What exactly should you look for when buying a fitted kitchen? Choosing a door style and colour is the easy bit – but it’s harder to know what not to do. We’ve done our homework and have put together a list of 10 common mistakes which will help you in your kitchen purchase.
- Don’t let sales reps bully you into signing on the day
Most kitchen sales reps will come into your home with the intention of wrestling a deposit out of your hands. We’ve heard of reps quoting £15,000 for a kitchen then ‘knocking off’ £6,000 just minutes later, others phoning their bosses to offer you a ‘one time only’ deal, even reps staying for up to 5 whole hours trying to get a sale! This is too much. Give them an hour or two at most and then tell them you want to think about it overnight and ask them to leave – it’s your home after all. Remember, the actual kitchen price will always be much, much lower than what they’re quoting you, so don’t get pushed into paying for their commission.
- White carcasses + coloured doors = cheap looking kitchen!
There’s nothing worse than a beech coloured door with white carcasses showing through the door gaps. Make sure you opt for carcasses which are colour-coded to match the doors.
- Watch out for poor quality doors and carcasses
Ask what the backs of the base carcasses are made from. If you find out it is 6mm particle board, avoid. Similarly if the backs of the doors are not colour-coded to the front (i.e. the front is beech and the back is white), look elsewhere as the quality of the door is clearly very low. PVC edging on leading carcass edges adds a layer of protection and gives an exquisite finishing touch.
- Get professional installation advice from a kitchen fitter
Even if you’re planning on doing it yourself, it’s always worth getting professional advice from time to time. Ask your kitchen provider if they have an installation help line – these lines will put you in touch with an experienced kitchen fitter who will gladly help. Don’t install worktops, sinks, appliances or electrical sockets yourself unless you really know your stuff – your kitchen will look ghastly and you might be putting yourself at risk of fire or flood. And it goes without saying that gas must only ever be touched by CORGI registered engineers.
- Choose anti-slam drawers and hinges over soft-close ‘plungers’
Kitchen drawers or doors which slowly close themselves when reaching the last few centimetres have ‘anti-slam’ technology. Do not confuse this with soft-close plungers – all these do is literally stop the drawer or door from making a sound when closing and are a cheap and low-tech solution.
- Always opt for built-up carcasses over flat-packed
Built-up carcasses save you time and money. Anyone who has ever assembled a piece of flat packed furniture has probably spent a good hour or more reading instructions and piecing it all together. If you’re not doing it yourself, then your kitchen fitter will have to spend a day or so assembling these units which costs you more money. Save on all that hassle and get a built-up kitchen delivered straight to your door.
- Avoid hidden extras
Buying a unit is sometimes only part of the total cost of the item. Make sure the price includes the doors, hinges, drawer boxes, drawer runners, legs and handles where appropriate.
- Choose Integrated over Free-Standing Appliances
For that extra special look, integrated appliances are a must these days. Integrated appliances cost about 30-50% more than free standing appliances which is well worth spending for to achieve that look. If you have an appliance that is only a year or two old and begrudge paying for a new integrated one, simply purchase an integrated door along with your kitchen and put it into storage. Then, when the time comes to purchase new, buy an integrated appliance and pop the door on. The only exception to integrated appliances is the American style fridge freezer. If you’ve got the room (and the budget) opt for one of these.
- Buy a sample door and know what you’re getting
Taking a sample door into your existing kitchen and offering it up to your units is the best way of gauging its colour and quality. It’s worth seeing how the lighting in your kitchen works with the new door and may channel you towards a different colour or style. You’ve also got plenty of time to spend with the door to help make up your mind.
- Never buy the cheapest
Whilst there are cheap kitchens out there you should consider why they are so cheap. You don’t have to be an expert to spot a one and often buyers of ‘the cheapest kitchen in the world’ don’t realise what they’ve bought until it’s installed – at which point it’s too late! The bottom line is quality (or lack of it). Sub-standard material, non-integrated appliances and a poor finish will result in an unpleasing kitchen which you will probably want to replace within a couple of years – false economy!