In many homes, the kitchen’s status is far greater than simply being an area for food prep. Spacious kitchen areas now fulfil many additional roles and have become the central hub for family life. It follows that the kitchen takes up a sizeable proportion of any self build project’s budget and many extension and renovation projects have their genesis in the desire to create a larger kitchen space.

Once you’ve decided that you would like a new kitchen – whether that’s as part of a new build, extension or renovation – the real decision making begins.

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DeVOL's contemporary Air kitchen

deVOL’s Air range is a retro-contemporary kitchen inspired by the Airstream caravan and other innovative designs of the 20th century. The cabinets are made from laminated curved oak and feature handleless doors and drawer fronts, with the surfaces made from recycled aluminium ore and acrylic resin. The Air kitchen starts from £20,000

Kitchen Extensions

Extending your house to take in a bigger kitchen area is a popular project — particularly extending into the side return on detached or semi-detached houses. Not only can it redefine how you inhabit your house, but it will put value onto your home if done well, too. There are plenty of great finished examples on our website, too.

It is possible that your extension could come under Permitted Development (PD), in which case you won’t need planning permission for the work — though you may want to get a lawful development certificate. You’ll also need to ensure the work conforms to the criteria set out under PD. Before you start work, speak to your local authority or have a qualified surveyor confirm your plans are in order.

To give you an idea of what you may be able to achieve under PD, you can…

  • extend a detached dwelling by 8m to the rear if it’s single storey or 3m if it’s double.
  • extend semi-detached and terraced homes up to 6m to the rear of the property if single storey.
  • Build a single storey extension that is not higher than 4m to the ridge and the eaves, and where the ridge heights of any extension is not higher than the existing property.

There are plenty more restrictions — particularly if you live in a conservation area — but many kitchen extension projects fall under PD.

If your project does need planning permission, don’t be perturbed. Making sure your application is as thorough as possible will help matters, and it may be worth seeking out some pre-application advice from your local planning department.

Check out our extension project planner to help you plan out the work schedule for your project.

A kitchen fitted with Torhamn doors from Ikea

This kitchen from Ikea features Torhamn natural ash veneered doors (from £28) fitted with iron Borghamn handles (£6 for two). It’s complemented by a wall-mounted Falsterbo unit

How much will a new kitchen cost?

Costs for a new kitchen vary wildly depending on the level of work involved. A straight replacement for an existing kitchen can be done for less than £5,000, but if you are extending and going for something high end, you can expect to pay tens of thousands.

Whatever you are considering, there are certain things that you should do before you can start thinking about getting the chequebook out.

Establish your budget

Firstly, you need to establish your budget. Not only will this be a major factor in determining whether you extend or remodel, which design and install option you choose, and the kitchen range you end up with, it will also mean that you don’t create your dream design only to realise that it’s wildly out of your price range. This only leads to heartbreak and wasted time.

Don’t rule out anything, even if the budget is tight — a kitchen can be completely transformed for less than £5,000.

If you’re considering an extension, try our extension cost calculator to see what may be possible for your budget.

As well as being realistic with your money, also seriously consider your own DIY skills. Kitchen fitting is a specialist skill, and while it will be feasible for some people to fit their own unit doors and carcasses, don’t take it on yourself, or hire someone who isn’t comfortable or qualified to do it, just to save costs. If you are competent and confident, it is possible to do some of the work yourself — and our step-by-step guide to fitting a kitchen should help plan the work.

Trusting a professional to get the job done not only means that it should be done right first time, but if something does go wrong, you have recourse to get the problems solved. Also bear in mind that there’s more to creating a new kitchen than installing the units — there’s often plastering and tiling work required. An electrician and plumber will more than likely be required at some point, too.

You may want to ask yourself whether you’d prefer to project manage the separate trades yourself, use a specialist design and install company to deliver a complete package, or opt for a builder to manage the process for you — your decision will have a major impact on your budget.

Kitchen Design

When building a new home or extending to create a new space, it can be tempting to leave your design and layout until the new space is created. However, you should ideally have your plans sorted – whether you’re opting to turn your hand to the design, or leaving it in the expert hands of a kitchen designer – before first fix, as the design will often dictate the wiring and plumbing.

The layout may also impact on other elements of the house design, such as the position of windows. Getting your kitchen layout sorted from an early point in proceedings will allow you to make these changes on paper — and avoid costly revisions once the build has gone on site (such as channelling out for additional wiring once the plastering has been done).

The design options can seem overwhelming, so start pulling together ideas early on. It’s also a good idea to discuss likes and dislikes with all of those who will end up using the kitchen and living with it. “This initial process allows you to carefully tailor everything to your individual needs and budget without getting distracted on your first shopping trip by the myriad options available,” says Tony McCarthy of Crown Imperial.

And, finally, don’t rule out any approach. Looeeze Grossman of The Used Kitchen Company urges people not to close themselves off to ideas: “Many customers end up buying what they never thought they’d consider in the first place.” So visit showrooms, meet with designers, browse websites and see what is on offer. The amount of money you will be spending is significant, so make sure that you’ve explored all your options before you decide.

The Vienna Oak kitchen from Magnet Trade

Magnet Trade kitchens are available through your fitter or contractor. This example (above) is from its Vienna Oak range and features a textured wood effect on the base units and doors

Removing an Old Kitchen

If you’re renovating or extending an existing kitchen, you’ll need to remove what’s already there before fitting the new one. While this may have you gleefully reaching for the sledgehammer, it actually pays to remove the old kitchen carefully — it’ll make fitting the new one much easier. There might even be some parts you can salvage, or possibly even sell on.

Buyer’s Guide

The routes to buying a new kitchen are myriad. From heading to the big box stores like Ikea, B&Q or Wickes to buy off the shelf carcasses and doors or to purchase from their range of fitted kitchens; going through a builder or fitter to purchase from a trade-only supplier like Howdens, Magnet Trade or Benchmarx; buying ex-display or secondhand from a showroom or online dealer; or buying from a specialist kitchen design company like deVOL, in-toto or Aristocraft, who offer one-stop solutions from design to installation.

There are other routes too, such as finding a local dealer or going through a designer and/or joiner and creating a kitchen from scratch — a luxury touch if the budget allows it. Manufacturers such as Pineland offer a design service, or can craft a kitchen to your own plans, too.

If budget is a primary concern then you can order your kitchen entirely online, to a design you, or an independent designer has created. You can buy the carcasses, handles and doors you’ll need to make up your design in one go and to measurements that you’ve taken. There are savings to be made here, but you will have to ensure that your specifications are absolutely spot on. There is a risk factor, but if you’re looking to take on either the fitting or design aspect of your kitchen project yourself, it’s a great way to keep the price down.

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