Investing in your kitchen can be one of the most surefire ways to boost the value of your home. The kitchen is the ‘heart’ of the home in many respects: whether for social events, presentation or daily home cooking it is vital for keeping your property vibrant and healthy.
Still, the prospect of shelling out for a big home improvement project can be a scary one. There are plenty of short and long term elements to consider, supposed ‘hacks’ for saving money and, naturally, a lot which can go wrong if you fail to plan properly. When dealing with large retailers in particular, it can be quite easy to spend money in places where you don’t need to, but if you deal with a local Pro instead, who should you go with and for how much?
Our advice is to start with a kitchen design consultation. These are usually free with most large retailers, though they will obviously try to push for a sale throughout. You can also speak to a local interior designer or kitchen fitter. As long as you have a firm budget and clear measurements for your kitchen, they should have no trouble helping you to develop your plans, suggesting materials, alternative design ideas and ‘hacks’ based on years of genuine experience.
As a general rule, it is usually best to have your actual kitchen fitting done by a local fitter. They will almost always be cheaper than big retailers, who typically outsource their fitting anyway, and local Pros will also usually offer their own guarantees. Most importantly, local Pros live and die on making customers happy, so as long as you read through customer reviews you should be able to find a top notch fitter in no time at all. Remember, the best guarantee of a fantastic finished product will be to hire the right Pro for the job!
The secret to improving your home on a budget is knowing exactly what you are prepared to spend and sticking to that figure. Make this clear to everyone you speak to, especially retailers; the best will work within your budget rather than constantly trying to upsell.
You should also make a list of what you need included in your kitchen to ensure that these elements are covered before you start considering any unnecessary add-ons. This does not mean your kitchen has to be basic and boring - budgeting correctly could leave you with more funds to spend on fun appliances and cool accessories.
While we have nothing but respect for big retailers, they sadly have to deal with big overheads. This will often be reflected in the cost of their merchandise. That is not to say that they rip people off, but there is certainly a lot to be said for looking for alternatives elsewhere. Trade professionals, for example, will have access to ‘trade discounts’ which allow them to buy materials and appliances for less than you would find in a showroom.
If you have a clear idea of what you want included in your kitchen, speak to a kitchen fitter and ask them for a quote. A joiner can also create your kitchen units bespoke. While this might not be as simple as buying a fitted kitchen, it can give you more freedom of choice for less money. A particularly good Pro will also be able to recommend alternatives before you make your final decision.
Being able to bargain with merchants is a skill that many people claim to have, but while the secrets of true haggling remain a mystery to most it is still worth giving it a try when planning home improvements. What this means in practice is looking for how expensive materials and services are with different candidates and retailers. When dealing with kitchen firms, a savvy customer could score a discount of at least 10%.
However, a particularly savvy customer will be willing to wait for seasonal sales before heading to the showroom. You are far more likely to get a great deal on your new kitchen by waiting for Christmas or Easter than you are by demanding discounts beyond what retailers are allowed to offer.
Not everything in your kitchen needs to be perfectly presentable and immaculate. Instead of shelling out on every aspect you should instead plan your budget more selectively, focusing on the elements that you use every day as well as those which are always on display. The former will include appliances and storage, while the latter will cover aspects like your cabinets and door handles.
Flooring in particular is worth investing in if you can, as the right choice could directly add value to your home.
If the structure of your kitchen is still solid, with a design that makes it easy to move around, why rip everything out? Instead of adding completely new cabinets, consider keeping the skeleton of the kitchen and simply replacing front most features such as your worktops, cabinet doors and handles. The same applies to your appliances: moving these unnecessarily will require expensive alterations to your utilities, so why not opt for like-for-like replacements instead?
Not only will this be cheaper, allowing you to spend more elsewhere, it will also cut down on the length of your project, letting you enjoy your new kitchen far more quickly.