A Luxury Kitchen is the Heart of the Home4th September 2013
Traditional Kitchens24th September 2013
There are countless ways to ensure that you get the best return from your investment when buying a fitted kitchen, some obvious, some less so.
When you enter a kitchen showroom one of the first things that will probably greet you is a salesperson so don’t forget that you’d be paying for that person’s wages.
If you can deal direct with the manufacturer and designer then you’re potentially cutting out the cost of sales personnel and possibly that of expensive brand marketing undertaken by chains of retail outlets and DIY sheds. You may also be paying for showrooms that don’t pay their own way !
If your kitchen is to be natural wood, like many shaker-style kitchens, where the grain is showing then there’s a huge choice of woods from pine and tulip wood to oak and walnut but the variation in wood prices is enormous even between English Oak and American Oak, White Oak and Red Oak so there are savings to be made. There are, of course, many man-made finishes which look and feel like wood but beware of paper or vinyl covered doors in wet or steamy environments as surface peeling is almost inevitable.
If your choice is for a painted finish it makes little sense to choose an expensive English Oak and then hide its natural beauty with paint. Modern wood-based boards are so advanced that, if treated and finished to a high standard, will look just as good, be long-lasting, easily cleaned and durable but almost half the price of natural wood. There is also much to be said in environmental terms for using recycled materials.
Many kitchens fitted today follow the style of the Edwardian kitchen era by introducing a colour theme with either hand-painted or spray-painted finish doors. There is obviously a difference in price because spraying is faster and less laborious. A good manufacturer may even recommend that they can totally revitalise an existing quality kitchen by removing the doors, stripping, repainting, re-finishing and refitting to provide you with a more current colour theme and what looks like an entirely new kitchen.
Cabinets with a single door and shelves will obviously be cheaper than a set of drawers especially if the drawers are handle-less and electrically operated. The style of handle chosen can also make a significant contribution to cost-saving.
Don’t be daunted by the choices available, a good designer or kitchen supplier will lead you through the options and not try to push you into selecting what they make most money from or what counts towards their monthly bonus.
Worktops come in a range of materials from Laminate to Quartz, Synthetic compounds (such as Corian), natural Wood and Granite. Each of these has advantages and disadvantages for example joins and seams in wooden and laminate worktops may leave the material prone to water ingress. Granite and wood are natural materials so their finish and colour may vary considerably whereas man-made materials are consistent. Granite and wood are also porous so they can be stained or affected by everyday cleaning and cooking liquids or foodstuffs and acids such as lemon juice and malt vinegar. It all depends on how you intend to use your kitchen.
Taps can vary in price from £5 to £1,500 and your choice whether the tap is to be a feature and make a statement or simply be a device to provide hot or cold water. Any reputable kitchen supplier will let you source your own taps. A manufacturer of kitchen furniture is not likely to be the manufacturer of taps, sinks, ovens, fridges or other kitchen appliances and will need to add a percentage for ordering, storing, delivery etc so again you can make savings through buying online.
Even hinges can be scrutinised for cost-savings as there can be large price differentials between a standard hinge that opens 90 degrees and a soft-close hinge opening through 170 degrees. If you start with a lower cost option then you can always upgrade at a later date but beware of poor quality hinges which may impact upon the aesthetic clean lines of a new kitchen.
A kitchen company that can do the whole job including building works, plastering, tiling, lighting, electrical work, plumbing and flooring, in addition to manufacturing, supplying and fitting a kitchen, can save you money and aggravation. The last thing that you need is a host of different tradespeople with a fleet of vans outside your property and potentially blaming each other for delays or mistakes; so employing a company that gives you total project management through one direct contact brings huge benefits and you only have one project manager to blame if anything does go awry.
Clearly it is ‘your’ hard-earned money that you’d be spending and ‘your’ kitchen that you will have to live with but you don’t have to accept second best in order to economise on your initial outlay. With the right kitchen company working for you it is possible to have the best for less and achieve your dream kitchen without sleepless nights.