Top Tips for Renovating a Kitchen
Going into kitchen showrooms is maybe one of the most exciting things when undergoing a renovation, as it means looking at nice finished things rather than the dusty shell you've probably got at the moment! However, it's also one of the most stressful and time consuming jobs as it's likely to be the biggest drain on your interior budget and kitchen companies are notoriously closed on pricing/always trying to get you to sign on the dotted line "before this mega-not-be-missed-never-happening-again-deal ends" (top tip 1: it never ends).
So before you hit the showrooms, break it down into stages and it will make the whole process a lot less of a headache.
Source: Eyeswoon (Living Etc)
Sort your pros and cons
Look at the existing kitchen and make a list of what's currently working well and what could be improved. Do you have enough storage? Is it easy to cook the way it's currently laid out? Do you want it to feel more sociable? Will you need to allow for multiple people prepping/cooking/washing in the same space? Working out these things will help inform your layout and will mean you can get accurate costs for moving any plumbing or electrics - bearing in mind these are usually separately managed from the kitchen itself so will need to be organised before any fitting begins.
This kitchen should be the most functional space in your house so nailing this before moving onto cabinet colour or style should be the priority as once things are set in place it's much more difficult to change!
One easy guide to remember is the kitchen triangle - the idea being beautifully simple (as most "good" design is). Arrange the cooker/oven, sink area and fridge in a triangle formation and you’ll always have everything in just the right place, reducing the distance and effort needed to work efficiently in the kitchen. Position the 3 key appliances close enough together so they aid your workflow, but not too close to make each of the work centres feel cramped. Walking long distances with a boiling pan to drain pasta is not only unnecessary, it's downright dangerous if there are other people around. Below are some examples of different kitchen layouts where the triangle principle has been used...grouping appliances by type also really helps this layout to function well...i.e. dishwasher/washing machine/sink close together.
Source: Prestige Kitchens
If you want to do a bit more upfront planning IKEA have a really handy kitchen planner tool just be aware that not all suppliers will do the all the same size cabinets so you may have to amend the design later
Once you have your pros and cons make a list of your priorities. Kitchens are one of those spaces that we want it all and often it's just not possible or will seriously compromise the functionality of the room...or in some case violate fire regulations!
Set your budget
It's so easy to get carried away and spend a fortune, and kitchens can range anything from 2k to 50k+ so set your budget upfront. If you're on a tighter budget there are some clever ways to reduce costs without forgoing the style you want, e.g. go for standard doors instead of drawers - some companies even do fronts that give the effect of drawers, opt for a marble effect compact laminate over a quartz or stone (these look and feel very similar to the real thing for a fraction of the cost and are still much more hardwearing that regular laminate) or try sites like newlifeappliances.co.uk that sell ex-display or returned appliances that are often brand new just without packaging.
Source: Topps Tiles | Pinterest
Get creative and start thinking about how you want your new space to look, modern and sleek or warm and traditional? Wood or marble? Matt or gloss? Colour or monochrome? There's such variety of styles out there at every budget you can really achieve something stunning. Moodboard your ideas and take them with you to a design appointment to help show what you're envisioning.
Consider your lighting
A designer will be able to help with this but consider all the different things you'll do in the kitchen to ensure the lighting covers all your needs. Task lighting over prep areas is a given, but will you be sitting in the kitchen to have a relaxing dinner or stumble in at 6:30am to have a morning cup of coffee? In these cases a slightly less dazzling light might be something to think about!
Don't forget the floor!
It's always up for debate but usually any flooring will need to be laid before the kitchen fitters begin so make sure it's delivered and prepped before you book your fitters.
Go to a pro (and be prepared for compromise)
Once you know how you want your kitchen to look and a rough idea on functionality, go to a pro. Having an idea beforehand massively helps and they may have alternative ideas to tweak the layout that you may not have thought of and most importantly will know how to achieve as much of what you want within your space. Even as a designer I always go to a kitchen professional to ensure what I've designed is technically possible and I've accounted for all the little details. Often this service is free once you've found a supplier you like.
Pay attention to the details
That being said, don't let them talk you into something you don't want and don't feel obliged to buy everything from one supplier - they're there to sell after all. It's totally fine to say you don't want their worktops, handles or appliances. You can often save money and create a more unique look by sourcing these elements yourself (if you're prepared to manage it). Anyone can go into a showroom and choose an off-the-shelf product but it's the little details that will make your kitchen different and uniquely yours.
Don't skimp on fitting
A good fitter can make an inexpensive kitchen look incredible...so look for previous examples of their work or get recommendations from friends and family - they really are worth the money.
Often your budget will dictate how much project management is needed. If you’re buying off the shelf from a DIY store expect to have to employ and co-ordinate trades yourself including builders, plumbers and electricians. Some mid-range kitchen companies provide fitting services but often you’ll have to get them to liaise with other trades for work outside their fitting remit (they're not always very good at it and will charge a premium for this service). Always check with your kitchen company at the start about which services they can and can’t provide.
For more swoon-worthy kitchen inspiration check out our kitchen board on Pinterest...I really want them all!