Everything you need to plan your kitchen renovation project with ease
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Kitchen ideas and inspiration
Every kitchen renovation starts with an idea.
- Perhaps you’ve always had your ‘dream kitchen’ in your head and need some help making that vision a reality
- Maybe you’re bursting with inspiration from home interior magazines and kitchen showrooms but aren’t sure how to narrow down your choices
- Or perhaps your kitchen renovation project is currently a completely blank canvas
Whatever your starting point, this section of our kitchen renovation guide will help to inspire every aspect of your new kitchen, including:
- Colour schemes
- Kitchen layout ideas
- Flooring and lighting
- Kitchen worktops, cabinets, and splashbacks
- Kitchen window dressings
Inspiring kitchen colour schemes
Colour has a huge impact on how we engage with a space. And it’s the combination of colours – otherwise known as a colour palette – that will achieve a desired look or feel.
A colour wheel is a helpful tool when deciding a colour palette for your new kitchen. Here are some of the most common options.
Choose one colour as your ‘base colour’ and add various tones of that colour throughout your room.
Choose a colour on the colour wheel and work its neighbouring colours into your scheme. The colours complement each other without being too similar.
Choose a colour on the colour wheel and find its complementary colour on the opposite side of the wheel to make a statement with your colour scheme.
Kitchen layout ideas
While colour, textiles, and finishes might make you swoon, it’s the layout of your new kitchen that’ll make you fall in love with the space.
Here are some of the most popular kitchen layouts to muse over.
Bring your ideas to life with a professional kitchen designer
Reading this guide and then trying to come up with a design for your kitchen can be overwhelming.
Plus, you don’t want to run the risk of not thinking everything through, only to find out on installation day when it may throw all your plans.
Chat to Checkatrade-approved kitchen designers.
Lighting design for a kitchen
Lighting has many functions. Of course, its main purpose is to light a space, but well-considered lighting can add to the style of your kitchen and have a major impact on the mood and atmosphere too.
Kitchen lighting should aim to marry design and function.
When planning the lighting for your kitchen renovation, aim to tick off at least one from each of these categories:
General (or ambient) lighting will spread light around the whole kitchen, via a ceiling light or spotlights, for example.
You need task lighting in your kitchen to help perform certain tasks. For example, lights above the worktops where you’ll prep food.
Spot (or accent) lighting works to draw your attention to a particular area, for example, artwork on a wall, a bookcase in a recess, or glassware in a cabinet.
Atmospheric (or decorative) lighting will help to achieve the right mood for your kitchen space, by using dimmable lamps above a dining area, for example.
Kitchen lighting ideas
Take a look at our gallery of kitchen lighting ideas to inspire your kitchen renovation project.
Kitchen cabinet inspiration
The kitchen cabinets you choose will have a huge influence on the overall look of your kitchen.
But it’s not just about style. The quality of the material, the finish you opt for, and special features (wine racks, spice drawers etc) will all have an impact on your budget.
To help you select the best kitchen cabinets for your kitchen renovation, take a look at the six main styles available.
An affordable, classic, and traditional style of kitchen cabinet that has always been popular.
Glass-fronted cabinets help to display the items within, and bounce light around the room too. It’s common to mix and match glass-fronted cabinets with other styles.
Tongue and groove
The texture and warmth of tongue and groove cabinets give the feel of a relaxed, country cottage style kitchen. It’s also a popular design element in a Scandi-style kitchen.
For a simple and minimalist look in a contemporary kitchen, choose flat-fronted cabinets with no panels or frames.
Plywood cabinets will help to achieve an organic, warm kitchen. They’re also a very cost-effective choice.
Natural (unfinished) wood
For a truly rustic feel, opt for natural wood cabinets in your kitchen. These are popular with homeowners striving for a relaxed, informal style kitchen.
Kitchen splashback ideas
The purpose of a kitchen splashback is primarily functional, however, it can be used as a design feature in your kitchen too.
With various colours, patterns, textures, and sizes to choose from, your splashback can either blend into the background or be used to make a statement.
Here are some ideas to whet your appetite.
Porcelain or ceramic, tiny mosaics or traditional subway, tiles make for a cost-effective and versatile splashback.
A glass splashback is both practical and durable with a subtle appearance that will complement many different kitchen styles. For a more cost-effective solution, check out acrylic as a cheaper alternative.
A mirrored splashback is a clever way to make your kitchen look bigger, while enhancing the natural light in the room.
It can be slightly more expensive, but a stainless steel splashback is great for a sleek, industrial look that wouldn’t look out of place in a professional kitchen.
Pressed metal splashbacks are modern, cost-effective and easy to install, while adding texture and interest to the room.
To make a design statement in your kitchen, choose copper sheeting. It’ll bring a warmth and intensity to your new room.
Marble has a natural, unique finish that will add opulence to any kitchen.
A wood splashback will give a cosy vibe to your kitchen. Remember to treat it to make it water and stain-resistant.
Exposed brick will bring a huge amount of texture to your kitchen, so if you like a rustic or industrial look, this is one to consider.
Kitchen worktop inspiration
With a wide variety of materials available, it’s possible to achieve pretty much any look you desire when it comes to kitchen worktops. However, while the aesthetic is undeniably important, there’s more to consider than just colour and style.
Your kitchen worktop needs to be tough and hard-wearing, unlikely to chip, scratch, or be damaged by heat.
And crucially, it needs to be affordable. While quartz and granite worktops typically sit at the higher end of the spectrum, materials such as laminate make a super versatile and cost-effective option.
