Whether you are designing a kitchen from scratch or extending your kitchen or just replacing some of the units, works will almost certainly be extremely disruptive. But you can mitigate the inconvenience with careful planning and management. Here's a step-by-step guide to make project managing a kitchen renovation a breeze.
1. Decide on your new kitchen's style
Before you visit a kitchen designer, have an idea of which kitchen style you want to go for. The various cabinetry styles include traditional family-friendly kitchens, including dining spaces; classic country kitchens and farmhouse kitchens, suitable for period homes; Shaker-style kitchens and Georgian or Victorian style kitchens, which suit homes of all eras, especially larger spaces, to more contemporary approaches, such as retro-style kitchens or vintage kitchens – or ultra-modern kitchens.
Do your research and collect images that inspire you to help develop your scheme, and consult kitchen design specialists to make sure you consider all possibilities, when it comes to style and space planning.
2. Finalise the kitchen layout
Go armed to the kitchen design company with a good idea of how you want the layout to be. You’ll be living with your new kitchen layout for a long time, so think about how to make the space work for your lifestyle. ‘Decide what you want and need in your kitchen,’ advises B&Q interior design manager Cat Dennison. ‘How many people will be using it? Can it fit into your current footprint, or would it work better in a different setup?’
Consider activities beyond cooking, suggests David Vine, kitchens project leader at Ikea: ‘Do you need a work area, or a place to socialise? A place for pets or for laundry? Look out for smart kitchen storage solutions that will help you design a functional yet beautiful space.’
3. Ensure your kitchen measurements are sound
It's not just about turning up to a kitchen design company armed with all the measurements you need – from the floorplan to the position of windows and doors. ‘Check the condition of your walls and floors, too, as any remedial works may affect the measurements of your space,’ says Michael Burke, divisional installation manager at Homebase. ‘Consult a local builder to give advice on the floor level and any re-plastering. Get a second person to re-measure and check your measurements.’
4. Start the work at the right time of year
Ideally, plan to start your kitchen extension in early spring. The major part of the disruption should then take place in late spring/early summer when you’ll have more hours of daylight, and outdoor barbecues and cold suppers will be far more appealing.
5. Set a timeline and budget for your new kitchen
Once you have a clear idea of both your practical and design requirements, draw up a plan dividing up the project into specific tasks with deadlines, and assign segments of your budget. Don’t forget to factor in lead time for the fittings and fixtures you’ll be ordering, and set aside an extra sum (5 to 10 per cent of the total is usual) in case you need to make unexpected changes as you proceed.
6. Finalise your kitchen design
From DIY warehouses to bespoke kitchen companies, kitchen design specialists are there to help you with planning your scheme and usually supply drawings so that you can fully visualise your transformed space. You’ll need to select your fittings and finishes, including cabinetry, worktops, appliances, kitchen lighting, kitchen flooring, tiling and splashbacks.
7. Hire a building or kitchen fitting team
You may want to hire an architect or find a reliable builder to help manage the work if it’s a large project. Get at least three different estimates, and look for members of relevant professional bodies to give you greater protection if something goes wrong.
‘Ensure that you employ a qualified tradesperson to fit your kitchen, and for any gas and electric work,’ advises Michael Burke of Homebase.
Insist that your builder keeps the site as clean and tidy as possible. Make this clear from the outset. As well as reducing dust and dirt, a mess-free site is generally a safer site.
8. Prepare for the kitchen installation
If embarking on a major project, arrange with your builders to fit a temporary kitchen, comprising worktop, kitchen sink, microwave, fridge and electric hob.
Pack away the majority of your kitchen paraphernalia to minimise clutter during the works. Keep back only essential cooking pots and the minimum of crockery and cutlery.
Don't forget that you may need to inform your insurance company about the work you are doing so that you are covered for any mishaps.
9. Stay on site or visit the site regularly
While you may be tempted to go away for a couple of weeks while the worst part of the job is going on. Don’t. Not only will your absence pose a security threat, you will need to be on hand to make crucial decisions even if you think everything is finalised.
10. Make time for snagging
Most projects will need a little refining, so after the major work has been completed, make a list of details that have been forgotten, are missing, or wrong. Your contractor may have to return to finish these off, so allow for this in your deadline.