new kitchen:Household section: Wanted. One kitchen; tasteful, practical and no former owners. Oh, and fitted tomorrow, please. If only finding a new kitchen was this straight-forward.
new kitchen: You took out an advert and, within a few days, your dream kitchen was supplied and fitted. Job done. In reality it may take a little longer to find.
Luckily, there are a wealth of kitchen ideas to consider online, whether you plan to convert your existing one or go for a complete refit. Where to begin? Well, ‘at the beginning' is perhaps the honest answer. Settling on a timeframe and how much you are prepared to pay for the kitchen, whether through a loan or from savings, is a good place to start. Kitchen makeover or full facelift? Are you sure your kitchen needs an entire facelift? It might be that only certain elements need replacing, such as cupboards or flooring. Use your current kitchen as inspiration. Are the sink, cooker, boiler and fridge in the place where you would want them to be, or could they be better placed elsewhere? Think of how much you could save by focusing on ‘urgent replacements' rather than ‘nice to haves'. Less important aspects of the kitchen can be tackled later down than line, when you've saved more money. Cooking up the right idea… When planning your kitchen remodel, the two main considerations to bear in mind are function and design. Function: How do you expect to use your kitchen? Consider whether it will it be mainly used for preparing and cooking meals or used as a social or living space.
- Work out whether you'll eat in the kitchen. If so, weigh up if you'd prefer a dining table or a fixed breakfast bar with accompanying tall chairs.
- Will your kitchen also be used as a homework/washing/ironing space?
- Consider how you'll access your pots, pans and crockery. Do you like to have them to hand, hung up on the walls, or do you prefer to keep them in a cupboard?
- Dinner guests are always good at loitering in the kitchen for a chat whilst you're slaving over a hot stove. If so, an idea could be to create a seating area. How about the dinning room? Does it adjoin the kitchen? You might want to think about combining both rooms to provide one large eating/dining area.
Design: Function feeds design. So, once you have an idea of how your kitchen will be used, it's time to consider how you want it to look.
- Timeless, traditional or contemporary? This may largely depend on the age of your property. Inevitably a compact bungalow might not be at home with a domineering Aga or range cooker. Equally, stark white walls and neon lighting may not be a match made in heaven for a large rustic 11th century farmhouse.
- Fitted kitchen. These inevitably have a very neat and uniform finish – but are typically more expensive than freestanding versions. Have a think: Do you want your kitchen to be very orderly, with every single unit having the same façade, or do you prefer one that's a bit quirkier….
- Freestanding kitchen. Lower cost and easier to fit, these kitchens provide more opportunity to personalise the room. Going down this route can also allow you to shop around for better value appliances and units, so you're not restricted to the cost and specification of fitted ones.
- Robustness reigns. The old cliché ‘buy cheap buy twice' speaks volumes concerning kitchen quality. Inevitably, pricier solid wood cabinets will stand the test of time longer than cheaper chipboard materials.
- What’s underfoot? Wood or vinyl? Each has its own merits. Wood inevitably gives a more traditional-look finish. Vinyl can be wiped and mopped clean more easily than an uneven wood floor, and there is the benefit of not having to protect it all the time.
Ultimately, time and research are among the best ingredients to bear in mind when choosing a kitchen. After all, you'll spend a great deal of your life in there; three years in fact, according to research revealed by the Mail Online. Following a half-baked plan, like an under-done Soufflé, will leave you and your expectations feeling a little flat. Similarly, why strive for a masterpiece when something satisfying will fit the bill? Bon appétit… This guest post was written by Andy Moore on behalf of Money Matters, the Sainsbury's Bank blog. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.