Kitchen buying – Planning for Satisfaction
Need to know:
- Work out – and stick to – a budget
- Compare styles and prices
- Check supplier credentials
‘Dream’ kitchens are everywhere you turn – glossy magazines, television adverts, shops and DIY stores.
Your particular dream kitchen might be out of reach for financial or logistical reasons. But even if you have to compromise you can still have a kitchen that will make your heart race. The key to satisfaction is careful planning.
The first thing to consider is how your kitchen will be used – for food preparation, eating, homework, socialising, etc. Think also about how much storage space you will need, then add a bit more – you’ll always need more than you think!
Next calculate your budget. Work out what you can afford to spend and list absolutely everything you will need to buy so that you can make your purchasing decisions in accordance with your finances. Keep a 10% contingency to cover unexpected problems or expenses.
A major consideration is how your kitchen will be fitted. Will it be a flat pack or a rigid construction? Off-the-shelf or custom-built? DIY? Perhaps even non-fitted units? Look for companies that specialise in the construction you choose. If you plump for flat pack units, check whether the company offers a fitting service.
Ask friends and family for supplier recommendations and visit several showrooms to compare styles and prices.
Before you make your final choice, find out if the company is a member of a trade body such as the Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association (KBSA). This will give you the reassurance that the business has been checked and approved.
Also establish whether the supplier offers an inspection when fitting is completed as well as a full after-sales service. Satisfy yourself that any queries or problems will be dealt with promptly and check out supplier guarantees.
Before you make a final decision, look at showroom cabinets and inspect areas that receive the heaviest wear, such as around the edges, hinges and seams, to spot any possible signs of weakness in the materials. Fully-fitted showroom kitchens also give you the opportunity to compare different finishes, materials, colours and door handles.
Unless money is no object, choose a style you won’t tire of as you’ll have to live with it for some years – although you can always ring the changes with new handles or a coat of paint.
Once you make your decision, ask for a fully itemised costing so that you know what you will be expected to pay, and when. Never hand over the full amount when you place your order. Buy from a source that offers reasonable payment terms and make sure you know the terms and conditions.
Whatever you do, don’t buy on impulse. Meticulous planning and careful purchasing decisions are vital if you are to end up with that kitchen of your dreams.