Functionality should be central to every kitchen and it makes practical sense to embrace new technology. There are numerous gadgets available, but the key to choosing the right appliances is to start with the essentials, avoiding unnecessary expense or a kitchen full of rarely-used items.

Integrated models work well in a contemporary setting, allowing fridges, dishwashers and even extractor fans to blend seamlessly into an attractive bank of units. But now that ‘white goods’ are available in sleek, stainless steel designs, appliances from American-style fridge freezers to island extractor fans have become a feature in their own right.

The open-plan nature of many modern kitchens has increased the importance of efficient extractor fans, so that cooking smells can be removed from this multi-functional living space. Whether you opt for a concealed canopy model or invest in a visually appealing chimney extractor, remember to compare noise levels as well as efficiency.

When it comes to cooking, range models are becoming increasingly popular, but built-in ovens can deliver a cleaner look and be set into units at eye level for the ultimate convenience. A pair of ovens mounted side-by-side is a modern take on the traditional stacked arrangement – install a microwave in this way to free up valuable space on the work surface.

Some appliances will need to be bought with your own particular needs in mind. Induction hobs, for example are very popular with safety-conscious young families, while a couple might find a slimline dishwasher suits them better than a standard model. The size of your fridge-freezer should reflect that of your weekly shop, and although some people will need to make compromises to fit in important appliances such as the washing machine, others have the luxury of a utility room – and space to include dedicated drinks coolers.