If you’re not sure how to plan a kitchen, follow these simple steps and go from inspiration to installation.
When it comes to renovating the home, choosing a new kitchen can be exciting. However, if not planned properly it can become stressful, time-consuming and expensive. There is so much to think about such as the layout of the kitchen, the colour schemes and choosing the style.
Whatever you do, do not rush out to your nearest kitchen showroom and choose a design without taking your time to think about what you really want in a new kitchen. Having some patients in the early planning stages will pay off dividends in the future, and you won’t have any regrets.
If you break down the planning process into smaller manageable steps, you will find it a lot easier. Planning a kitchen will be easier if you think of it as a journey. Take your time working through the following steps, and think about each step carefully.
The following steps will benefit anyone and everyone, whether this is your first time planning a kitchen or the third time.
- Assess all your needs
The first step is to have a quick look around your kitchen and clear out any items that you have not used for years. The next step is to pick up a notepad, take a quick look around your kitchen and start making a list of all the things you like and dislike about it.
If you’re not happy with the amount of storage space in your kitchen the way, it is at the moment make sure that goes on your list. Not sure what the colour of the cabinets? Jot it down on your list.
Have a look at the kitchen appliances that you have and make notes about what you like this like about them. The more comprehensive your list is, the more it will help you when it comes to deciding what you would like to keep and what you want to change.
Look at the amount of space your existing kitchen has now. Could it be improved? Could it be opened up or extended? Depending on your kitchen, you may have the option to knock down a dividing wall and have an open plan kitchen.
Do you have any ideas about how you would like to use this space? Do you daydream about having a multifunctional room where you can prepare lunch or dinner for friends and family? Or do you just need somewhere to prepare meals? Do you cook for others or just yourself? What type of food do you cook and how do you prefer to cook it? Make a note of all these things as they will benefit you greatly when it comes to making a final decision.
Are you thinking bigger? Kitchen extensions – planning, design, and cost to help you create your dream space.
- Think about plumbing and heating
Do you think your existing plumbing for kitchen appliances and sinks will be enough? Or do you think you might need additional pipework? If your plans include having a kitchen island, will the island have a sink or some other kitchen appliance in it?
Depending on your design it’s essential to make sure that the electricity and plumbing supplies are installed before the kitchen floor is laid. Figure out where you would like any kitchen appliances to go such as washing machines and dishwashers and make sure there is a plug socket nearby.
“Top Tip-it’s always a good idea to install your dishwasher and washing machine as close to the sink as you can. It helps to keep the plumbing simple.”
Do you prefer radiators or underfloor heating? Underfloor heating is a popular choice these days, and it doesn’t take up any valuable space as radiators do. If you’ve decided to have underfloor heating, you will need to make sure it is installed before the kitchen floor is laid.
- Consider lighting options
Ideally, it’s a good idea to have a flexible lighting system installed. Having a flexible lighting system allows you to adjust the lighting accordingly to different areas of your kitchen.
It’s also worth thinking about secondary lighting such as above the cooker and underneath kitchen cupboards. Secondary lighting can be helpful especially when preparing food.
What are the things your kitchen must have? Do you need lots of kitchen cupboards and plenty of storage or long sleek worktops or maybe even a statement island? Are there any kitchen appliances that you absolutely could not do without because they make your life easier?
Everyone has their own particular way of doing things as well as having a different list of priorities. Write down how you would like to work in your new kitchen as well as making a list of priorities.
By doing this exercise at the beginning, it will make sure your kitchen is tailored to you and your families specific needs. You will also save time when it comes to talking with a kitchen specialist about your new upcoming project.
- Be inspired
Everybody’s taste is different, and when it comes to choosing how you would like your kitchen to look its a very personal choice. There are so many different options to choose from you can end up spoilt for choice.
When trying to decide on which colour and style to choose your new kitchen can help to collect some magazines and images and create a mood board or scrapbook. If you’ve seen any particular surfaces, accessories or materials that you like, and they go together well, make sure to jot them down in your notepad.
You may have noticed something simple like a piece of furniture, a tile or even the colour of a plate. Any of these things can be a good starting point when it comes trying to decide on colour schemes and themes. At this point try not to think about the cost, you just want to focus on things that catch your eye and inspire you. Soon enough you will notice particular styles and colours you are drawn to.
- Consult a kitchen designer
If you would like to get the absolute maximum from the space you have available; a professional kitchen designer will benefit you immensely. A kitchen designers expertise and experience will give you lots of simple ideas, as well as some creative ideas that you may never have thought of yourself.
It’s a kitchen designers job to have the most up-to-date knowledge of fixtures and fittings, and they will be able to source all of the materials on your behalf. It’s their job to make sure your new kitchen is working as efficiently as possible.
Only after the designer has looked at the space where your new kitchen will be should you agree on the quote for the design and installation. When the kitchen design is complete, you must be sure that the quotation you were given includes all of the cabinetry and the installation.
Read through the written quote carefully and check everything that is included in the cost. Something else you will want to check is whether the company fitting the kitchen is going to watch over the project until completion.
When it comes to paying a deposit, you should never pay more than 25% of the total amount upfront. Make sure you have worked out a written payment schedule for the remainder of the payments. It is advised that you don’t pay the full amount until you have the goods delivered to your home.
