Compare My Local ... Fitted Kitchens
Fitted kitchens are becoming more and more popular amongst homeowners looking for a chic and contemporary solution for this part of their home. The kitchen is undoubtedly the heart of the home, and is usually the most frequently used room in the house.
With the various tasks needed to be carried out in the kitchen, a fitted kitchen needs to be planned and designed to ensure that the layout of the room reflects how it will be used and by whom. With accurate planning and guidance you will be able to design a fitted kitchen to perfectly suit your needs.
There are normally three main functions to a kitchen: food storage and preparation, cooking and washing/cleaning. By designing your fitted kitchen in an ergonomic way, you can ensure that these three functions are kept separate, yet flow easily into each other. Compare My Local has some of the best information available on the web on fitted kitchens.
They work with the space you have
Many homeowners are deciding not to move home in today’s economic climate, but rather to make do and improve their current properties. Therefore, space may be limited in the kitchen, but a fitted kitchen can be designed to maximise and work effectively with the space you have.
They can add value to your property
As well as making your kitchen a more functional room, fitted kitchens can also add value to your property. They are desirable to prospective buyers, and with your kitchen being designed around your home life they will appeal to people with similar needs to your own. By adding a fitted kitchen to your property, you will make a huge impact to the overall look
Designs are flexible
When it comes to planning and designing a fitted kitchen, you can choose something that reflects your personality, no matter what your preferences are. There are many different styles to choose – from contemporary glossy kitchens, to more humble traditional styles. You can even choose a fitted kitchen that is bespoke and unique to your home, if you wish to.
Packages can be cost effective
Many companies offer package deals on kitchen furniture and appliances, so it can be possible to achieve a good deal on a fitted kitchen package. Many companies will offer appliances that complement their kitchen furniture offerings meaning that your fitted kitchen will be aesthetically pleasing as well as practical. Savings made by purchasing a package can then be put towards other rooms in your home.
Layouts are permanent
Once the kitchen has been installed, the layout and design are permanent so it’s crucial to make the right choice when planning. The only way to change the layout of your kitchen once it has been installed, is to start over again.
They can be expensive
Fitted kitchens do come with an associated cost, and the overall cost can be a significant amount. The average cost for a fitted kitchen in the UK is £8,000. Unfortunately, by choosing to have cheaper materials used, the quality of the kitchen can be affected.
If you’re planning a new kitchen, it can be daunting to know where to start. In the UK, people spend around £8,000, on average, when buying a new kitchen, so it’s a significant purchase, and one that should be planned carefully. When buying a bespoke kitchen, prices can rise even higher than this. In addition to buying the kitchen furniture, there may be installation costs to consider, and these can vary depending on the type of kitchen you have bought.
The benefits of a new kitchen include:
- Added value to your home
- Better use of space (clever storage)
- Improved social area for the family
- More aesthetically pleasing look
- Can incorporate your passions into the new layout – e.g. wine, bread making or baking
Where To Start – Planning
When planning a new kitchen, start by looking at what you already have in your current kitchen. Decide whether you simply want an update, in which case you’ll just be replacing the current doors, worktops and appliances, or whether you want to start afresh and replace the entire kitchen. Next you will need to decide on your budget, including a 10% contingency fund for unexpected emergencies.
Look at your current kitchen and think about what you like, and what you don’t like. If the current layout works well, then don’t change it unless there is a real need to, such as it will increase the value of your property. Decide whether there are any aspects of the current kitchen that you want to keep.
Map out your current kitchen on graph paper using metric measurements. Make notes of where the electrical sockets, plumbing and waste pipes are. Add in windows, doors, and any other restrictions such as a chimney breast or boiler, and make a note whether the walls are internal or external. Note down whether there are any accessories such as pots and pans or china that you would like out on display, and think about how many cupboards you’ll need to store the things you don’t want on display, such as blenders, food processors and breadmakers.
In most kitchens, there is a distinct ‘working triangle’ which exists between the sink, fridge and cooker. This is to ensure that working in the kitchen is hassle-free, and there are short distances to travel between these three key areas. You’ll need to make sure there is at least 120cm clearance between runs of kitchen units to allow two people to walk freely, and there also needs to be at least 40cm clearance between an open kitchen door and the nearest opposite unit.
