So you’ve decided to renovate your kitchen and you’ve been researching to gather plenty of inspiration… your Pinterest boards are filling with your dream kitchens, you’ve subscribed to interior magazines such as House & Garden, Living Etc. or Utopia Kitchens, and perhaps you’ve even followed kitchen related hashtags on Instagram. But how do you actually start the process and turn these ideas into reality?
We have put together this informative guide with checklists to help you through the first stages of your kitchen design journey.
Step 1. Finding the right company for you
Here’s our checklist to help you to find the right company for you:
Once you have found some companies, below are some of the most important questions to ask to ensure that you find the right company for your project.
Our Designers also recommend the following:
Step 2. Preparing for your Design Consultation
Now that you have found a company, or several companies, and you've booked your initial consultations, now it's time to do a little homework
Your first Design Consultation is one of the most important meetings of your project as it is your Designer’s opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of your requirements. Your Designer will ask you lots of questions, some of which can be difficult to answer on the spot – especially if you are a couple with differing tastes!
Therefore, we recommend spending some time to think about the details of your dream kitchen before your consultation and we’ve put together a list of the main questions for you to answer. What these questions won’t do is tell you exactly how to design your kitchen, that’s your Designers job, however what they will do is give you a clearer understanding of your requirements so that your Designer can create a design that ticks all of these boxes.
We’ve found that this brain storming exercise can be a really fun family activity, so include your children, parents and anyone else who may be using the kitchen. Alternatively, you may prefer some quiet contemplation after the children have gone to bed, in which case we recommend enjoying with a cup of camomile tea or glass of wine. Either way, have fun with it, enjoy the process and most importantly give yourself time to consider each answer.
1. Start with the bigger picture
Budget (oh no, not the B word?)
Budget, price, cost, figure, amount… no matter which word is used, when it comes to money it can often be a sensitive topic. From speaking with some of our clients who were unsure about sharing their budget with us at first, we know that there are a number of reasons why you may not feel comfortable sharing your budget. However, without your budget it is almost impossible for a Designer to create a design that is going to be right for you. Kitchens are so individual and tailored and there are a number of ways to achieve the look or functionality that you require depending on the budget you wish to work to.
After speaking with our clients, we discovered two key reasons why they were unsure whether to give their budget to a Designer. We've shared these with you below along with some advice from our Designers.
Reason 1 - “I’m not sure how much I should be allocating”
As a general guideline, a kitchen budget is usually 3% - 10% of the property value. If you are looking to stay in your home for a number of years, or perhaps it is even your forever-home, then you may wish to spend toward the top end of this. However, if you are renovating the kitchen to rent out the property you may wish to spend less. Property Developers can sometimes look to spend towards the top end of this to achieve the quality and value that their prospective homeowners would expect.
Some clients are fearful of sharing a budget because they are genuinely unsure how much to spend and don’t wish to give a disproportionate figure. In these situations, don’t be afraid to simply tell your Designer that you are unsure of how much to allocate – after all you are not the expert, they are! We recommend that you ask your Designer to talk you through some examples of kitchens for a variety of budgets to help to educate you on the different options available so that you can build a better picture of what you may need to spend to achieve your requirements.
Reason 2 – “I'm worried I might be overcharged”
No reputable kitchen company will do this. Many companies, particularly independent companies, rely on recommendations and word of mouth so being competitive and honest is incredibly important to them. To ensure that you are getting the best value, you can also compare like-for-like quotes from different companies. Sometimes this can be easier said than done as specification can vary so greatly between different companies, so here are some elements to check:
As specification can vary greatly, an easy way to check whether you are getting good value is to compare the quotation for your appliances with other companies online.
Talking figures can be daunting, however as long as you do your due diligence and compare your quotation, you should feel comfortable sharing your budget with your designer. After all, it really is the only way that they can achieve your dream kitchen.
Your must-haves and nice-to-haves
Naturally the goal for every kitchen design project is to strike a perfect balance between all of the elements required and it is your Designer’s role to achieve this for you. However, for most clients there are some elements which are more or less important than others; at KCA we put these into two lists which we call your ‘must-have list’ and your ‘nice-to-have’ list.
Your list might include specific items such as:
Your list may also include bigger-picture elements such as:
Some clients may be happier to compromise on functionality slightly, in return for keeping to their budget. Alternatively, others may be happier to spend a little more in order to achieve the functionality or aesthetic they desire.
