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How much should I invest in my new kitchen?

So, you’ve decided to purchase a new kitchen. Like many people, the next question on your mind will likely be ‘exactly how much should I spend?’. Of course, affordability is important, and you should be comfortable with the budget you set for your new kitchen. However, even with your affordability in mind, how do you establish good value for your money? What factors should you consider to ensure that you are making a worthwhile investment? With so many options available and budgets ranging from £5,000 – £80,000+, it can be complex for those outside the industry to distinguish the difference.

In this article, our designers share some insights into how kitchens vary at different budget levels and where it is worth investing more. 

The Factor that Most Affects Budget

Quite simply, quality & exclusivity. The quality of the manufacturing and products has the most influence on price, and you do get what you pay for. Read on to learn some of the key differences in quality between low budget and high-quality kitchens.

Low Budget Kitchens

Low budget kitchens sit within the fast-fashion category, manufactured with a shorter lifecycle to meet current trends. As these kitchens are usually off-the-shelf, they are immediately available, making it possible to update your home for a lower investment.

Stock image: example of budget flat pack furniture.

These kitchens are a flat-pack furniture construction rather than solid cabinets. Keeping costs as low as possible informs the construction quality of the doors, carcasses and mechanisms. It is the quality of the materials, bonding techniques and exterior finish that determines the long-term durability of the furniture. Laminate worktops also fall into this category because although laminate is a wonderful, durable and practical material, not all laminates are created equal. Low budget carcasses, doors and laminates are constructed using a less dense material and lower quality bonding techniques. This makes them more prone to chips, peeling and water ingress – something you would expect from a low budget kitchen anticipated to last a few years. Aside from the carcasses, doors and worktops, the mechanisms such as door hinges and drawer runners will be different. The drawers in a low budget kitchen are often manufactured with smaller storage and weight capacity which means they are less functional and enjoyable to use.

Stock image: example of shallow budget kitchen drawers and laminate cabinetry

There are also sustainability considerations for low budget kitchens. These kitchens don’t survive a rip out, so they aren’t suitable for reselling and will end up in a landfill. Multiplying this on a scale makes it easy to see that fast-fashion kitchens will quickly become an environmental issue that is not serving our planet.

Ultimately, a low budget kitchen will function and is a suitable option for those who have financial constraints or are less concerned about the longevity of their kitchen, functional enjoyment, or the environmental impact.

High-Quality Kitchens

High-Quality Kitchens

As expected, high-quality kitchens use entirely different materials and components to low budget alternatives. The construction of high-quality kitchens focuses on longevity; the build stands the test of time with robustness to suit the heavy daily use that comes with family life. The expectation is that a high-quality kitchen will last 10, 20 years or more, so it is something that you will want to pass on rather than throw away. This longevity has a myriad of benefits. Firstly it will simply work. Ten or twenty years after installation, a high-quality kitchen will still look great and function well. It is an excellent choice for those who don’t wish to repeat the intrusion of refurbing their kitchen every few years or those creating a forever home.

A high-quality kitchen can be removed and resold to make way for a new design or layout. There is a thriving market for second-hand kitchens so the kitchen can continue its life and benefit someone else rather than going to a landfill. Equally, high-quality kitchens add more value to a home and can help achieve a higher sale value because of the additional wow factor and reassurance the kitchen will last.

High-end kitchen carcasses are one-piece construction. This approach uses the technology and precision of the manufacturer to reinforce the sturdiness of the cabinet. Understandably, a product made as one piece will be sturdier and robust than one made as multiple parts and assembled on site.

The same is true of high-quality laminate worktops. The construction is a higher density, premium core material paired with a durable innovative exterior finish with exceptional resistance to scratches, scuffs and other damage that can occur.

This focus on quality, durability and longevity continues to the construction of the mechanisms. For example, drawer runners have a higher load-bearing and increased capacity, and at KCA, some of our team members have stood in a pan drawer to test this. However, we wouldn’t advise trying this at home unless you are confident of the specifications; your kitchen designer can advise you.

