As we gain a deeper understanding of just how important everyday spatial design is to our lives, different rooms begin to take on their own importance. Nowhere is this truer than in the kitchen - traditionally the heart of every home and now a real extension of our likes, our personalities and our lifestyle.
Customising is becoming the watchword for home improvement, particularly as we are all still keeping a close eye on every penny. So if you're planning a kitchen make-over, here are five things you need to consider before you call in the experts...
#1 - What do you actually DO in your kitchen?
The obvious answer is 'I cook', but drill down into that and you'll find that you actually do much more than simply 'cook'! If you have a large, family home with a big kitchen you'll probably find that it's the centre of daily activity - from family meetings to the kids doing their homework. So plan your kitchen make-over to incorporate everyone's needs, and not just the chef's.
#2 - What have you already got that works?
'If it ain't broke, don't fix it', and that's certainly true for kitchen refurbishment planning. While you may want a brand new kitchen, in this time of austerity you should be asking if you really need a complete redesign, or are there elements of your kitchen that are still perfectly functional? If so, ensure that you incorporate them into the overall design for your make-over.
#3 - How much space do you have?
You may want a breakfast bar and a central island, but if you have a six foot by three foot galley kitchen, unless you have discovered how to twist the space/time continuum, you're going to have a hard job fitting them in! Be realistic and use the space you do have to your advantage.
#4 - Know the difference between a make-over and a re-design
You need to set boundaries as well as goals, and a make-over is all about maximising what you already have and breathing fresh life into an existing space. A re-design is far more invasive and will mean ripping out everything, including perfectly functional units that still have life left in them, changing the layout of the space and even expanding the space further. All of that costs money, so if you are happy with the space you have and just want to 'freshen it up a bit', a make-over is the answer.
#5 Set a budget - and stick to it!
One of the most common problems people have when they're improving their homes is a runaway budget. Not only can it drain your bank account, but it can put a strain on family relations too, as the project runs over time and over budget. With a refurbishment you can set a budget that's easier to stick to, ensuring that you don't end up spending more than you originally intended.
Once you have all these guidelines in place it is then a simple matter of either starting work yourself (if you're a competent DIY'er), or preferably calling in an expert kitchen refurbishment team to carry out the transformation for you. By planning ahead, you can cut the time it takes to bring your kitchen back to life, keep the budget under control and end up with a kitchen you can be truly proud of!