website(1,) Purchasing Your First Kitchen: 20 Essential Top Tips

The Essential Guide to Purchasing Your First Kitchen: 20 Top Tips

If you're embarking on your journey to purchasing your first kitchen, this comprehensive guide is essential reading.

Embarking on Your First Kitchen Purchase? Here's Your Essential Guide

If you're embarking on your journey to purchasing your first kitchen, this comprehensive guide is essential reading.

If you're embarking on your first kitchen purchasing journey, you can't afford to miss this comprehensive guide.

Drawing on our wealth of knowledge garnered over 20 years in the kitchen industry, we've curated twenty insightful tips that touch on everything from intelligent budgeting to strategic design, and from discerning material selection to efficient project management.

With our guide, you will not only gain invaluable insights into kitchen planning, but you'll also be equipped with the vital tools needed to navigate this crucial milestone effectively and enjoyably.

So, without further ado, let us dive into our 'Essential Guide to Purchasing Your First Kitchen', furnished with top tips from two decades of hands-on experience.

Table of Contents

This index offers a comprehensive guide, listing the 20 key factors you need to consider in your journey towards purchasing your first kitchen. Each tip offers a specific, invaluable insight to help you make informed decisions throughout the process.

  1. Set a Realistic Budget:
    Take into account all potential expenses and allot to them an appropriate budget, making sure to include an emergency fund.
  2. Measure Your Space Accurately:
    Acquiring accurate dimensions is crucial for effective planning and sidestepping expensive errors.
  3. Research Kitchen Styles:
    Investigate a range of kitchen styles and make a decision based on both your personal preferences and the overall design of your home.
  4. Quality Over Quantity:
    It's wise to prioritise the purchase of high-quality kitchen essentials over acquiring a large quantity of lesser-quality items.
  5. Consider the Work Triangle:
    Design your layout for efficiency, ensuring there is a practical pathway between the Oven, Stove, sink, and refrigerator.
  6. Choose Durable Materials:
    Choose materials that not only enhance the visual appeal of your kitchen but also promise durability.
  7. Prioritise Functionality:
    Make certain that your kitchen layout aligns with your functional requirements.
  8. Seek Professional Advice:
    Engage with specialists in kitchen design for bespoke guidance.
  9. Think About Resale Value:
    Reflect on the potential impact of your selections on the future resale value of your property.
  10. Energy Efficiency:
    Choose appliances that are energy-efficient; they will lead to significant savings over time.
  11. Utilise Smart Storage Solutions:
    Optimise the utilisation of your space through ingenious storage solutions.
  12. Select the Right Worktops:
    Always aim for a harmonious blend of practicality, ease of care and aesthetic appeal in your choices.
  13. Plan Your Lighting:
    It is fundamental to incorporate a blend of task, ambient, and accent lighting in your kitchen design.
  14. Incorporate Personal Touches:
    Always incorporate elements that echo your unique personality and style.
  15. Sample Colours and Materials:
    Always ensure to experiment with both paint shades and materials under the specific lighting conditions of your home
  16. Don’t Forget Ventilation:
    Having an effective ventilation system is crucial for maintaining a fresh atmosphere in your kitchen and eliminating unwelcome odours.
  17. Be Prepared for Delays:
    Be prepared, as timelines may alter unexpectedly, leading to potential delays in your kitchen project.
  18. Review and Compare Quotes:
    Ensure you take your time and carry out a comparison of quotations from both online and Highstreet kitchen suppliers.
  19. Check Warranties and Guarantees:
    Ensure you comprehend the terms and conditions of warranties and guarantees on appliances and cabinetry.
  20. Enjoy the Process:
    The journey to constructing your ideal kitchen should be nothing short of a delightful endeavour!

Open Plan Lynton Indigo Kitchen with Island Seating from Better Kitchens
Open Plan Lynton Indigo Kitchen with Island Seating from Better Kitchens

1. Set a Realistic Budget

Understand the costs involved and allocate a budget that includes a contingency fund.

Starting on your kitchen-purchasing journey can be a thrilling, albeit overwhelming process. Accounting for costs is the first step in this adventure and doing so allows you to proceed with clarity and precision.

When setting your budget, consider all possible expenses, including costs for labour, appliances, cabinetry and unexpected incidentals. 

