Renovating your Kitchen
You’ve decided to renovate what is potentially the most expensive room in the house. But where do you start, and need it be as expensive as you think?
The cost will depend on the extent of the improvements. At one end of the scale is a new, fully fitted kitchen, utilising the full services of a specialist company. At the other end of the scale is a kitchen facelift, retaining many of the existing features and either enhancing or adding to them. You may otherwise opt for a new fitted kitchen, but take on the project yourself in order to save on expenditure.
First you need to work out what budget you have available, then shop around to get an idea of prices for products and labour to help you determine which of these options is viable. Cost will also be influenced by the size of the room, so you will need to give measurements when asking for quotes. Another factor affecting your budget is how long you plan to live in that property. Is it worthwhile spending large amounts if you are planning to move home in the near future?
Contemporary, Traditional or Country Kitchen?
For either of these options, you will need to consider the style that you are aiming for. Will it be a contemporary, traditional or country kitchen? Will the units be freestanding or fitted? What about the colour scheme? The choice of colours and the type of accessories you choose will emphasize your chosen style. For example, many modern kitchens have stainless steel accessories such as toasters and kettles. Sometimes, the size of the room can dictate the style; current trends are for larger kitchens, often with a central island unit. You will also need to take account of your storage needs, and the practicalities of your kitchen e.g. where the plumbing is situated.
It is a good idea to make sure that the kitchen is in harmony with the overall feel of the home; a contemporary, streamlined kitchen, full of the latest gadgets, may seem out of place in a cosy country cottage.
Let’s look at the options for refurbishing your kitchen:
Professionally Designed & Fitted Kitchen
There are many companies specialising in fitted kitchens, including Moben Kitchens at: www.moben.co.uk, and Wickes Kitchens at: www.wickes.co.uk. These companies can take care of a whole host of things including planning, design and fitting, technical surveys and project management. Using computer technology, they can provide diagrams of what the finished kitchen will look like, enabling you to make changes if required. They also supply accessories and fixtures such as wine racks, lighting, and taps, to add the finishing touches.
The options for lighting are numerous and can be used to create an effect as well as for functionality. Spot lighting in floors, ceilings, and kickboards can add a dramatic touch.
When selecting your new kitchen, think about longevity, both in terms of durability and style. Many trends soon become outdated, so it may be advisable to opt for a timeless, classic style, or something that can easily be adapted in the future.
DIY Fitted Kitchen
When designing your kitchen, you could utilise the plans provided by specialist kitchen companies, but take on the work yourself, or you could glean ideas from home improvement magazines or websites.
You may decide to project manage and employ specialist craftsmen such as electricians, joiners and plumbers to carry out the work. As you will be managing the workforce, it is essential to ensure that it is synchronised in order to avoid delays.
An important aspect in designing and building your own kitchen is to ensure that you comply with building regulations concerning safety. You can find out about requirements from the government website: www.planningportal.gov.uk.
There are a number of ways in which you can improve the appearance of your kitchen, while keeping costs down. Here are some suggestions:
- Replace cupboard doors and draw fronts rather than whole units.
- Do appliances need to be replaced, or, if they are still serviceable, could they be built into the units to disguise any worn exteriors?
- Do tiles need to be replaced or can they be repainted or re-grouted?
- Try replacing accessories such as kettles, toasters and coffee makers. A new set of matching utensils might make a difference.
- You could give the kitchen a good clean using specialist cleaning materials for ovens etc.
- Box in the boiler and/or piping to tidy the kitchen up.
Whichever route you decide to take, you should bear in mind that the kitchen will not be fully operational whilst the work is taking place, so you may need to make alternative cooking arrangements for a while.