The Zero Stress Guide to Kitchens


What You Need To Know Before You Buy a Kitchen

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Kitchens – at-a-glance guidelines

General advice

  • Visit several showrooms to compare styles, quality, etc.
  • Ask friends and family for recommendations.
  • By all means negotiate on price but don’t expect top quality at bargain prices.
  • As with all building projects, have a small contingency of around 10% for unexpected expenses.
  • Good lighting is important, especially for reasons of safety.
  • If you choose a bespoke kitchen ask to see previous installations and talk to customers to check whether the project ran smoothly.
  • Check out suppliers’ guarantees.
  • Establish the complaints procedures in case of any problems.
  • Bespoke kitchens take longer to supply.
  • Choose appliances wisely after carrying out thorough research.
  • Pick paint, tiles and wallpaper that are appropriate for kitchen use.
  • Warn neighbours of impending work and potential noise nuisance.

Planning tips

  • Plan your kitchen according to your lifestyle. A family’s needs will be different from a childless couple.
  • Decide on a budget and stick to it.
  • Work with the shape of your room.
  • Keep the existing service points in mind when planning the kitchen as rewiring and re-plumbing can eat into the budget as well as adding time to the work schedule.
  • One of the first decisions should be where to place the sink, drainer and dishwasher.
  • Plan to keep the sink, food preparation and hob/cooker areas close together.
  • Remember the ‘magic triangle’ of sink, fridge and hob/cooker.
  • Think about the ventilation points when planning your kitchen. Don't plan cupboards over them.
  • When measuring the size of the kitchen, make sure that the exact shape of the walls is known. If there is an inwards corner in the room it will influence the shape of the worktop and the place of the wall-cupboards.
  • In a two-way galley kitchen leave enough walking space between the two galleys.
  • Give careful thought to choice of materials for floors, units and worktops. In a U-shaped kitchen, consider using one of the legs of the ‘U’ as a breakfast bar.

Storage tips

  • Consider your lifestyle when assessing your storage requirements.
  • In a small and narrow kitchen you can create more space by making the wall-cupboards taller rather than having them protruding outwards. You will create more headspace and the kitchen will look wider.
  • Store heavy items in the cupboards underneath the worktop.
  • Store rarely used items on the highest shelves of your cupboard to keep easy accessible space free for daily use.
  • Store your utensils near to where you are most likely to use them. This will make your kitchen more efficient.
  • Consider using a floor-to-ceiling, free-standing cupboard in which to store all your crockery or as a larder for canned and packaged food.
  • A dresser is an elegant storage solution, offering space to both display and conceal items, if you have sufficient room.
  • If you have a high ceiling consider installing a rack from which to hang pans.
  • Look for kitchen units with a corner carousel if you have a U-shaped or L-shaped kitchen.
  • In a small, narrow kitchen go for tall wall cupboards with less depth
  • Keep your worktop clutter free for a tidy look.
  • Think about where you want your main bin to be situated. Try to integrate it in the area below a worktop for a clean and clutter-free look.
  • Make a space for your cookery books.

DIY construction tips

  • Make sure you have the right tools for the job.
  • Don’t be reluctant to get help from friends when you need an extra pair of hands.
  • Call in the professionals to do the jobs for which you don’t have the necessary skills.
  • Keep to a strict timetable to minimise household disruption.



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