The Contingency Fund 

Remember, kitchen renovations, especially first-time projects, can come with unforeseen expenses. Allocating a contingency fund means setting aside an additional 10% to 20% of your total budget as a safety net for such occurrences.

This will ensure that you're financially prepared to handle unexpected costs, allowing your project to proceed smoothly without unnecessary stress or delay. 

Itemising Your Budget 

It's a good idea to take the time to break down your budget into individual components. Detailed breakdowns can include factors like: 

  • Cabinetry and Hardware: Typically, cabinetry and hardware can make up about 30% to 35% of your total kitchen renovation budget. This includes the costs of units and the pulls or knobs added to kitchen cupboards and drawers.
  • Installation: Usually accounting for approximately 20% of the budget. This covers the costs of professionals like plumbers and electricians whose expertise is critical in setting up a functional kitchen.
  • Appliances and Ventilation: This typically comprises approximately 14% of your budget. While it can be tempting to purchase top-of-the-range appliances, remember to consider functionality over aesthetics at this stage.
  • Worktops: Worktops usually constitute about 10% of the budget. The range in cost here depends upon the material that you choose - you could consider a quartz worktop over a pricier option like granite.
  • Flooring: Allocating 7% to 10% of your budget to flooring is reasonable. The choice between options like hardwood, tiles, or concrete will significantly affect this part of your budget.

Staying Within Your Budget 

In conclusion, clear planning is a significant part of staying on budget. Set realistic financial limits for yourself, factor in a contingency for unpredicted costs, and break down your budget item by item.

The act of purchasing your first kitchen doesn't have to break the bank, provided you tread with consideration and careful planning.

2. Measure Your Space Accurately

Precise measurements are key to planning and avoiding costly mistakes.

The significance of accurate measurements when planning your new kitchen cannot be stressed enough.

A slight difference between your planned and actual dimensions can not only result in appliances not fitting correctly, but also increase your expenses in rectifying these miscalculations. 

So, how do you ensure a meticulous measurement process? 

  1. Use the right tools: A simple tape measure will usually suffice. However, for optimal accuracy, consider using a laser measure. These devices can provide precise measurements quickly, saving both time and potential errors.
  2. Double-check your measurements: Measuring twice can eliminate the chances of making a mistake. It's a simple practice that can save you from costly errors in the long run.
  3. Consider obstructions: Do not forget about windows, radiators, pipes and electric points. Make sure you note down these obstructions as they will influence where you can place your appliances and cabinets.
  4. Think about your walkway: Your kitchen needs space for people to move around comfortably. As a rule of thumb, aim for walkways to be at least 900mm or 36 inches wide.

Remember, these measurements will serve as the foundation of your kitchen plan, so take your time and be meticulous.

3. Research Kitchen Styles

Explore various styles and decide what suits your taste and home's architecture.

When it comes to selecting a kitchen style, there's quite a vast array to consider, from contemporary minimalist to rustic farmhouse, classic vintage to sleek modern, and everything in between.

Not only should your kitchen harmonise with the overall style of your home, but it should also reflect your personal taste and lifestyle. 

Here's a brief overview of the popular kitchen styles: 

  • Modern: Characterised by simplicity and functionality, with sleek lines, minimal ornamentation, and a restrained colour palette. Modern kitchens often feature high-tech appliances and innovative storage solutions.
  • Traditional: Encompasses a mix of styles from the past, with an emphasis on warmth, comfort, and classic details. You can expect to see raised-panel cabinets, antique-style fixtures, and rich wood tones.
  • Shaker: Recognised for its quintessential simplicity, practical design, and focus on craftsmanship. Shaker kitchens typically feature plain, flat-panel cabinet doors, light finishes, and utilitarian hardware.
  • Industrial: Inspired by factory spaces, industrial kitchens combine raw, rugged materials like exposed brick, stainless steel, and reclaimed wood, with open shelving and vintage accessories.
  • Farmhouse: Captures the cosiness and warmth of a country kitchen, with open shelving, freestanding furniture, apron-front sinks, and a generous use of wood.

Note that your kitchen doesn't have to stick rigidly to one style. Many successful kitchens blend elements from two or more styles for a personalised look. So, feel free to mix and match, but aim for an overall sense of balance and cohesion. 

Remember: Your kitchen is arguably the most hardworking room in your home. Therefore, the functionality of the space should never be compromised for the sake of style. Always account for the practical aspects first, like the layout, storage, and appliances, before diving into the aesthetics. 

