For most of us, buying a fabulous, bespoke kitchen is a once- or twice-in-a-lifetime event and with so many decisions to be made it can be a confusing and time-consuming process, with heaps of unfamiliar terms and products to consider and compare.
That’s why a harmonious working relationship between you and your designer is key to a successful kitchen project. People often talk about ‘clicking’ with their designer and it’s certainly important to have someone who not only understands your needs in a practical sense but also someone with whom you feel an affinity; someone who’s on your wavelength.
So, how should you prepare to get the most out of your first visit to a kitchen showroom? While it’s helpful to take along a scrapbook, moodboard or if you have one, a Pinterest site to show your designer at your initial consultation, settling on the outward appearance of your new kitchen is only half the battle. Helping to talk you through the various options – explaining the difference between built-in and built-under appliances for instance – and understanding which way your preferences lie to avoid overwhelming you with unnecessary information is why a expert designer is worth their weight in gold.
Measurements of your space and details and placement of any immovable objects, such as windows and doorways will help to give an initial idea of what will go where. If you’re happy with the layout of your current kitchen, then that’s great, but many people will be looking to improve a space and that could mean being flexible about moving furniture and services to create the best scheme within your budget. Many of our clients are incorporating their new kitchen into other building works in the house - often as part of an extension or remodelling of the area, so it may be that the design or size of the space itself will be changing.
You and your family and how you live day-to-day is as important to Harvey Jones designers as the type of cabinetry you’re looking for. Be prepared to talk to yours in detail about how many family members the kitchen will cater for on a regular basis – for instance, do you have small children so safety is of paramount importance? The needs of a multi-generational family who eat fresh, cooked-from-scratch meals are going to be very different from those of a young couple who eat out a lot. You’ll both need fridges, of course, but the size and placement will vary.
Discuss whether you want to plan in space for eating and entertaining and if so, how many will you be catering for on a regular basis? A good designer will help you to find the best solution for your space and requirements – whether it’s a relaxed peninsular or island breakfast bar or a more formal dining area with a large table and plenty of seating.
The appliances you choose will also have an effect on the look of your kitchen – built-in and integrated appliances will help to keep it modern and sleek, while freestanding pieces such as range ovens, fridges and laundry appliances give a more classic feel and will be easier to take with you should you move house. Talk to your designer about how you cook, as it’s not just the way an appliance looks that matters, it’s also about ergonomics. Ensuring you’re not walking too far between a fridge and oven or dishwasher and china cupboard is essential to an efficient working space.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask their advice about everything from recommending a hardworking worksurface and the quietest appliances for an open-plan space to what you should consider when buying taps (for the record, that’s durable ceramic washers and finding one that matches your home’s water pressure). As experts in their field they’ll be able to talk you through the latest wonderful gadgets that might not have been available the last time you bought a kitchen.
Take a look at our kitchen design glossary for information about some of the technical terminology you might encounter when planning your new kitchen, and click here to find details about your nearest Harvey Jones showroom.