sure the look of the space isn’t compromised in any way.  When it comes to our designs, we believe in balancing form and functionality, as both are equally important in any kitchen.

The home consultation is where the process starts, since we need to understand the space that we’re working with. During the consultation, our designers will examine and measure your kitchen space (they are able to create your new kitchen using advanced digital modelling software). This allows us to work from accurate dimensions, from which we create your 3D kitchen plans.

We’ll then meet again and provide you with a full quote as well as a detailed model of your bespoke kitchen, giving you a true feel as to what your new kitchen could look like. Our software enables us to create 3D rendered images of your new kitchen, so you get a real understanding of the space. This also gives you an opportunity to amend anything that you might want to change.

The beauty of designing a kitchen with digital modelling software is that we can test and change things at a click of a button. Rather than having to amend details physically, we can test and amend the plan until it is perfect. Our lead designers, Fiona and Clinton, will work with you to better understand how you use your kitchen, thus allowing them to design your kitchen space using specific requirements and ensuring you receive a bespoke kitchen that perfectly suits your needs

The importance of professional installation:

Whilst design is at the core of a bespoke kitchen, delivery would not be possible if it wasn’t for our highly skilled bespoke kitchen fitters. Our designers work closely with our installation team to ensure the 3D render they’ve designed is faithfully recreated and the plans are closely followed through every step of the fit and installation process. With years of experience, you can be assured our fitters treat every kitchen installation with maximum care and attention to detail.




The start of a new year also welcomes a new partnership here at The Kitchen Partners. We are proud to announce Alno as another of our fantastic German kitchen suppliers.



The impeccable quality and innovate design of Alno’s products makes them deserving winners of multiple awards. For example – The Red Dot design award, for their Alnostar range, with its unique glass doors. Alnostar won the iF product design award and was named Kitchen Innovation of the Year in 2011. The Vintucina range has picked up a handful of awards. A unique synthesis of alternative materials made it a worthy winner of Kitchen Innovation of the Year.  As well as this, The Vintucina range earned a nomination for the German Design Awards for 2014.

Continually recognised for their high quality products, Alno has won the award “kitchen innovation of the year 2019” at the “Ambiente” exhibition in Frankfurt, with their ALNOSIGN range. The ALNOSIGN range stood out to judges for its quality, design and appearance, with regards to unique colouring. It was also very popular for its elite interior equipment and wooden elements, in combination with graphite high gloss lacquer.



Why Alno?

At The Kitchen Partners, we believe a great kitchen design is nothing without high quality products to match. It’s important to us that our customers are supplied with superior furniture, standing the test of time for years to come.  As a result, it’s the (quite literally award winning) quality of Alno’s kitchen ranges that leads us to work with them as a supplier.

German manufacturers are the market leaders in both style and quality. “Made in Germany” carries a stamp of approval, allowing you to buy confidently in the quality of doors, carcasses and components. 

At The Kitchen Partners, 102 Whiteladies Road, our kitchens are manufactured and assembled in Germany by our suppliers Alno, Leicht and Brigitte. They’re then shipped to the UK as complete units, not flat packed and assembled later.  Therefore, we can guarantee the quality of the finished product.






We want to talk about light, not just any light – kitchen light! We’ve made it through the shortest day of the year, and in our eyes, that means there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Undoubtedly, it may well be a very long tunnel (a minute extra a day), but we definitely see some light shining on through. That got us, at The Kitchen Partners, thinking about how wonderful light is! Not just that it’s lovely we’re getting more daylight in our day, but how light can be used as an advantage in the kitchen, for those with a smaller space.

Okay, so your kitchen may not be as big as you’d like. You’ve dreamt about a big open-plan kitchen that spills off into your dining or living room, like the beautiful handleless kitchens you’ve seen in the magazines; but you realistically don’t have the space. It’s a matter of fact, and sadly, unless you look to extend it’s the layout you’re stuck with – but fear not, my kitchen loving friend. Small is good too, small is great in fact (mighty some would even say). If you’ve got a small kitchen space, it opens up potential to get really clever with your design ideas. Hidden nooks and crannies you’ll spend just that bit too long opening and closing in front your friends, when they first come round to see your new dream kitchen layout.