The key is to balance form and function, creating a space that looks great and works equally well.

Once you've considered all of these aspects, take your time to visualise how they'll come together in your space. This will help you create a kitchen that's not only stylish and on-trend but also uniquely yours.

 True Handleless Kitchen in Cassina Heritage Pink from Better Kitchens
True Handleless Kitchen in Cassina Heritage Pink from Better Kitchens

4. Quality Over Quantity

Invest in quality essentials rather than numerous lower-quality items.

When it comes to essential kitchen appliances and equipment, one might be tempted to fill the kitchen with as many items as possible. But this isn’t always the best course of action. Instead, make a point of investing in quality items. 

So, what are these quality essentials you should consider? 

  • Cooker/Hob: Spend wisely on a robust, energy-efficient cooker. The hob is one of the most-used appliances in the kitchen. You'll benefit from investing upfront in a good quality hob that will stand up to daily usage.
  • Refrigerator: This is another appliance that works 24/7, so an energy-efficient, size-appropriate fridge will be worth the investment. Consider separate fridge and freezers if space allows for better storage.
  • Dishwasher: If you often entertain or simply dislike washing up, a quality dishwasher can be a lifesaver. Look for energy and water-efficient models.

Don't forget smaller essentials as well, such as a quality kettle, toaster, chopping boards, knife set, and cookware. All of these items can dramatically improve your experience in the kitchen when they are of good quality. 

Decide on your essentials based on your cooking habits and the size of your new kitchen. Remember: in a well-functioning kitchen, less can indeed be more.

5. Consider the Work Triangle

Plan for an efficient layout with easy access between the stove, sink, and refrigerator.

Often referred to as the 'work triangle,' the stove, sink, and refrigerator are key components that should be strategically placed for optimal functionality and work flow.

Balancing their positions, while also taking into account your available space, will determine how efficient your kitchen is. 

Let's break it down: 

  • Oven or Stove: As the primary cooking station, the stove should be easily accessible but not in a traffic area where people often pass by. Ideally, your stove should be near your worktops for easy transfer of food items.
  • Sink: Most of your kitchen tasks will involve using the sink, making it a vital point in your kitchen. Position it between or across your refrigerator and stove to maintain an efficient workflow.
  • Refrigerator: The refrigerator, storing both raw and cooked foods, needs to be positioned strategically. It should be close enough for convenient access but also away from heat sources like the stove or sunlight, as these can affect its energy efficiency.

Remember, the aim is not to spread these key points at the exact corners of your kitchen but to maintain a comfortable distance. You wouldn't want your kitchen workflow to feel like a strenuous trek around the kitchen. 

A well-designed work triangle: Allows easy movement between the three areas Minimises traffic through the work area Offers easy access to critical areas even with limited mobility

An efficient work triangle is one where no leg of the triangle is blocked by a large appliance or unnecessary traffic. Try different layouts by moving these three points around within your space until you find the most functional arrangement that suits your lifestyle.

6. Choose Durable Materials

Our advice would be to go for materials that are both aesthetically pleasing and long-lasting.

While embarking on your first kitchen purchase, a key consideration should be the selection of your kitchen materials. It's not just about eye-catching aesthetics, but also how these materials can weather the wear and tear of everyday use.

Here are some points you should consider. 

Opt for Durable Materials: Your kitchen is going to see a lot of activity, which means the materials you choose need to be sturdy and durable. Materials such as hardwood, granite, and stainless steel are renowned for their durability, long-term performance and easy maintenance. 

Think of the Long-Term: You wouldn't want to spend your hard-earned money on a kitchen that will start showing signs of wear and tear after a few years. Durable materials may cost slightly more, but remember, you're investing in the long-run value and resilience of your kitchen. 

Consider Ease of Maintenance: The easier the material is to clean, the better. Stainless steel, for example, is easy to wipe down and sanitise, making it a great choice for sinks and countertops. Similarly, a tiled backsplash might be easier to keep clean compared to painted drywall. 

Climate Considerations: Some materials may not be suitable for certain climates. For example, solid wood can warp in high humidity conditions, and marble can be affected by acidic substances. Always check the sustainability and compatibility of the material with your local climate conditions. 

In conclusion, remember to strike a balance between beauty and durability. Ensure your chosen materials meet your functional needs, blend with your chosen kitchen style, require minimal maintenance, and can withstand your local climate.

A kitchen is not just about its good looks - it should stand the test of time too.

Haywood Fir Green Handleless Shaker kitchen from Better Kitchens
Haywood Fir Green Handleless Shaker kitchen from Better Kitchens

7. Prioritise Functionality

Ensure your kitchen design meets your practical needs.

Purchasing your first kitchen goes beyond selecting a visually appealing design. It's crucial that your chosen kitchen meets your practical needs and everyday lifestyle.

In this section, we will consider essential factors to ensure practicality and usefulness in your kitchen. 

  • Consider Your Cooking Habits: Think about your routines and habits in the kitchen. If you frequently cook, prioritise features that facilitate your cooking process. This might include integrated appliances, a large oven, or an ergonomic design for ease of movement.
  • Think About Cleaning: Do you have a high or low tolerance for cleaning? Some materials and designs are easier to clean than others. For example, high-gloss finishes may show smudges more easily, while a smooth countertop can be wiped down quickly.
  • Storage Needs: Ensure you have enough storage for all your kitchen essentials. This not only includes food storage, but also dishware, cookware, and small appliances. Clever storage solutions can maximise small spaces and keep everything organised.
  • Seating Space: If your kitchen will serve as a social space where family and friends gather, ensure there's adequate comfortable seating. An island with barstools is a popular choice.

Remember, functionality should never be compromised for aesthetic appeal. Your kitchen should be a space where you can cook, eat, and socialise comfortably.

8. Seek Professional Advice

Consult with kitchen design experts for tailored advice.

There's a wealth of knowledge to be found within the industry, so taking the time to consult with kitchen design experts can prove immensely beneficial in your kitchen buying journey. You're not just purchasing a space. You're investing in a unique culinary environment where precious memories will be made. By collaborating with seasoned experts, you get a masterclass in kitchen proficiency, enabling you to make insightful decisions tailored to your requirements. 

  • See Concepts in Action: Observing indoor and outdoor kitchen displays can help you understand how different design elements come together. It's an excellent opportunity to get a grasp of practical layout designs, different material types, and the latest kitchen gadgets.
  • Experience Range of Materials: Experts may also offer you a tactile experience of different materials. This could be invaluable in understanding the look and feel of each material and how it might add to the overall aesthetic of your kitchen.
  • Gain Personalised Recommendations: Perhaps the most significant advantage of consulting with experts is their ability to offer personalised guidance. They can factor in the specific dimensions of your kitchen, your usage patterns, and your vision for the space to provide bespoke advice.

Remember that these interactions aren't just business transactions.

They're learning experiences. Absorb the wealth of information at hand, ask as many questions as you need and don’t be shy in seeking clarification on anything that seems unclear.

After all, a thoroughly considered purchase is better than a hasty decision propelled by a moment's whim.

9. Think About Resale Value

Consider how your choices might affect future resale value.

Considering the resale value of your house might seem premature when you're just about to renovate your kitchen, but it's a crucial aspect that warrants serious consideration.

The choices you make for your kitchen now can have significant implications on your home's future market value. 

Invest in Timeless Appeal: Kitchen trends can come and go very quickly. Therefore, opt for a design that is classic and timeless instead of something trendy which may not age well. Neutral colours, high-quality cabinets, and simple, clean designs often have the most enduring appeal. 

Easy-to-Upgrade Elements: Certain elements of your kitchen are easier to upgrade than others. Choose high-quality permanent fixtures such as cabinetry, and consider less permanent elements like paint and appliances that you can easily change or update later on. 

High-Quality Appliances: A kitchen with premium appliances often commands a higher resale price. So, don't hold back on investing in energy-efficient appliances that boast longevity and exude sophistication. 

The Power of the Layout: Even in large kitchens, a poorly thought-out layout can be a major drawback for potential buyers. Open-plan layouts and optimal work triangle design are sought after and provide added flexibility and functionality. 

Although personalising your kitchen space to suit your unique tastes is crucial, ensure those personal touches aren't so overwhelming that they may deter potential future buyers.

Remember, taste varies, and panelling your kitchen in your favourite colour might not appeal to everyone.

When planning your new kitchen, aim for a perfect balance that harmonises your individual desires with potential long-term market appeal.

