Breaking the planning process into manageable steps will make the process easier. Think of it as a journey, and give each step all the time and consideration it needs. Whether this is your first, or you need a little help with planning your second or even third design, then read on. First, have a good clear-out, so you're not factoring in items you haven't used for years. Now take a look around your existing kitchen and make a list of all the things you like and dislike about it. This could be anything from how much storage there is – and where it is – to the types of appliances and colour of the cabinetry. This will help you focus on retaining or improving particular aspects. Think about whether the actual space works or if it needs opening up or extending. The most common building work involves knocking down a wall between kitchen and dining room, so consider creating a more open plan feel if you have the chance. It might help to ask yourself a few questions about how you want to use the space. Do you simply need a place to prepare meals, or are you dreaming of a multifunctional area where you can also have lunch or dinner with family and friends? Who do you cook for, what do you cook and how do you cook it?
Some terms and conditions have expensive cancellation clauses. When using a KBSA retail member, don't forget to keep your insurance certificate in a safe place and if you haven't received it within a few weeks of paying your deposit, contact your retailer. Set your budget. Always be honest about your budget so that your designer can help you decide where to save and where to invest – even if you haven't got large sums to spend. Open shelving is less expensive than closed cupboards, for example, while capacious low-level, pull-out storage may mean you need fewer wall units, which saves on cost. It's easy to get giddy when faced with a wealth of shiny appliances with countless programs and functions, so only invest in things you think you'll genuinely use. And don't forget to include installation fees, as well as the kitchen itself. Finally, make sure your budget includes a 10 per cent contingency fund, to cover any unexpected extra costs. If you're is a bind about where to splash the cash, here are our top tips on where to spend and where to save: Always go for the best worktops you can afford, as they are one of the most hardworking elements of any kitchen.
Be bold in a small space, with dark-wood kitchen units and bare white walls. If you can pare back cupboards to the minimum, you may find you have capacity for a table and chairs. This smart kitchen has a look all its own and demonstrates a very individual approach to kitchen design, making the space feel fresh and special. Turn a galley kitchen into a U-shaped kitchen by using the third, short wall to house an appliance, such as the range cooker shown here. Continue the run of wall units on this third wall for a defined, well designed space that makes the most of all available space without feeling cramped. This is helped by a predominantly white colour scheme tempered by the warmth of wood.
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