You’ve got to use the space wisely, and here at The Kitchen Partners, (Whiteladies Road, Bristol) business owners and kitchen designers Clinton & Fiona Patey know exactly how to do that.




Lighten Up:


You can make both the natural and artificial lighting do the work for you, when it comes to making a small kitchen space feel bigger. The general rule of thumb is to use light, soft tones (white & grey) and reflective materials to bounce light around the room. As lighter shades are more reflective this will allow both natural and artificial light to bounce off, making your kitchen feel airy and open. That being said, if you’ve had your heart set on having a darker finish in your kitchen; try using darker tones on the base units and keep everything else, including the walls, light to balance out the colour. 

Your kitchen may lend itself to plenty of natural light, which would definitely be in your favour. Natural bright light will make a room feel more open and welcoming; it can also really help to create a fresh atmosphere. We would suggest incorporating a mirror splash-back, to reflect light around more of the room (as seen in our Brigitte display kitchen in our showroom), taking full advantage of that wonderful natural light. 


Kitchen light:

Be sure to make use of every nook and cranny by allowing space for storage at the planning stage. Consider integrating appliances, choosing deep drawers for pots and pans to create a clutter- free kitchen that allows light to bounce around the room undisturbed.  Integrated appliances (usually fridges and dishwashers), can be designed hidden behind a door so they blend into the rest of your kitchen cabinets. This really helps to create fluidity in your kitchen, which offers an overall larger, clutter free appearance and more surfaces for light to reflect.

We feel the importance of good lighting cannot be stressed enough, but don’t get us wrong we understand sometimes great natural light isn’t always available. In some cases with a smaller kitchen space, lighting is often lacking, coming just from ceiling fixtures in the center of the room. Add LED lighting under, above and even inside the cabinets to make the room feel much brighter and bigger, as the dark shadows around the cabinets would otherwise visually shrink the space.


LED unit kitchen lighting


So come visit us at our kitchen showroom, on 102 Whiteladies Road, Bristol to discuss all things kitchen design – be it big or small!





What could possibly be the most important element of your kitchen design? The worktop, appliances or maybe even the lighting? If you stumble across this question whilst seeking inspiration for your new kitchen, then we may have the answer for you. Kitchen cabinets, or more importantly the cabinet finish — arguably creates the biggest impact on the overall style, feel and quality of your kitchen. In this blog, we’ll run through The Kitchen Partners’ selection of five different styles that you’ll be sure to love.

Slab it out

Flat-panel kitchen cabinet doors, better known as ‘Slab’ doors — are simple but stylish. The flat-panel kitchen cabinet style offers hard lines and minimalist form and lacks any ornate detail. The appearance of the simple flat-panel cabinet makes it a great fit for both contemporary and modern kitchens.

Flat-panel cabinets can be constructed in many different ways. A consistent feature of this style is the fact that the slab doors do not have any frames. Rather, they are simply solid slabs, reflecting their name.

An additional modern approach to the kitchen design, with flat-panel cabinets is to strip away the handles. Minimalism is proving popular within kitchen design. We believe it all comes down to the Scandi-inspired interior styling trend, that we’re seeing more frequently.  Taking away as many unnecessary elements to the visual of the kitchen as possible to create simplicity. This makes for a simple backdrop to add personality with accessories and natural materials. 

We are in partnership with Leicht and Brigitte, both German luxury kitchen specialists. We showcase their modern flat-panel kitchens in our showroom on the Whiteladies Road in Bristol.