Take a look at the range of inspiring kitchen worktops, below. We delve into the pros and cons of each in Kitchen design choices. And for help calculating the cost of your dream worktop, head to the section: Planning your dream kitchen.
Kitchen flooring ideas
A kitchen floor needs to be both functional and stylish. After all, the kitchen is a high-traffic area; the flooring you choose needs to meet the demands of the space and help to complete the overall look and feel of your new kitchen.
If you’re wondering what colour flooring is best to suit your new kitchen plans, or what type of flooring material best matches your needs and your budget, head down to the section: Kitchen design choices.
For now, here are some examples of the various types of kitchen flooring available.
Kitchen window inspiration
Blinds, shutters, curtains, or window film. There are plenty of ways to dress your windows to finish off the look of your kitchen.
And with so many options to suit your practical needs, the style of your kitchen, and your available budget, it can be hard to narrow down your preference.
Take a look at our gallery for inspiration.
Blinds come in a variety of materials, colours, and patterns, so if you want to make a style statement with your window dressing, a kitchen blind could be best suited to your needs.
Shutters offer a stylish and clean finish to any kitchen space while offering the desired amount privacy and natural light with a simple adjustment.
Curtains can work to soften the look of a kitchen, as well as being an effective insulating material. Paired with roman blinds, you’ll achieve a luxurious feel.
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Planning your dream kitchen
In this section, you’ll find our top tips for planning your optimal kitchen layout.
We’ll also guide you through how to measure up and cost up your kitchen renovation from top to bottom.
So grab your tape measure and your calculator and let’s set to work on your kitchen remodel plans.
How to plan a kitchen layout
Aesthetics aside (for now!), let’s look at some of the key recommendations for planning a kitchen layout that’ll give you ultimate functionality.
The work triangle
This is perhaps the most important factor to consider in your kitchen layout.
The ‘work triangle’ is the positioning of your oven, fridge, and sink, which are the three most commonly used items in the kitchen. It’s impractical and dangerous to carry pans of hot water the length of the kitchen to drain pasta or vegetables, for example.
As a general rule, aim for no more than a step and half in distance between the three points of your ‘work triangle’, i.e. your oven, fridge, and sink.
It’s useful to have a work surface to put things on next to the fridge/freezer and the hob/oven (making sure the latter is heatproof).
Avoid positioning the oven right next to a wall or tall cupboard – it’s best to have some free space either side for comfortable working.
Don’t forget electrical sockets. You want at least one double socket for every 1.5m of wall space, plus sockets at floor level for the vacuum, for example.
How will you use the space?
There’s a reason why the kitchen is affectionately known as ‘the heart of the home’. People naturally gravitate to the kitchen and it can often be one of the busiest areas of the house.
Avoid the daily chaos sweeping through the kitchen with some clever planning. Create a dedicated area before you enter the kitchen for items such as coats, shoes, and bags. This could be a bench and storage in a specific section of the kitchen, or a mudroom or utility if you have the space.
Will you just be cooking in your kitchen, or do you need a space for dining too? Would a breakfast bar or island unit with stools tick the box, or do you want a full-sized table?
Would you like a sociable kitchen where you can cook, entertain, oversee childrens’ activities, and dine all in one space, aka an open plan kitchen?
Make sure the primary passageway through the kitchen is unobstructed, i.e. that the oven or dishwasher doesn’t open into this space.
Passageways need to be wide enough to stand and open the doors of appliances.
If planning a kitchen island, make sure it doesn’t block the area in front of your main appliances, leaving enough room to open the appliance doors and pass by.
If work surfaces are opposite each other, plan enough space between them so that two people can work comfortably at the same time.
Kitchen designers will often place the sink first and design the rest of the kitchen layout from there. Whether it’s for food prep or clearing up, the sink is a well-used space within the kitchen. The ideal spot? Place it with a view, either by a window, or facing into the room, on a kitchen island, for example.
It’s generally more cost effective, and easier to install a proper ventilation system, if the oven is placed on an exterior wall.
Maximise the available space
When planning your kitchen layout, think about the storage you’ll need and where this will be.
With some imagination and creativity, your kitchen walls can be cleverly transformed into a range of different storage solutions.
- Wall cabinets are a traditional solution for storing crockery and food, with glass-fronted cabinets for housing glassware
- Pantry storage is becoming increasingly popular to hide away small appliances such as the coffee machine and toaster, baking accessories, and dry food items
- Open shelves, wall hooks, and overhead racks for saucepans can add to the kitchen’s overall aesthetic
Need help visualising your plans?
Hiring an experienced kitchen designer will make your life easier in planning your dream space.
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How to budget for your kitchen renovation
A kitchen renovation project can range in price depending on the scope of the work, the complexity of the design, and the finishes you choose.
A budget renovation could cost in the region of £6,000, while a fully bespoke kitchen could cost up to £35,000. For more kitchen renovation cost estimates, check out our cost guide.
Whether you have a sizable or more modest amount to spend on your kitchen renovation, it’s crucial to set a budget to keep your project on track.
Make a list of everything you’ll need for your renovation:
- Start from the top down, including lighting, paint, splashbacks, window dressings, cabinets and shelves, worktops, sink, taps, appliances, and flooring
- Include the cost of labour for any items that’ll require it, e.g. a kitchen fitter to install your new worktops and cabinets, a plasterer to skim the walls, or an electrician for your lighting
- Many of these items can be costed up using our handy cost guides. For help taking accurate measurements, scroll down to How to measure a kitchen
If your kitchen design includes an island that’ll host a sink or appliances, budget for new plumbing and/or electrics (which will need to be in place before the floor is laid).
