If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you are considering renovating your tired old kitchen. Choosing the kitchen to invest your money into is a wise choice, because it is one of the rooms that, if renovated to a high standard, will probably add value to your home and increase its desirability should you wish to sell it. As with all home renovations, if the installation is carried out to a poor standard it could potentially lower the value of your home as prospective buyers realise they will need to spend money putting it right.
Now you have come to a decision; it is time to begin planning your new room. Kitchen units usually come in standard sizes. Manufacturers are very creative with the solutions they include in the cabinets, but the basic dimensions remain. Unless you are familiar with computers, you will be better off using a pencil and paper to plan your design. Measure the floor plan of the kitchen and draw it to scale in a piece of paper. A 1/10 scale is usually perfect for your needs. That means for every meter of a kitchen wall, draw ten centimeters on your drawing. Measure each wall until your scale drawing is complete. Don’t forget to measure the doors and windows too, they will be part of the finished design.
Browse the catalogues for units you would like to include in your kitchen. Take the measurements and draw them to scale on a piece of paper. Using the same scale, draw a 600mmm x 600mm unit as a 60mm square. Cut the scaled units out and start positioning them on your main drawing. This way is handy because you can shuffle the units around until you find the best location for each of them. Do the same for wall cupboards too,
When the layout of your kitchen is complete, think about lighting and power. All of the appliances need electricity so position socket outlets accordingly. Supply the cooker hood with power, and if you are using an electric cooker it must be connected to its own circuit. Kitchen striplights under the wall cabinets are standard in all new kitchens so determine the locations accurately for the wiring.
The first fix for the electrical installation must take place before introducing the new furniture. The electrician will channel cables into the walls, so they are out of sight. You must plaster the walls to a smooth finish before the rest of the project can continue.
Before installing the new units, put down a self-levelling floor screed to provide a perfectly level surface from which to work. It comes ready mixed in buckets and can be applied by a complete novice. Spread it out with a plastering trowel as well as you can and leave it to find its own level.
High quality furniture does not require assembly; it is all taken care of before delivery. They are fitted with adjustable legs to make your job easy. Start with the first unit and screw it to the wall when it is perfectly level. Subsequent cabinets will mount to the wall and to each other so that they always remain level, and there is no possibility that they will ever move.
Modern kitchens are sleek, functional spaces that are easy to clean and maintain. Modern materials can help a small kitchen will look larger than it is. Here are some incredible products to include in yours.
- Cabinet Doors. New hinges and latching mechanisms mean that it is no longer necessary to have handles attached to the doors and drawer fronts. To open and close them, push gently, and they spring open. The lack of handles leaves unbroken surfaces giving a minimalistic aura to the area. Super high gloss doors in composite materials will not suffer from water damage and will look good for decades.
- Worktops. The current trend for worktops is to use natural materials such as marble or stone. Designers often order them individually for a single kitchen. Skilled stonemasons cut the recess for the sink, and carve a draining area into the stone itself. The finished product screams quality and will last for hundreds of years if treated properly.
- Plumbing. The quality of the taps speaks volumes about the overall quality of the kitchen. The range is too large to address here, but stick to the principle of buying the best you can afford, and you will not go wrong.
- Splash Backs. Stone, stainless steel, or tile splash backs are highly desirable, but designers make good use of high gloss or even mirrored solutions to make the room feel more spacious than it is.
- Lighting. As mentioned earlier, striplights mounted above the worktops are ideal for working under and give an attractive glow in the evenings. LED ceiling lights are a favourite choice for the main lighting in a modern kitchen. Sometimes they are recessed into the ceiling or used in spotlights that you can aim accurately. The new LED light bulbs run on low voltage and last a very long time. They are far superior to the energy saving bulbs we have been used to over the last decade and will undoubtedly cause their demise over the next five years.
The cooker hood will have integral lighting and little LED lights look great in the kickboards. There are solutions for inside glass fronted cabinets and under shelves too, so you are spoiled for choice when selecting fittings.
- Flooring. Laminate flooring has become very popular in kitchens now that manufacturers can offer lengthy guarantees against damage from water. They have hard wearing surfaces and are easy to keep clean. They also come in tiled effects that are almost indistinguishable from the real thing, a big advantage over real tiles that can be cold underfoot.
Of course, nothing is as hard wearing as high quality ceramic tiles, and they are still a firm favourite in kitchens. People are starting to realise the benefits of underfloor heating in modern kitchens, so the cold tiles are slowly becoming less of an issue.
It is a sad day when you must use your kitchen for the first time; they look too beautiful. The novelty wears off after a while though, and your kitchen once again will become the hub of your home. Now, perhaps, you will turn your thoughts to the bathroom. Does it need some work?