Are you renovating within an existing layout or are you taking down walls, moving plumbing and electricals, and starting from scratch? Do you know exactly what you want or do you need help with the design? Are you going to do it yourself, use the services of a kitchen company or commission a bespoke cabinetmaker? How much is it all going to cost and how much can you afford? You should probably assume that it will cost you at least 20% more than you estimate, and include that in your budget.
One of the best things you can do is to look at as many kitchens and designs as possible. Tear pages from magazines and look online, pick up brochures, go to showrooms, and check out the DIY kitchen installations and available kitchen hardware at your local homemaker centre or hardware store. If you are buying new appliances, do lots of online research, ‘test-drive’ where possible and compare prices for the best deal. Doing the legwork now is much better than thinking ‘Oh, I wish …’ when it’s all over!
A kitchen company can design precisely to your specific needs. Their experience allows them to maximise your space, avoid common design pitfalls and organise the workflow when the job is in train. They should also be up-to-date with the latest trends and products. However, you should not be afraid to tell them what you want and to offer your own ideas – if you feel that they are not listening to you, choose another company. Shop around – it’s your kitchen and your money.
If you feel confident with DIY, then the flat-pack kitchen is a terrific option to consider. Certainly, it is easier on the pocket. And you’re not completely on your own. Large hardware stores (such as Bunnings Warehouse), budget kitchen suppliers and online flat-pack distributors all offer varying levels of service, from personal planning and advice to online design tools, complete installation and customer support. They will also help you with taking accurate measurements and avoiding design disasters, such as placing the stove near a window or putting drawers in corners.
But you’ll need to organise your own tradies for electrical and plumbing work, so write yourself a flowchart of what should happen when, so that you avoid hold-ups when work starts.
And before you rip out your old kitchen, make sure you have a plan for eating over the next few months! Will you be moving out, or living with a microwave and a barbecue? Well ahead of time, empty out the old kitchen, pack everything into marked boxes, keeping out basic necessities, move the fridge to another room and prepare for things to get a bit worse before they get better!