How to Start Planning for a New Kitchen for Beginners
Updated: Jan 14
The first steps on how to start planning for a new kitchen can be overwhelming with so many options and decisions to make with very little unbiased opinion along the way. I've tried to break down the first steps here to give you a little insight on the design process.
I've guided many people through the design process in my career and have had personal experience with having a new kitchens fitted so here are my top tips to help get you started
Start with a Wish List
If you are replacing an existing kitchen space then draw up with a list of things that you dislike or are impractical about your existing space and things that really do work for you. It's so important for designers to know what the problems are so they can find the solutions, and equally they'll need to know the things you can't live without to prioritise when designing.
If you are planning for an extension or moving the kitchen into a different space then write a list of things you definitely want out of the space. It could be a dishwasher or wine cooler or simply just a space for your large countertop appliances like mixers etc.
I would also advise being prepared to compromise on some things as designers are not miracle workers and although we would love to fulfil everything on your list there may be limitations for various reasons. I've had to disappoint a fair few customers that dreamed of an island but didn't have the practical space for it. Sometimes it's just. not. possible.
Secondly, Style it Out
Walking into a kitchen showroom without doing this step will blow your mind. You really need to consider what style will suit your house and personality before walking through those doors. Essentially there are 2 types of style of kitchen door - Shaker, which is a flat panel in the middle with square edges surrounding. And flat slab doors, some of which will require a handle, and some may have a J pull moulding which you use to open the doors (No handles means one less decision to make!)
For example, if you have a more traditional house and want the country cottage or regal feel then shaker style usually works best. If you have a more modern property or if you are looking to modernise an older style house then a slab door would probably be the answer.
Once you have decided on door style then other things to consider is colours/textures and overall theme of the kitchen. Kitchen retailers introduce new ranges/colours every year or in some cases every couple of months so it can be hard to keep up with trends. However, if the kitchen is for you to use and not to sell the property on then stick to a colour scheme that works for you. You will look at this kitchen every day so getting the colours and style right is paramount.
Talk Money and Installation
Buying a new kitchen is making an investment in your property. Like all good things, the more you put in, the more you get out. If you want the dream kitchen but don't have the full funds then I would urge you to consider either waiting until you do, or opt for a kitchen supplier that offers finance options. If you are honest and upfront with your kitchen designer and installer about how much you want/have to invest then they can be honest with you as to what options are available within your budget.
Unfortunately there is no such thing as an average cost of a kitchen it can literally range from £3k to £30k+ and installation from £1800 to £10k+, dependant on your product choices and what works need to be carried out.
My advice to clients is always the same, get at LEAST 2, in some cases 3 quotes for both the kitchen and the installation. There are some companies that offer a full service from design to install. This is great if you want to finance the whole project and have peace of mind that the installation comes with a guarantee. Naturally you will pay premium for using a retailers installer. If you don't know any local fitters then speak to family and friends for recommendations, ask your local social media groups or try checkatrade.com for rated installers. Note; the cheapest quote is not always the best quote, for a reason.
Set a Date
Having a realistic deadline for when you want the kitchen finished will encourage you to make decisions and keep you motivated. The whole process from design to installation can take anywhere from a matter of weeks, months or even a year depending on a number of factors. If you want it sooner rather than later then set the date with your installer and keep things moving.
Understand this is a project
Unlike redecorating a living space or bedroom, planning a new kitchen is a major project and one of the biggest you will undertake in your property. I try to manage my clients expectations from the start that the journey may not be an easy one and there will no doubt be some stumbling blocks along the way. From having to make some hard decisions, to the potential unknown findings once your existing kitchen has been removed, there will undoubtably be some form of stress along the way. However once the kitchen is complete and you can get back to cooking, you will start to feel the value your new kitchen has added to your home and lifestyle.