Best kitchen brands: Planning a kitchen Kitchen design ideas
New kitchen or update?
The first thing you need to decide when planning a kitchen is whether you want to update your current kitchen or start totally afresh.
Look at what you already have, what you like and don’t like, and what you want to remove or keep. If the kitchen layout works, only change it if there is a real benefit – for example, if it increases the value of your home. If this is the case, talk to an estate agent to see what the maximum financial gain a new kitchen would bring minus what you're prepared to spend.
Take a look at our guide to planning your kitchen for more advice on choosing your new kitchen, but in the meantime here are some of the most common kitchen layouts:guide to the best kitchen brands.
If you want an entirely new kitchen, think about the layout and how you use your current kitchen. For example, where will you want most worktop space? What elements do you want to be close to each other, such as the fridge and cooking station? Do you use it for dinner parties? Do you have a lot of gadgets to accommodate? This will help ensure that your day-to-day needs will not get overlooked in the planning process.
You then need to look at the constraints in your kitchen, such as size and the positions of doors, windows and sockets.
Next, consider how much you have to spend - remembering to set aside at least 10% for emergencies - and then see what you can get for your money.
On average, people spend around £8,000 on a new kitchen. It’s important to consider all the costs such as installation, appliances, plumbing and electrics.
Look at our full guide to kitchen costs to work out how far your money will go.
Kitchen design ideas
If your budget is tight and you decide you don’t need an entire new kitchen, there are simple changes you can make that will transform your current kitchen without the cost:
- Paint – refreshing your walls or kitchen doors with a lick of paint is less expensive than replacing the whole kitchen, and a great way to add colour. You can do this yourself, although make sure you use oil-based or latex (water-based) paint and that you prepare the surfaces as instructed. Alternatively visit Which? Local for a recommended tradesperson to do the job for you.
- Create a feature wall – this is an ideal way to add character to your kitchen and make a statement. Use colourful or patterned wallpaper (specially designed for kitchens), tiles, or a distinctive splashback to create a focal point.
- Update worktops and doors – there are building merchants, local kitchen manufacturers and specialist companies that just supply new kitchen unit doors, drawer fronts and worktops, refreshing your kitchen but at a fraction of the price of an entirely new one. Doors can cost upwards of £100, but you can get them for as little as £10, and worktops start at around £50. Consider first the style you want to emulate, then choose from there. Take a look at our modern kitchen and country kitchen galleries for ideas on the look you want to create.
- Lighting – careful lighting can change the feel of your kitchen, especially if it’s small. Spotlights or lights under the counter can add a modern touch, while pendant lights bring a country element to a kitchen. If you're rearranging your lights, as opposed to just getting new shades, speak to an electrician first to find out what is possible.
- Flooring – if your floor is old, replacing it can lift your kitchen. Again, your choice of flooring can affect the feel of the room. Vinyl flooring is generally the cheapest, starting at around £10 per square metre, with natural materials such as stone and wood being more expensive - anything from £20 to £100 as a starting prices. If you're interested in a wooden floor, see our guide to buying wood flooring.
To keep costs down, think about finding bargains and buying second-hand - see our kitchen costs guide for tips.