2016-11-23-5-things-1

5 Signs it’s time for a New Kitchen

Not sure if it’s time to think about getting a new kitchen? Do you think you could get away with a fresh lick of paint rather than a full refit? Take a look at our top five signs it’s time for a new kitchen to help you figure out where you stand.

Chopping boards are a thing of the past

Remember how nervous you used to be about scratching your work surfaces? If you’ve become so used to the chips and scratches that the thought of chopping vegetables straight on the worktop doesn’t faze you, it’s probably time for an upgrade…

There’s always a problem

If barely a week goes by without the washing machine leaking or the microwave going kaput, you’re long overdue a replacement.

Your cupboard doors have seen better days

If you can’t remember the last time your cupboard doors were straight or if they’re missing handles… or just missing full stop, it’s definitely time for a refresh.

You’ve started calling your kitchen retro

Whatever label you’re choosing, it’s unlikely that “vintage” kitchen is going to come back into fashion. Unlike clothes, cars and furniture people don’t seem so fond of collecting old-school kitchens! Don’t live in denial; start your quest for a kitchen you’re proud to show off.

You have kitchen envy

And not just the kind where you admire your friend’s new spiralizer or paint refresh. If you’re positively green with envy every time you watch a home improvement show or you’re so consumed with jealousy over your friends’ kitchens you can think of little else when you visit, it’s definitely time to treat yourself to a new one of your own!

Browse the latest kitchens from the top UK retailers and compare them by style and price using our independent comparison tool.

2016-11-09-avoid-kitchen-fads-1

Kitchen Design: How To Avoid Fads

A kitchen packed full of the latest gadgets, appliances and design trends may seem like a dream but when choosing a new kitchen, it’s important to focus on the long term. Will those brightly coloured cabinets still look great in ten years’ time? Do you have space for an island or will it ultimately get in the way?

Do your best to avoid kitchen fads with our top tips…

Avoid super trendy styles

The kitchen is often the most expensive room to make over so you want to make sure it stands the test of time. Cabinets in neutral shades will stop your kitchen dating quickly. If you want to add a splash of colour, experiment with bolder paint on the walls – this is easier and less expensive to update when the shade is no longer in fashion.

Choose quality

The cabinets form the basis of your kitchen so this is where we’d recommend spending a little more of your budget. Look for soft-close hinges and drawers that open smoothly. Think practically when it comes to your work surfaces too. Glass looks ultra-modern and slick but only if you maintain it. Stains, streaks and fingerprints show up more easily on glass, so if you have young children or a busy lifestyle, you’re probably better off choosing a less high maintenance material like granite or marble.

Honour the triangle 

The triangle is the foundation of all good kitchen design. The three points to consider are the fridge, the oven and the sink – you don’t want to obstruct the flow between them as they are the most-used spots. Also, be careful when adding in a kitchen island – aim to allow at least one metre of space around it or your floor space will become too restricted.

Maximise storage

Don’t miss out on the opportunity for extra storage. The space above the refrigerator is one of the most commonly wasted storage opportunities: fit shelves here to make the most of the space. (See more kitchen storage ideas here.)

Don’t do it all yourself

The home improvement trend has seen many homeowners taking on the role of project manager. This is great for keeping costs down but it’s also important to know when to call in the experts. When dealing with gas, electricity and plumbing, you don’t want to risk potentially dangerous mistakes occurring. Handing over the job to a professional will ensure the project runs smoothly and give you peace of mind.

Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to start searching for your perfect kitchen! Compare kitchens from the top retailers using our independent price checker.

2016-10-26-kitchen-installation

Kitchen Installation: How To Deal With The Unexpected

The key to a smooth kitchen installation is first understanding the correct process (get clued up with our installation guide here.) Once you’re familiar with the process, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for any problems that may occur so you know how to tackle them.

We’ve compiled out list of the most common kitchen installation problems with a few suggestions on how to resolve them:

Delays

This is by far the most common problem encountered: your fitter takes too long to do the work. According to consumer law, you can expect a kitchen fit to be done within a reasonable timeframe or by the date you agreed with your fitter. Any completion date you agree is a contract by which you can expect the work to be finished. If your fitter misses the date, we’d recommend negotiating a new date in the first instance. If it becomes a continuous problem, do not hesitate to seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau regarding your consumer rights.

Remember: having a lot of work on is not a valid excuse as a fitter is expected to be able to manage their jobs to ensure deadlines are met.

Receiving the wrong kitchen

It shouldn’t happen, but it does: you order a kitchen and find some of the components received are different from what you ordered. If you order a wooden work surface for example, a supplier should not deliver a laminate one – it really is that simple. Again, consumer law is on your side here and if the item isn’t what you ordered or doesn’t match the description, you should have the right to return it and receive a refund.

