The kitchen has always been important, but more and more it’s the place in the home which homeowners want everything to revolve around; from those looking for a sleek, minimalist design to sit drinking cocktails in, to the families who want the kitchen to be the biggest room in the house for everything from kiddies’ parties to Christmas get-togethers.
Part of the reason is that in recent decades women have achieved greater parity with men not just in the work place, but also in the home. They no longer want the kitchen to purely be a functional area; they want it to be a place where they can celebrate all the great things about living and having a family.
Add in the fact that lots of celebrity male chefs have also made it ‘cool’ for blokes to cook more as well, and the effect is multiplied.
Kitchens sell homes
And the stats back it up. Last year, research by property company Hamptons International showed that it’s the kitchen which is the most crucial room when it comes to buyers deciding to buy a home or not.
According to Hamptons, 50% of home buyers said that if they didn’t like the kitchen, then they wouldn’t buy the property.
Get the kitchen right
So if you’re going to have a new kitchen put in, make sure you get it right.
Kitchen designs and types vary hugely, but here are a number of what might be considered ‘must have’ elements, which, when it comes to selling your home, could be the difference between getting one or two offers, and a bidding war breaking out.
- The kitchen island
Nearly all the most desirable homes now have an ‘island’ kitchen.
Some islands are of the stand-alone, central variety; some are joined together to form part-island, part-worktop in an L-shape; some homes might even have two.
They’re useful for both sitting at and storage and the most modern now have sinks and grills built-in.
- Wood worktops
For years, wood worktops were shunned as hard to maintain and easily ruined, and laminate and stone took however.
However, there’s no getting over the fact wood looks great and is now not only hugely popular again, but can be fairly good value compared to granite and marble (especially marble!). Treatment oils have got better and maintenance is easier.
From cheaper oak and ash, to more expensive walnut and bamboo, you can have existing worktops taken out and wood ones fitted. If you then add a lick of paint to old cabinets, and a new sink and floor, and quite often it looks like you’ve had a new kitchen fitted!
- Induction hobs and argas
Cookers are, of course, all down to taste, but two of the most popular at the moment are of the induction and aga varieties.
Induction hobs complete the look of the modern kitchen. They’re seen as easy to maintain, energy-efficient, stylish and great for creating an ultra-modern look.
They’re also child friendly as you can run your hands over them without feeling any heat (that’s due to the ‘induction’ part!), which is obviously attractive to families.
Heating is also ultra-rapid and very precise, while saving on energy bills.
The classic aga appeals to more traditionalists, and won’t really work in anything other than a period property.
Nevertheless, agas are more popular than ever, and can complete the look if it’s traditional you’re after and it suits your home.
- Big ticket kitchen items need to be hidden away
It almost goes without saying these days, but the best kitchens will hide away all the big-ticket, practical items behind cupboard doors and ‘secret’ panels so you can’t tell they’re there.
From the dishwasher to the fridge-freezer, home buyers don’t want to see them anymore.
As for a boiler on view, forget it! If the kitchen wall is the only place you can have it, or you simply don’t want to pay for it to be moved somewhere else in the home, it too is going to have to be placed behind swish-looking materials which match the rest of the kitchen.
- Keep it light
A good colour scheme might seem a rather obvious ‘must have’, but it’s still just about the most crucial element in achieving a desirable ‘look’.
Whites and off-whites, with a few light greys thrown in are the order of the day. Splashes of different colours and shades can be used here and there, and worktops can be somewhat darker, but the overall dominant impression should be light.
Also consider what lacquers, veneers and finishes you’re going for on everything from the floor to counter tops, doors and cabinets, when deciding on the colour scheme.
Some kitchens are full of natural wood, which creates its own colour palette, but whatever the natural wood colour is, it should be complimented with light tones around it on doors, walls and ceilings.
Double check you’re covered for a new kitchen
A new kitchen could mean you need to think about increasing the level of contents, buildings and accidental damage cover you may have on your home insurance.
The contents of your old kitchen might not have been worth very much, but your new kitchen certainly might be, and you need to make sure you’re covered if anything goes wrong and it gets damaged.
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