Similarly, if your current water pressure is low and/or takes a while to heat, now would be a good time to consider whether the budget could stretch to a new boiler.
If you’re enlarging your current kitchen footprint, either by knocking smaller spaces into one, or building an extension, structural changes will add to your budget considerably.
You may need to factor in the cost of:
- An architect to draw up your plans
- A structural engineer to calculate the measurements for the RSJ (rolled steel joist) if you’re removing a load bearing wall
- Building Regulation Plans: either a Full Plan or a Building Notice application
- A builder to put your plans into action
- A building control inspector to check the completed work meets Building Regulations
Most architects will charge a percentage of the total cost of the construction project. On average, this ranges from 5-12%. Read more about architect costs here.
The average cost of a structural engineer is £50 – 90 per hour. The average cost of a structural engineer is £1,000 for a basic residential project, and £5,000 for a complex residential project. Read more about structural engineer costs.
A builder’s day rate can vary from £150 – £280, depending on the builder’s level of experience, the complexity of the project, and your geographical location. Read more about builder rates.
According to Home Owners Alliance, building control inspector fees typically range from £200 – £400, depending on your local authority rates. Expect to pay around £100 to submit Full Plans too.
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How to measure a kitchen
In this section, we’ll show you how to measure your kitchen in a few simple steps. These measurements will form the basis of your kitchen design, so it’s recommended to measure twice to avoid potentially costly mistakes.
Materials needed to measure a kitchen:
- A4 paper and a pencil
- A tape measure
- A step ladder
Diagram 1: Floor layout
When sketching out your floor layout, measure between each fixed point in the kitchen.
For example, start with the edge of the door frame architrave and measure to the corner of the room. Then from the corner to the window reveals, and continue all the way around the room.
- Measure the size and positon of all fixed objects that’ll remain, e.g. the boiler
- Include the size and positioning of any alcoves
- Mark the position of the doors and windows, including the direction they open
- Mark where your services are currently located (water, gas, and electric)
Diagram 2: Walls
You’ll need to make a sketch of each wall in your kitchen.
- Include the position of the windows and doors
- Mark where the electrical sockets and fittings are
- Note the position of the gas cooker point
- Include the radiators, air vents, and extractor fan
- Don’t forget to include any fixed objects you’ll need to work around
Diagram 3: Vertical measurements
This set of diagrams will record the height of the room, including the height of any other vertical distances.
- Measure the height of the kitchen from the ceiling to the floor. Remember, walls aren’t always straight, so take more than one measurement if necessary
- Measure the height of any other vertical distances, for example, the distance between the bottom of the window reveal to the floor
How to measure kitchen floor
To measure your kitchen floor, you’ll need a tape measure, a piece of paper and a pencil.
- Measure the length of the kitchen
- Measure the width of the kitchen
- Multiply the length by the width to get your square footage
For example: if your kitchen is 12ft long and 10ft wide, you’ll need 120 square feet of flooring.
If your kitchen isn’t a perfect square or rectangle, don’t panic. It’s still very easy to take measurements.
- Divide the kitchen into rectangles. For an L-shaped room, you’ll have two rectangles – one will be larger than the other
- Measure the length and width of each rectangle, and multiply to get the square footage of each rectangle, as outlined above
- Add the square footage of your rectangles together to get your total square footage
Example: (7 x 6 = 42) + (4 x 3 = 12). Total square footage = 54 (42 + 12)
How to measure cabinet doors
Here’s a quick guide for how to measure kitchen cabinets:
- Draw a plan of all the cabinets and drawers in your kitchen
- Once complete, double check you’ve included every cabinet and drawer in your kitchen
- Note whether the cabinets are right or left-handed opening
- Open the cabinet door and measure the height and the width
- Measure the height of the hinge holes (scroll down for how to do this)
- Use the same method to measure drawer fronts
- Take your measurements from the back of the cabinet door
- Always measure in mm
- Measure twice to help avoid errors
- Measure the front of the cabinet doors
- Include the carcass of the cabinet in your measurement
Measuring the hinge hole position
The hinge hole position can vary across different ranges. To measure the vertical position of the hinge holes:
- Open the cabinet door
- Measure from the top of the cabinet door to the centre of the top hinge hole
- Measure from the bottom of the cabinet door to the centre of the bottom hinge hole
For cabinet doors with three hinge holes, measure the middle hinge hole as above, taking the measurement from the top of the door.
For cabinet doors with four hinge holes, measure the top two hinge holes from the top of the door, and the bottom two hinge holes from the bottom of the door.
Leave the measuring to a professional
As part of a kitchen design, accurate measurements are essential before any design work begins.
Leave it to the professionals. They’ll use smart technology to get accurate measurements to then start creating a visual of your new kitchen!
How to measure a kitchen worktop
Measuring up your kitchen worktop will help to ascertain which materials will best suit your budget.
