How to plan a kitchen in five simple steps

From layout to design tools, follow our step-by-step planning guide to know how to plan a kitchen.

Knowing how to plan a kitchen takes practice. We supply more than 400,000 kitchens every year in UK homes, so we want to share some of our top tips to make it simple for you to plan your kitchen. 

This step-by-step guide on how to plan a kitchen breaks each stage into easy tasks, so you are as prepared as possible for the next phase in creating your bespoke kitchen design.

Step 1: Assess your current kitchen 

Before you say goodbye to your old kitchen, take a good look at the existing space and consider:

  • What works – it could be the island that family gather around, or the dishwasher that conveniently sits next to the sink.
  • What could be better – perhaps it is an awkward-to-reach cupboard or the temperamental extractor. This is your chance to improve.
  • What you can declutter – ruthlessly divide your must-keep utensils from seldom-used cupboard dwellers. Sell or donate anything that will not be migrating to your new kitchen.
  • What are your must-haves – maybe you are a keen baker? Or love making soups? Whatever you use the most, be sure to prioritise it when you plan your kitchen.

Step 2: Consider what other building work may be needed

To make way for a new and improved kitchen, it may require extra building work. Think about:

  • Structural changes – perhaps walls need to be removed to open up your space for a kitchen extension, or partial walls built for broken-plan living.
  • Plumbing – maybe you want to free up wall space by replacing radiators with underfloor heating, or move the gas supply to make room for a larger oven. Where possible, try to keep plumbed items together to save on labour and expense.
  • Electrics – making your new kitchen more energy-efficient may require extra power sockets, for example if you are fitting a microwave in addition to an oven. Learn more about different types of ovens in our buying guides.
  • Decorative details – it could be that new walls need to be plastered, or existing walls are repainted.

Step 3: Gather ideas and be inspired

As well as being practical, your new kitchen should be personal. Inspiration can be found anywhere, from a scrap of fabric to your favourite restaurant. Explore:

  • Interior magazines or brochures – tear out pages you like, and paste them into a dedicated scrapbook. Our Kitchen Collection brochure is also a good place to look.
  • Style and specialist websites – trend articles, advice and inspiration can all be found online and on
  • Social media – Pinterest boards offer lots of kitchen trend tips or flick through Instagram to see what others are doing.
  • Design tools – road-test your ideas with a kitchen planner tool like our Kitchen Visualiser, where you can experiment with colours and door style, among other elements. 

Step 4: Find the best builder for the job

Now that your ideas are coming together, you will need a talented professional to get your new kitchen fitted. Getting a builder is the stress-free way to plan your kitchen, and to ensure it looks precisely as planned. First:

  • Gather facts – do you require planning permission for your new kitchen – your  builder will need all the information when quoting for the job.
  • Check skills and qualifications – in addition to carpentry, some builders are certified to carry out plumbing, electrics and plastering.
  • Seek recommendations – if you do not have a builder in mind, friends and family can suggest one. You can also visit or contact your local Howdens depot for an introduction to a reputable trader.

Step 5: Consult a designer and create a 3D plan

Once you have a builder engaged, arrange a time to meet a professional kitchen designer, who will have plenty of experience in how to plan a kitchen. He or she can:

  • Confirm your design is viable and offer alternatives if not, all before the expense of installation.
  • Share style and trend advice.
  • Create 3D plans to share with your friends and family. This can also be used by your builder as a handy reference throughout installation.

We know getting the details right from the start is important, which is why we offer a Free kitchen design and home survey service.

Now you know how to plan your kitchen, read more about designing your own kitchen to create a look that suits your home and style.