Interiors: What to consider when buying a kitchen

Simply Magnet Collection Apollo Cream

Simply Magnet Collection Apollo Cream - Credit: Archant

A new kitchen is one of the most expensive purchases you are likely to make inside your home. Considered by many homeowners and buyers as the most important room, it will add value when you decide to sell your home and should make a good return on your investment.

Hampstead kitchen by Tim Moss

Hampstead kitchen by Tim Moss - Credit: Archant

Kitchens are no longer just cooking areas, they are areas where we live as well as cook and according to experts, good kitchen design should always address this and take both into account.

Buying a new kitchen can be a terrifying task. There are many special offers and huge variations in price, quality and service.

Satt Sembhy, managing director and senior kitchen designer, at Broadway Kitchens which has been providing bespoke kitchens to clients in the UK and all over the world for 40 years, said: “For my family and many others, the kitchen is the heart of the home so rushing in to choosing a new one without carefully thinking it through can be a huge mistake.

“Be sure to visit the showroom and discuss your requirements with experts who genuinely care about you. Never, ever purchase your kitchen on the same day, no matter how attractive the ‘special offer’ sounds.

“Go home, get a good night’s sleep and have a think about it. These ‘special offers’ are only likely to be even lower in the days or weeks when you say no.”

Satt recommends getting at least two different designs at different budget levels.

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“This way you can get a clearer picture of what is right for you. It will also help establish what budget you want to set for your kitchen project.”

Tim Moss Kitchen

Tim Moss Kitchen - Credit: Archant

“Find out how long the company has been established. Some companies offer 20 year guarantees on their products but have only been trading in business five years or less! This gives you a good idea of the calibre of company you are dealing with.”

“If the company has been trading 10 years or more, you know they have survived by not over or under pricing and had a good level of after sale service.”

Satt also advises being clear about who you are actually paying. Does the company have their own fitters or are they sub-contractors? He said that sometimes if an after sales service is required under the guarantee period the company can blame the fitters and vice-versa.

“This can leave you with the problem unsolved, if you cannot establish who is accountable. Having a broken oven, or leaking washing machine can really disrupt family life.” Satt warned.

Always ask for references and ask to see an actual installation. This gives you a clue about the quality and service you are likely to get.

It is also important to think long and hard about the design.

Satt added: “Plan views are now a thing of the past and you should deal with a company that can offer you a visual of your new kitchen. It is always advisable to see your new kitchen in the style and finish of your choice before you actually buy it.

Handpainted shaker

Handpainted shaker - Credit: Archant

“Remember that quality is not always skin deep. When you go looking for a new kitchen, the appeal is probably on the appearance. It is natural to look at and touch the kitchen cabinets, the worktop, sink and taps and appliances. “However, this can be a risky strategy. You need to look at the quality of the carcasses, especially the density and thickness, the types of drawers and drawer runners, the type of hinge, the type of backs of cabinets etc.”

If standard kitchen cabinets do not fit exactly to your existing room you have two choices: accept that standard sizes of kitchen units may be cheaper or seek out a manufacturer who will supply and fit your new kitchen directly and will make the special sized cabinets to fit your room.

“Remember you may pay a premium for bespoke sized units but they will always fit your room better and look more appealing,” Satt said.

You should also use a company that will give you a realistic time-scale for your project. The amount of time it will take to supply and fit your kitchen will vary depending on its size and the products you choose but Satt says you should be suspicious of anyone who promises a very quick, or very slow, turnaround.

But the true cost is not just the kitchen units, worktops and appliances. You must allow for floor and wall coverings, curtains (or blinds), lighting and, of course, the painting and decorating.

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