To measure up a kitchen worktop, you’ll need:
- A tape measure
- Paper and a pencil
Sketching a plan of the kitchen worktops you require
- A galley kitchen will have one or two pieces of worktop
- An L-shaped kitchen will have two pieces of worktop
- A U-shaped kitchen (or an L-shape with an island) will have three pieces of worktop
- A U-shaped kitchen with an island will have four pieces of worktop
Label each piece of worktop on your plan using a letter of the alphabet
Begin measuring (in mm)
- Start on the left and work around the kitchen in a clockwise direction
- Measure the length of each run of cabinets, not forgetting your kitchen island, if you’re including one in your renovation
- The width of a kitchen worktop can range from 560-620mm, but 600mm is typical. Make sure to check this with your kitchen supplier
- Add extra length and depth (width) to allow for overhang. On the front edge, this is normally an extra 10-20mm, and 25-30mm on the exposed short edges
- Multiply the length by the width and divide by 1000 to get the square metre measurement
This square metre measurement will allow you to obtain quotes for the different kitchen worktop materials available.
Once you’ve decided on the worktop for your new kitchen, you’ll need to add more detail to your plan for your worktop supplier, including the position of:
- Sawn cut-outs
- Polished sink cut-outs
- Drainage grooves
- Tap holes
- Pop-up socket holes
- Any other cut-outs in the worktop or in the upstands, e.g. socket holes
You’ll also need to decide on the thickness of your kitchen worktop. This generally ranges from 22mm (ultra slim) up to 40mm.
How to measure splashback
To measure a kitchen splashback, follow the same principle as outlined above.
- Measure the height and width of the splashback area
- If you’re including upstands, measure the length required. Height is typically 100mm, unless you want a different height in certain areas, for example, underneath window sills
- To continue the splashback across the window sills, measure the length and width of these too
How to measure a kitchen sink
The style of sink you choose (undermount or top-mount) will determine the way in which you measure your kitchen sink.
How to measure an undermount kitchen sink
An undermount sink rests up against the underside of the worktop, therefore, the rim isn’t visible.
- For the length, measure inside the sink, from the left wall to the right, slightly higher than where the bottom of the sink starts to curve
- For the width, measure inside the sink, from the front of the sink to the back, above the curve
How to measure a top-mount (drop-in) kitchen sink
A top-mount sink has a visible lip around its perimeter that rests flat on the worktop.
- For the length, measure from where the outer lip of the sink meets the worktop, from left to right
- For the width, measure as above, but from front to back
- If you’re replacing the same style of sink in an existing worktop, you’ll also need to measure the dimensions of the cut-out in your worktop to make sure the new sink will fit through the opening
To measure the depth of your kitchen sink, lay a straight edge across the top of the sink. Measure from the bottom of the sink up to the straight edge.
If you plan to have a deeper sink than your current installation, make sure there’s enough room underneath for plumbing and drainage and any other electrical connections.
New sink and new worktop?
To measure the maximum available width for a new kitchen sink in a new worktop, measure from the front of the worktop to the back. Aim for around 1.5 inches from the splashback to the back of the sink to allow room for taps.
To work out the maximum length of your new sink, measure inside the sink’s base cabinet. Then subtract three to four inches from this measurement.
How to measure the kitchen window for curtains
To measure your kitchen window for curtains, you’ll need a steel tape measure, paper, a pencil, and a stool/step ladder.
Measuring the width of your kitchen curtains
- Measure from left to right from the outside edges of the window
- Then add 8 inches to each side to allow your curtains to open fully, exposing the full window. Note: you won’t need to add this extra measurement if you’re fitting your curtains into a recess
- Multiply the width by 2 for standard fullness, by 2.5 for deluxe fullness, or by 3 for ultra fullness
Measuring the length (drop) of your kitchen curtains
If measuring for pleated or pinch pleated curtains, take your top measurement from the small rings that hang from the curtain pole to connect to the curtain hooks.
For tab top or eyelet curtains, measure from the top of your curtain pole. If the curtain pole is not yet in place, measure from approximately 15 cms above the top of the window.
You will need to decide on your desired drop.
- If you want your curtains to fall to your windowsill, measure to 1cm above your sill
- If you’d prefer your curtains to finish below your windowsill, measure 15cms below the sill
- For curtains that drop to the floor, measure to 1.25cms above the floor. For a puddled effect, extend beyond this
For more information, take a look at our guide to measuring kitchen curtains.
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Kitchen design choices
The previous two sections of our kitchen renovation guide have provided inspiration and ideas for your project and plenty of guidance to help plan your dream space.
Now it’s time to start making the all important design decisions.
From the colour scheme, to cabinet design choices, to the most suitable flooring for your needs, and the pros and cons of the vast array of worktop materials. This section will help to nail down every aspect of your new kitchen, guaranteeing you a cohesive space that boasts both style and functionality in generous proportions.
How do I choose a colour scheme for my kitchen?
Planning your kitchen colour scheme can seem quite daunting without any design experience under your belt. After all, your colour scheme is not only influenced by the cabinets and worktops, but the walls, floor, splashback, appliances and accessories too. There are a lot of decisions to make!
This section of our guide will help to simplify the process, enabling you to create your dream kitchen colour scheme with ease.
Set the mood
Colour can greatly effect mood, therefore think about how you want your new kitchen space to make you and your visitors feel.
For example, if you want a calm, relaxed vibe, choose neutral tones. Or bright, vibrant colours for a more energised space.
To blend in or stand out?
Consider whether you want your kitchen to work cohesively, and blend in with the rest of your home, or if you want to create something that makes a statement?
Or maybe you want the kitchen to blend with your home’s colour scheme, but with a funky accent piece. For example, an eye-catching splashback, or a bold-coloured appliance.