Further Reading: Kitchen Extensions: A Good or Bad Investment?

10. Energy Efficiency

Choose appliances that offer energy efficiency, saving you money in the long run.

Purchasing energy-efficient appliances often seems like a significant upfront cost. The reality, however, is quite the contrary. Energy-efficient appliances are a long-term investment.

They decrease energy usage, lower utility bills, and reduce environmental impact. Thus, it's imperative to understand the long-term savings behind power-efficient devices

Take your time when browsing appliances. If possible, look for ones with top energy efficiency ratings like A++ or A+++.

These ratings can be found on the energy labels of all modern-day power appliances. Indeed, the higher the rank, the greater the efficiency. Ensuring you choose these energy-efficient devices can save you a significant amount in utility bills. 

Also, it's essential to consider the size of your appliances. Keep in mind that bigger is not always better. Opting for larger appliances, whether it's a refrigerator, oven, or dishwasher, can often lead to wasting energy.

So make sure you choose the size that fits your needs and don't buy based on assumptions or appearances. 

Finally, consider choosing appliances with energy-saving features. For example, appliances with eco-modes, programmable timers or sensors that adapt energy consumption to real need are all ways to save energy in your kitchen. 

Energy-efficient appliances may require a greater initial investment, but remember, they will provide a return in terms of the savings you'll make on your energy bills over time.

So, make energy efficiency a priority when purchasing your kitchen appliances to reap these long-term benefits.

Portwood Stone Grey traditional kitchen with Breakfast Bar and Seating
Portwood Stone Grey traditional kitchen with Breakfast Bar and Seating

11. Utilise Smart Storage Solutions

Maximise space with clever storage options.

Implementing clever kitchen storage solutions is an exciting part of kitchen planning.

Whereas traditional kitchens might have used space inefficiently, with clunky cupboards and drawers, today's kitchens can incorporate a variety of smart storage options to maximise functionality. Here are a few things to consider: 

  • Corner Units: These make excellent use of otherwise wasted space in kitchen corners. Pull-out corner units, in particular, offer easy access to stored items.
  • High cupboards: If your kitchen has high ceilings, why not utilise that space with high cupboards? Just ensure a sturdy and safe method for reaching the top shelves.
  • Drawer Dividers: Everyone recognises the frustration of a disorganised kitchen drawer. Drawer dividers keep your utensils and cookware neatly arranged for easy access.
  • Pot Racks: If you're a keen cook with an array of pots and pans, consider a pot rack. Suspended from the ceiling or mounted on the wall, this can free up considerable cupboard space.
  • Integrated bins: Bins can be unsightly and get in the way. Instead, choose an integrated bin that slots into a kitchen unit. Many options also offer recycling compartments.

A carefully designed kitchen using clever storage techniques can lead to a clutter-free, streamlined space. Remember, your kitchen should work for you, so customise these options to your needs and cooking style. 

Remember: Whilst clever storage options can offer hidden compartments and a tidier kitchen, go for practical and user-friendly solutions that won't grow frustrating over time. You don’t want to be bending down too far, stretching too high, or searching for important items every time you’re in the kitchen. 

"Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now. Be smart with your space!" - Alan Lakein

12. Select the Right Worktops

Your choice should balance functionality, maintenance, and style.

When purchasing your first kitchen worktops, it's essential to harmonise function, maintenance, and your personal style. Your kitchen is not just a place for cooking; it's also a crucial part of your home's aesthetic appeal and character.

However, beauty should never overshadow practicality. 

You'll spend hours preparing meals, tidying up, and perhaps enjoying casual dinners in your kitchen. As a result, your kitchen's functionality should be at the top of your priorities.

Think about how you'll use the space, and make sure the design accommodates these needs. Will it just be you cooking, or will the whole family be helping? If it's the latter, perhaps consider an open-plan design. 

  • The Worktop: The worktop is where the magic happens. Choose a durable yet stylish material that can withstand heat, cuts, and spills. Granite, quartz, and laminate are popular choices.
  • The Sink: You might overlook the sink, but it's a workhorse in any kitchen. Ensure it's deep enough for your needs and made from a material that's easy to clean and doesn't easily stain or scratch.
  • Appliances: When selecting appliances, consider their energy efficiency, functionality, and how they fit into the overall design. Remember, quality trumps aesthetics. Don't be swayed by pretty design that compromises functionality or has a higher running cost.

