Five Frequently Asked Questions About Designing a Kitchen

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The kitchen is probably the most important room in the home. Not only is it the room that gets used the most often, but it’s usually the most expensive when it comes to remodelling and updating. Making changes to a kitchen requires meticulous planning to ensure all the necessary elements are co-ordinated and all the details fit in the plan, not to mention keeping within a budget. Lack of thought and preparation in new kitchen design can produce disastrous results, creating a botched-up job and costing you more money than you’d anticipated.

So, before you get tackling your new kitchen upgrade, read the following five most frequently asked questions about designing a new kitchen.

1. How much should I budget for my new kitchen?

No two kitchens are the same, so no budget will be the same as another. The factors that will have an influence include how big your kitchen is, how much remodelling you’re planning on making and the quality of materials or appliances you intend to use. Another important factor is how much you intend to do yourself, or whether you’re going to employ the services of a professional tradesperson. Obviously, how much money you have to spare will also determine just what you can do in your kitchen and the quality of the materials or appliances you choose.

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It can be really easy to get carried away with the excitement of planning a new kitchen, so always try to stay within your budget. Make a careful, detailed plan of how much things will cost. Not only will you need to consider costs of appliances, fixtures, fittings, materials etc. but you’ll need to factor in service charges, labour and any painting or decorating that may need doing as well. Leave a bit of leeway within your budget, in case unexpected expenses crop up or you change your mind about certain elements along the way.

A very basic refit could cost as little as £1,000, but an average remodel could cost anywhere between £5,000 – £10,000. However, many kitchen refits can cost a lot more than this. Some people even argue that where you live can influence how much a refit will cost.

2. What design elements make a kitchen more or less expensive?

Expect to spend up to half of your budget on the kitchen cabinets if these are included as part of your refit. How much you spend on your cabinets depends on a number of factors. How big your kitchen is will impact on how many new cabinets you’ll need. The quality of the materials used to make the cabinets, such as the materials of the cupboards and doors, as well as the worktops, are all influenced by price. Bespoke materials and custom-made designs will cost more than off-the-shelf designs, so bear this in mind. Get a few quotes in, and have a look around at the different designs and price ranges before picking one, as you’ll want to ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money. Ask for recommendations of any designers and kitchen fitters and always choose one with a good reputation. They should be able to show you examples of previous work undertaken.

If you’re working to a tight budget, and can’t afford to replace all of your cabinets, then consider changing the handles or drawer knobs, or giving them a repaint to spruce them up a little.

The type of floor you choose, the splashbacks and appliances are also elements that can eat into your budget.

3. How long will the whole process take?

How long it takes from start to finish of your kitchen redesign will depend to the extent on how much you’re having done to it. It could take between a week or two, to several weeks or even a few months for a major remodel. Speak to the designer and fitter to get an idea of timescales, and always factor in a bit extra for any unexpected hiccups along the way. If you’re doing some of the remodelling yourself, then it may take longer than a professional, so bear this in mind. Also factor in the possibility that the designer or fitter may have other projects on the go, so be clear of your expectations before any work begins. If you want sole priority, then you may have to pay extra for this service.

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If the planning and co-ordination of materials is robust from the start, then the work should be carried out as quickly as possible, and to the given time schedule. Lack of planning and ordering materials at the last minute can delay proceedings. Don’t forget you also have a part to play in how long it takes – if you keep chopping and changing your mind on the design, then you will lengthen the process. Whilst it is important to make the right decision, once you’ve made your choices try to stick to them as best as possible.

4. How much value will be added to my house with a newly designed kitchen?

Experts argue that the kitchen is one of the biggest selling points for people looking to buy a new home, so a newly designed kitchen is real asset to anybody thinking of selling up. But how much value will it add exactly? A lot depends on where you live. If your property is worth £100,000 and your kitchen remodelling project cost you £30,000, then don’t expect it to add that much extra onto the value of your home.

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However, as a general guideline, you can expect to add 5-15% onto the value of your home.  If you live in an area where lots of houses are up for sale, then a high-quality kitchen can give it a competitive edge and help boost a sale. But, if you are planning on selling and are considering a kitchen upgrade, always use the value of your home as a guideline to how much you should spend on your kitchen, and try to keep it in proportion.

5. Which are the most important appliances to invest in?

The appliances you choose as part of your remodel will depend on which are most useful to you, and, of course, which need upgrading. If your cooker is worn and shabby, then it will be a worthwhile investment to get a new one as part of an upgrade. Don’t buy appliances that you aren’t likely to use.

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Spend a bit extra on those that will get good use. If you’re thinking of buying appliances which you’re hoping will attract potential buyers, should you decide to sell in the future, then choose ones with universal appeal, and ones that are either in-built or you are prepared to leave for future buyers. Appliances can be expensive so do your research. Read online reviews and choose ones that match the rest of your kitchen styling and blend in well with each other. Opt for the most energy efficient appliances, as they’ll be cheaper to run.

Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwarby/