Granite, composite and solid surfaces are all good investments as they are tough, durable and will give your kitchen a luxurious finish. Next, make sure your cabinets are of good quality. Don't be tempted to skimp on thin carcasses, as they'll not last very long. You want at least a 15mm thickness all round – if not more. Think about savings on your choice of doors. We can't all afford rich wood veneers, so why not recreate the same look with a laminate or PVC foil finish instead? Even hi-gloss doors come in different price brackets depending on whether they are lacquered or laminated. ‘While they all essentially look the same, a lacquered kitchen can cost considerably more than the laminate equivalent,' explains kitchen designer Paul Bagguley from In-Toto Batley. Spend wisely on appliances, too, buying the best oven and hob you can afford – but perhaps consider a less expensive brand for the laundry and do without the coffee machine and wine cooler. It's all about compromise if your budget is under strain, so make sure you spend on the things that matter – you can always add luxury small appliances and accessories in years to come.
Call in the professionals. So, you've found your kitchen designer, chosen your layout and style and you've paid your deposit. What happens next? You need to find a team to install it. It's important to remember that the way your kitchen is installed can make all the difference. A bad fitter can make any kitchen look terrible, but a good one will ensure even inexpensive units look amazing. Ask friends and family for recommendations, or source a skilled person through a registered trade association, such as the FMB (Federation of Master Builders). It may be a simple refresh so you'll only have the kitchen supplier and fitter to co-ordinator. However, if it's a big project, then there might be builders, electricians and plumbers to consider, too. It's important at this stage to get some form of project manager in hand, whether that's yourself, your kitchen company or an architect. Everyone need to be clear about what needs to be done when, as delays and mistakes in kitchen planning can be costly.
Design tips Try to separate the cooking zone from the wet area with a length of worktop in between – the worktop in total should be at least three metres long. Aim for at least 1.2m between facing doors and include an efficient triangular cooking zone with the fridge on one wall and the sink and hob opposite (or a variation on this theme). if space allows, it's best to avoid having tall units which might accentuate the narrow space. For the same reason, stick to paler colours to help keep the room light and airy. Be careful not to install too many wall cupboards, as it may make your kitchen feel cluttered. hy choose it? It's the ideal layout for narrow rooms, but is also a popular option in open-plan spaces where a long island runs parallel to the units along one wall. Though it's traditionally long and narrow, it can be exceptionally functional if planned correctly.
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