The kitchen, bathroom & bedroom specialists Association (otherwise known as the KBSA) recommends people follow these guidelines when it comes to choosing a kitchen company:
Ideally, you would want to choose a company with a showroom so you can see the quality of the product with your own eyes.
When you are researching which company to choose, find and out if they have a good track record of installing kitchens. You can even ask if you could speak with some previous customers.
As mentioned earlier in this article, do not pay the full amount for your kitchen in advance. A deposit of 25% of the total amount is usually enough. Depending on who you choose to buy your kitchen from, they may ask you to make an interim payment, make sure you ask for a written payment schedule.
You will want to make sure that you have been given a written quotation which includes every aspect of the job such as any structural alterations, the flooring and of course fitting the kitchen.
Before signing any contracts make sure you read it carefully, be certain that you can honour your side of it before signing. Some contracts can have specific terms and conditions and can have unexpected cancellation clauses in them.
- Set your budget
A kitchen designer will ask you what your budget is. Make sure you are honest about how much you can afford. A kitchen designer can work more efficiently when they know what your budget is.
A designer will know where to invest your money and where to save it even if you don’t have a lot to spend. For example, having closed cupboards is more expensive than open shelving, you could have fewer wall units if you had low-level pull-out storage. It’s the things you don’t think about which can end up saving you a significant amount of money.
When it comes to choosing new shiny appliances for your new kitchen, try not to focus on all of the functions and countless programs each one has. Instead, ask yourself what are the appliances that you are genuinely going to use?
Only invest your money in the things that you know you will use. And don’t forget the appliances will also have installation fees as well as the kitchen itself.
Quick Tip –protect yourself against any extra-unexpected costs and add 10% to your original budget.
If you need a few pointers about where to spend your money, we have compiled a list of our top tips on where to save and where to spend:
The kitchen worktop is one of the most hard-working elements of any kitchen, so you should always buy the best worktop you can afford. Marble, granite or composite worktops are all hard wearing, durable and are a good investment. A beautiful kitchen worktop is the icing on the cake.
The next thing you should prioritise is your kitchen cabinets. You need to choose good quality cabinets and don’t be tempted to buy cheap carcasses because they won’t last as long. A thickness of 15 mm all around should be the bare minimum. If your budget allows it, choose thicker carcasses.
Think about how you can save money when choosing doors for your cabinets. Unfortunately, we don’t all have an infinite budget to spend on rich wood veneer doors, but we can certainly buy some that look very similar.
If you prefer high-gloss finish doors, they are available in various price brackets. Price depends if they are laminated or lacquered. High-gloss doors that are lacquered or laminated pretty much looked the same, but the cost can vary quite a lot.
When choosing appliances for your kitchen, try to spend your money wisely. Always buy the best hob and oven you can afford, but consider saving money in other areas such as the laundry appliances.
If push comes to shove you could live quite happily without a wine cooler and coffee machine. If your budget is under strain, you have to make sure you are spending your money in the right places and not buying things that you don’t need. It’s all about compromise. There’s no reason why you can’t add small luxury appliances in the next year or two.
- Call in the professionals
So you’ve chosen the layout and style of your kitchen with the help of your designer, and you’ve paid your deposit. What’s the next step? Finding the right team to install it.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to have your kitchen installed properly by professionals. The way your kitchen is fitted can make a huge difference. A good kitchen fitter can make cheap kitchen units look amazing while a bad kitchen fitter can make any kitchen look terrible.
Always seek out recommendations from family and friends or carry out some research online and look for a reputable, highly skilled kitchen installer with plenty of testimonials and happy customers to back them up. If they are a member of the FMB (Federation of Master Builders), that’s a good sign.
If you’re kitchen just needs refreshing you only have the kitchen fitter and kitchen supplier to a coordinator.
If your new kitchen is likely to be a big project, then there is likely to be electricians, builders, and plumbers involved. At this stage, it’s important to have a project manager to oversee everything that’s going on.
A project manager can be yourself, an architect or your kitchen company. It’s important that everyone involved in the project is clear about what needs to be done because any mistakes can cause delays which could end up being costly.
It’s also important to consider whether you are going to need building regulations approval or planning permission depending on the size of the project. Further information visit planningportal.gov.uk
Your budget is often a good indication of how much project management is required. If you are going to purchase your new kitchen from B&Q or another DIY store you have to employ and coordinate a team of craftsmen made up of plumbers, electricians, and builders.
Some of the mid-priced kitchen companies on the Wirral provide fitting services but a lot of the time you have to get them to liaise with the tradespeople to carry out work outside their profession.
If you are buying your kitchen from a local kitchen company, always ask which services they can and can’t provide.
Many of the bespoke kitchen fitting companies on the Wirral won’t undertake plumbing or electrics so you will have to arrange these yourself separately.
There are high-end bespoke kitchen companies that do provide and coordinate all the services but be prepared to pay a hefty premium for this type of service.
- Choose your finishing touches
Add some finishing touches by subtly upholstering dining table chairs with fabric that matches the tiles on your splashback, for instance, or pairing wooden stools with a timber breakfast bar. It’s the small details such as the style of handles on cabinet doors which can transform a kitchen into a cozy kitchen.
It often pays to shop around rather than buying everything from the same supplier. Keep your eye out for small accessories in different stores that will fit perfectly into your kitchen. Try to mix things up to create your own unique look. Any unusual objects you may have picked up on holidays will all blend perfectly well together to create a beautiful homely environment.