After your house and building work, a kitchen is probably the biggest purchase you’ll make. Choose wisely and it should last up to 20 years and beyond, so it pays to be sure when you’re buying.
Start planning a kitchen by writing down everything you don’t like about your current kitchen – and this can be anything from what it looks like to how much space you have to cook. Use this to create a wishlist – what you’d like your new design to include – and divide the list into ‘must-have’ and ‘nice to have’. Next, think about how you’d like it to look and make sure this includes worktops, flooring and splashbacks. Surfaces can often be forgotten in the excitement of picking kitchen doors but they’re the bits you’ll be cleaning the most.
Then you can start to visit kitchen showrooms – and be sure to see a wide variety. As well as the high street, visit independent kitchen showrooms in your area – you’ll be surprised at the range most of them offer and how they can tailor it to fit your budget. You’ll also benefit from their experience – local companies will be familiar with the style of properties in the area so will have come across the same design challenges and know how to solve them. You may even find that a bespoke kitchen works out more as a more cost-effective choice if the design is simple.
Image source: Barnes of Ashburnton
I’m as much of a fan of bargains as the next gal but while I’m happy to buy a pair of sky-high heels on impulse I wouldn’t recommend the same for purchasing a kitchen. It’s easy to get carried away in the sales with the amount of appliances and cupboards you need plus you’re less likely to shop around because of the perceived savings. Instead, planning your kitchen wishlist before the sales hit, along with being sure to set a budget and compare prices with a variety of suppliers, will make sure you really are getting the best deal in a sale.
Which isn’t to say there aren’t some easy ways to save on a kitchen. Reducing how much you spend on appliances and worktops should be your first step. Lower-spec appliances from good brands will often incorporate similar technology and build quality, while swapping granite worktops for a faux stone laminate will give you the look without the price tag. A few large cabinets will also usually work out cheaper than several smaller ones – think double larders, wide drawer units and tall cupboards.
It’s often the layout and design of a kitchen that makes the strongest impact along with glam kitchen features such as glass shelving, splashback panelling, lighting and statement taps. You can also limit the amount of expensive materials you use while still having a little of what you fancy. Rather than an entire wall of pricey tiles, for example, opt for a single statement panel behind the hob or sink.
Places where you shouldn’t skimp are often the bits you don’t see. Economising on hinges and drawer runners that are subject to daily wear and tear will impact upon your kitchen’s lifespan as will thin carcases – as the backbone of your kitchen they should be good-quality and a minimum of 15mm, although generally, the thicker the better.
Another way of saving is by having an affordable kitchen installed by an expert fitter, which can instantly make it look more expensive. Fitting charges vary, so get some quotes – Rated People is a great place to start. Ex-display or second-hand kitchens are another good way to save but bear in mind you may need to buy extra cabinets to fill in the gaps or keep your layout flexible. Try The Used Kitchen Company for ideas.
Need help with your kitchen planning or design? Post a job on Rated People in our kitchen specialist category to receive quotes from our qualified and trusted tradesmen.