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Learn How to DIY Renovate

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Planning Our Galley Kitchen

Planning a Galley Kitchen with DIY-Kitchens

Our kitchen renovation has been one long ass journey, with many ups and downs, frustrations and really it's put a lot of our life on hold. But having a plan from the get-go was something that really helped us to focus on the job and keep going. It was also essential for knowing where to run electric cables, lights and plumbing too! I realised I never shared the plans for our kitchen, or how we came to design it - so this is going to be a very quick post before I share the actual kitchen installation and reveal. I think I'll do a full separate post on tips for designing your own kitchen as well as how to keep costs down. But, for now - he's the grand kitchen plan and design!


So first up was selecting an actual kitchen supplier. We knew we wanted to buy from DIY-Kitchens after visiting their showroom which you can read all about here. Their kitchens are amazing quality, affordable and they have heaps and heaps of different options for cabinet sizes as well fancy units like internal pull out drawers, larders, plate racks and even dresser units. Their kitchens had the biggest selection of different colours and there's even the option to colour-match or pick your own bespoke paint as well.  Unlike other suppliers, the idea behind DIY-Kitchens is that you design and plan the kitchen yourself, select the units you require in a kinda off-the-shelf type deal and then they are bespokely made and built especially for your order. You then fit it yourself, or you source your own kitchen fitter. It's simple, affordable and it works.

Choosing a Kitchen Range

I knew I wanted a shaker style kitchen, I think they look modern but also classic and are pretty much age-less. I also knew I wanted solid timber doors - I think they're a really good investment as they can be painted in the future without too much hassle and they can also be sanded if any damage does occur over the years. Affordability was a big part of our decision as well. I loved the Harewood Style kitchen but the cost was more than I was willing to pay, so instead we went for Linwood. It's not THE cheapest kitchen they sell, but it's the cheapest for solid timber - and that was something I was prepared to pay a little more for.

DIY-Kitchens door and carcass samples

Grey, Grey or Grey?

If you didn't know, I love grey. Grey grey grey! So it had to be grey. But which shade of grey? Well, I wasn't prepared to go for a bespoke colour at additional costs, so that narrowed it down to the three greys they had in their standard range. Originally I thought I would go with Lamp Room Grey but after ordering a door sample in the colour, I realised it looked very different under different lights. Under a white-light it looked beautifully grey and I loved it - but under a more warm toned light, it had a very green undertone. Our lights happen to be warm lights and I really wanted them that way - particularly with the Edison bulbs that are also warm toned. So I went back to DIY-Kitchens to look at the colours again.

I was particularly inspired to take a second look at the dark grey kitchens after I fell in love with a gorgeous dark grey kitchen on Instagram (to be more precise - Faith's @darcinderdiary on Instagram - or go check her blog out here!). Her kitchen is a gorgeous dark grey colour (Graphite) with white worktops, which I absolutely loved but I was really unsure whether a dark colour in our narrow and not-always that bright kitchen would work. So in some kind of rock n roll fashion, I asked Instagram to vote on it for me. And the outcome was pretty phenomenal 39 votes for Graphite to 14 votes for Lamp Room Grey. So we had a winner and I rolled with it!

How to pick the right door colour from DIY-Kitchens

Cabinet Colour

As well as door colours, DIY-Kitchens also offer a range of cabinet colours and wood effects. I really liked the look of the wood ones, just to add a bit of interest to the interior of the carcass when you open the doors.  I decided to steer clear of the matching graphite colour available as I figured it'd way too dark for me to see inside otherwise! These were my top 3 picks, but Light Winchester Oak stood out to me the most. I think they work really well together and I also think it makes the units look more expensive/high end.

DIY-Kitchens Wood Carcass Options
Light Winchester Oak with Graphite DIY-Kitchens

Wood Worktops from Worktop-Express

As beautiful and as much as I love quartz, our budget is miles too small it. I'm not really a fan of laminate, so the next obvious option was wood. We used Beech in our old house and despite the general upkeep of wood (not always for everyone!), I really loved it. This time I knew I wanted something lighter (Beech was quite orange-y toned) so ordered a whole bunch of samples from Worktop-Express. Unfortunately DIY-Kitchens don't offer many choices on wood and their prices are also more expensive. We used Worktop-Express in our old house and had no problems - they even offer a bespoke cutting service, so it can arrive and be put straight into place! The decision on which wood was pretty instant - Ash stood out to me straight away and luckily it was one of the most affordable option (second to Beech, that is!). It's light but with a gorgeous grain and I think will look perfect against the dark units. This photo does not do it justice! (And yes, it's a tad tea-stained from being used as a coaster!)

