How to start renovating your kitchen

start renovating your kitchen Life Homely

Deciding to start a project is exciting, right? All the ideas and opportunities to make your dream kitchen a reality are right there at your fingertips.

But how do you start renovating your kitchen?

As in… what are the first steps? Where do you begin?

It can feel overwhelming to actually kick off your project, because there’s so much to do that finding the first step is a task in itself.

So that’s what I’m here to help with. Ready to take a look?

Harvey Jones Arbor illustrate how to start renovating your kitchen
Arbor kitchen, from £25,000, Harvey Jones.

How to start renovating your kitchen

The planning

Before anything else, you of course need to map out the project. This includes collating ideas (and plenty of them), but also essentials such as setting a budget. In fact, money is one of the first things you should think about: how much you can afford will have an effect on what you can do.

But don’t be discouraged. A good designer can make the most of your budget and give you the stunning results you want, so hold onto all of your ideas.

In fact, when you start renovating your kitchen, collect styles you like – but also what you don’t like. It might sound counterintuitive, but it’ll really help narrow down your final design.

When you’ve done all that, it’s time to find a designer and draw up plans. Speak through the layout and be open to different options. You might find that what you originally had in mind isn’t the most effective design – but don’t be afraid to stand your ground. If something is a non-negotiable, make that clear.

Eggersmann Salzburg illustrate how to start renovating your kitchen
Island and cabinetry in E3.0 in Karat in a custom NCS matt lacquer colour. Eggersmann kitchens start from £40,000.

If you’re extending the space, this is also the moment where you speak to builders and maybe an architect.

I always advise you to get at least three quotes before you start renovating your kitchen. This applies to all trades and is not only a way to ensure you’re not over or undercharged, but also a chance to get a feel for the people you’ll be working with.

Interlude: selecting appliances

Your hob, fridge, freezer, oven and more are essential elements, so take care in choosing them.

If you want to keep appliances, you’re all set – but if you want to replace them, now is the time to shop around a little. While many kitchen companies can supply appliances, especially white goods (ie the fridge or fridge-freezer and dishwasher), you might find a better offer or a design you prefer elsewhere.

However, don’t forget to take into account that there will be extra installation costs. If you want to achieve a sleek look, it’s best to buy all appliances from the same company, so you know they fit together.

Tom Howley blue open-plan design
Butler collection in Azurite and Sorrel, from £25,000, Tom Howley.
Preparing your space

Some might call this the most satisfying part when you start renovating your kitchen: it’s time to get rid of your old scheme.

That includes taking down all existing cabinetry, as well as appliances, light fixtures, and brassware. If you’re replacing the flooring, it’s time to rip it out now, and your walls might also need some preparation before being covered with a fresh design.

If your kitchen is still in good shape, you could sell it on to a new home and boost your budget a little. You can either do this by yourself, for example on Gumtree, but there are also kitchen companies specialising in selling pre-loved cabinetry. The Used Kitchen Company and Used Kitchen Exchange are two examples.

H Miller Bros illustrate how to start renovating your kitchen
Seaside kitchen painted in Farrow & Ball’s School House White. H Miller Bros kitchens start from £35,000.

Kicking off the works

This is where it feels like you’re about to start renovating your kitchen, as you’ll see your new scheme come to life.

Sorting out the walls and floors

Start by installing new wallcoverings, whether that’s paint or paper, and laying your chosen flooring. It’s important to do this first, because otherwise you’ll have to work around your new cabinetry. Not only is that a hassle, it puts you at risk of scratching or accidentally painting your new cabinets. It also means extra work should you ever need to replace something.

Imagine if your plinths need replacing, so you spend some time looking into an untiled void below your kitchen. Doesn’t sound very appealing, right?

The only wallcovering you shouldn’t install right away is a splashback – this will be fitted with the cabinetry.

Rotpunkt New Memory
Memory SL kitchen in black and Old Forest Oak. Rotpunkt kitchens start from £15,000.
Time to install the cabinetry

It’s getting serious now, as your kitchen is finally taking shape. This step is pretty straightforward: you’ll have received your units and now need qualified installers to assemble and fit them.

When you start renovating your kitchen, this might feel like the final step, but it’s not over yet. There’s a little way to go yet.

Installing the final essentials

Once your cabinetry is in place, all the other key elements can go in too. This includes the appliances, which might have been fitted with the units, but also elements such as the worktops, sink and tap.

Your splashback’s time has come, too: it’ll be installed as part of this step.

These elements are last to be fitted because everything else needs to be in place before they can go in. In a way, they’re the finishing point of your project – once this is sorted, there’s only one thing to do.

Start renovating your kitchen Schmidt
This kitchen is by Schmidt. Prices start from £10,000.
The finishing touches

Congratulations – your kitchen is ready! Now decorate to your heart’s content and familiarise yourself with your new scheme.

Don’t be afraid to change the way you organise the inside of your cabinets a few times or to relocate things such as crockery or spices. Your kitchen has to work for you. You’ve planned everything to suit your lifestyle, but you might find a slightly different cabinet arrangement more helpful – so go for it.

This is your kitchen, and you’ve put a lot of work into it. Time to truly make it yours.

Featured image: Homely Look kitchen from Life Kitchens. Prices start from £30,000. 

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