Look back over your answers so far and identify your must-haves and your nice-to-haves. Sharing these with your Designer will help them to strike the perfect balance.
Lastly, be honest and keep an open mind
There isn’t a right or wrong way to design a kitchen as the design is based on the individual requirements of each client, and everyone is different. What makes a design right is how well suited it is to your family’s lifestyle and style.
This means that when your Designer is designing your kitchen, the design itself will evolve as they go through a series of decisions to work their way to your perfect design. So, part of a Designer’s role is to predict your preferred answer to each of these decisions based on their understanding of you. For this reason, it’s important to be open with your answers to each question to help your Designer to get to know you and your family. Sometimes the questions they ask may appear unrelated but rest assured, they are asking for a reason and the better they know you, the better placed they will be to create your dream design.
Be honest with your Designer about what you like and don't like. You're not going to hurt their feelings with your answers, after all they are here to work for you.
We hope that this guide has helped you through the first stages of your kitchen design project. If you have any questions or would like more advice from our expert Designers, please get in touch.
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KCA have been a pleasure to work with from the very start of the project. They listened to my requirements, designed a beautiful kitchen and built it on time and to budget. The whole team have an excellent eye for detail and a great sense of customer service; I could not recommend them more highly.Mrs. Alexandrou
It really is an excellent service. No detail is left unchecked. Everything from the beginning has been amazing. The initial design was well thought out, imaginative & exciting. All our questions no matter how silly were answered. Measurements on site were checked very carefully which meant when issues were found they could be resolved before the kitchen was ordered. It arrived on time & was fitted with the same care & attention we'd come to expect. The kitchen itself - WOW!Mrs. Scott
After visiting a number of kitchen specialist, KCA were the only ones who listened and were able to translate my ideas into reality. The final product was perfect and the service and after care provided was exceptional.Mr. & Mrs. Bhalla
We found their design to be unique, resulting in a bespoke kitchen which excelled our expectations. Excellent aftercare and would not hesitate to recommend.Mr. & Mrs. Gilbert
KCA were the 3rd kitchen design company we approached, they were the only ones to listen to us and our design requests and ideas. The 3D view of how the kitchen would look was perfect.Mr. Ryan
I cannot recommend the team at KCA highly enough. From concept to completion the whole experience was seamless.Mrs. Robert's
Having previously worked in kitchens, I know how painful having your kitchen fitted can be - I think our experience was as painless as it could have been.Mrs. O'Doherty
From concept design to finished kitchen the process was seamless. KCA not only produced a great design but their interface with the architect and builders made the project a great success.Mr. & Mrs. Cardwell
KCA came up with the design for our open plan kitchen/dining/family space and we loved it immediately. No other kitchen designer/supplier came close!Mrs. Gibson
From concept to completion the whole experience was seamless. Being interested in interior design I had quite a specific vision for my kitchen and KCA wholly embraced my input making me feel very much part of the decision making process whilst using their expertise to guide and steer regarding practicality and functionality.Mrs. Roberts
Just Perfect from the point of walking into the showroom and the journey taken to the end product including aftercare.Mr. & Mrs. Perera
The customer service is second to none. The kitchen design and choice is superb.Mrs. Hanson
The kitchen fitter is very efficient & an excellent communicator, his work is to a very high standard & he is very tidy!Mr. & Mrs. Cass
Very friendly, informative and helpful service. I would definitely use KCA again. Thank you all.Mrs. Tucker
The design of the kitchen differed hugely from any of the others we received. This really was a "design". Clever and inspiring, not just someone drawing what we'd said. The fitting was efficient with the same regard to detail.Mr. & Mrs. Scott
Great service from start to finish.Bentier
Always a pleasure to deal with, fantastic designs and great service all round.Beaufield Homes
We are THRILLED! KCA are a very professional, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and caring business. Their attention to detail and our requirements were always top of their list.Mrs. Chapman
KCA have installed a new hob and oven, a Quooker tap and new work surfaces. I am overjoyed with the results.Mrs. Burston
Very professional company. A pleasure to work with. The kitchen designed and workmanship was stunning. They really listened to our wants and lifestyle needs. Would wholeheartedly recommend.Mr. Magal