Lastly, a kitchen requires regular maintenance to always look its best. Choose materials that can withstand everyday use and are easy to clean. Avoid anything overly elaborate that might be a nightmare to maintain. 

Remember, your first kitchen purchase is an investment. It's about creating a space that meets your needs, reflects your style, and enhances your home. Make informed decisions and enjoy the process. After all, it's the heart of your home.

13. Plan Your Lighting

A mix of task, ambient, and accent lighting is essential.

When it comes to kitchen lighting, you're not just choosing fancy fixtures for aesthetics. Lighting plays a practical role in the functionality and enjoyability of your cookspace, which is why a good mix of task, ambient, and accent lighting is non-negotiable. 

Task Lighting: These are lights specifically designed to illuminate work areas where you prepare meals, wash dishes, or do other kitchen activities. Recessed or track lighting are popular choices for task lighting. 

Ambient Lighting: This generally soft, diffused light fills the space, creating an inviting environment. This can be effectively achieved through recessed ceiling fixtures, over-cabinet lighting, or even a large pendant. 

Accent Lighting: Designed to highlight certain areas or objects in your kitchen, such as open shelving, dining spaces, or artwork, accent lights give your kitchen character and depth. Consider strip lights, spotlights, or directed track lighting for this purpose. 

Here's a useful tip: ensure that all these types of lighting are on separate switches so that you can control them independently, based on your needs and the time of day. 

More importantly, remember that the correct placement of light fixtures is just as critical as the selection of the fixtures themselves.

Improperly placed lighting can cast unwanted shadows or not provide enough light where it's needed. To avoid such issues, incorporate your lighting plan into the kitchen design process from the very beginning. 

Finally, regarding energy efficiency, turning punchy task and accent lights on only when necessary, and relying on energy-efficient ambient lights for general illumination, can go a long way in keeping your power bills in check.

LED lights in particular, while slightly more expensive initially, tend to pay for themselves in the longer-term through significant energy savings.

14. Incorporate Personal Touches

Add elements that reflect your personal style.

Defining a kitchen that suits your lifestyle and taste involves an element of creativity. It's essential not to lose sight of your vision amidst the functionality and specifications. It's your kitchen, after all, and it should reflect who you are. 

You're encouraged to inject your home with your unique personality and sense of style. Reflect your preferences in your choice of colours, textures, and materials, but also possibly in the art or décor pieces you choose for your kitchen.

Whether it’s a set of quirky salt and pepper shakers, an art piece you love, or a brightly-coloured toaster, these elements add a personal touch and make your kitchen truly yours. 

  • Colour and Texture: Choose kitchen tiles or paint that reflect your personal style. If you like warm tones, you might consider a terracotta-themed kitchen. You could even add accents with particular textures that you love, such as sleek steel, rustic wood, or glossy ceramic.
  • Art and Décor: If you have a penchant for art, hang your preferred pieces in the kitchen. It could be anything from an abstract painting to a cleverly-designed wall clock. Remember, the kitchen is a place for enjoyment as much as it is for cooking.
  • Appliances: Appliances no longer come in standard colours only. Break from the norm and choose appliance colours that you love. It's an easy way to add a dash of personality to the space.
  • Cabinetry: Cabinetry is not just for storage. Think about unique knobs and handles or painting the inside of your cabinets to add an unexpected pop of colour.

In conclusion, while keeping major aspects such as function, design, and durability prominent, it is always rewarding to have your new kitchen characterise you. Be bold, be yourself, and let your kitchen be a reflection of your unique style.

True Handleless Gloss Light Grey Kitchen from Better Kitchens
True Handleless Gloss Light Grey Kitchen from Better Kitchens

15. Sample Colours and Materials

Test paint colours and materials in your home's lighting.

When it comes to choosing the perfect palette for your new kitchen, it's essential not to rely solely on swatches and samples. Remember, the lighting in your home can drastically affect the way colours appear.

Hence, it's recommended to test paint colours and materials in situ to avoid any unwelcome surprises. 

Begin by purchasing test pots of your chosen paint shades. Apply these colours to different sections of your kitchen walls, allowing them to dry fully. Study these sections at various times of the day, under different lighting situations.