A typical worktop height is 90cm, but this may be impractical for everyone, so make sure you choose the correct height for your home. Elbow height needs to be a few centimetres above the worktops. You’ll also need to think about how doors will open – cupboard doors usually open to a maximum of 60cm, while oven doors by 50cm.
Once the layout has been decided, it’s then time to think about the decor and styling of your new kitchen. You’ll also need to decide whether you want new flooring, and what you’d like to do with the walls and tiling. Look through home interest magazines and websites and visit some local showrooms for inspiration. If you’re thinking about moving in the near future, make sure you choose a style with a wide appeal – although you may want a bright pink worktop, prospective buyers may not. Think about the rest of your home and choose something that will fit in well – Shaker kitchens are popular at the moment, but if the rest of your home is quite contemporary, you may prefer a modern style with granite worktops, which are highly regarded among buyers.
Typical appliances needed in a kitchen include:
- Cooker hood
- Fridge freezer
- Washing machine
Prices for appliances can also vary depending on whether you choose budget options or go for top-of-the-range models. For the above appliances, the total cost can vary between £1,800 for typical budget appliances and £5,000 plus for top-of-the-range appliances.
When it comes to appliances, you’ll need to decide whether you want them freestanding or built-in. If you have a small kitchen, there are compact sized appliances available to buy, such as table top or slimline dishwashers, combination microwave ovens and grills and combined washer-dryers. Alternatively if you have a large open plan kitchen and a large family then there are plenty of oversized appliances on the market, including large dishwashers with space for seventeen place settings, large washing machines, double ovens and American style fridge freezers.
When buying appliances, look for end of line discounts, and shop around online for good deals. You may also be able to find ex-display or clearance models selling for bargain prices. Look for customer reviews online before making any purchases.
If the company you bought the kitchen from is installing the units as well, make sure you find out exactly who is fitting it as many companies sub-contract installation work to third party companies. Once you’ve determined who the fitting company is, ask for a work schedule so that you are aware of what work is happening on which days, and when you can expect to take deliveries. There may be occasions when you cannot use the sink, so make sure you are aware of this and can make other arrangements. Some kitchens will come ready for installation, but some will need to be prepped and cut and in this case the fitters may require space in a garage or garden. Make sure you have the space available if this work is needed for your kitchen.
Buying a kitchen on a budget
There is no reason why you cannot have a chic kitchen bought on a budget. Instead of installing a completely new kitchen, you can simply buy new kitchen unit doors to give your kitchen a completely new look. Shop around at local kitchen manufacturers, DIY shops and builders merchants to find a good deal. Have a look around during typical sales periods to see if there are any bargains to be had. Try to get the price down as low as possible, and ask whether they will consider throwing in a sink or another appliance for free. It is even possible to buy second hand kitchens, but it’s crucial to make sure that the units will fit your kitchen, and that there has been no damage caused when the units were removed.
Another way to keep costs down is to ensure you don’t make any changes to the plumbing or electrics. Costs start to rise quickly when sinks or appliances need to be moved. If you do need to change the layout of your kitchen, contact local recommended plumbers, electricians and kitchen fitters to get a list of quotes before you make any decisions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Buying a fitted kitchen is one of the biggest purchases a homeowner can make. It’s therefore very important to make sure that all of your queries are answered before you make a decision. Take a look at our frequently asked questions for some helpful fitted kitchen advice:
Just because you have a small kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t have the kitchen of your dreams. Kitchen designers relish the challenge of a small kitchen to provide plenty of storage and include all of the appliances you require. Plenty of manufacturers offer slimline units specifically designed for smaller kitchens, and there is a huge range of compact appliances available. Clever use of lighting and colour can also create the illusion of more space in a smaller room. Check out our small kitchens guide for more advice.
An induction hob is a new type of cooking surface that heats only a purpose-made magnetic pan using an electro magnet positioned below the glass surface. An induction hob is able to sense the size of the pan and only heats the exact area covered by the pan, making them extremely effective at heating and cooking food. Pans must be made of ferrous metal (iron or steel) in order for the heat to be transferred. If you are unsure whether your pans are suitable, test the base with a magnet – if the magnet sticks then the pan is suitable.
