With the kitchen increasingly becoming the focal point of our home, creating the perfect environment in which to cook, eat, relax and even work is a tall order.

Upgrading the kitchen is currently the most popular home improvement and the organisers of The Kitchen & Bathroom Show at the Harrogate International Centre from 5 to 7 November (www.kitchenandbathroomshow.co.uk) have come up with some great top tips to help you create that dream kitchen.

The Da Vinci orange and grey kitchen

Don’t forget, if you’re looking to extend, improve, enhance or even build your own home then why not pay a visit to the co-located Homebuilding & Renovating Show with over 200 exhibitors and 60 free seminars and masterclasses. Tickets to The Kitchen and Bathroom Show give entry to both Shows. And www.homesandtravel.co.uk has two free tickets for each of the first hundred respondents to go on line at: http://www.kitchenandbathroomshow.co.uk/Homes+Travel.

Create a Personal Storyboard

Start by imagining yourself in the kitchen and think about the way you like to cook, entertain or spend time with friends and family. Cut out pictures of kitchens that inspire you, collect samples and build up a storyboard of styles, appliances, colours and materials. Add an outline plan of your kitchen with dimensions and positions of windows and doors. Now you’re ready to speak to the experts.

Get Advice from the Experts

Take your storyboard to some kitchen design experts – most good kitchen companies offer this service. But make sure they are good listeners – the best ones ask you lots of questions about your home, lifestyle and tastes to build up a clear picture of what you are looking for. Visit The Kitchen & Bathroom Show and get a one-to-one consultation at The Kitchen & Bathroom Design Experience, an individual design, advice and information centre with experts from The Kitchen, Bedroom, Bathroom Specialists Association.

Think about the Golden Triangle

The golden triangle connects the three main work areas – the sink, cooker and fridge and the principle of the ideal ‘work triangle’ is that these appliances are no more than 2.7 metres from one another. Try and make sure the space between is kept clear of obstructions and cabinets so that you have no restriction of movement when you’re cooking.

Now Where Shall I Store Everything?

When you’re thinking about storage don’t just consider food, cooking utensils and crockery. Make sure there is somewhere to store the ironing board, vacuum cleaner, floor mop, recycling boxes and your cookery books! Stand-alone pantries are becoming increasingly popular as a one-stop food storage area. If you’re looking at a complete re-design, consider using partition walls to create a floor to ceiling food storage zone with narrower shelves on one wall for all your spices, herbs and oils.

Working the Surfaces

A well-designed kitchen includes an awareness of the work triangle, the cooker, the sink and the fridge

Choosing the best work surfaces for you is an all-important decision as they often define the ‘look’ of a kitchen. And remember you can never have enough. A mix of materials is becoming increasingly popular and these include wood, marble, Corian, granite, stainless steel, slate and even concrete. If you only have one material make sure it is as heat, water and knife resistant as possible.

Creating the Mood with Lighting

Separate your lighting into zones to meet the needs of the different areas in your kitchen. Bright lights should be focused directly over your work triangle with the option of softer lighting over the dining and/or relaxation area. Dimmer switches are a great way of achieving this. Make sure you have enough plug sockets for lamps in seated areas to create a more intimate feel. Separate lighting zones also allow you to turn the lights off in the cooking area when you’re entertaining – then those dirty pans aren’t quite so noticeable. Your dream kitchen should reflect your personality and lifestyle and meet your future needs. Having a bespoke kitchen isn’t always a more expensive option and if you want to create something distinctive, consider the individual kitchen design companies that can’t be found on the High Street.

If you’re looking for the latest innovations and designs to help you create your ideal kitchen or bathroom, then why not visit to the UK’s only dedicated Kitchen & Bathroom Show, on at the Harrogate International Centre from 5 to 7 November? You can meet over 50 individual kitchen and bathroom manufacturers and suppliers, who will inspire you with bespoke designs, the latest technology and a fabulous array of colours and styles that will transform your kitchen or bathroom. And don’t forget to bring your ideas or plans so that you can speak to the experts in The Kitchen & Bathroom Design Experience.

As an added bonus, your ticket will give you free entry to the Homebuilding & Renovating Show. If you’re looking to improve, extend, renovate or even build your own home, you can meet over 200 specialist exhibitors, attend free seminars and master classes and get advice from the experts. Your perfect home awaits you!

For more information visit www.kitchenandbathroomshow.co.uk or www.homebuildingshow.co.uk

Don’t forget, www.homesandtravel.co.uk has two free tickets for each of the first hundred respondents to go on line at : http://www.kitchenandbathroomshow.co.uk/Homes+Travel