High level summary of the kitchen sector

A new kitchen can be a very big, but worthwhile investment for a homeowner. It will add value and style to a house and should add value when the house comes to be sold. It can also help a house to sell much more quickly!

With the kitchen being affectionately known as ‘the heart of the house’, there are many styles to choose from when renovating or refurbishing. With freestanding or fitted units being available, the most popular by far is the fitted option.

There are a breath-taking 16 ‘popular’ styles to choose from. These are:

·       Traditional

·       Contemporary

·       Transitional

·       Beach

·       Eclectic

·       Modern

·       Craftsman

·       Farmhouse

·       Rustic

·       Mediterranean

·       Asian

·       Industrial

·       Scandinavian

·       Mid-century modern

·       Shabby Chic

·       Southwest

Traditional and contemporary are the two most popular styles out of the sixteen. Whilst there are many popular styles to choose from, they all have features in common – they all incorporate a certain amount of storage, cooking, and cleaning facilities, and many include a place to dine or at least sit. Choosing to install a new kitchen can also add other benefits, such as improved accessibility and function ability for disabled people/wheel chair users. You can create more storage and space, improve the energy efficiency, improve the flow of the kitchen, make it a much nicer space to be in.


Considerations for buying a new kitchen

As arguably one of the most important rooms in a home, there are many decisions to make before taking the leap. Here are some things we recommend be taken into consideration before proceeding to part with your cash….

Cost – Like all building works, it is always best to create a budget – especially if there isn’t an abundance of free cash. Be sure to weigh up the cost of the kitchen, the tradesmen needed, appliances, new flooring/heating adjustments, any other fixtures and fittings, and even new décor. Once a cost is in place, add a contingency (recommended of between10-15% of the perceived cost of the project) just in case anything does runover or hasn’t been accounted for.

Fitting – It needs to be established who will remove and refit the kitchen. How will the old one be disposed of? Is a plumber, electrician, or gas fitter required? Ensure that all tradesmen are registered and insured.

Longevity & Durability – Will the style of your new kitchen still appeal to you in 2 years’ time? Will it withstand the bashings of a young family? Will it create the storage and space you desire? Will the appliances be suitable? Are the appliances fixed or can they be easily replaced or serviced?

Appliances – Saving energy is big business, so choosing appliances that are energy efficient (especially with the cost of living rising so rapidly) is now the norm. The energy ratings are now shown on all new appliances, with ‘A’ being the most efficient and ‘G’ being the least. Alongside the energy efficiency are safety considerations. These range from child-locks on certain appliances, cold touch oven doors, automatic induction hobs, and instant heat taps. Research should be done on appliances before sealing the deal.

Space and Storage – Take a look at how much floor space the new units and appliances will take up. Is there adequate cupboard and storage space? Can shelving be placed inside the cupboards? Are the cupboards in a logical place? Could you use any pull our larder racks or carousels for corner cupboards?

Electrical decisions – When any refurbishment works are carried out, it is important to remember to count how many plug sockets you will need, and where you will need them. Do you need them at ground level or over a kitchen worktop? Do you need any in cupboards to power fitted appliances? Try to fit a couple of spares to that you are not caught short in mobile phone ‘flat battery emergencies’, or having numerous appliances plugged in for the all-important party. Also make sure your lighting is adequate – and that the switches are accessible at each point of entry to the kitchen.

Heating – Think about a new size/more efficient/repositioned radiator or heater. Will the old ones do the job as well from where they are?Are you going to introduce a new form of heating, such as underfloor, log burner, or infrared heater? Make these decisions before you start so that nothing is completed on an adhoc basis once the kitchen is installed.

Flooring – Flooring must also be considered when installing a new kitchen, as there may be gaps from where the old kitchen stood to the new one. The type of flooring chosen should match the needs of the household. Lino is cheap but durable. and comes in a variety of designs Tiles are hard wearing, but cold and can be slippery when wet. Wooden flooring is aesthetically pleasing but can be expensive to install and hard to maintain. Laminate flooring can suit a tighter budget but can scratch easily and lift if any liquid is spilt. Tiles are a hardwearing option with many designs available, but can expensive, crack if something is dropped, and can be slippery when wet and cold.

Time and mess – Addressing the time and mess factors of anew kitchen installation is very important. Plan exactly when which item isfitted, how long it will take, which tradespeople will be involved, and what isgoing in after. A new kitchen can mean that a family lose the use of a kitchenfor a period of time – make plans to work around this. Will there be periods oftime that the water or electricity will be switched off? How much dust/rubblewill there be? Will there be large vans and tools around small children? Willthe house need to be occupied by the proprietor when work is being carried out?These are some of the practical considerations to be addressed.