Your preferred colour palette
Did you check out the colour wheels in the first section of this guide: Kitchen ideas and inspiration?
A colour wheel is a great way to see which colours work well together, and can be a really helpful tool in determining your colour scheme.
Three of the most common ways to use a colour wheel are:
Choose a base colour and use variations of that colour tone across the room. Ideal for muted, contemporary kitchens.
Choose colours that are close on the colour wheel. They complement each other without being too similar. This is a useful technique for creating a specific theme, e.g. a farmhouse-style kitchen.
By choosing two colours that sit opposite each other, you’ll create a greater contrast. Great if you want to make a statement.
When you flick through interior design magazines and Pinterest boards, are you drawn to a particular style of kitchen?
You’ll notice that the different themes – whether it’s scandi, farmhouse, or contemporary – use colours that are typically associated with them. This can be a useful way to guide your colour scheme.
Light and bright or dark and moody?
Most of the decisions about colour boil down to personal preference; however, the size, shape, available natural light, and ceiling height will impact the colours and tones that’ll work best in your kitchen.
- It’s recommended to incorporate light tones in a small, narrow, or low-ceilinged kitchen with little natural light to make it feel brighter
- For larger, brighter kitchens with high ceilings, bring in some darker tones to balance the space
Help with kitchen cabinet design
Choosing your kitchen cabinets can seem like a minefield. With so many options available, it can be tricky knowing where to start.
Your cabinetry will have a big impact on the overall look and feel of your kitchen. But it’ll also impact how functional and enjoyable your new kitchen is. Don’t underestimate the joy that a pull out larder unit can give!
To help navigate the world of kitchen cabinetry, let’s first take a look at the different styles available.
The 6 most popular kitchen cabinet designs
- Shaker style
A traditional style that never really goes out of fashion. It’s also very easy to combine with different elements to make it suit your personal style.
For example, you could pair it with concrete worktops or wooden worktops and you’ll achieve two completely different styles of kitchen. Shaker style cabinets are also very reasonably priced.
Glass-fronted cabinets are a fairly standard choice to display items in the kitchen and add a little more light into the room. You can add some additional design elements to glass-fronted cabinets, for example, by painting or papering the back of the unit, or adding lights.
The downside? If you’re displaying items, you’ll want to keep the contents neat and tidy. Plus, glass-fronted cabinets can be slightly more expensive than wood.
- Tongue and groove
Sometimes called ‘Beadboard’, this style of cabinet has vertical slats of wood fitted into each other.
It gives a textured, relaxed finish and adds an element of cosiness and warmth, popular in a cottage-style kitchen.
- Flat fronted
Flat fronted cabinets have no panels or frames, which makes them very easy to clean. An ideal style for modern or contemporary kitchens due to their minimalist aesthetic.
Prices will vary depend on the type of wood and the finish you select.
You’ll often see plywood cabinets in a scandi-style kitchen, helping to achieve an organic, cosy, and warm feeling.
Plywood cabinets are very strong and durable, and are quite inexpensive.
- Natural wood cabinets
Natural wood cabinets create a rustic, informal feel, often popular in a cottage or farmhouse-style kitchen.
The natural patina of this type of cabinetry will pair with anything, and is generally a cost-effective option, but it will need to be treated to prevent grease and moisture from penetrating the wood.
How to choose the best kitchen cabinets for your renovation
If you have a particular theme in mind for your new kitchen (farmhouse, minimalist, industrial etc.), this can help to narrow down your choices from the six main styles discussed above.
But, as we’ve mentioned, it is possible to combine styles to create something completely personal to your taste.
Budget will of course come into play, with specialised fititngs, such as a spice drawer or a wine rack, costing more.
The finish you choose, the quality of the material you opt for, and the hardware used to install them will all impact on the cost of your kitchen cabinets. And don’t forget door handles and knobs too!
Kitchen materials: worktops and floors
The materials – or combination of materials – you choose will affect the look and feel of the kitchen and help to pull your design together.
Whether you’re aiming for a traditional kitchen using materials such as stone and wood, or a contemporary space featuring glass, marble and steel, there’s a huge array of options to choose from.
In this section, we’ll share the pros and cons of each type of material for worktops and floors, to help you select the best option for your new kitchen.
Kitchen worktop materials
Your worktop is a highly visible part of your kitchen, so it needs to look good and fit with your overall style.
However, it’s also one of the most hard-working elements of your kitchen, so it must be durable and able to withstand food spills, heat, and water.
So do you choose a natural material such as hardwood, granite or glass, or a manufactured product such as laminate or composite stone?
What is the best material for a kitchen worktop?
When it comes to kitchen worktops, your decision can often be guided by your budget.
There are worktops such as granite, that sit at the more expensive end of the scale. Then there are materials that can mimic the real thing for a fraction of the cost, such as laminate.
However, if budget allows, a composite worktop could be a good option for its durability, lasting longer than the cheaper alternatives.
If you have your heart set on a particular type of worktop but the budget won’t stretch, you’ll be pleased to hear it’s on-trend to mix and match your worktop materials.
There are a few other factors to consider that could impact the cost of your kitchen worktop:
- Some materials (such as granite and stone composites) will need to be templated by an expert, which will cost extra.
- Your layout. Straight runs of worktop are cheaper and easier to fit.
- The design. Curved corners, radius corners, or chamfered edges on your worktop can affect the budget too.
It’s a good idea to visit showrooms and order samples to see how they look and feel in your own home.
