The decision is made – your kitchen needs a revamp. But what happens next? How do you plan a new space that does just what you need it to? Graham Craig from Hobsons Choice has some useful tips…

It’s always exciting to embark on planning and designing a new kitchen, but the many things you have to consider can feel offputting. Just remember that investing cleverly in the planning stage means that your new kitchen space will be a positive and life-changing experience.

IDEAS AND RESEARCH

There is an incredible amount of information available to anyone looking to change their kitchen, from TV shows and magazines to websites and beautiful showrooms. A word of advice: before you begin poring over the latest styles and schemes, ask yourself the following five questions. These, and the others they are sure to spark, will help you form a basis for the kitchen you want…

1. What do you like about your current kitchen?

You might say the layout works well, there is lots of natural light, there are great views into the garden.

2. What do you dislike about your current kitchen?

Points here might include that the furniture is looking tired, small appliances are cluttering up the work surfaces, and when you cook nothing is within easy reach.

3. What is your budget?

Bear in mind you may be thinking about more than simply kitchen furniture and appliances. Flooring, lighting, heating and decoration all need to play a part in your plan, and in your budget.

4. How do you want your finished space to work?

Do you want your kitchen to be a social cooking/dining room, an open-plan area, or have you always wanted to cook a certain type of food but haven’t had the right appliances?

5. How do you want your new space to feel?

This question covers your taste in colour and style and also the functions of the room and the atmosphere you want to create. Your answers might include words such as warm, textured, light and airy, glossy, matte, social, sleek and rustic.Next125 kitchen in sand grey matte velvet lacquer and bronze metallic matte glass with a Caesar Stone Woodlands worktop. Image by Ben Nicholson

When you are collating your ideas and inspiration, mood boards or scrap books are useful for reference. Carefully organised, they can support discussions later in the process. When researching and collating ideas, think about colours and textures (walls, kitchen furniture, worktops and wall panelling), kitchen style (modern, Shaker or classic) and room layout (kitchen/diner, open-plan or self-contained kitchen). Then you need to decide on your appliances (oven, steam oven, microwave, hob, extractors, fridge/freezer, wine cooler, extractors, hot water tap and dishwasher). Finally there is the flooring, the lighting and the heating.

VISITING A SHOWROOM

It’s best to go prepared, so before you step into a showroom create a plan of your space and measure the whole room including windows, doors and wastepipe locations. Take along photos of your current kitchen with a scrapbook or a mood board if you have them. Another useful tool is a plan of the whole property and its compass position. This doesn’t have to be accurate – just a sketch of the layout will help your kitchen designer understand the flow of the property and the direction of natural light.

When in the showroom, open cupboards, check drawer alignments and study grout lines and lighting arrangements. A good design company will have considered these details long before fitting.Bulthaup kitchen in black-brown dull matte structured oak and gravel laminate. Image by Darren Chung

DEALING WITH YOUR KITCHEN SUPPLIER

During your initial visit, there are some key questions to ask to help you decide on the company you want to use:

What services do you offer?

Is the design and build done­­­­­ by the same company? If the company offer supply only, how does that work where design elements are required? How can minor remedial works be accommodated?

How does the customer journey work?

Let the designer walk you through every stage, from design, presentation and payment schedules to project planning, installation and sign off.

How long does a design and build take?

There are many factors that can speed up or delay a project, however, a designer should be able to give you an idea of how a standard project would progress.

Who manages the installation phase?

Companies control their processes in different ways. At Hobsons Choice a client has a single point of contact from the very start, their design consultant. We believe they are the best person to see the project management phase through.

What after-care and warranties are provided?

Check the details of what is covered and for how long.

Do you work with architects, builders and interior designers?

If your project requires additional building work or is a new-build, find out if the company has experience of working alongside other trades and design professionals.

You will know you have found the right company when you have talked to a designer and feel they can deliver what you want. Then you can begin the next phase, shaping your ideas into a real, amazing space that you can enjoy for years to come.  Next125 kitchen in sand grey laser-edged laminate with a truffle brown island bartop. Image by David Barfield.

Hobsons Choice, Kensington Showroom, London Road, Bath BA1 6AJ; tel: 01225 433511; web: hobsonschoice.uk.com

Featured Image: Bulthaup kitchen in alpine white and clay laminate with a Walnut Island breakfast bar top. Image by Darren Chung