You might think that the first thing you need to think about when embarking on your new kitchen project is the design of it and if that’s what you’ve started with STOP RIGHT NOW!!! While this does seem to be the logical approach, there are actually some key pertinent questions that you need to consider BEFORE you even start designing your kitchen. Working out the answers to these could potentially set you on a completely different path by focusing your mind on what’s really important to you.
What do you really want to achieve by doing this? Do you want to be able to cook more, do you want to be able to eat in the kitchen, create a social space, change the way you use the room, change your lifestyle, accommodate space for a hobby (eg cake decorating, arts and crafts, a yoga area etc?). Understanding how you will use the space is the best starting point for a designer and makes your objectives more achievable.
Are you doing it solely to improve your living space or are you also looking to add value to your home. Maybe you’re doing it to create a more attractive proposition to rent or sell the property? Maybe not now but potentially in the future? Creating a kitchen for yourself (where you can be very specific) can be very different to creating one for a third party market (where mass appeal is more sensible).
Take a good look around the kitchen you already have. While you may feel that you are totally sick of it and need a change, really think about the aspects that you like and wouldn’t want to lose: consider the style, the colour, the layout, the way it works etc. They do say that you don’t fully appreciate something until it’s gone!
The flip side of the above question is what really irritates you about your current kitchen? What would you hate to see make an appearance in the new one. Think about it while you’re actually using the space; it could be that the fridge is too far from the cooker or there’s nowhere to put a bin or that you’re sick of wiping the doors because the colour or material shows every mark etc. This is your opportunity to eradicate these pet hates!
We all have a wish list when it comes to our new kitchen but you really need to decide what your priorities are. Which things are non-negotiables and which are more nice-to-haves? This will really help your kitchen designer and will also help to determine your budget.
Most people have a fairly good idea about the pot that they have to pay for their new kitchen but it’s always worth thinking about what you would ideally like to spend and also what the absolute top end of your budget is, because it’s good to have a contingency. Your kitchen designer will often start out by including absolutely everything you’ve asked for and if that is beyond your budget, you can start to strip out the nice-to-haves (see item 5). However, if your top end budget is half the cost of the concept the designer starts out with, you’re going to have to do a lot of compromising. Looking at 'what you could have had' is never a great way to start! Giving the designer a ballpark idea of budget is therefore really helpful.
Do you need your kitchen completing for a certain deadline or can you be flexible? Again, this is something that is very useful for a designer who may be working on multiple projects at any one time.
This is possibly the most pertinent question of all! You may have a very clear idea on everything we’ve mentioned here but you may find out that your husband/wife/partner/co-funder has quite different views! This is definitely something you need to resolve BEFORE you start the design process!
Only once you have really considered all of the above should you embark on the kitchen design process; you would be surprised how many only discover that they don’t really know what they want/their budget/that their partner doesn’t agree with them on key things until they undertake that design consultation and while the designer can often help guide you to a resolution, it might be that you’re not quite ready to proceed. Knowing all of the above can make you very focused and help the designer create the right kitchen for you in a much more efficient way.
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