Thinking about a new kitchen but not sure where to start? Bromley based interior designer Jeni Madden, owner of JMdesign, is here to help...

A new kitchen is a big investment that you will hope to live with for at least 20 years so it’s important to spend a little time thinking about how you use your kitchen and what you want from this vital space.

Many kitchen companies will offer help with planning but you will get a much better result if, before consulting them,  you spend some time thinking through what works and what could work better in your current kitchen.

Do you have enough cupboards? I often suggest moving the washing machine and tumble dryer to create a utility area somewhere else, such as off a downstairs bathroom, which instantly gives two more cupboard spaces. Alternatively go for tall wall units which fit to the ceiling to give extra space.

Are there dark corners to cupboards or parts that are hard to access?  Great innovations have been made in lighting and discrete strip led lighting can now be placed within pan drawers and storage units.

Wide pull out pan drawers allow more storage - for crockery as well as pans -and are easier to access than conventional cupboards.

Corner cupboard options include kidney shaped pull outs and ‘magic’ corners. The kidney shaped pull outs are great for packets of food but not so good for baking trays, so think through what sort of things need to be stored.

Built-in appliances always look better and allow the eye to focus on the colours or materials in your scheme.

However every room needs a focus and you may want to make a statement with your extractor fan or a range oven.

Induction hobs, although more expensive, are easy to clean, look great and in a small kitchen will give you an extra surface area to use.

Combination microwaves will give you the flexibility of a second conventional oven - essential when cooking the Christmas dinner.

Finally try to fit a dining area or breakfast bar within the kitchen - a kitchen/diner creates a much more relaxed family space and adds value to your home.

Jeni Madden, owner of JMdesign, provides affordable interior design consultancy and can be contacted through or call 020 8462 1572.