Let’s shake things up

The most traditional style for kitchen cabinets today, is known as the Shaker-style. The Shaker style door is the panelled ‘country farmhouse’ look. It’s far more prevalent in Britain than the rest of the world. The Shaker style is a warm, homely look, that thrives in the ‘rustic and vintage’ kitchen design trend. Shaker cabinets consist of five pieces of flat-panel. Creating a frame with four pieces, then a single flat centre panel as the fifth piece. 

Now you may have heard of the term ‘In-Frame’.  Which is the most traditional method of making the Shaker door. It has a panelled door within a frame on the front of the cabinet, giving it more stability. More quality and time is required in the manufacturing and installation process of this version, but it provides a timelessly luxury and classic appearance.

Our traditional British suppliers are Sheraton and Mereway. Using the finest quality materials and hand painting all cabinets, they provide our customers with bespoke and handmade kitchens. 

No matter which you choose, a traditional solid wood, hand painted kitchen is the successful outcome. You can be sure of one thing — your kitchen will be built to the very highest standards, by British craftsmen who pride themselves on a craft exceptionally well executed.

It’s time to open up

Open shelves look beautiful in the magazines, but not necessarily a “must-have” for most homeowners.  Let’s face it — you have to have a matching set of dinnerware, or speciality pieces you want on display.  But with good organisation and the right kind of shelves, you can create a really unique style for your kitchen. — Whether it’s contemporary charm, or a traditionally classic design.

As a replacement to wall based closed-cabinetry, open kitchen shelving is becoming a unique alternative design trend.

While you may find it hard to imagine, open shelving has it’s benefits. It provides a light and airy feel, offering the illusion of more space, which is especially great in smaller kitchens.  It’s efficient since you can see and grab what you need, without taking the time to open cabinet doors to look inside.   Considering everything is out in the open, be thoughtful about whatever you place on the shelves. Every utensil, bowl or glass has an impact on the overall aesthetic of your kitchen’s look and feel.

Showcase some accent-coloured utensils that provide a uniform of character for your kitchen. Recycle those empty wine bottles from your dinner party, aligning them on your open-shelf. Display luscious organic herb plants and spice-filled mason jars. For small kitchens, be careful not to overload the wall shelving. Keep only the bare essentials and place the rest of your items in the base cabinets. Not only will it make it easier to keep everything well organised, but it will also help you maintain a sharp and simple look.

Small Kitchen Design Ideas

Small Kitchen Design Ideas

The glossy magazines make it very easy for us to pine for a huge, sweeping, kitchen and living space. They’re full of them aren’t they? Ginormous rooms in gargantuan homes. But there aren’t as many small kitchen design ideas that still look luxurious and practical, with everything you could want from a kitchen. Here are some tips to remember if you don’t have the kitchen the size of a small country:


Well, it’s the obvious one, but important. With small kitchen design ideas, storage is always at the forefront of the mind.

Le Mans

Since most small kitchens have at least 1 corner, and quite often more, you really don’t want to lose that space. We’ve all had a corner cupboard; stuff gets lost in the dark corner, never to be seen again. The best way to make use of corner space is with Le Mans units (named for their resemblance of the French race track). The soft close shelves swing completely outside of the cupboard, allowing access to the (not so) mysterious depths of the corner cupboard.

Drawers and inserts

Drawers, of course, reduce the space within cabinets as a whole, but very minimally, and make the space a lot more usable. The same applies for cutlery inserts and drawer organisers. They make it easier to have a specific place for everything, and allow you to enjoy having an organised kitchen where everything is accessible.

Tall units

Those with more traditional style kitchens should forego the wide, 2-door open out pantry units you may be tempted by as, although attractive, particularly in Shaker style kitchens, they leave lots of wasted space. Instead, opt for tall units with drawers inside to make the space as accessible as possible. Pocket doors are also an option here. Even though they shave off a few centimetres of space, they allow you to use the contents continuously while cooking without having awkward larder doors getting in your way in a small space. If you immerse yourself in hours of cooking, this is a really practical way to design your kitchen, and may be worth sacrificing that small amount of space for.