So, it is clear to see the difference in quality that comes with low budget or high-quality kitchens and the pros and cons of each option. Below, our designers share their insights on other features of high-quality kitchens beyond quality and the main reasons people choose to invest more.

Design

Designing a kitchen can seem simple. Place some units here, appliances there, and hey presto, what more is there to it?  However, there is a big difference between a kitchen and an expertly designed one. Highly skilled kitchen designers have trained and studied for many years to gain technical knowledge and design finesse far beyond simply space planning and popping units into position.

There are so many ways that a professional kitchen designer adds value to your design, and we’ve highlighted a few of them here:

Beautiful, Enduring Design

Have you ever seen a kitchen that is just a few years old, yet it looks old fashioned already? A well-designed kitchen should have a timeless quality that transcends years. Yes, styles, lifestyles and tastes will evolve; however, if a design is done right, it won’t look out of place for ten or more years. Expert kitchen designers will be abreast of the latest trends, innovations and technologies to produce a design that will endure.

The Wow Factor

Most of us can recall a moment when we walked into a space, whether a museum, hotel or home and thought, ‘wow’. But what exactly made us say ‘wow’ is sometimes harder to quantify; this is the difference that great design creates. Beyond planning the position of units, designers are experts at creating designs that feel balanced, well-proportioned with beautiful design details that add a little something special to the space. The best designers will find clever ways to achieve this wow factor whilst adhering to your budget, maximising the visual impact of your room and resulting in a design that is perceived to be worth so much more than your investment. 

 

Tailored & Future Proof Design

One of our favourite aspects of kitchen design is that each project is different because each client is different. When designing a high-quality kitchen, a designer knows that the design has to enhance the client’s lifestyle at home both today and in 10+ years. Achieving this takes extra consideration and a genuine commitment to understanding the client and their needs. Of course, a lot can change in 10 years… maybe the plan is for children to join the family, or perhaps older children will no longer live at home. Whatever lies ahead for a client, the best kitchen designs will be future proof, suiting their life now with scope to evolve or adapt.

Adaptable

You know by now that a high-quality kitchen will last for many years, and we have talked about the potential to resell your kitchen. However, another option is to adapt, update or upgrade your kitchen.

At KCA, we have re-visited many projects and assisted our clients with upgrades to their existing KCA kitchen. Due to the quality of the furniture, there may not be a need to change it, but the client may wish to upgrade the look, add additional furniture and storage or upgrade the appliances to the latest models. Kitchen doors, worktops and handles can be swapped, dramatically changing the aesthetic without replacing the cabinets. Alternatively, repainting a high-quality painted kitchen creates a fresh new look.

We curate our products based on their performance and our 28 years of experience supporting our clients’ kitchens and products not only through the warranty period but for the life of the kitchen. As a result, we have high expectations for our products and our kitchen designs so that our clients can enjoy the quality of their kitchen for many years.

Service

Last but certainly not least is service. High-quality kitchens should come with service levels to match the quality of the furniture. This service should include on-site liaison with builders and trades, installation, and aftercare. Leading kitchen specialists take responsibility for the final quality of the kitchen, so they will offer a holistic service to ensure the very best possible outcome. Beyond installation, high-end kitchens should come with a long-term commitment to service that helps clients maintain their kitchens and provides peace of mind.

We hope that you have found this article interesting and that it has helped to introduce some of the differences between low budget and high-quality kitchens.

At KCA, we advocate for buying once and buying right by opting for quality products, exceptional design and trusted service over low quality, fast-fashion options. We see every day how great design can genuinely improve people’s lives. We believe that investing in superior craftsmanship and expert design enhances the lives of those living within the home and is kinder to our planet.

 To speak to a designer about your kitchen project, call our showroom on 01344 883777 or request an appointment online, here.

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