You might be surprised to find that the colour you loved in the showroom looks entirely different in your home. 

As well as paint colours, it's wise to take home samples of any materials you're considering for your worktops, cabinets, and splashbacks.

Try to envisage how these materials might look alongside your chosen paint shades and under your home's specific lighting conditions. 

Deciding on the right colours and materials for your first kitchen is no small feat, but testing them in your own space can undoubtedly shed light on the best choices.

This method helps you avoid costly mistakes and achieve a cohesive, satisfying final result.

16. Don’t Forget Ventilation

A good ventilation system keeps your kitchen fresh and free from odours.

Ventilation might not be the first thing on your mind when planning your kitchen, but its importance can't be understated.

A high-quality ventilation system effectively removes cooking odours, excessive heat, and airborne grease particles.

It improves air quality, reducing the risks of breathing issues, allergies and other health concerns. Here’s how you can effectively integrate ventilation in your kitchen design:

  • Select a Cooker Hood: Start by choosing the right type of cooker hood. It can be a chimney hood, a downdraft extractor, or an integrated hood depending upon the style and layout of your kitchen. Always ensure the hood is at least as wide as the hob for effective extraction.
  • Ventilation Power: The power of your ventilation system should correspond to the size of your kitchen. A rule of thumb is to have a system that can change the air in your kitchen 10 times per hour.
  • Noise Levels: Noise can be a nuisance. Opt for a system that operates silently, or with minimal noise, so your kitchen remains a tranquil space even during heavy cooking.
  • Consider Ventilation Style: The style of ventilation should blend seamlessly with the rest of your kitchen design. Whether it's a traditional chimney style for a rustic look, a sleek downdraft vent for a modern design, or an under-cabinet hood for a minimalist kitchen.
  • Look at Cleaning Options: Ensure the unit has removable and dishwasher-safe filters for easy maintenance. Some sophisticated models even have filter change indicators, a handy feature to maintain maximum uptime of the extractor.

This might seem like a lot to consider but remember good ventilation is a long-term investment, enhancing your cooking experience and ensuring your kitchen looks superb and smells fresh.

With a bit of thought and research, you'll find the perfect system for your new kitchen.

17. Be Prepared for Delays

Timelines can shift, so be ready for unexpected delays.

Whilst purchasing your first kitchen typically instils an air of excitement, it's essential to bear in mind that there could be unexpected delays that may derail your timeline.

Factors such as delay in the delivery of materials, changes in design requirements, or unexpected findings during the renovation process can all contribute to this. 

Here is what you can do to mitigate and manage these potential setbacks: 

  • Factor in flexibility: When setting your timeline, always incorporate a buffer zone. It is far better to be pleasantly surprised by an early completion than stressed out by a late finish. Remember, perfection takes time.
  • Work closely with professionals: Keep regular communication with your contractors, designers, and other individuals involved in your project. Being involved in every step of the process allows for quick decision-making when unexpected issues arise.
  • Stay organised: Keep track of all deliveries and installations. By doing this, you can spot delays in their early stages and take the necessary steps to keep your project on track.

Lastly, whilst unexpected delays can be frustrating, it is important to keep a positive attitude throughout the process. A calm and flexible approach goes a long way in ensuring the successful completion of your kitchen remodelling project.

18. Review and Compare Quotes

Don’t rush; compare quotes from different suppliers.

When it's finally time to obtain price quotes, do not haste. It's crucial that you take your time comparing the prices and the services offered by various kitchen suppliers.

Remember, buying your first kitchen is a significant investment. Therefore, you ought to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money. Let's delve into tips that can help you review and compare the quotes effectively. 

  • Detail Comparison: Ensure to analyse the details meticulously. Compare the quality of the products, services available, the cost related to the installation and other pertinent elements. Ideally, this should be done in conjunction with researching the credibility of the suppliers.
  • Don’t Just Focus on the Price: While the cost may be a significant factor, it shouldn't be the only aspect you consider. The cheapest quote might not always offer the best quality or service. Look for a balance between cost and quality to guarantee a more gratifying investment.
  • Check for Hidden Costs: Sometimes, a quote may appear to be cost-effective initially, but there might be hidden fees that inflate the total amount. Be on the lookout for these hidden costs before settling on a particular quote.

Remember, patience is key when dealing with such a substantial investment. Also, it's always advisable to seek the opinions of others - be it friends or family who have embarked on similar undertakings or professionals in the field.