When goods are faulty

When you purchase goods such as a fitted kitchen, they are required to be of satisfactory quality. If any components of your kitchen are damaged or faulty when you receive them, the trader is responsible for putting things right. The resolutions may vary but you can expect a refund, repair or replacement.

Finding a reliable fitter

Before deciding on your fitter, always obtain at least three quotes so you can be sure of the going rate and average length of time for the job. Reviews and recommendations from previous customers is always a great indicator of a tradesperson’s professionalism and reliability. Websites such as RatedPeople.com let you check out the ratings of tradespeople given by other homeowners. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your fitter for details of previous customers who would be willing to act as a reference for them and to see photos of their previous work. Quality fitters will be prepared for these questions to ensure you have total peace of mind with your decision.

It’s important to note that anyone fitting a gas or electric cooker must be suitably qualified. You can use the Electrical section of the Registered Competent Person website to find local electricians who are either ELECSA or NICEIC members. If you require a gas engineer, bear in mind that they must be registered by law to work with gas. Gas Safe registered engineers can be found via Yell.com or by contacting the Gas Safe Register. When the engineer comes to carry out the work, remember to ask for their Gas Safe ID number too.

Asking friends and family for recommendations is a good idea but make sure you also check out their accreditations yourself to ensure your fitter is fully qualified.

Have you experienced any kitchen installation problems not on our list? We’re always keen to hear your stories – Tweet us @kitchen-compare.

2016-10-12-kitchen-storage-solutions-2

Kitchen Storage Solutions

The kitchen is the hub of the home and it’s most likely the room that’s most in need of some extra storage space. From your groceries and cleaning supplies to dinnerware and cooking utensils, it’s easy for your kitchen to become overcrowded.

But fear not, there are plenty of storage solutions out there to add extra space to even the smallest of kitchens! So spacious or cosy, modern or traditional, we’ve picked out some of the most innovative kitchen storage ideas for you:

ikea-kitchen-storage-kitchen-comaprePhoto Credit: IKEA

For small kitchens, wall and door storage is a dream. Proudly displaying your finest pots, pans and utensils is a popular trend in kitchen design so take advantage. There are lots of wall hanging racks on the market that are cost-effective too, so you can turn your cookware into a stylish feature!

bq-pull-out-larder-kitchen-storagePhoto Credit: B&Q

We’re huge fans of pull out larders in the Kitchen Compare Ideal for sneaking in extra storage into narrower spaces, you can fit more into these larders than classic kitchen cupboards. Plus, the pull-out design allows for easy access, so no more rooting around for that missing utensil!

 cue-co-london-kitchen-storagePhoto Credit: Cue & Co. London

Utilise your fridge freezer space. If you can, fill in the gaps above and around your fridge freezer for an innovative storage solution. For example, this creative wine rack is an ingenious idea!

ikea-metod-veddinge-white-kitchen-kitchen-compareIKEA Metod Veddinge White Kitchen

A tip for larger kitchens: make use of the generous floor space with a central freestanding kitchen island. Packing in additional drawers, cupboards, shelves and surface space, it’s one of the simplest ways to enhance your kitchen storage.

john-lewis-kitchen-trolley

Photo Credit: John Lewis

Go mobile and invest in moveable storage! This is brilliant for a snug kitchen. There are plenty of styles to choose from, including contemporary metal framed trolleys to wheeled wooden cabinets. You can move your storage around depending on your needs and even temporarily move it to another room when you need that little extra space.

bq-kitchen-storage

Photo Credit: B&Q

Double the space in your kitchen cabinets with shelving on the back of your cupboard doors. Perfect for storing smaller items like herbs and spices.

For more kitchen storage ideas, take a look at our Pinterest board or see the storage solutions available in the kitchens from the biggest UK retailers with our online comparison tool.

2016-09-04-trend-watch-kitchen-wall-tiles

Trend Watch: Kitchen Wall Tiles

Tiles are an increasingly popular decorating choice for kitchen walls and floors as they offer a cost-effective, low-maintenance and durable solution. Ceramic tiles in particular are hard-wearing and easy to clean (simply use a damp sponge to wipe away dirt and grime) so it’s no surprise that for many of us, tiles are the number one kitchen decorating solution.

For 2016/17, tiles are becoming an ever more key part of kitchen design with more patterns and textures available than ever before. Tiles no longer just blend into the background, but can provide a splash of colour or an interesting twist to your chosen kitchen. Here’s our pick of the top tile trends for 2016/17:

Metallic

Shimmering metallics have been enjoying a revival over the last few seasons and the trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon. While cooler metallic shades like silver are perfect for bathrooms, when it comes to your kitchen try warmer tones of bronze or gold to create an attractive contrast when teamed with stainless steel appliances.

