The cost of getting a new kitchen can escalate easily, running into thousands depending on what materials you go for and which company you use. But choosing carefully and using a few money-saving tricks could cut your final bill considerably. Map out your current kitchen layout (or empty kitchen if you plan to start from scratch) on graph paper using metric measurements, as this is what kitchen manufacturers use.
Central to the design of your kitchen are your storage requirements. Assess your needs – what do you need to store and how much storage space will you therefore need? What do you use regularly and what do you use less often? Of the things you use regularly, where would make most sense for them to be stored? For example, if you like to try new recipes and experiment with spices, having cookbooks and a spice rack to hand near the hob would be useful. Or if you’re a seasoned baker, storage for baking utensils and ingredients might be best placed by the area where you’ll do most preparation. Once you’ve thought about what you want to store and where it makes most sense to place things, have a think about the different types of storage available: kitchen islands, open shelves, pull-out units, corner storage racks, hooks, freestanding units such as dressers, floor-to-ceiling cupboards, plate racks and wine racks (built-in or freestanding).
Look out for sales to grab a bargain kitchen – post-Christmas and pre-Easter are usually good times to buy. Websites like diyluxurykitchens.co.uk can help you find the design you want. Once you’ve found a company you like, if it can’t reduce the price any further, ask whether it will include the sink or certain appliances for no extra charge. Avoid giving a company more than 25% deposit before everything is delivered. If you’re able, pay at least £100 of the deposit on your credit card. This will give you extra rights, should you encounter problems later on. Check the payment schedule before signing any contracts for products and fitting. You can also buy a second-hand kitchen at a bargain price, but it’s vital to check it all fits well and that care has been taken to avoid damaging the kitchen when units are removed from another building. Whether you get a new kitchen or a second-hand one, if it’s from a big brand, it’s worth checking how highly its customers rate it.
If you decide to buy all new appliances, a typical list, including a washing machine, built-in oven, hob, cooker hood, dishwasher and fridge freezer, will cost from around £1,500, if you choose budget Best Buy-rated appliances. Installation is an extra expense on top of the kitchen itself and could be anything from £250 for pre-assembled units up to around £1,000, depending on the size of your kitchen and what’s being installed. Your kitchen’s plumbing, electrical wiring and waste water pipes also have a bearing on the overall cost. The more pipework and wiring you need to move, the higher the cost of your kitchen improvement will be. So if you can keep the layout of your old kitchen, the cheaper the installation will be. Many kitchen companies offer an installation service, at extra cost. We asked customers to rate the firm they used for installation, including the speed and quality of installation, the amount of mess made and the communication with their installer. Overall customer scores ranged from 84% to 56%, so it’s worth taking a look at our guide to kitchen brand installation to find out how your preferred company scored.