When you’re cooking up plans to improve your home, add value or make things more user-friendly, the kitchen is often the room with most potential.

Many people are happy to spend a large proportion of their budget on this, one of the most important rooms in the home. In fact, a kitchen makeover recently developed by London-based kitchen designer Marazzi Design came in at a whopping £300,000, complete with 24-carat gold leaf, crocodile embossed leather and Venetian ink-stained gold glass. Now that’s a seriously tasty cuisine.

However, you don’t need nearly as much dough as that to get the kitchen of your dreams. And a good local kitchen specialist is the person you need in the mix to make it happen.

What they do

Kitchen specialists design and install kitchens to your specification. Sometimes, the designer will also carry out the work. Though if you’re in the market for a truly unique bespoke kitchen, your designer will brief their chosen installation team to turn your plans into reality.

The skills involved in kitchen installation include:

  • Measuring out work areas
  • Planning the new kitchen using design software
  • Removing the old kitchen
  • Marking the location of pipes and cables
  • Measuring and cutting worktops, recesses and joints
  • Fitting units and appliances
  • Tiling and laying floors
  • Making sure work meets building regulations

What they charge

Just like the kitchens they create, kitchen specialists’ charges come in all shapes and sizes.

Many of them will offer a free consultation where they’ll measure up and discuss options. It’s a good idea to have an idea of what you want from your new kitchen and allow the designer to add their touches and design know-how. You’d be surprised how a great idea in your mind can actually create an ergonomic nightmare in a busy kitchen and it’s these potential faults that a good kitchen designer will spot in the planning stages.

If you want to save a bit of cash that you could put towards new appliances or kitchen tech, why not consider getting your hands dirty and removing your old kitchen yourself? You may even be able to sell the old cupboards and worktops.

Here are a few example costs involved in fitting a new kitchen:

  • Installers charge £10 – £15 per hour
  • Supply and install small kitchen (3m x 2m) including removing old one – £700
  • Supply and install large kitchen (5m x 4m) including removing old one – £800 – £1500
  • Tile large kitchen (5m x 4m) – £400
  • Replace worktops in a small kitchen (3m x 2m) – £200
  • Replace 12 large wooden kitchen doors – £250

What to ask

Ensuring your kitchen specialist answers these questions will help you plan a kitchen fit for a masterchef:

  • How soon can you start? Most new kitchens take between four and six weeks to deliver
  • Can I see some examples of previous work?
  • What is the breakdown of the quote?
  • Are you able to deal with utilities? If so, are you Gas Safe registered?
  • Is waste removal and disposal included in the price?
  • Will you remove the old kitchen and appliances and dispose as appropriate?
  • How long is the work guaranteed for?
  • Does the quote include VAT?
  • Do you want any cash up front? Be wary of this request as we recommend you only pay on satisfactory completion of the job

Trades to trust

The British Institute of Kitchen Bedroom and Bathroom Installation represents the largest network of independently accredited kitchen, bedroom and bathroom installation specialists. Membership is a good indication that you’re working with a kitchen installer you can rely on to carry out a competent, professional job.

The law

Planning permission – always contact your local council about planning if you believe your new kitchen requires it. They will be able to advise if planning permission is required.

Building regulations – If your new kitchen involves any sort of structural alteration you will need building regulation approval.

Part P regulations – New regulations now require that all electrical work carried out in a kitchen, even putting in new sockets, must be completed by a qualified person who will supply you with a certificate showing the work has been tested. A kitchen is regarded as a special area due to the proximity of water to the electrical sockets.

Gas installation – All gas appliances must be installed by a Gas Safe registered plumber, who will then check the system and issue a certificate.

Ready to hire?

3 is the magic number

As always, try and get three quotes from three different kitchen specialists to ensure you pay a fair price for the job.

Certification and references

Don’t be shy about asking for any relevant certification, proof of public liability insurance and references or photos from previous jobs. If the kitchen specialist is trustworthy and competent, they’ll be pleased (and proud) to show you both.