Types of kitchen worktop materials: pros and cons
Pros – Best budget option. Easy Maintenance. Lots of colour and design options. Can accurately mimic other worktop materials. Non-porous, making it resistant to stains. No initial treatment required.
Cons – Not resistant to heat or steam. Not suitable for cutting on.
Pros – Very luxurious. Low maintenance. Can be cut into any shape. Very durable: resistant to scratches, heat, water, and most stains.
Cons – Fairly expensive. Heavy to transport and difficult to manoeuvre. Normally needs to be protected by an initial sealant and retreated after ten years.
Pros – Organic and durable, with a natural warmth and plenty of character.
Cons – Need to properly seal the wood and commit to looking after it long-term to keep it looking its best. Not resistant to heat. Not suitable for cutting on.
Pros – Easy to clean. Natural antimicrobial properties. Low maintenance. Available in a range of colours. Durable, non-porous, stain and scratch resistant.
Cons – Can be very expensive. Heat can damage a quartz worktop.
Pros – Its reflective quality bounces light around the room. Non-porous, withstanding moisture and spills. Heat resistant. Toughened for increased durability. Can be cut to most shapes. No initial treatment required.
Cons – Can be scratched, but these can be polished out. Needs frequent wiping to avoid water-marking.
Composite worktops are also referred to as ‘quartz composite’ or ‘engineered stone’.
Pros – Can achieve a consistent colour; you don’t get the natural variation in veining and colour shading as you do with natural stone. Tough, non-porous, resistant to scratches, stains, heat damage and impact. More durable than natural stone. If it’s damaged, repairs are often possible by a specialist. Can be made into any shape. Doesn’t require any initial treatment.
Cons – More expensive than wood or laminate.
Pros – Strong and durable, acid and heat resistant, hygienic, and impervious to water, hence its use in commercial kitchens. Does not require any initial treatment. Easy to keep clean.
Cons – Prone to scratching.
What is the best flooring for a kitchen?
To help you decide the best flooring for your kitchen, consider the following factors:
Does your kitchen have a particular theme? For example, if you’re aiming to achieve a traditional farmhouse-style kitchen, flagstone flooring would fit right in. For a contemporary kitchen, polished concrete is a popular option.
Is your kitchen part of an open plan living space? If so, do you want a cohesive layout with your existing flooring, which will encourage a sense of spaciousness, or will you go for something different that complements the existing floor?
What will your kitchen flooring need to withstand? Do you have children and/or pets who’ll charge through the kitchen leaving muddy prints in their wake? Do you like a busy household, and hence need a flooring material that’s resistant to spillages and scratches, and easy to clean and maintain?
Do you want underfloor heating in your kitchen? If so, you’ll need to consider which flooring materials provide the best heat circulation.
As with worktops, your budget can help to determine the best flooring for your kitchen.
If you have a more generous budget for your kitchen flooring, you can consider materials such as hardwood or natural stone. However, it is possible to achieve a similar look with cheaper alternatives such as laminate or vinyl.
What is the best colour for kitchen floor tiles?
There is no one answer to the question of the best kitchen floor tile colour.
Overall, it’s a case of balance and contrast, which will be guided by the amount of natural light in the kitchen, the size of the space, and the other colours in your kitchen design, for example, the cabinets and worktops.
Having said that, one of the most popular colours of flooring is grey. It’s neutral, easy to pair with other colours, and doesn’t show dirt easily.
- If you have lots of natural light in the kitchen, choose a darker floor for contrast. In a naturally dark kitchen, opt for a lighter floor colour
- For a very small kitchen, choose a light-coloured flooring to make the room appear bigger
- For a cohesive look, match your floor colour to that of your cabinets, but in a different tone
- To create balance, match your floor colour to that of your worktops. For example, if you have a light-coloured worktop, choose a light-coloured floor
What is the easiest kitchen floor to keep clean?
Whether your kitchen is a busy thoroughfare or a completely zen space, maintenance is definitely an important factor to consider when choosing your kitchen flooring.
Hardwood flooring looks beautiful, but it’ll require regular oiling to protect it from water damage and stains, keeping it looking its best over time.
Whereas cheap and cheerful vinyl is the easiest kitchen flooring to keep clean, requiring a quick mop with warm water and a mild detergent.
Is limestone suitable for a kitchen floor?
Limestone is a great choice for a kitchen floor.
Its textured surface gives a rich, tactile feel, it’s incredibly durable and hard-wearing, and is very easy to clean.
What can you use instead of tiles in a kitchen?
While tiles are considered the best option for kitchen flooring due to their timeless quality and durability, there are a host of other options available.
Laminate, vinyl, lino, hardwood, concrete, cork, bamboo, and terrazzo all make great kitchen flooring options. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each in the section below.
Types of kitchen flooring materials: pros and cons
Ceramic and porcelain tiles are often cheaper alternatives to natural materials. Natural materials include slate or limestone (stone) terracotta and mosaics.
Pros – Huge variety – natural (e.g. slate, limestone, terracotta, or mosaic), ceramic, and porcelain tiles. Vast choice of sizes, shapes, and colours. Porcelain and ceramic are generally hard-wearing, durable, stain and water-resistant, easy to clean and maintain, and affordable. Natural stone tiles also offer a natural, textured look. Tiled flooring can add value to your home.
Cons – Can be cold and hard underfoot. Takes time to install. Possibility of cracking a tile if something is dropped on them.
