Planning and designing our new kitchen

Kitchen planning and styling for family living

Large kitchen-diners are incredibly sought after by families; they are seen as the ultimate luxury in open-plan living and are hugely favoured. But…what’s not to love?! Not only can you prepare food and drinks whilst chatting to family and friends, but you can also keep an eye on children whilst they play in there, or as they do their homework at the table.

They are sociable, practical and SO convenient.

In our last home (a cottage in North Wales) we knocked through several walls to create a large open plan kitchen/diner, which you can see here. This was a superb space when the twins were little; we rarely used any other rooms in our home!

So when we were looking to move last year we were keen to recreate such a space for our growing family.

One of the aspects we loved so much about new-build homes were the kitchen/diners on offer – because they are designed nowadays to help us all live more socially as a family. They are therefore usually at the heart of most new-build homes. In the house type that we finally selected we loved how it flowed and created a focal point for the house.

Whilst new-build homes are already pre-designed before you buy, you can still add in your own touches – such as the colour and style of cupboards, worktops, tiles, flooring and paint colour on the walls. Fixtures and fittings can also be upgraded. Although some of this is at an extra charge in addition to the price of the home.

Here are some considerations for planning and designing that we factored in for our new kitchen:

Charcoal cabinets – grey has been so popular in recent years and this colour is still on trend but is so practical too. I love it and don’t think that it will go out of fashion for a long time yet.

Granite worktops – probably at the higher end of the budget but they are incredibly stylish and VERY practical. They don’t wear and will last much longer. Plus the light grey colour with speckles we selected looks sleek and contemporary and shows hardly any crumbs. WIN!

Lights – we have LED down-lighters which makes the space feels light and bright and also gives specific lighting control ‘zones’ to each space (such as over the worktops and over the dining area).

Soft seating – if you can have soft seating in your kitchen then do so, as it gives somewhere to relax or put shoes on/take shoes off. We only really have space for a large chair (shown below) which lots of people love to use!

Creating a family kitchen

Pull out larder cupboards – these cupboards store SO much! We had them in our previous home too and they are amazing…they hold so many larder items.

Double oven – (below) are super for large parties and Christmas time!

Our family kitchen: planning & design

Flooring – using one type of flooring throughout has made it feel larger and is far more practical. We have gone for white tiles which I must admit are a pain to keep clean, but they do look lovely! Underfloor heating can be a real luxury and I would highly recommend this for anyone looking to plan a new kitchen (e.g. via Underfloor Heating Supplies) as tiles and wooden floors can be incredibly cold underfoot! If you fancy taking a quick survey of what you think on underfloor heating please do click here. I will share the results once they are all in!

Table – the dining table is THE essence of the kitchen/diner! We have recently painted our old table grey and added in modern chairs from IKEA (as shown below). They are great as they are wipe clean. It is a well-used piece of furniture each day.

Planning a kitchen

French doors – this vastly expands the living and entertaining space of our kitchen; making BBQ’s and garden parties extremely entertaining and lots of fun.

The kitchen in our new family home is where it all happens, it sees all the hustle and bustle of our busy family life, and it is therefore my favourite space.

Love, Jess x


Post written in collaboration.



  1. June 29, 2016 / 10:53 pm

    I love our dining Kitchen too Jess, it is such a family area. And if we ever move that would be my main priority I just love all the space and freedom it gives us. Love the new header too, it looks fab x

    • Jess
      July 2, 2016 / 11:16 am

      Sounds lovely, and just what you need with 3 boys and a dog! xx

  2. June 30, 2016 / 6:06 am

    Your kitchen is beautiful Jess, it really is! We have an open plan kitchen/diner too, it really is so much easier and brighter than the two separate rooms x

    • Jess
      July 2, 2016 / 11:17 am

      Thanks Julia – I always think yours looks stunning…so stylish too xx

  3. June 30, 2016 / 5:53 pm

    I love my kitchen diner and can imagine being able to see my children (if and when I do have some) easily from wherever I am 🙂 Your kitchen is beautiful, Jess x

    • Jess
      July 2, 2016 / 11:17 am

      Sounds amazing! And YES they love playing in here xx

  4. July 2, 2016 / 10:09 am

    I LOVED your house in general but my kitchen was definitely my favourite. You have such a gorgeous house Jess xx

    • Jess
      July 2, 2016 / 11:14 am

      Thanks Beth – must arrange another catch up soon xx

  5. July 5, 2016 / 1:46 pm

    What a gorgeous kitchen space. I long to have a kitchen/diner space and it’s in our plans but a very long way down the list of things to do! Loving the built in ovens too.

    • Jess
      July 5, 2016 / 1:47 pm

      Thanks! Must say that we love it and it was a big draw of this new house! xx

  6. July 5, 2016 / 3:34 pm

    At first I thought you were designing a new new kitchen haha!! Id love to have all that space, especially that island! x

    • Jess
      July 5, 2016 / 4:23 pm

      No way ha ha!!!!!! Not yet 😉 xx

  7. July 5, 2016 / 9:00 pm

    I love everything about your kitchen Jess and you can tell it is such a sociable place in your home. I would LOVE a kitchen diner, and once the kids have vacated the playroom, that room is all MINE. We can then knock down the wall and I can have the kitchen diner I have always dreamt of x

    • Jess
      July 5, 2016 / 9:12 pm

      Sounds fab. We knocked down several walls in North Wales and created a massive kitchen/diner and we adored it…was such a fab space xx

  8. October 18, 2016 / 4:56 pm

    You have a great point about the kitchen-diner combination working well for many people. As you shared, this can be ideal for families that need to prepare meals regularly when children must be supervised at the same times.

  9. December 7, 2016 / 4:42 pm

    You’re right about the hustle and bustle of the kitchen. It’s nice that this is a trait you love.

    • Jess
      December 7, 2016 / 8:29 pm

      Thanks very much 🙂

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