Planning a kitchen & why we opted for two-tone

Everyone knows that planning a kitchen can be stressful!

Often what you’d like and what your budget will allow can be two totally different things. It’s all to easy to work on a few moodboards and take some inspiration online then realise that you can’t afford to do any of it – or that it won’t work in your particular space.

It can get frustrating but it should also be fun!

Having come to the end of our kitchen renovation now (just a few snagging points to sort out) we thought we’d reveal a few of the factors we considered when designing the room, and why we went for quite a brave two-tone effect.

Firstly, we wanted to think about the style of the kitchen. In the flat, we wanted to create a sleek modern space so we opted for glossy grey cupboards, slimline silver handles and a oak block worktop.

In the house though, with all it’s original Victorian features, we wanted to pay tribute and go quite traditional – yet with a modern twist to reflect our personalities and age.

We ran wild with our initial ideas. White quartz worktops, an island, dark cupboards and a white Belfast ceramic sink (non-negotiable as I had so desperately wanted one in the flat but it was too pricey).

We took our ideas along to Howdens where we were planning on sourcing our kitchen and got everything mocked up.

But when we got the price breakdown, we realised we’d gone over our budget. By double.

We had to cut things down a lot but when you’ve had a vision of your ideal space, it can be so hard to change it.

Thankfully, we’re quite methodical and practical so we worked through it bit-by-bit, working out what we were attached to (the sink!), what needed to be changed (EXPENSIVE quartz worktop!!) and what we could make savings on.

It’s amazing how, just by being a bit more savvy on smaller items like taps and cupboard handles, you can actually save yourself a bit of money.

Here’s what we ended up with!

We opted for oak block worktops from Worktop Express – far cheaper than Howdens, available in varying lengths and with the option of pre-oiled saving you the panic of having to prep and prime them immediately.

We paired this with our white belfast sink, a swan neck stainless steel tap and dark grey cupboards on the bottom, with light pale grey cupboards on the top (from Howden’s Fairford range).

So why the two-tone?

Well, we really wanted dark cupboards but as we have a north-facing kitchen, we were slightly concerned about light.

We’re lucky to have a large room (larger than we thought actually) and the last thing we wanted to do was make it feel smaller by having cupboards that are too dark. If you have white worktops, this isn’t going to be a problem but with oak worktops, there’s potential for dark colours to feel even darker than they actually are and start closing off a space.

So, we started playing around with colour a little, thanks to a suggestion by the designer at Howdens.

This is where you should make the most of your CAD drawings . At first, we were like children, suggesting different cupboards to lighten on both sides of the room – and looking at the images from every angle before making a decision.

But gradually, we realised that as we only had wall units on one side, perhaps we could make them into a feature.

We lightened them and loved it. It was simple, it immediately made the space feel lighter and bigger, and it injected that modern twist we were after from the very beginning.

From that point onwards, we kept everything else relatively subtle so as not to detract from the colour way. We chose rectangular brushed steel knobs for the cupboards (which were actually cheaper than the bars we’d originally looked at) and opted for a white, textured floor tile rather than a coloured stone.

I have to admit, that during the kitchen fit stage, I had my doubts about whether the two tone was going to look right. At one stage, I was even sent photos of the two cupboard colours next to each other – and it really didn’t help!

Sometimes when you go for something that’s a bit different you need to just trust that it will look good – and refrain from making any judgements until it’s in.

Once it was in, we absolutely loved it!

What do you think? Share your thoughts below and if you’ve installed a two tone kitchen, send us some pics! We love seeing what others have done.

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