Pros – It’s a good investment – it can increase your home’s value. Hardwood is a timeless, quality material. Easy maintenance and cleaning. Authentic, natural material. Biodegradable and sustainable. Can treat hardwood to achieve a different colour. Can sand and refurbish if worn. Hygienic.
Cons – Can be expensive. Does require treating periodically and careful cleaning – don’t use a wet mop. Can scratch or be stained by spillages. High exposure to moisture and spills can cause damage. Can swell or shrink with fluctuations in temperature.
Pros – Durable and requires few repairs. Long-lasting. Water, mould, and stain resistant. Eco-friendly due to its recycled content.
Cons – Cold and hard underfoot. It can stain and scratch if not properly sealed and maintained. More maintenance than other types of flooring. It can be slippery. One of the most expensive types of flooring (more so than granite or marble). Costly to install.
Pros – Durable, elegant, sleek, and modern. Easy to clean. If sealed properly, it won’t stain. Hard-wearing. Looks better with age. Low maintenance. Durable. Can be cheaper than tile flooring. Non-slip.
Cons – Can be hard and cold underfoot. Can create an echo. Will need repolishing every few years to maintain its appearance.
Pros – Soft underfoot. Very cost-effective. Water and stain-resistant. Huge range of colours, patterns, and styles (to mimic stone, tiles, or wood). Easy to wipe clean and maintain. Can be laid quickly and easily. Comfortable underfoot.
Cons – Shorter lifespan than wood or tile floors. However, you can opt for higher quality vinyl for greater longevity and durability. Historically, it’s not desirable from a home resale point of view, but the improved quality of vinyl is changing this. Difficult to remove. Floor must be absolutely level before laying. Not very forgiving of wetness. Can be easily dented, punctured, or scratched. Not environmentally-friendly as it’s not biodegradable and is difficult to recycle.
Pros – Large range of colours, designs and patterns. Available in rolls or as tiles. Eco-friendly – made from a mix of renewable natural materials and is biodegradable. Comfortable underfoot. Water-resistant and scratch-resistant. Easy to install. Low maintenance. Versatile. Durable. Resistant to wear and tear. Long-lasting.
Cons – Can be scratched, pierced, or dented with furniture legs, for example. Can discolour if exposed to direct sunlight. Can be susceptible to moisture – can be damaged by standing water. Requires periodic sealing to prevent moisture damage and stains. More expensive than vinyl flooring.
Pros – Wide variety of styles, colours and patterns available to mimic other, more expensive, types of flooring (e.g. wood and stone). Strong. Durable. Stain and scratch resistant, making it long-lasting. Comfortable underfoot. Easy to maintain. Easy to install. More desirable from a home resale point of view than vinyl or linoleum.
Cons – Susceptible to warping, stains, and damage if exposed to moisture for long periods. However, waterproof and water-resistant laminate is available. Can’t use a steam cleaner or wet mop. Can’t sand and refinish – it must be replaced. Not environmentally-friendly – doesn’t biodegrade.
Pros – Environmentally friendly. Easy to maintain. Can be refinished. Durable. Easy to install. Generally scratch-resistant. Can withstand changes in moisture, temperature and humidity. Cheaper than wood flooring.
Cons – Limited styles are available so won’t suit all decor. Can be susceptible to scratches. Excessive water can cause damage. Can become faded over time.
Pros – Comfortable underfoot. Dropped items won’t break – likely to bounce! Durable. Hygienic. Long-lasting. Low maintenance. Non-slip. 100% recyclable. Cost-effective.
Cons – Susceptible to damage by pets and furniture. Will need sealing to help protect it from spills and stains.
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A guide to kitchen demolition
A kitchen renovation can be a costly exercise, however the demolition phase can provide an opportunity to save some money by taking a DIY approach.
While you don’t need any specialist skills to remove your existing kitchen, you should follow some basic steps to make sure it’s done safely and to avoid causing unnecessary damage to structural or permanent fixtures.
In this section, we’ll show you how to prepare for a kitchen demolition, explain how to tackle this as a DIY project, and share the cost of getting a professional to do the job for you.
Save yourself the time, effort and potential injuries
Kitchen demolition is tiring work. And without the experience, you may struggle with certain elements of the job.
You also need to make sure you don’t damage any vital areas of the kitchen. Any damage to water or gas supply could be very serious.
Always hire a professional if you’re unsure of your ability.
How to prepare for kitchen demolition
It’s time to put your kitchen design plans into action. Out with the old and in with the new!
If you’re sentimental, this could be an emotional process. If you despise your current kitchen and have been long-awaiting a new one, you’ll enjoy this a lot!
With kitchen demolition, it’s all about preparation and process. First of all, make sure you have the necessary tools and equipment to help make light work of this task.
Tools and equipment for kitchen demolition
- A screwdriver
- A scraper
- A chisel
- A Stanley knife
- A hammer and pliers
- A small pry bar
- A bolster
- A ladder
- Dust sheets
- Safety goggles and thick gloves
If your kitchen requires it, for example to remove vinyl flooring or wallpaper, you may also need a wallpaper stripper, a heat gun, and/or chemical stripper.
Before you start demolishing your kitchen, empty all the cabinets and drawers, box up the contents and store them safely out of the way.
This is a good opportunity to declutter. Sort through the items you want to keep for your new kitchen and those you no longer need.
If you need to hire a skip to remove the unwanted items from your old kitchen, including any materials that you can’t recycle, you can expect to pay between £100 – £400.
You must shut off the utilities (gas, water, electric) before beginning demolition work.
