Your New Kitchen
Choosing a new kitchen is an exciting opportunity to create a beautiful, functional and welcoming space in your home. But there’s so much to think about – styles, costs, logistics… Here’s our bulletin on kitchen design, with checklist of items to choose, to make things easy(ier)…
1. Cabinets – think about:
- built-in, free-standing or a combination
- colour and finish – gloss/ matt/ brushed – plywood?
- style – framed or frameless, traditional, Shaker, minimal, etc.
- interiors – shelves/ drawers/ clever pull-out systems, integrated appliances
- handles/ knobs
2. Appliances – the basics are a sink, an oven, a hob and a fridge – each of which involves micro-decisions:
- size of sink – single/ double
- style of taps – mixer, colour, retractable hose
- drainage area – which side?
- filtered water tap
- instant boiling water
- separate oven(s) and hob or range-style
- microwave – separate or within an oven
- special requirements such as steam oven/ warming drawers/ wine storage?
- height – traditional low level – or eye level.
- extraction of cooking fumes – extractor hood (recirculating or ducted?) or ‘downdraft’ (pull up) extraction behind hob.
- freestanding or integrated
- fridge/ freezer combined?
- icemaking/ water dispensing facility
3. Work surfaces
- where should these be fitted?
- which material – stone (granite)/ composite (quartz), cement, tiles, timber (NB durability), sheet metal (stainless steel or copper NB upkeep), laminate of various styles and qualities
- recent innovations include ceramic worksurface with a built-in hob
A major consideration here is cost vs. attractiveness/ durability/ suitability.
4. Wall finish
- splashback behind sink/ near working areas – tiled/ glass/ sheet metal
- colour/ pattern/ how to finish the edges?
- colour and finish of surrounding walls – neutral backdrop to main kitchen or statement colour/ design
- adding wall/ ceiling moulding – will this fit around the kitchen units?
- Will you change the current flooring? Check it suitable for use in a kitchen… Tiles work well but some engineered wooden boards will also be suitable
6. Electrical layout
- for appliances (supply socket + safety spur where required)
- sockets for small appliances – kettle/ toaster/ coffee machine/ food mixer/ blender/ grinder/ music player/ charging devices
- lighting – overhead – task/ decorative (downlights or pendants), under cabinet lighting
7. Other considerations – will you have a boiler and/ or laundry appliances in this area?
- check size of boiler and related pipework
- check the regulations governing flue height
- consider the route of flue/ position of exit point washer/ dryer?
- washing machine will require water supply and drainage (+ electrical supply) and dryer may need drainage.
The ‘shell’ of the kitchen should be ready before you start work on fitting the kitchen. A few things you may want to prepare:
- Consider moving/ reconfiguring all walls, ceiling, floor, doors or windows?
- Check the walls are strong enough to support the cabinets to be fixed to them.
- Ensure the floor base in a good enough condition to be covered w your chosen floor finish.
- Assess whether the electrics comply with current regulations – the increased number of electrical points needed in most kitchens may mean an upgrade to the consumer unit (fuseboard) is required.
- If you’re having a gas oven, ensure there’s a current, safe gas supply, or arrange to fit.
- Make sure you run a water supply to relevant devices i.e. fridge/ ice maker as well as sink.
- Drainage – consider how to connect this to mains drainage/ ensure any drainage pipes can be concealed in the floor/ within cabinets?
It’s really important to measure the space carefully and plan layouts, etc., accordingly to ensure your vision for the kitchen will fit in the space you actually have! Space is often at a premium but points to bear in mind:
- As well as the depth of the cabinets themselves, we’d suggest allowing an additional ‘void’ of 50 – 100 mm between back of cabinet and adjacent walls to run ducting/ pipework, cables, etc.
- Carefully consider ‘circulation space’ – the space needed to pass comfortably between a cabinet and adjacent wall/ cabinet – especially when choosing the size/ position of islands/ peninsulas, etc. Ideally, allow 1 m for passing space and between 90cm – 1.2 m space between the island and nearby units – especially if either contains drawers/ hinged doors, etc.
Costs and Timing
We suggest drawing up a budget and a timeline, to include:
- the above component parts (those you’re going to fit) (and note any long lead times for cabinets, appliances, tiles, etc.)
- general builder preparation costs – such as upgrades to electrical system/ additional switches, sockets or spurs, preparing and painting ceilings, walls and floors, tiling, etc. and then (usually) connection of the various appliances when fitted by the kitchen supplier – and ensure these start sufficiently in advance of the kitchen fit date to be completed by then!
- kitchen fitter installation cost – this is separate from the general builder costs and covers the costs of putting the component parts of the kitchen together. Ensure the installation timeline allows for any necessary prep work. Note also that work surfaces can often only be cut once the kitchen cabinets are in place, so you may need to allow 10 days – 2 weeks between templating of the finished space and supply/ fit of the work surface. (During this time you’ll only have limited use of the kitchen…)
Further reading/ brands to explore: