Designing your dream kitchen – where do I start?
When many people consider getting a new kitchen they often don’t appreciate the amount of work that is involved, how much time is consumed and the disruption it can cause. Sometimes it is a spur of the moment decision whereby you have seen a TV show, neighbour’s house or magazine advert and thought “I wish my kitchen looked like that”! However, though it can be a thoroughly enjoyable experience, if you want to keep your sanity throughout the process – you should probably know what you are getting into.
Before thinking about contacting a designer/contractor it really does help to get an idea of what sort of thing you are looking for, getting that idea across is a different matter entirely but staring blankly when asked “So what do you want?” will make the whole process a lot trickier.
To start off with the obvious, you need to be looking at a lot of kitchens. You may have an idea in your head of what you want or a design in mind but looking at what works and what doesn’t will go a long way to avoiding design flaws. Pinterest is a social media app that focuses purely on images and is a good a starting point for collecting ideas and collating them into something that is easily understood. There are thousands of different kitchen designs, styles and trends from across the world that can be saved within your own album. Houzz is also a good site for checking out ideas, getting some inspiration and is targeted specifically to those working on home design, decorating and renovation, so you can find a good collection of images.
Now this next part will depend on the extent of your tech knowledge (if you struggled to find this site then I would probably skip this tip) but there are basic 3d modelling programs that can be used to mock up a general draft of your kitchen including online kitchen design programs, mobile apps or beginners modelling programs such as sketch up. You do not need a great deal of computer knowledge, there isn’t a steep learning curve and it could save you money in the long run. If you have absolutely no idea how to use the thing you are reading this post on, then try to sketch using good old pencil and paper with special graph paper if possible.
Planning also allows you to work out how much your design is likely to cost. This will allow you to save more efficiently and allow the contractor to give a better idea of scope and give an accurate quote. Also, deals and offers happen throughout the year so don’t feel you need to rush into anything to get a “Limited Time – One Time Only Offer” but many places do this at certain times in the year so it’s good to keep an eye out.
Save your pennies
What you think it is going to cost and what it will actually cost are two very different things. Quotes are used to give a general idea of cost based on materials needed and hours likely to be put in but there will ALWAYS be additions. If your budget is £5000 and you are quoted £5000 then there is absolutely no leeway for additional costs and you don’t want to have to delay due to a shortage of funds.
Shop around for the best deals on appliances, check out reviews and try to get value for money when you can. You should look to get quality materials that last though, the term value for money doesn’t mean “Cheap” it means the product justifies the expense. If you buy quality hinges and runners that last the lifetime of your kitchen you’ll never have to worry about replacing them and therefore wasting money in the long run. The same applies when finding someone to do your kitchen, check reviews, look at as many photos of past work as possible and understand the most expensive isn’t necessarily the best.
Make sure you measure everything! A lot of time you will have an idea of what appliances you want in your kitchen but if you wait until the cabinets are built before checking if it will fit then you could end up disappointed. You may assume there is a “Standard” height and width for cabinets – there isn’t. There are common measurements which many use but there is no one standard measurement that all kitchens have.
Hire a Designer and Contractor
Though you would have (hopefully) created a basic template for what you want, it will not be up to the standards of an actual designer. A designer will be able to include measurements, materials, advice and more on the whole process and whether or not what you want is feasible or economically viable. When deciding on who to choose ask to see a project similar to yours and find out how much it costs, payment schedules, timescale etc. Have a look at the KBSA website which has hundreds of local independent kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and home office retailers nationwide which have to meet certain standards to be members.
Make sure you are comfortable with who you find. Just because they come recommended and have a wealth of experience doesn’t mean they are the right fit for you. You will be putting a lot of money into this and you want to make sure you make the most out of it. You have to find someone who is in sync with what you need, they will be coming into your home, disrupting your life and if for whatever reason you don’t feel comfortable with them doing that then find someone else, it’ll make the whole experience a lot more pleasant and enjoyable.
When the time comes to get started make sure you have done all the preparations and know what to expect. Is everything cleared out of the cupboards? Will you need to be out the house at any time? Who is removing all the waste? Have you made plans on how you are going to eat over the next few weeks? You may consider moving out while the project is in progress but you could always hire a temporary kitchen which can be used while work is going on at a reasonable price.
There may be some lucky ones that get through the entire process without a hiccup and at the end of the project move back into their perfect kitchen and everything is exactly how they expected. Unfortunately, that isn’t you. It will not run exactly to plan and there will be hiccups, even if they are small there are going to be things that don’t go perfectly. If you enter the process with this in mind it will make things a lot easier to deal with. It may be that after a week you get a scratch on your new flooring, a drawer won’t shut properly, there is an issue with the paint or maybe the cooker won’t work. This isn’t the end of the world. Just because you have paid your last payment doesn’t mean you now have a fully functioning kitchen for the rest of your life.
In the end, renovating your kitchen can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience which you will appreciate every time you use it. There are a host of other considerations but hopefully this gives you an idea of the types of things to expect throughout the project.