Kitchen wisdom

Jude Keenan

Kitchen Planner, John Lewis Oxford Street

Tips for planning your new kitchen

After your home or a car, a new kitchen could be the most expensive purchase you'll make, and - if done well - can also add value to your property.

The costs, upheaval and complexity of the job may well ensure it's a 'once in a lifetime' purchase, and therefore important to get right. I'd like to help you organise your research to make sure that you buy the kitchen and appliances that tick all the right boxes. We offer an in-store consultation service, which you can follow up with a planning visit at home, so we're here to help inspire you and with your plans, but before you even start looking at kitchens:

  • Work out how much you have to spend. The budget is one of the first questions we'll ask, as it helps us to guide you to the appropriate ranges in units, worktops, accessories, and appliances, and in turn, helps avoid unnecessary disappointment
  • Assess use of your kitchen: who uses it, how it's used, what needs the new kitchen should serve. This will help us to guide you not only on the type of appliances, accessories, units and so on, but also how best to distribute the budget
  • Our kitchen planning and fitting service doesn't extend to ceiling lighting, tiling, flooring, decorating, building works, moving gas/electricity meters, boilers or radiators, so you'll need to cost these separately

Kitchen ranges and your budget

We offer kitchen ranges to suit all budgets, starting at around £3600 including installation:

John Lewis First collection - made in Britain, this range offers all basic units with a range of styles to suit most tastes, and can be designed to suit a very tight budget

John Lewis County, Classic and Continental collections - again made in Britain to high standards, and spanning a wide budgetary range representing great value. The County collection includes all kinds of finishes in many different styles, from highly contemporary to traditional, all designed to withstand the test of time. The Classic collection is hand made at affordable prices, with modern internal mechanisms. Choose from 18 colours or a ready to paint option for you to colour match precisely. The Continental collection is a contemporary range of doors, handles and carcases which can be combined to give a truly unique finish.

Finally, Alno - superior quality German kitchens, aimed at the larger budget, and giving endless options.

To give some idea of cost comparison between the ranges, download our comparison guide PDF.

Your shopping list

You need to think about:

Range (to determine door fronts and colour)

Handles (colour, and in the case of Alno orientation and position)

Carcase colour (unit sides aren't always the same colour as door fronts)

Plinths (the panel which runs along the floor beneath the units is usually available in all carcase colours, door colours, and stainless steel. For a free-standing look, the plinth can also be a frame on metal plinth legs, so long as there are no wet appliances in the run).

Cornice (usually the same colour as the carcase, the trim above the wall units is not always specified)

Light trim (usually the same colour as the carcase, this is used under the
wall units to prevent glare from fluorescent lighting)

The door fronts you select affect the overall cost significantly, so do take care to look at the price group in our literature. Whilst cornices and light trims are extra, handles, plinths and carcases are usually included within the overall cost of the units.

We can help you decide on the type of units you need (drawers, internal mechanisms etc) when we make the planning visit, but it's handy if you make a list prior to that of what you'd like, and how many drawers you need.

If you need to keep costs down, opt for plain cupboards rather than fancy mechanisms such as pull-out larders, wirework shelves and baskets - though these are very useful!

Worktops

From glass, granite and Corian, engineered stone and wood at one end of the budget scale to laminate and Maia at the other, in our shops you'll find sample boards and brochures showing the full choice of colours available.

Granite, glass, Corian and engineered stone need to be templated after the kitchen units have been fitted, so that the worktop is custom-made for your kitchen. This means that you would need temporary worktops (which we can include in your installation costs), for an interim period of about 4-6 weeks, before the finished worktop is ready for fitting.

You'll also need to decide on the profile of the front edge of the worktop, as well as optional extras such as back panels, drainer grooves, built-in trivets and so on.

Accessories

You'll also need to select your:

  • Sink - how many bowls, what material, positioning
  • Taps - material, how controlled, extras like drinking or steaming water taps
  • Unit & worktop lighting - halogen, fluorescent or LED lighting, and the switches for them

Optional extras

  • Waste bin - freestanding, integrated or fitted within a cupboard. There's a large choice of recycling bins too
  • Water softener - especially recommended for hard water areas, and if you've opted for a dark granite worktop where sadly limescale build-up is more noticeable
  • Hanging rails for utensils, textiles and so on
  • Splashbacks - in stainless steel or a large selection of glass colours
  • Media - we sell a range of TVs designed for kitchens, including flipdown screens or ones integrated into mirrored unit doors

Appliances

You'll want to consider cooking, refrigeration, dishwashing and laundry but obviously appliances vary hugely in cost - our own John Lewis range is great value. If you want to keep costs down, opt for freestanding white goods rather than going for integrated, as not only are you paying extra for fascias, but the appliances tend to be more expensive too.

If you want to push the boat out though, there are integrated coffee machines and steam ovens, warming drawers, wine storage and weighing scales to name but a few!

Our kitchen planning services

So you've made up your shopping list - now come in and see us! We'll work with you to complete a Planning Request form so that we can make a booking for a planner to visit your home. The planner will take your measurements and plan your kitchen on the laptop during the visit, so do bear in mind we'll be with you for several hours - but if you've done some thinking beforehand, that saves a lot of time.

We'll work out the installation costs, based on what work needs to be done, though please remember that you'll need to arrange building works separately. Once we've completed the estimate, we'll invite you to come in for a presentation. The service costs £50, but it's refundable on purchase of your kitchen. Once you've accepted the estimate, we'll order your kitchen and get the ball rolling.

For more information go to our Fitted Kitchens page.