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Kitchen Design

Top tips when investing in a new kitchen

Nordic Mews kitchen - photo credit Mark Fairhurst Architects.jpg

So, you’d like a new kitchen – but where should you spend your money to get the most out of your budget?  Joanna Chisholm from Chisholm Design ( has some tips on where to spend your money to get your dream kitchen:

1. Flooring can date easily, especially when everything else in the kitchen is new. If your flooring is tired or doesn’t suit the style of the new space, it’s worth replacing it. Plus, it’s much harder to do afterwards, so this is something to have a really good think about when considering your budget. You can get good quality flooring e.g. porcelain tiles, laminate or luxury vinyl tiles (LVT), for around £40-50 per square metre. Laying the floor typically costs a little less than that per square metre to lay wood or laminate, or a bit more for tiling. Think about how well it will wear in a kitchen - we tend to steer away from wood in kitchens, as this can wear and stain more easily than other options.

2. Underfloor heating is brilliant, if your budget allows, especially with tiled or stone floors (it’s arguably less necessary with laminate, wood or LVT). There are lots of options, including low-profile water-based systems that can be retrofitted above an existing concrete slab, so it’s important to do the research and choose what’s right for you. Just make sure that the builder / plumber doesn’t lay it under where the cabinets are going or in a pantry.

3. It’s always risky removing parts of an old house (and it doesn’t even have to be that old), because you can never be sure what you’ll find. Depending on the age of the property, you might find asbestos, damp, damaged or unsafe electrics, dry rot etc, which could add significantly to your budget. In addition to this, regulations are constantly being updated so, for example, your electrician may need to upgrade the circuits he’s been working on as part of the refit. That contingency budget may well be needed.


4. Think about using a professional project manager if the project is more than just a refit. Money spent on their fees can save much more money, time and stress over the course of the project. And be very wary of thinking you can do this yourself if you have a busy day job - it takes time and experience to do it properly.

Surrey Art Deco kitchen - photo credit Panayis Chrisovergis for Chisholm Design.jpg

5. Don’t skimp on the fitting. We’ve seen examples where a client has used their own fitter or builder to save money and the results have been disappointing. Instead, use a fitter who’s been recommended and has fitted the type of kitchen units being supplied. The saying ‘you get what you pay for’ is relevant here - your kitchen will look great and last for longer.

6. Reuse appliances if you can, but don’t compromise on the design to incorporate an older appliance, especially if it’s integrated, as you will need to spend money on refitting it, as well as replacing it in time. Better to budget for new appliances and get the kitchen you’re looking for with no regrets, if you can.

Vicarage Kitchen - photo credit Panayis Chrisovergis for Chisholm Design.jpg

7. Spend money on the things you use and touch most - fridges, dishwashers and so on, as well as handles, switches etc. These are the sorts of things that get the heaviest use and therefore need to last, and so it’s worth investing in them from the very beginning.

8. Finally, be wary of substituting cheaper alternatives without really understanding why they cost less. Sometimes you might be paying unnecessarily for a brand name or for functionality that you don’t actually need. But in other cases, there are reasons why something is cheaper and it will definitely be an inferior product. A good example is worktops - you can get some very cheap quartz, but this tends to have more resin than more expensive brands, meaning it will stain more easily and won’t be as UV-stable, so the sun will cause it to fade quickly.

Chisholm Design is exhibiting at the Homebuilding & Renovating Show. Free tickets to the event are available at:

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