If you prefer cooking with gas, but have a draughty kitchen then look for a gas hob with a flame failure device. These hobs have a thermostatic sensor positioned near the burner and if the flame is extinguished, the sensor detects that no heat is being generated and automatically shuts off the gas supply. If you have gas in the house, always ensure you have a carbon monoxide detector.
Calculate the volume of the room by using the following formula: (length x width x height) x 10.
For example, if your kitchen is (4m x 5m x 2.5m)x10 then you would need an extractor fan capable of 500m3 minimum extraction rate.
Fitted kitchens can vary widely in cost, so you’re bound to find something that fits within your budget. The average cost for a kitchen in the UK is around £8,000 so bear that figure in mind when planning your fitted kitchen. Always remember to have a 10% contingency fund for emergencies, and don’t forget about hidden costs, such as installation, that may not be included in the price of a fitted kitchen package.
Fitted kitchens usually have one of the following four layouts:
L Shape- one of the most popular layouts and suitable for both large and small kitchens. The units work around two walls, typically with cooking and refrigeration on one wall, and cleaning/washing area located on the other wall.
U Shape – which uses three walls instead of two, and therefore provides more worktop space. The sink (cleaning area) is normally located on the middle wall with the cooking and refrigeration functional areas located at opposite ends of the room.
Single Galley – this is the most popular choice for smaller kitchens where limited space is available. All three functional areas are located on one wall, usually with the sink in the middle and cooking and refrigeration placed either side.
Double Galley – in particularly narrow kitchens, or kitchens with doors at either end, this layout suits very well. Typically, cooking and refrigeration are placed on one wall, with cleaning area on the opposite wall.
These are the most popular fitted kitchen layout choices, however, if you decide to renovate your kitchen completely, you may be able to find a company to design a bespoke layout for your home.
When choosing a fitted kitchen there are various worktops available in a variety of colours and designs. It important that whatever type of worktop you decide upon, it is hardwearing and can meet the needs of a busy kitchen. Understandably, prices can vary widely depending upon which material is used.
For example, laminate worktops are fairly inexpensive and stain resistant, although they are only partially resistant to heat, meaning that they can leave scorch marks. Granite is a popular choice as it is hardwearing and resistant to heat and it is also aesthetically pleasing. It is however, much more expensive than laminate and can be more problematic to install.
Finally, solid wood has a great natural look, and can be shaped to any design for more bespoke fitted kitchens. Drawbacks, however, are the expensive cost and potential scorch marks left by hot pans. Whichever worktop you decide upon, make sure you carefully consider all of the options available to you, and select the material that works best for you and your kitchen.
There are a variety of lighting options available for both practical and decorative purposes. Most commonly used are ceiling lights, which cast light across the main part of the room. Spotlights recessed in the ceiling can be used to offer light across the entire room. If you are choosing to have glass fronted cabinets in your fitted kitchen then built-in cabinet lighting will provide an ideal decorative option.
Task lighting can be added to ‘working areas’ across the room, such as the hob area and cooker hood, and can be used to help provide extra light in highly used areas of the room. Finally plinth lighting can be used to add a softer light to the room when full ceiling lights are not required.
Deciding how much money you wish to spend will ultimately determine the look and design of your fitted kitchen. As well as the costs associated with buying the fitted kitchen, it is also important to allocate some of your budget to the installation of the kitchen.
The majority of your budget will be spent on kitchen furniture, appliances and worktops (usually around 70% of your total budget). As well the fitting, also make sure to allocate some of your budget towards tiling, lighting, sink and tap, and flooring.
CML Recommends Marino Bespoke Kitchens Kent
Marino Bespoke Interiors in Tunbridge Wells, Kent are specialists at installing custom fitted kitchens. Joe Marino, owner, is a 'attention to details' man and take pride in delivering the perfect fitted wardrobes and kitchens for his customers. Visit the website at www.marinobespokeinteriors.co.uk