Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ideas, tips and tricks when buying a new kitchen

Having decided that your kitchen is in need of a revamp you now have to plan what features it will have. It may be that you require more work and cupboard space. Your existing appliances may not offer you the specifications you require and your lighting may be inadequate.
Installing a new kitchen into your home can massively change the atmosphere of the area, plus also greatly increase the value of the property, as long as it is designed well. It is important, when designing a new kitchen, to incorporate style with convenience, while being respectful of the current interior decor within your home.

It can be an uphill struggle determining exactly what you require from a new fitted kitchen as there are so many things that you need to consider. The main point many people need to regard is how to fit everything you want into the space that you have; though even if you have the luxury of a spacious kitchen, you still need to factor in the cost and the suitability of the combination of materials that you want.

Your budget is the first thing you need to deliberate before you start looking at having a new kitchen fitted. The budget will have a huge effect on what styles and themes are available to you and whether you can have the kitchen designed for you, or you have to buy off the shelf packages.
Also, it helps to know what kind of style you want your kitchen to be designed in. There are many styles to choose but the four main forms are contemporary, country or classic, vintage and modern or simplistic. Most kitchen fitters will be able to accommodate your tastes, whatever form they may take.

Now you need to know what materials and styles are in for 2010 so that you can incorporate fashion into your new fitted kitchen design. Right now, and for the last few years or so, people are favoring bright, airy, spacious rooms that have been designed with functionality in mind. Though, accompaniment to that there has been a trend towards a more social feel of the kitchen. People are beginning to do more socializing in their kitchens and therefore have been integrating more social layouts with similarly orientated furniture.
The open plan kitchen has been a popular design for a good few years now and continues to be so. The adaptation of this style is that, as previously mentioned, functionality is coming to the forefront and people are making the most of all the space they have available. Kitchen specific appliances and furniture are becoming more area-efficient, though no less expensive.
Specifically speaking, glass cabinet fronts are in, either in clear glass or frosted glass form; as is bright, vivid colors which help lift a room making it a more cheerful place. It is important not to use too many colors in a modern kitchen design; just one bright color and a softer accent color is generally all that is required. Wood finishes have always been popular and remain to be so; natural materials like slate or stone are certainly trendy at the moment.

What to look for and what to avoid when buying a new kitchen

Many others view the same expedition with similar trepidation but you can avoid the stresses associated with choosing a new kitchen. Here are my tips.

The Showroom Shuffle

You’re browsing the showroom nursing your ambitions to find the kitchen you’ve always wanted. Careful not to draw attention to yourself - after all, you’ve read all the horror stories, watched all the TV exposures and everywhere you go in search of your dream kitchen you feel a little like a lamb being led to the slaughter.

Have you entered the lion’s den? Well no, I don’t think so. The good news is that there is a wealth of knowledgeable, helpful, courteous and efficient people in a kitchen showroom near you determined to shake off the bad image generated by some of their unscrupulous counterparts.

The question is – how can you distinguish a sweet-talking salesperson from a dedicated professional? The truth is - it’s difficult, but with a little preparation and sound knowledge you will be in a better position to prise yourself away from the clutches of eager “Arthur Daleys”.

Researching the market on the internet

Today the resources at your disposal mean that research is much easier. Most people own a computer and have access to the Internet where there is an abundance of consumer web sites detailing the companies and the sales methods to avoid. There are also a growing number of sites offering good advice and discussion forums and newsgroups provide an excellent way of determining the wheat from the chaff.

The reality is that all your research can be done in the comfort of your own home whereas before you connected to the net, the only research possible was trawling the showrooms for days on end before tiring of the confusion. Many purveyors of the old method ended up buying the kitchen hastily through sheer exhaustion and desperation.

The Internet also provides a source for finding the goods you want at the best price and a host of sites are proving popular by dedicating their search engines to scour the net in search of the best deal. Indeed, kitchen appliances were once a means of generating great profit for many retailers but a growing number of competitive internet appliance sellers means that now, even trade prices of appliances are being undercut by certain web retailers.

Why should I buy your product?

Contacting manufacturers to find out why you should buy their products before you actually do is a facility most of them invite but consumers rarely choose to use it. But by doing so you strengthen their commitment to you by ensuring personal contact with the company. All companies have a web presence and most provide contact details on the site. By contacting the company prior to buying their products you're just using the tools at your disposal to ensure a satisfactory outcome.

Web retailers

Increasing amounts of buyers are finding out how useful it is to source their kitchens from web retailers and this offers the buyer the comfort of choosing their kitchen from home, avoiding the conflicting advice you invariably find from the High St.