- Turn off the power to the kitchen by flipping the appropriate switch in the electricity consumer unit (fuse box)
- Turn off the water supply to the kitchen using the internal stop tap. This can normally be found under the kitchen sink, close to the front door, in an airing cupboard, or next to the water meter (if it’s inside the house)
To turn off the supply to your whole property, locate the external stop tap outside. It’s normally in the driveway, garden, or grass verge.
You will need to hire a Gas Safe engineer to turn off the gas supply.
Carefully remove your appliances, for example, the washing machine, fridge, and oven, and store them somewhere they won’t be damaged during the demolition phase.
Reusing your existing appliances in your new kitchen? Consider giving them a freshen up with a professional clean and service.
Upgrading to new appliances? Don’t forget, you can sell or donate old appliances via websites such as Enviromate, Freecycle, eBay, or Facebook Marketplace.
With everything cleared out and utilities safely shut off, it’s time to move on to the demolition work.
DIY kitchen demolition
First thing’s first, drop the sledgehammer. Although you’re getting a new kitchen, recklessly demolishing your existing kitchen could cost you both time and money if you inadvertently damage the ceiling, walls, plumbing, or electrics in the process.
Follow our straightforward guide to DIY kitchen demolition to get the job done right. It includes:
- How to remove a kitchen worktop
- How to remove kitchen drawers
- How to remove base units
- How to remove wall cabinets
For many of these jobs, you’ll benefit from an extra pair of hands to help support the weight of the worktop, sink, or wall cabinet as they’re removed.
Taking the time to dismantle each part of the kitchen carefully means that it could be sold or reused, which is good for both the environment and your pocket.
How to remove kitchen tiles or a splashback
To remove a kitchen splashback, first lay dust sheets on the ground below the tiled wall.
- If there are any sockets or light switches within the tiled area, loosen the plates by unscrewing them
- Use your hammer and bolster to gently break up the grout lines between a few rows of tiles
- Then place your chisel under each tile in the section you’re working on and pry it off. For stubborn tiles, tap the chisel with a hammer
- Repeat this process across the entire area to be removed
- Gather up your dust sheets and dispose of the tiles in the skip
To remove a tiled kitchen floor, follow a similar process, using your hammer and bolster to break up one of the tiles next to the doorway, working your way across the room until all the floor tiles are up.
Removing vinyl or lino flooring
Vinyl or lino flooring can be tricky to remove due to the adhesive used to install it. For this reason, you may need to use a heat gun, wallpaper stripper, or a chemical stripper to assist you.
If in any doubt, or if you want to preserve the flooring underneath, don’t hesitate to call in a professional.
- First, use your Stanley knife to cut the flooring into 6-inch wide strips
- Next, pull up each strip, revealing the adhesive underneath. If the flooring is proving difficult to lift, use a heat gun to carefully soften the adhesive before trying again
- To remove the adhesive from the floor, apply a wallpaper stripper (steamer) to the adhesive, section-by-section, 90 seconds at a time. Then use your scraper to remove the adhesive
- For stubborn areas of adhesive, you may need to use a chemical stripper
Kitchen demolition cost
Demolishing your old kitchen is a lot of work in itself, especially if there are stubborn areas, such as vinyl flooring, that can be tricky to remove.
If you’re not confident doing the job yourself, or you simply don’t have the time, a safe bet is to hire a professional.
Alternatively, ask your kitchen supplier if they can remove your existing kitchen before they begin the new install.
The rough cost for kitchen demolition will be charged at a day rate, which could start from around £240. Don’t forget to add the cost of skip hire too, typically around £250 (depending on size and your region) for seven days.
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Kitchen renovation ‘how-to’ guides
Depending on the scale of your kitchen renovation and your DIY confidence and experience, you may be able to save money by doing some of the work yourself. However, for the best results, a qualified and experienced tradesperson is recommended.
Some jobs, such as upgrading or servicing your gas and electric supply, should only ever be carried out by a qualified tradesperson who can provide the relevant certification upon completion of the job.
This includes reinstalling your gas hob or oven, which a Gas Safe registered engineer should only carry out.
We’ve got a few ‘how to’ guides if you’re confident in your DIY abilities, which are safe to attempt:
- How to paint your kitchen
- How to fit a kitchen unit
- How to fit a kitchen tap
- How to fit a kitchen sink
- How to fit a kitchen worktop
- How to tile a floor
For the best results, always use a Checkatade-approved tradesperson
Start your search for a local kitchen company or fitter below, or weigh up their cost.
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A kitchen renovation is undoubtedly a lot of work, but it’s well worth the effort to create the dream cooking and dining space you’ve always desired.
By the end of your kitchen renovation project you’ll be able to sit back and relax in your new space with a huge sense of achievement, possibly with a few handy DIY skills under your belt too.
However much of your kitchen renovation you decide to embark on yourself, our experienced and trusted tradespeople are here for you.
To find a local expert in any aspect of kitchen renovation, simply put your requirements into the trusted Checkatrade directory to find a highly qualified tradesperson in your area.
Struggling for time to find the right tradespeople? Let us search for you
Fill out our online form and we’ll send it on to Checkatrade tradespeople who are checked by us, approved, guaranteed and reviewed by real people.
The Checkatrade guarantee
Our free guarantee covers your job for up to 12 months to the value of £1,000*.
To make sure your job is guaranteed, simply follow these three steps:
1. Book through Checkatrade
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2. Keep a record of your job
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