Tall units and wall units right up to the ceiling are some of the best ways to make use of vertical space. Depending on your height, some of this space may be tricky to get to and you therefore wouldn’t want daily use object stored there, but for kitchens with very limited space, this is sometimes the only option. It is important to know if it is needed though, because designing with taller units can make a small kitchen seem closed in and heavy, but they do streamline and reduce clutter.



Combination Ovens

Advances in technology arguably help those with a compact home more than anyone. Rather than having 1 oven and 1 microwave, a lot of small kitchens designs would be better off with 1 oven and 1 microwave combination. A microwave combi has full use as a microwave, a grill and as an oven, a 3-in-1 appliance, which is excellent for space saving.


When thinking of small kitchen design ideas you may not initially think of taps, but choosing the right tap can create a focal point, and can clear the work surface of a clunky electrical item you might be please to get rid of. Rather than cluttering up your work surface with a kettle, by getting a boiling water tap (all in one mixer), you can have a single tap with hot and cold, chilled, instant boiling water, and even sparkling if you want. Perfect for those of us who drink tea until the cows come home.


In small kitchens, any single centimetre of your kitchen must be usable or have a good reason to not be, poor lighting is NOT a good reason, so making sure the right lighting option is in place for each area is important. Task lighting, placed under wall units or open shelving should be a priority and is the responsibility of your kitchen designer. At The Kitchen Partners, we include under cabinet lighting as standard because we know how important this is. No one wants to be casting a shadow with their head while chopping their tomatoes.

Of course, every kitchen is different, and every customer has different needs, so talk through these options with your kitchen designer to get the most out of your small kitchen design. What’s the point of having a new kitchen if you don’t enjoy using it? Even if it isn’t a ginormous size!

Is the kitchen work triangle outdated?

Is the kitchen work triangle outdated?


When the kitchen work triangle was first developed in the 1940’s, it was with a single cook in mind. A stay at home wife who wanted the kitchen to be as ergonomic as possible. For someone who spent the majority of the day cooking and cleaning, a smaller, compact space was the most practical. Being able to access the sink, oven and food storage (refrigerator) without having to walk to the other side of the room was essential. Therefore, the 3 corners of the kitchen work triangle were born.

With today’s modern life, the kitchen is much more than a kitchen. It’s a social space, a lounge, a dining room, a quick-breakfast-running-out-the-door space. A seat to do homework or have a coffee, and a place to cook, of course.


Now that the kitchen has transformed into the core of the home, it consequently means more people using the space at one time. If there are 4 people trying to clear up after last night’s party. Or, 2 people making brunch for the rest of the family, things begin to get cramped with a work triangle. For those frequent entertainers, having 2 dishwashers has become an increasingly practical option. 1 near a drinks cupboard, and 1 near the sink for plates. More room to move around, and more space for friends to help out.

The kitchen has adapted to more movement and to the way modern life has changed what we do in our homes. This is evident in the fact that islands have been more than simply de rigueur in most kitchens for quite some time now, but are really the ideal in practicality. If you’ve got the space, an island facilitates the social aspect of a kitchen.


More flexibility is certainly apparent, and categorising a kitchen by use of space is now common. For instance, having a separate drinks area, or food preparation area. At the Kitchen Partners, we regularly recommend keeping the island clear of a sink. It tends to end up with dishes or glasses in (even with a dishwasher – or 2!). This leaves the island exclusively for food prep and socialising. And if for the sake of space the hob is on the island, then it’s always a nice way to show off your cooking skills.

While the work triangle seems outdated, designers discuss with people how they use their space every day and which layouts suit each individual person or family. This is why we always aim to come to see a customer’s existing kitchen (if potential construction work permits) to really get a feel for the habits and lifestyle of each customer.

Over time these conversations have led to a much more personalised result for customers, and questions about use of space ultimately inform design.

To see some of the customer kitchens we’ve done, click here.