A number of reputable net retailers now offer complete kitchens via the internet and their showrooms are their web pages but that’s technological progress and its only the dinosaurs who insist that terrestrial showrooms remain the only source for buyers. After all, the internet shops are open every minute of every day and no-one is peering over your shoulder with a look of anxiety in case you leave the showroom and look elsewhere.

The benefits of online shopping from an established and respectable site means that customers can get in-depth information about a product, read feedback from other customers and ask advice from experts who have fitted the product.

Still some manufacturers remain blinkered on "you have to touch and feel a product before you will buy it" even though recent research by a reputable appliance manufacturer told them that 39% of people canvassed on this belief said they would buy a product costing more than £500 over the internet. I wonder will they be talked about like poor old Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister in the 1960s who said "You know of course that this television thing is just a fad - it will never catch on".

There is no substitute for educating yourself on the various components available to the buyer and no shortage of resources are available to assist you. For instance certain web sites offer the potential buyer tips on what to avoid, what to look for and articles on how to install your own kitchen.

To assist in your quest you can research expert opinions and articles by entering your queries into an Internet search engine. The results will provide you with both recommendations and criticisms of the large variety of products available.
The above may sound like a blatant recommendation for using the internet as your new marketplace when seeking a kitchen, it isn’t, but I don’t believe that quality only exists on the High St.

For those not impressed with the Internet there remains a wealth of excellent terrestrial retailers offering quality goods, services and web sites.

What should I ask?

Kitchen - Rutland Oak doors and granite worktops - Bishops  Stortford, Hertfordshire (Herts) by Peter Hamilton Kitchens

This narrow kitchen has three windows and three entrances so it was quite a challenge but looks great with Rutland Oak doors and granite worktops. The stainless steel range cooker, splashback and chimney hood with glass canopy opposite the two drawer under counter refrigerator with stainless steel frontals works well and large boss handles pull it together nicely. The stone floor and painted walls keep it feeling light and airy. To the right of the refrigerator is an integrated freezer and off camera are sink, washing machine and dishwasher with further storage.
Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire (Herts)
Kitchen - Rutland Oak doors and granite worktops - Bishops  Stortford, Hertfordshire (Herts) by Peter Hamilton Kitchens

Armed with a new found knowledge you can begin your buying crusade with confidence in your ability to prevent the wool being pulled over your eyes. To prevent this happening here’s a few tips:

  • Check the credentials of the company you buy the kitchen from - ask for contact details of previous customers. Don’t be swayed by adverts - be swayed by previous work
  • To ensure longevity of your kitchen - go for quality cabinets -this will prove more cost effective- choose cabinets of 18mm/19mm width and solid backs.

  • Drawers should be metal-sided with solid base back (avoid hardboard in both cabinet and drawers - they will warp in time). Anti-slam drawers are an innovation currently proving popular.

  • Research on some facts - there is no substitute for speaking with a knowledge of the criteria you are looking for.

  • Try to make a personal contact within the company - who will visit at least once during the course of installation and again on completion.

  • Collaborate with the designer on your visions and requirements so they may be incorporated into the plans.

  • Avoid cold sales techniques they may end up burning you

  • Verify that all kitchen items arrive undamaged before allowing commencement.

  • If installation is included in your package, withhold at least 20% of the fee until everything is complete - this will ensure that any missing items will be fitted before final payment is made.
    If a company disagrees with this – don’t use them

  • Draw up a works schedule to ensure synchronisation - make sure everyone involved works follows this, i.e. all building works completed to a schedule before installing your kitchen.

  • Speak to your allocated kitchen fitter before the installation to discuss the time, date and key arrangements (if appropriate) and of course brewing facilities.

  • Raise any concerns with the kitchen fitter whenever they appear rather than waiting till completion

Value for your money

light oak shaker fitted kitchen - Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire  (Herts) - by Peter Hamilton Kitchens

The core of any kitchen is formed around the three vital components, cabinets, appliances and worktops. Having the ability of identifying quality of these components is a skill I would strongly advise all buyers to acquire before embarking on their mission.

Kitchens are no different to other industries in that quality products come at greater expense but it pays to have the ability to recognise quality before handing over the money.

The important thing for you is that you receive quality goods and services at a fair cost. The important thing for most retailers is that they win your custom and you then spread the word. As the adage goes – If the services completed are of a high standard you will tell a friend or neighbour but if the standard is poor you will tell a crowd.

The message to all consumers is to “gen up” and play a part in removing the cooks who have been spoiling the broth for so long.


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  2. Beautiful kitchen designs I was hoping that I can afford this kind of kitchen :)

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