A fully-fledged kitchen upgrade is a big project. If it’s your first time doing some major DIY, you might be feeling some extra angst about the mistakes that might happen, or where to even get started. Have no fear: by following a handful of simple rules, you can eliminate some of the time and most of the errors involved.
There may well be setbacks, but bearing in mind a few considerations that many folks have had to learn about the hard way, your journey towards your dream kitchen can be completed as smoothly as can be. Let’s run down the key pointers to remember when you’re remodelling.
1. Assess your needs
At face value, this room is all about cooking. Yet finding the right kitchen requires a lot more soul-searching than that. In reality, this space can be one of the most versatile in your entire home, a spot for cooking up something good, entertainment, laundry, and more. Along with your master bathroom, it’s also the part of the house that lends the most value to your property on the whole.
If you want your new model to be the heart of the household, installing an island is a wonderful way to make your renovated kitchen sleek and versatile. This can be used as a breakfast bar, a place for food prep, late-night chats, midnight snacks, and even working from home.
Conversely, if you love making your home a buzzing social hub, an open plan kitchen might be for you. This is a fantastic way to accommodate both relaxed dinner parties and big celebrations, or keep an eye on the little ones at all times.
Ultimately, being thorough is what will pay off. The clearer you think about what you want out of your kitchen, the more straightforward it will be to explain to designers and contractors, and move ahead with your remodel.
2. Calculate your budget
Although it can be boring and time-consuming, good budgeting is essential for healthy finances. It also helps you get down to brass tacks, requiring you to do a bit of shopping around and comparing products and designs.
Start with listing the basic elements like flooring, cabinets, worktops, appliances, sinks, taps and splashbacks, and work from there. Since you also have to factor in installation and preparation, as well as contractors’ quotes and unexpected costs, it’s also worthwhile creating a 10% contingency pot to cover any surprise developments.
If you have enough savings to cover the remodel, that’s wonderful, but you might find that this wipes out your disposable income. A credit card lets you spread repayments over a long period of time, though you should consider interest rates and your credit rating, as well as keeping an eye on overspending — particularly if there are unpredicted extra costs.
Homeowner loans can also be a flexible solution for funding renovations. As this type of loan is secured against your property, it usually enables you to borrow larger sums of money. Try using Loan.co.uk’s home improvement loan calculator to see how much you could feasibly borrow and whether this is an appropriate option for you.
3. Check your plumbing & heating
If your remodel is mostly cosmetic, this shouldn’t be too much of a factor. On the other hand, if your upgrade is a bold reshaping and restructuring, it’s good to be aware of the nuts and bolts of your kitchen. Before you pursue your ambitious remodel, check that your existing plumbing and heating will be suitable for these changes.
Features such as underfloor heating, for example, will require installation before new tiled flooring is laid. This is particularly well-suited to larger open plan design, as the rising heat ensures even room temperatures across the wider space. The most cost-effective options would be to fit a radiator with a thermostatic valve, but this takes up a lot of wall space that you may not have.
In terms of plumbing, a common consideration is the location of your washing machine, sink and dishwasher. Since adjusting plumbing requires a lot of time and effort, your plan should ideally reflect that, placing them close together if this is your current setup.
4. Choose your new features
This is your chance to bring your dreams of a counter-depth fridge or steam oven to life, but again, make sure that these additional features will fit in your current space and budget. While breezing through lots of different ideas can be the most fun and exciting part of choosing how to reshape your kitchen, learning about the finer details of products and appliances will be crucial in making the right choices to achieve your renovation.
Kitchen designers serve this exact purpose, with an eye for efficiency and a deep knowledge of fixtures and fittings. Be savvy though: don’t sign off on a quote for design and installation of a kitchen until the designer has looked at the space. When they have finished designing, be sure to receive a comprehensive quotation for both cabinetry and other fittings, as well as the installation price.
5. Sustainably dispose of old materials
Once you’ve decided on your end-goal and the wheels are in motion, putting in a new kitchen can go from an exciting dream to a rewarding reality. This enterprise does, however, also leave you with a lot of wasted materials and old appliances, and you may be averse to pursuing the less-sustainable option of the landfill.
Freecycle, Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree are all great online resources to advertise your old kitchen gear otherwise going for scrap, which people can use for other functions. While there’s always the local recycling centre, you can also outsource this with professional services that may operate in your area. Bywaters, for example, have a waste management service that operates throughout London and beyond, and can reuse or recycle your old supplies for you.
You may not have to see the end of your materials at all — why not repurpose your shelves and other cabinetry yourself? If the DIY bug has stuck with you once your remodel is complete, a small desk or a homemade shoe rack for your cupboards could be the next mini-project for you. It will no doubt be a lot less demanding than the last one.
We’re very proud to bring you this feature in association with MasterClass, Loan.co.uk and Bywaters. For more inspiration for your home, please pay a visit to our interiors page.