Ash Worktop from Worktop-Express

Layout & Design

So finally the fun bit - actually designing! The room that will be the kitchen is pretty much long and kinda narrow so it obviously had to be a galley kitchen - if you don't know what that is, it's a kitchen with cabinets either side of the room in a straight long kind-of runway type deal. We wanted our dining room to be a separate space, so that's why we're not bringing the kitchen out into there. On-top of that, it would have made the costs of a kitchen vastly more expensive!

Designing a kitchen is much like doing a jigsaw puzzle. I took measurements of both sides of the room and positioned the appliances first; the cooker opposite the sink (keeping the sink in pretty much the same position really helps to keep costs down!), the washing machine and dishwasher either side of the sink and then the fridge against the back wall near the french door. Then I added units into the spaces we had leftover. I knew I wanted one set of pan drawers as well as a basket unit. Once those were positioned, the rest really just fell into place. We've opted for fewer larger units over many small ones - as this is also something that keeps costs down. Finally, I treated myself to wall dresser unit because well, I freaking love them and have always wanted one!

Designing a Galley Kitchen
Galley Kitchen Plan

You'll notice there's no wall units - this is partly due to costs but mainly because I wanted the space to feel open. With the room being long and narrow, I was worried wall units could just aid the room into feeling claustrophobic. We have very few kitchen items anyway, so we really don't need a whole bunch of storage. We also toyed with the idea of a bench seat, which you can see on the plan above - but decided against this in the end.

Visualising the Plan

So as you can see, I pretty much designed it in an old-school kinda way. Good old pen and paper and terrible terrible drawings. I can visualise things quite well, so this worked fine for me. And I didn't feel like I needed a to-scale drawing to do the math either. However DIY-Kitchens do offer a layout grid which you can use to help you see everything to scale/see if it will fit - but if you want to see how your kitchen will actually look properly, I recommend using this 3D Kitchen Designer site. I used it to show Grant the plan, as he claims to have no visualising ability. ;)

how to plan a DIY-Kitchen
DIY Kitchen Designing with 3D images

The Style

If I had to use a couple of words to sum up how I wanted the kitchen to look, it would be classic chic, with a hint of vintage industrialism. Makes sense right? Basically I love classic chic kitchens, I love hints of industrial style interiors and I love vintage pieces. So I'm combining all three in some kind of messy mix-up.

It sounds like a chaotic awful combination, but hopefully it'll look better than it sounds. We've already picked out our traditional limestone floor (go see it here!) and the kitchen style will hopefully fit with this. We've exposed the steel beam for some industrialism as well as adding some Edison bulbs.  I'd also like a more industrial style tap as well. And as for the vintage, well I have a whole bag in storage of random little pieces I've been picking up from fairs and antique centres (I've written a couple about what I've been buying over the last few years, which you can see here and here) that will on full display in here too.

Industrial hanging light bulbs in kitchen

So now you've seen all my terrible drawings and the design ;) I'm going to do a separate post on tips for designing your own kitchen as well as one for keeping costs down. But before then, you'll be seeing our new kitchen reaaaalll soon... and I'm absolutely chuffed to bits with it! So, watch this space!


  1. Your comments about the grey looking different in the colours of your room is a really important one! It's easy to fall in love with a set of colours on a computer screen, or even in the shop, but until you bring them into your home and play them off against the natural light you won't know how they will actually turn out! Even colours that look exactly the same can reflect certain lights in different ways from each other, leaving you with a mismatch once the installation is actually complete!

  2. Hey Kezzabeth, I loved the picture of your hanging lights at the end! Absolutely beautiful picture!

    I absolutely love the design plans though. Don't need the drawings to look good as long as they will work!

  3. Thank you so much for posting this. We are just at the start of planning are kitchen and all this info has been incredibly useful! It's given me a bit of motivation to actually sit down and make a proper plan. Thanks again :)

  4. I loved the picture of your hanging lights at the end! Absolutely beautiful picture!Thank you so much for posting this.

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  9. God, I love this post so energetic, so classy yet so down to earth. Beautiful planning materials you choose for kitchen remodel.

  10. Just wanting an update on your kitchen. It's been almost 2 years, how was your galley kitchen layout working out? Was anything you expected? Or more? Was reading this list of kitchen layouts as well and can't decide on which layout best suit my kitchen.


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