Things to think about before purchasing your next kitchen

Fitted Kitchens

At one time having a fitted kitchen meant a standard kitchen that looked the same as everyone else’s, furniture consisted of ‘boxes’ which all had exactly the same front. Even appliances were integrated into the design by being concealed behind matching doors.

The choice and quality of fitted kitchens has changed considerably and fitted kitchens are now much more flexible and interesting, allowing designers to be more adventurous, mixing and contrasting for a truly exciting look.

Kitchen manufacturers now encourage the use of different effects by offering a choice of styles and colours that can be mixed and matched to provide an individual style to your kitchen. Different heights are also becoming popular, with high breakfast bars and lower storage units being incorporated into a design to add yet another element of interest and contrast.

Taking one common design and mixing the colours, is very popular at the moment. For example, you can have contrasting wall and floor units or even mix a number of different colours randomly to create a bold, vivid look. The options are now much more diverse – you can literally choose from hundreds of standard patterns.

Interesting kitchen appliances

These are not necessarily hidden away anymore in the kitchen and you will find that microwaves, ovens, steam ovens, coffee-makers, washing machines and fridge freezers are not only designed to be on show, but to stand out and make a statement!

Ovens and microwaves are contemporary and stylish, with simple designs in stainless steel and black. Freestanding range cookers, washing machines and dishwashers are available in a large variety of colours or even patterned, and the fridge freezer has almost become a measure of wealth – the bigger, broader and bolder, the better!

Worktops

Select the thickest worktop you can afford. Thicker worktops are in trend at the moment, with people opting for 50-70mm thicknesses as oppose to the usual 30-40mm thickness.

Worktops in natural materials have also recently increased in popularity, mainly due to their durability and hardwearing qualities but also because consumers are becoming much more environmentally aware.

Also, more unusual materials such as glass and stainless steel are currently very popular in line with the trend for a more contemporary and stylish kitchens.Wood is also making a comeback in worktops and units, whether that be real wood or laminate.

When choosing a worktop ask about different brands. Formica is the most readily recognised laminate worktop brand and Corian is the most widely known solid surfacing material, but there are many other brands including Orama, Getalit, Getacore, Mistral etc .

Comprising of natural quartz, Ceasarstone is a range of engineered stone, it’s non-porous, consistent in colour and highly resistant to heat and chipping. Getacore is a reinforced solid surface material, which offers seamless joints and sinks, it is non reactive to moisture and requires no fabricated edges.

Bear in mind that fitting a worktop is a skilled job. Most worktops need to be professionally fitted which will add to the overall cost.

Vibrant colours and designs can add drama to an old kitchen. Look at some of the more avant-garde choices such as gloss laminate or stainless steel for an instant facelift.

Worksurfaces don’t have to run in straight lines. For a more adventurous curved design look to solid surfacing materials which are thermoformable (moulded into different shapes) or a natural material such as granite, quartz or stainless steel.

Bear in mind that some materials are easier to clean and maintain than others. Spills such as bleach or fruit juice need to be removed immediately from laminates and timber, but stains or burns on solid surfacing materials can be gently scrubbed away.

Granite is particularly easy to care for, whilst timber may need regular oiling. Scratches on stainless steel are self-healing and the material is naturally hygienic.