Planning a new kitchen extension?
If you are considering adding a kitchen extension to your home there are a few things you might want to think about before you start.
Make sure you have room to extend
In the UK 60% of owners extend their kitchen to the side, 30% add a rear extension and the other 10% develop both. Whilst you should think seriously about whether you want to sacrifice some of your garden, the extra kitchen space and the time you’ll spend in it will probably be worth it.
Your dream kitchen
Make sure you prioritise your own needs over what you think your future buyer might want. If your idea of a dream kitchen has a drinks fridge and two ovens, chances are what works for you will work for other people too.
Islands and flow
If you have space to incorporate an island into your kitchen design it will help with the flow of the room. Consider how you will move between the oven, sink and fridge and use this as the starting point for your design.
Good structural design
Don’t cut corners when it comes to structural design. The investment now will save you money in the long run. With the trend for open plan living you might want to consider knocking through your existing kitchen into another room as well as extending. Consulting a professional early on in the process could give you some ideas you hadn’t thought of and you’ll find out the likely costs involved. If you are considering open plan living, we will be writing a blog soon which discusses how the building regs might apply differently to an open plan kitchen project.
Lighting can make or break your kitchen. Consider where you will need extra downlighting such as where you prepare or cook food or if it’s a dining kitchen, do you want statement lighting above a breakfast bar or table?
Boiling water taps
Aren’t just a craze. They offer the convenience of instant hot water, take up very little room and can save on water and energy costs. If you have small children ensure a safety system is incorporated.
You can never have enough storage
When it comes to storage less is not more! Use every available inch of space whether its tall larder cupboards or huge pan drawers. You can never have too much storage space in your new kitchen and don’t forget the unit for the recycling!
Your larger kitchen appliances probably aren’t an area you’ll want to skimp on. Do your research and buy the best quality you can afford so that you aren’t replacing them too soon.
You will, however, find a huge cost differential when it comes to buying your kitchen cupboards. You’ll be surprised what you can get away with if you have good looking doors on the front. Popular laminated (veneered layers of paper/plastic resins bonded to plywood/particleboard) and thermofoil (vinyl heated and moulded over fibreboard - MDF) units are most affordable and available in a range of colours and finishes. The main downside to choosing these is that deep scratches are difficult to repair if at all with thermofoil. If you like the idea of reducing the size of your carbon footprint you can find units made from reclaimed, renewable or recycled materials – bamboo, salvaged wood, wheatboard (from wheat straw) however these tend to be custom or semi-custom made so won’t be the least expensive.
Worktops can add the ‘wow factor’
Along with the unit doors, worktops are the main focal point of your kitchen so choose the best you can afford. Granite and quartz worktops will give your kitchen a luxurious feel but there are some differences to be aware of. Granite is a natural stone so it’s a more eco-friendly material and is heat, water and scratch resistant when properly sealed however it is costly and can chip if knocked by heavy objects.
Quartz has a similar expensive look and feel to granite but is an engineered stone made of processed crystals. Its advantages are that it is very durable and usually less expensive than granite, is virtually stain resistant and comes in a wide variety of colours.
Stainless steel worktops can complement natural wood units and are very durable and easy to keep clean however the best quality will be expensive.
Resin worktops can look great in a contemporary kitchen. Made of cured epoxy, acrylic or polyester resin these worktops are durable and non-porous and can be made in large seamless pieces.
Less expensive alternatives include wooden worktops which can add warmth to the look of your kitchen however you will need to be prepared to sand and reseal them every few years and beware of scratches.
Extremely hardwearing and durable, laminate worktops are a popular, lower cost alternative and come in a huge range of designs and finishes from slimline to square edged and gloss or wood effect. They are also less expensive to fit than granite or quartz as they don’t need a specialist installer.
Don’t forget your permissions
You may need to apply to your local council for planning permission if the works don’t come under permitted development. Any extension you add to your home will however definitely need building regulations approval. You or your agent/builder will need to make an application to building control before you start work. Take a look at our Guide to Extending your Home for more information or give us a call if you’d like to discuss your project and your dream kitchen could become a reality before you know it.