Choosing a new kitchen is one of the most exciting projects when it comes to renovating the home. From picking the right style to finding a designer and agreeing the layout, there’s a lot to take on board. But like any big project, breaking it down into a series of manageable steps is the best way to get started.
Whether you’re planning a simple refresh, complete redecoration or a more complex extension the starting points are very much the same. Think of your project as a journey, and give each step all the time and consideration it needs.
Step one: Consider your room
Start by considering the fabric of the room. Are there any features in the room that you definitely do want to change and similarly that you don’t want to change. They may be architectural details like door frames or structural features such as staircases. Think about whether the actual space works or if it needs opening up or extending.
Take a look around your existing kitchen and make a list of all the things you like and dislike about it. This could be anything from how much storage there is – and where it is – to the types of appliances and colour of the cabinets. This will help you focus on retaining or improving particular aspects.
Something also important to consider is the light. What direction does your kitchen face? There are some general assumptions you can make, knowing that rooms that face east will be brightest early in the morning, and that the light in a space that is west-facing will be much warmer later on in the day. You can use this knowledge to plan key elements of your kitchen such as the position of any dining space. Considering the light can also help you decide on a colour scheme for the room – lighter, bright colours for example, are a better choice for a room that is lacking in natural light.
Step two: How and when do you use your space?
It might help to ask yourself a few questions about how you want to use the space. Do you simply need a place to prepare meals, or are you dreaming of a multifunctional area where you can also have lunch or dinner with family and friends? Who do you cook for, what do you cook and how do you cook it? Understanding how much frozen and fresh food you buy will help determine the size of a fridge and freezer. Asking yourself questions about what and how you cook will help you make the right choice for the cooking appliances in your new kitchen. Do you need a steam oven for example or a teppanyaki plate? The possibilities are diverse, so it’s a good idea to consider all of the options.
Step three: How do you move around the room?
Layout is an important part of your project as it will affect the kitchen furniture you buy. So, before you do anything to your space, think about the way you move around it. Do you have to walk through the kitchen to get from one area of your home to another? For example, if your kitchen is the route from the inside of the property to the back garden, you might want to ensure there is a walkway through and not include a dining table or island in the middle of the room. So there’s nothing in the way of where you need to be.
What could be improved? Are you always bumping your hip against that drawer handle? In that case, consider handle-free cabinets. Is your sink on the other side of the kitchen from your dishwasher? Do you love your island but find that it would benefit from including a prep sink?
The ‘working triangle’ a concept that originated in the 1940s recommends the triangle shape between the cook top, kitchen sink and work surface or refrigerator. While times have changed considerably, there is still some merit to consider the position of the key elements in a contemporary kitchen and how they relate to each other to create maximum efficiency.
Step four: Set your budget
Before you speak to a kitchen designer or commission any building work, now’s a good time to consider your budget if you haven’t already. It is important information that will help ensure that the kitchen design you receive will be achievable and also meet your functional needs and aesthetic aspirations.
Step five: Be inspired
Whether it’s a scrapbook, shoe box or Pinterest board, we suggest having a place where you can start collecting anything that appeals to you. Even something as simple as a pretty plate, tile, piece of furniture or scraps of fabric can be a great starting point for choosing a theme or colours. Don’t think too deeply about what you include for now – just save the things you really love. They might be images found online, torn out of magazines or taken on your phone. Take a look at some of our kitchen projects to get you started.
Pick up samples wherever you can, not just of paint, but flooring, tiles, fabric and woven textures too.
Once you have your inspiration collected, it’s time to reduce it down to something more considered. Look at all your images and objects together and you’ll see which ones stand out. You should take away any that you don’t completely love. What you’ll be left with is a useful mood board that you can share with a kitchen designer which will give them a really good idea of the look and feel you are aspiring to achieve.
Step six: Build your team
If you’re having any work done to your room, you’ll need to find tradespeople to work with. There are all sorts of ways you can do this, but word-of-mouth is still the best method in our opinion. Failing that, read as many reviews as you can. Good ratings on Google and Houzz are also worth consideration.
Either way, start looking for someone as early as you can: the best tradespeople can book up months in advance, and potentially more if yours is a large project.
If you’re finding the prospect of your project too daunting, then our kitchen designers are here to help. Our experience and expertise will offer you plenty of simple ideas – as well as innovative ones – that you might not have even considered. We also have the latest knowledge of products, fixtures and fittings, and can source everything on your behalf as well as organising the installation using KSL’s team of installers. Please get in touch for a non-committal quote.
The KBSA (Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association) has these guidelines for choosing your kitchen company:
- Visit a company that has a showroom so you can inspect the quality of the product and the standard of installation.
- Choose a retail member with a track record of good installations and ask to speak to some previous customers.
- Be careful about paying in full for your kitchen in advance. You shouldn’t pay a deposit of more than 25% and as it’s likely that you’ll be asked to make an interim payment, ask for a written payment schedule.
- Make sure you have a written quotation that covers every aspect of the job including fitting, flooring and any structural alterations you have discussed.
- Don’t sign anything unless you are prepared to honour your side of the contract. Some terms and conditions have expensive cancellation clauses.
- When using a KBSA retail member, don’t forget to keep your insurance certificate in a safe place and if you haven’t received it within a few weeks of paying your deposit, contact your retailer.