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Planning A New Kitchen

Planning a new kitchen? Choosing a Fitter and what to ask

I am, and planning it has been interesting, to say the least.  For many, a new kitchen can simply mean updating the shell you have in place with a coat of paint and some new doors.  This is a worthy way of updating your look, and with the addition of new handles can make a real difference.  Take it further and add in new flooring and your kitchen is basically new.

For others, it is the opportunity to completely overhaul the heart of your home, perhaps increasing the size with an extension or changing internal walls.  Call in a kitchen specialist to help, but before you do, think long and hard about the practicalities of the new room.  How will you and family use it? Where will the high traffic areas be? Will you use the area as a kitchen diner or do you have a separate, formal dining area? Do you need to plan in indoor drying space for washing or do you have a separate utility? You may be a budding Jamie Oliver who needs optimum work surface to prepare food and space for your gadgets, or you may be the microwave queen who needs more space for a drinks fridge.

Your designer will help with the more complex decisions and ideas, such as drainage and electricals.  Your new layout may require major renovation work, moving pipe work across the room, or it may be that you keep your ‘working triangle’ in roughly its original space and simply make changes to the rest of the layout.  The triangle is a traditional method in kitchen planning to help you decide how to lay the room out.  It involves the spacing between fridge, sink and cooker, and basically ensures that you have work surface between each, but that they are close enough to make storage, preparation and cooking a smooth process.  You then add in convenient storage depending on your space allowance.

Choose a supplier or designer who understands the rigorous safety regulations your kitchen will need to adhere to, and watch out for any planning issues if you are considering extending your property to accommodate the new kitchen.

The cosmetics of the kitchen then follow.  Think about flooring – what will it need to do? Will it have to withstand lots of spillage? Think in practical terms as well as how it will look.  Some laminate does not cope well with moisture, and vinyl in tiles rather than sheets may not be suited for similar reasons.  Does it need underlay or will it fit over what is there already? The same idea applies to tiling.  It is much, much easier to keep clean and fresh than a painted or papered surface, but that much harder to change in the long run, so will you be re doing your colour scheme in the next few years? Should the tiles be neutral to fit any scheme, or is paint better? Will pattern hide the worst marks, or is your kitchen floor so clean you could literally eat your dinner from it? These are things a good designer will help you with, and you can take inspiration from many different sources.  It can be a long and painstaking process, so choose a company you are comfortable with and a designer you trust to listen to you at the same time as offering good, practical advice.
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