You’ve heard it time and time again: the kitchen is the heart of the home, but is your kitchen really the beating pulse of your property?
If your kitchen needs updating or you’re ripping it all out and starting again, we’ve got a helpful guide that can walk you through the steps you need to take for a successful kitchen renovation.
Why Have a Full Kitchen Renovation?
Completely transforming your kitchen space happens for a number of reasons. Usually, it falls into one of three categories:
1. Adding value to your home if you’re looking to sell
2. Expanding the space for your forever home
3. The layout doesn’t work for you and your family
Why these three reasons?
1. If you’re looking to sell your property, having an up-to-date kitchen can certainly help to increase the sale value. If this option is you, make sure that the money you’re putting into a kitchen refurb will be worth it on your sale price and not overreach on the ceiling price for your local area and property.
2. If you’re settled in your home and have no long-term plans to move but want to make the kitchen the room you’ve always dreamed of, a kitchen extension to the rear of the property is a popular way to do so.
3. The layout can make or break the way your kitchen works, so if you’re looking to improve the design ergonomically, open it up for a kitchen diner space or adding in an island for functionality, the layout has to help you day-to-day, not hinder.
What Type of Kitchen Renovations is the Best?
There is so much potential in a kitchen, so if you’re going for a full renovation, it’s an excellent opportunity to try out new designs and layouts or extend for an open-plan kitchen diner, if budgets allow.
No two refurbs are the same, and there’s not one that is better than the other; it’s all about having a room that works for you within your space and budget limitations.
Working with a kitchen designer can help you maximise the space and consider features that perhaps wouldn’t have been on your original list but would really bring the kitchen to life. For example, built in hot taps, hidden cabinets and turning carousel cupboards.
How to Plan for Your Kitchen Build
The first step in planning your kitchen renovation is to ascertain a budget and a contingency pot of money for unforeseen issues. A good rule of thumb is saving an additional 15% of the overall build budget for contingency. You’ll need to know exactly how much you can afford to spend before you plan out the scope of work. Read our guide to find out how much a new kitchen costs.
For planning and as part of your kitchen renovation research, you will have undoubtedly come across advice to plan to granular detail. You’ll be pouring over every detail of the room to know exactly how much space each cabinet is taking up and what impact would 3mm make here and there. The answer is: a big impact.
Whether you’ve got a big or small kitchen, the planning is in the detail is where the success for your renovation will come from. You’ll find yourself measuring the same thing multiple times, but this is crucial because these measurements will impact your kitchen fitter, any materials that have gone into production, and it could throw the whole design off if something is out by the smallest of measurements.
Tip! Measurements are also important for deliveries of appliances. If you live in a terrace house with either small side access or through-house access, your measurements will impact whether your new fridge freezer can even get to your kitchen.
Once you’ve planned budget and design, including the measurements, next up is hiring in the right contractors for the job. You’ll need to share with them your plans, budgets, considerations in the home and any additional requirements, including timelines.
A good-quality tradesperson can really add to your renovation, and they work quickly to a high standard. So if you can keep everything to plan, your kitchen renovation can be complete within original timings, even if you’re extending the space.
If you’re looking for more advice on an extension, our guide explaining the different types of house extensions may be helpful.
Kitchen Renovation: Project Management
Many different elements go into a kitchen refurb, especially if you’re extending and require building work. You could hire an architect or a project manager to work through these aspects for you — including building permissions, health and safety, budgets, and timings.
Things to Consider in a Kitchen Refurb
As well as the big building work for a kitchen extension or a bigger kitchen renovation, there are also decorative and practical elements to consider.
Whether you’re going all out and buying new appliances or using your old ones, if you’re gutting your kitchen and starting again, you’ll have the choice of whether to make them built-in or freestanding, as well as choosing the location of where the appliances will go.
Electricals and Sockets
Your kitchen will need more sockets than you may think. Not only will all of the appliances need to be permanently plugged in (think fridge/freezer), but you’ll also have the kettle, toaster and microwave that is also usually always kept plugged into unless you have a stowaway cupboard.
As well as this, you’ll likely require a few extra sockets for additional appliances that aren’t used often, for example, a cake mixer, spares for charging your devices and even more if you want additional lighting.
Don’t forget to mark up on your plans where you want your plugs to be, and a good electrician can wire them up for you; some can be hidden away behind cupboards, but some will be on show, so choose ones that fit the aesthetic of your kitchen.
The fun thing about lights in the kitchen is that there are many options available to you. From ceiling lights for good visibility to under cabinet lights, overhead hob lights and even atmospheric lighting if you’ve got a dining area too. Consider dimmer switches if the kitchen diner is where you would entertain guests.
The Working Triangle
If you were to draw your kitchen to plan, you should easily be able to draw a triangle shape between the three most used areas — that’s the fridge, the hob/oven, and the sink. The theory is that when you are cooking, you will be moving between those three appliances and working within the triangle regularly.
Why does this matter when it comes to kitchen design? If your kitchen isn’t designed with the working triangle in mind, you will feel this when it comes to living in the space. The idea of the kitchen working triangle is to help your kitchen work more efficiently, so there is a good flow between these three points. So when you want to move from the hob to the sink to drain hot food, there’s nothing in the way or nothing to slow you down while carrying hot water.
Any good kitchen designer will consider the working triangle automatically when designing your space and make it work regardless of your layout.
A Kitchen Renovation and Home Cooking
The idea of a full kitchen refurb doesn’t really hit home until your biscuit tin is covered in dust and you can’t get to your appliances.
So, for a practical solution to home-cooking during a kitchen renovation, try to set up an out-of-kitchen space where you can plug in a kettle and a microwave. These will be the most used appliances during the stage when your kitchen is ripped out.
Try to also bulk prep and cook as much food as you can beforehand and store it in the freezer (that we recommend moving out of the kitchen until the new one arrives). Enabling you to pull the Tupperware out of the freezer and pop it into the microwave when you’re ready to eat.
Of course, the option for takeaways and dining-out always seems tempting when you’re mid-build, but realistically, if you’re looking to cut costs, being prepared at home is the best option for you.
Who Do I Need to Hire for Full Kitchen Refurb?
Whilst there are elements of a kitchen renovation that could be done as DIY, for the electricals, plumbing and avoiding the hassle of doing it yourself, we’d recommend hiring a professional tradesperson to complete the task on time and to a high standard.
If you do decide that you’d prefer to work with a professional or lean on an expert for support, we’ve got an extensive list of experienced building professionals such as project managers, architects, and builders and planners that you can hire to help your build run as smoothly as possible. For peace of mind and alleviating stress, sometimes hiring support is the best thing to do for you and your kitchen renovation.