This gives you a broad perspective before making your final decision.

J Pull Kitchen Marino in Painted Heritage Red from Better
J Pull Kitchen Marino in Painted Heritage Red from Better

19. Check Warranties and Guarantees

Understand the warranties on appliances and cabinetry.

Before you begin shopping for appliances and cabinetry, it's essential that you familiarise yourself with the warranties offered on these items.

When purchasing expensive goods like kitchen appliances and cabinetry, warranties play a crucial role. They can save you stress, time and, most importantly, money, should anything go wrong. 

Understanding the warranty terms and conditions thoroughly is vital. Don't overlook the fine print; the devil, as they say, is often in the details.

Pay attention to the warranty duration, what exactly it covers, and, crucially, what voids your warranty. It's always worth taking the time to read the manufacturer’s terms and conditions and asking any questions or points of clarification.

Ensuring you're fully aware of this information can save you unnecessary headaches in the future. 

What should a good warranty cover? 

  • Parts and labour: In many instances, your warranty should cover both the cost of replacement parts and the labour required for repair.
  • Duration: A strong warranty often lasts at least one year, but many manufacturers offer extended warranties for longer durations. Be cautious of warranties that seem unusually short or non-existent.
  • Transferable: If ever you decide to sell your property, a transferable warranty might be a considerable selling point for potential buyers.

Different brands and manufacturers may offer varying warranties so ensuring you explore all options available to you, and comparing these warranties will allow you to make an informed, smart decision.

Being aware of warranties and guarantees is not just a safety net, but a savvy kitchen buying strategy. 

Remember, investing in your first kitchen is a significant milestone. While the process may seem complex and challenging, understanding topics such as warranties can make it smoother and more manageable.

TOP TIP: It's essential not to overlook the importance of filling in warranty registration forms as soon as you purchase new kitchen appliances. Many free extended warranties hinge on this crucial step - ensuring you're protected should anything go awry. Consider adding this to your initial setup checklist, it can save you inconvenience and potentially hefty costs in the long run.

TOP TIP: Fill in the warranty registration form!

It's essential not to overlook the importance of filling in warranty registration forms as soon as you purchase new kitchen appliances.

Many free extended warranties hinge on this crucial step - ensuring you're protected should anything go awry. Consider adding this to your initial setup checklist, it can save you inconvenience and potentially hefty costs in the long run.

20. Enjoy the Process

Remember, creating your dream kitchen should be an enjoyable experience!

Kitchen remodelling is undoubtedly a significant undertaking, but it doesn't have to be a stressful one. In fact, it should be sublime, inspirational. Remember, you're bringing your dream to life one sink, cupboard, and tile at a time. Here are a few tips to fully enjoy the journey: 

  • Visualise The End Result: With every decision you make, be it as minute as the pull or knob for drawers or as consequential as the style of your kitchen, imagine how it fits into your overall design. By keeping the big picture in mind, you'll find each step of the process satisfying.
  • Stay Involved: Participate actively in the process. It can be tempting to leave everything to the professionals once the contracts are signed, but staying connected with the project will make it all the more enjoyable. You'll witness your vision materialise from the blueprint to the finishes.
  • Take Your Time: Rushing through a kitchen redesign can add unwanted stress. While it's important to keep the timeline in mind, don't let it curb your enthusiasm. Take the time to explore your options and make decisions you'll be happy with for years to come.
  • Stay Positive: Bear in mind, there might be a few hiccups along the way - backorders, delayed deliveries, or unexpected issues during installation. However, try not to let these deter you. Instead, keep a positive attitude. After all, difficulties are temporary, while your kitchen is long term.

In conclusion, your journey to a new kitchen should reflect the joy and satisfaction you'll feel cooking in that space. Treating each step as a rewarding part of the process, instead of a hurdle, shifts the perspective towards a gratifying experience. In the end, you'll have more than just a new kitchen, you'll have memories of creating it. So chin up, and enjoy the process!

Ready to start your kitchen journey?

Whether you're ready to take the first step or need assistance along the way, Better Kitchens Online Service is here for you. Our experts are on hand to guide you through this exciting process. So why wait? Visit Better Kitchens Online today and embark on your kitchen journey with confidence.

Ardene Stoneman 5 January, 2024
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