1. Find a company and designer you feel you can work with, who ‘gets’ you. A salesperson will just be trying to sell you something, whether it’s a kitchen or a mobile phone. A designer/planner will be interested in your project and want to work with you to improve on your ideas and achieve a successful outcome in all sorts of way, not just monetary. Bring a scrapbook, folder or iPad of ideas, photographs of your room and some sizes with you when browsing. You’ll quickly gauge how a company will handle your business and if you would trust them with your precious project.
2. Be well informed about the look you want - there are so many trends. Spend time on Pinterest and Houzz. A designer just loves a start to point all their creative ideas at, it saves a lot of time and energy. The initial brief is so important, and it’s worth spending lots of time on it before committing to ideas on paper.
3. Work from the outside in. Once you have your scrapbook/folder of images, you’ll need to look more closely at door styles, colours etc., and that can be really overwhelming - take one step at a time - kitchen footprint, layout design, colour, door style, appliance locations, storage options, lighting, what’s inside. Think about one thing at a time and stay focussed then the decisions will make themselves.
4. Be realistic and don’t be shy to state a budget. This is a really tricky one, and can go like this;
Q - ‘How much do you want to spend?’ A - ‘well it depends, I just want a lovely kitchen with all of this wish list in it’. 4 - 6 design hours later and you guessed it, it’s over budget. Your designer needs a brief that includes a budget figure or you’ll end up disappointed and dissatisfied. Being open about your expectations means you’ll be able to get straight into talking about the initial designs because you’ll know it’s been produced with your expected spend in mind. Without a budget the process will take much longer and might incur additional design fees.
5. Do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got. If it works for you, great, but don’t be afraid to consider all options for appliances, even if you come back to your original ideas. Find out about steam assisted ovens, in hob extraction which allows you to place a hob literally anywhere - the latest innovations which are changing all the time. Recognise lifestyle changes since you bought your last kitchen. When a big family is at home, you might bake and roast, but empty nesters might appreciate a change to easy, economical modern appliances such as induction hobs and self cleaning ovens because life’s too short to clean.
6. Keep a list handy for your next design meeting. It saves those middle of the night conundrums wondering whether the fridge is big enough or the oven will take the Christmas goose. Good designers all love a challenge, they’re problem solvers, and a list is a great way of looking at the design as a whole to ensure it’s right for you and your family.
A great designer will listen, suggest and create ideas that take care of every solution before you’ve even thought of the problem.