Texture

Textured tiles add an extra dimension to your kitchen scheme. They’re best kept for a feature wall or interesting splashback option. We wouldn’t recommend covering your walls floor to ceiling in textured tiles as it can become overbearing and make your kitchen feel smaller.

ted-baker-splashback-british-ceramic-tilesTed Baker for British Ceramic Tiles

Designer Tiles

Top fashion designers have been experimenting with interior design in recent years with designer wallpaper and fabrics now a common occurrence. Next on the list is designer tiles and splashbacks. Definitely consider these if you admire the signature patterns and prints of a particular designer as you’re unlikely to fall out of love with your chosen tiles a few years down the line. One of our favourite designer tile ranges is Ted Baker’s collection for British Ceramic Tiles – another stylish splashback solution. See the full range of Ted Baker tiles on our Pinterest board.

Now you’ve thought about your ideal wall tiles, why not browse for a kitchen to complement them? Search kitchens from the leading UK retailers, compare prices and quality using our online comparison tool to find the best deal for you.

2016-09-07 - FIVE MATERIALS - Not to use in the kitchen

5 materials not to use in your kitchen

From cabinets to flooring, choosing which materials to use in your kitchen can be a difficult decision. There are pros & cons of all materials and selecting the right one for you is more about considering what your requirements are. Most of us are after a low-maintenance, durable kitchen so we’ve made that our basis when rounding up the top materials to avoid using in your kitchen.

Laminate Worktops

If you want low-cost, easy-to-clean work surfaces and aren’t put off at the thought of having to replace them more regularly, then laminate could be your perfect match. The reason it’s on our list is because it’s more vulnerable to chips and scratches that can be tricky to repair, so if you don’t want the hassle of fitting new surfaces, it’s best to opt for hard-wearing alternatives like composite or granite.

Glass

Now glass is a good heat-resistant and stylish material that will certainly add a touch of sophistication to your kitchen. However, if you have young children it might be an idea to avoid it. It definitely looks great, especially in smaller kitchens where it can make them feel more spacious, but it marks easily and you could quickly find yourself growing tired of continuously wiping away fingerprint smudges!

(Uncoated) Linoleum

Linoleum is still a popular choice for kitchen floors but it does fade more quickly and is more prone to wear than more resilient vinyl. If you’re going for lino, make sure it has a protective coating to help it last longer.

Matte Paint

Matte emulsion is perfect for living rooms and bedrooms but when it comes to moisture-rich environments like kitchens and bathrooms, it’s best to swap your matte finish for satin or semi-gloss. Matte paint is harder to clean and won’t withstand stains, cleaning products and scrubbing in the same way.

Carpet

A no brainer for some, but you’d be surprised how many people still consider carpeting their kitchen. Hard flooring is always preferable for a more heat and stain resistant, hygienic flooring solution.

For help finding your perfect kitchen at the best rate, use our online comparison tool to search kitchens from the top retailers (including B&Q, Homebase and Magnet).

 

2016-08-12 - Kitchen Quality - Criteria Explained

Kitchen Quality: Criteria Explained

In our last blog we gave you a brief overview of what to look for when assessing the quality of a kitchen. Here at Kitchen-Compare, we compare kitchens from major retailers including IKEA and B&Q based on price, quality and finance. There are a number of quality indicators we look for, from construction to materials and we award each kitchen a quality score out of 10. Read on for a more detailed insight into just what we’re looking for in a quality kitchen…

Cabinets

Sturdy cabinets will ensure your kitchen lasts. The first thing to assess is the material – you want to look for a solid wood or quality grade of plywood, to provide a quality foundation. The wall thickness is also a key indicator – 18mm walls will get a higher quality score from us than 15mm. Back panels can range from a 4mm hardboard to 15mm of solid wood, so you might want to consider opting for a thicker back panel. Don’t forget to look at the cabinet guarantee too as this signals how confident the retailer is in the finished quality. You can compare the guarantee from the top retailers on our Compare Retailers page.

Drawers & Shelves

Drawers should provide easy access – expect to be able to open them at least three quarters of the way. Check what the weight is for the pan drawer too: if you’re planning to store heavy items here, make sure it can hold more than 25kg.

For shelves, check for anti-tilt plastic or metal fixings to stop them from tipping. Next, consider how many pre-drilled holes are in the walls for shelf adjustments. Some units come with less than two, those with four or more will make repositioning your shelves to suit your storage needs much easier (and so secure a higher quality score from us).

Hinges

Always look for a soft-close door hinge. Most kitchens do come with these as a standard as it is now a popular choice with consumers. The hinge should also enable to door to be opened fully for ease of access. Hinges can vary by up to 30 degrees so don’t be afraid to test them out.

Ratings & Certifications

In our overview blog, we discussed FSC ratings as a quality signal. Another rating to pay attention to is the prized FIRA Gold Product Certification. FIRA is an independent association for furniture validation. Products are subject to thorough testing and achieving Gold certification is a stamp of high quality.

Now you know how we assess kitchens here at Kitchen-Compare, why not start comparing the quality scores for your dream kitchen?