When it comes to home renovations, one of the most exciting projects is the kitchen. However, it can also be time-consuming, expensive, and stressful. There are a lot of things to take into consideration, so you don’t want to go rushing off to a showroom and choosing a design before having thought everything through. It is best to break the planning process into manageable steps as it will make the whole procedure easier.
It’s a good idea to take a thorough look at your existing kitchen and make a list of all the things that you like about it and the things that you don’t like as well. Consider the appliances, the type of cabinetry, the storage space, and so on. Do the colours work, or would you rather go for something completely different? This will help you to consider whether there are things that you would like to retain and things that need improvement.
Is your kitchen big enough? One way of making it bigger, and one that is very common, is to knock down the wall between the kitchen and the dining room, thus turning it into one very much larger space. You might also want to consider adding an extension on to your home to make the kitchen larger.
Are you going to keep the sink and appliances that need plumbing, such as the washing machine, where they are, or do you plan on moving them? If the latter, you are going to have to pull up the floor in order to accommodate the pipework and drainage. You will also have to ensure that the electricity cables are in the right place as well. It is always a good idea to keep the dishwasher and washing machine close to the sink anyway in order to help keep the plumbing simple. Whatever you do, the power sockets need to be in the right places for the fridge, freezer, cooker – if you use electric – and so on.
Another option which is a popular choice for kitchens is underfloor heating, and this can either be electric or water-based. The latter is cheaper to run as it can use a ground source or air source heat pump. Underfloor heating saves having a radiator or radiators which take up space on the walls. Of course, this, too, has to be installed before the flooring is laid.
What type of flooring are you going to have? Tile or stone is perfect for a kitchen, and it is also perfect for underfloor heating as it retains heat and therefore uses less energy.
Do you want an island in your kitchen? It is a good place to put the sink, but you can also use it for dining. Think about the lighting. You may want to put spots above the cooker and food preparation areas.
What about the worktops themselves? These can be in a variety of different materials such as laminates, polished concrete, stainless steel, wood, natural stones, and more. More and more homeowners today are opting for natural stones, and granite is an extremely popular choice. Granite worktops in Bishops Stortford, or anywhere else for that matter, are extremely hard-wearing and can withstand a lot of punishment. They are extremely heat resistant and you can actually place hot pans directly from the oven on them, although experts do recommend using a trivet.
Granite worktops are also scratch resistant, measuring a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. That means that very few minerals can scratch it. However, it is not a good idea to cut and chop directly on to a granite worktop because you are likely to dull the knife. You should always use a chopping board.
Granite does need to be sealed, as it is porous, but our installers at Marble & Granite will do this for you. If a good quality sealant is used, it can last up to ten years before re-sealing is required.
Think about the cabinetry too. Polished wood veneers are great, but also expensive. Open shelving is cheaper than closed cabinets too. It is also a good idea to buy the best oven and hob that you can afford, and if necessary, cut down on things like a wine cooler and coffee machine. You can always add those later on.
Finishing touches can make a great difference, so perhaps consider polished brass for the taps and for the cabinet and drawer handles. They have a much more exotic look than ordinary, old, polished chrome.