Is your kitchen design really working? An expert shares the most common issues

From the layout to the fine details, chances are, your kitchen design could do with a few improvements. We ask a kitchen designer for her solutions to the problems she sees most often. 

When planning a kitchen, it can be hard to know what to prioritise. Would moving your hob to the island revolutionise your cooking flow, or would this space be better as a breakfast bar? Would pendant lights or spotlighting make more sense above your worktops?

To help demystify the process, we've asked Marie Browne, kitchen designer at Cash & Carry Kitchens, for her top tips when designing a new kitchen. What's more, at Cash & Carry Kitchens, your personal kitchen designer will be able to tailor your requests specific to your space, as each kitchen is made to order.

kitchen design The Savana kitchen from Cash & Carry Kitchens

Worktop space

This is always Marie's top priority when starting to plan any kitchen. "You use your worktop more than any other part of your kitchen," she points out. "If you find yourself short on worktop space, it's going to be uncomfortable for you to work in the kitchen."

Make it clear to your kitchen designer that this is important to you, and they will be able to find the layout that maximises the space available for you. If you're tight on space, consider forgoing an American-style fridge-freezer for a tall larder fridge and a separate integrated under counter freezer to give you a little extra worktop.

kitchen design
The Aviano Kitchen from Cash & Carry Kitchens


"Many of our customers forget about lighting," Marie explains. "People walk around the showroom and they don't realise how much lighting we've incorporated into our displays." She says that people often see lighting as an afterthought, when it should really be included in the design from the beginning of the process.


There are several kinds of different lighting that a kitchen might need, including under cabinet lights to provide task lighting, lights inside glass-fronted cabinets so you can see what's inside, lights at the bottom of units, and pendant lights over islands and dining tables.

"People just think we are here to provide a kitchen," Marie says, "But there are all kinds of other things that go into kitchen design and lighting design is one of those. Our designers have a wealth of knowledge to pull from decades of trading, if you need advice on lighting over your island call into the showroom and we will run through your 3D plan."

kitchen design
The Hampton kitchen from Cash & Carry Kitchens


Apart from getting to update your cabinets and worktops, a new kitchen also gives you the opportunity to change the layout of your space, which can really affect how easy it is to use. Although traditional advice recommends creating a triangle with your sink, stove and refrigerator, there is no one rule that fits everyone.

Instead, you should take note of how you use the current layout and think about what would improve it. Does the dishwasher block the main flow through the kitchen when it's open? Do you have worktop space on either side of your hob for prepping ingredients? Talk to your kitchen designer about any ideas that you have, and they will also be able to give their advice for your particular kitchen's dimensions.

One thing Marie does advise is to plan early if you want to move electrical appliances and plumbing. "Do get the advice of a local tradesman if you want to relocate these. We can put a sink on the island but if your floorboards and beams are running perpendicular rather than parallel to how you want to lay the piping, then it’s not that simple. We all want the fantasy kitchen, but there’s always practicality behind it, and that might go back to your budget."


Cash and Carry Kitchens is Ireland's leading manufacturer and retailer of fitted kitchens. They have over 40 years of experience in designing, making and delivering units for the Irish public. The business is Irish-owned and has a 130,000 sq ft manufacturing facility located in Castlemartyr, Co Cork. There are 15 Cash & Carry Kitchens showrooms located nationwide where customers will find beautiful collection of kitchens on display. Book a free design appointment and request a free brochure at

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