Kitchen Design Mistakes to Avoid

Breaking the flow - Kitchens generally work around the ‘triangle rule’ – this is where the kitchen, cooker, and fridge are set in a triangle to make it more functional. Don’t compromise on this to make the kitchen look nicer. If it is poor in function, then the kitchen will not have the effect you hoped it would.

Mis measuring – Always double check measurements. It does not matter if it is floor space, new worktops, or an appliance, you should always double check your measurements (or let a professional take them).

Choosing inadequate flooring - As discussed, new flooring must be functional as well as match your room. Think about ‘the bashings’ it will take, how dirty it will get, and any maintenance that it may need. Also consider the cost of any preparation work that may be needed prior to fitting.

Painting – If any of the kitchen is to be painted, then make sure that the paint is a specially formulated one. It must be designed to with stand heat, steam, splashes, and knocks. A standard emulsion will not be suitable – it will easily flake and peel under the stress and strains of daily kitchen life!

Underestimating storage & counter space – Make a note storage you currently have, and what needs improving on. Will you need more storage? Would you prefer some shelves to a cupboard? Make sure there is enough counter space. Will the storage impede on anything else? Will it open too bang another cupboard door when open?

Ventilation – Kitchens must have good ventilation. Good sized windows and extraction hoods can get rid of cooking smells and help to purify the air. With extractor hoods or fans, make sure they are energy efficient.

Expert Advice – Be aware that there are the tradespeople who will offer advice simply to put more money in their own pocket. They may offer top of the range items when they are not needed or offer very complex electrical or plumbing solutions. These may sound good, but they are expensive to install and expensive when things go wrong….

Going overbudget – As mentioned previously, a contingency should be added onto the budget in case of any oversight or should any mishaps occur. Running out of money halfway through a project is extremely disheartening and can leave a room in a dangerous and unusable state. Be aware of what is unneeded or is impractical – do not get carried away with the buzz of a renovation.

Style – Kitchen refurbs are not cheap – you must think about the style. Fads come and go – bright colours are in fashion and then are out. Think about adding strong colours carefully. If you purchase expensive coloured tiles, cupboards, or appliances, will you still be happy with them in a couple of years’ time when colour is deemed dated? Are metallic and glass objects suitable for splashes?

Common kitchen installation errors

Choosing the wrong type of flooring - Kitchen floors have to with stand a lot of traffic! When choosing which type of flooring to go with, it is best to look at the different options and the durability they offer. Lino is easy to fit and can be bought on a budget, whereas stone or tiles are more expensive but should rarely need replacing. You are likely to tire of the stone or tiles before they are of you! Water resistance should also be a factor, as there can be a lot of spillages on a kitchen. A floor that is easy to clean, and tough so that a dropped pan won’t crack it, are other factors to address. Also make sure that the foundations of the floor are good enough. The floor should be level, any prep or underflooring should be adequately fitted prior. Do not scrimp on prep and underflooring!

Ignoring moisture levels – Humidity levels should be addressed too, especially if fitting a wooden floor. Humidity levels will even determine when a floor should be fitted – if fitting at a time of high humidity, then the wood will have expanded and will contract when the humidity levels drop. This means that gaps will appear between the slats. If fitted when the wood has contracted at its most, then when it expands, it can crack or raise. A professional should know when the wood is at the optimal fitting state.

Rushing installation – When installing a new kitchen, decide on a plan of installation. Know what is being installed, by whom, and in what order. There is a lot of precision needed in installation – whilst you may be excited to see the finished look, or the mess and tradespeople are driving you crazy, do not be tempted to try and rush the installation. You do not want mismatched cupboards or a shortage of skilled labour when your help decides to down tools and leave site…. If you are carrying out the installation yourself, then definitely so not rush anything. Mistakes can be costly. If a trades person carries out a mistake, the cost is on them!

Creating a poor layout – Make sure there is a copy of the layout design. Creating a clear design ensures that no cupboards or appliance send up in the wrong place, and that you are aware of what is going where, and how much space you are left with.

Ignoring manufacturers guidelines – Each manufacturer will have a different set of guides and rules to follow. Failure to follow instructions can result in a warranty or guarantee being invalid. Not only this, but failure to follow instructions can mean that your new kitchen is not installed properly, and problems may follow.

Inadequate fixing – Make sure that all cupboards are fixed securely, and that no corners have been cut. Flooring must be properly fitted and level – tiles can crack on an uneven surface. Make sure that all power supplies are correctly installed and work, and that lighting is adequate. All appliances must be checked before tradespeople leave, and do not pay anyone for substandard work. If you have any issues or snagging's, these must be addressed before the installers receive their full money owed. Do not be pressured into paying for works that have not been agreed or have not been carried out to a satisfactory standard.

Kitchen Compare helps you to get the best deal for your kitchen (kitchen-compare.com)

Best Kitchen Fitters: Which Brand Provides The Best Kitchen Installation? - Which?

Kitchen Costs: How Much Should You Spend On A New Kitchen? - Which?