Starting out on a full kitchen refurbishment or even just updating your kitchen units can be an exciting but daunting project. And, as with all building works, you need to plan carefully. London kitchen specialists Barnard Interiors offers its top tips to avoid the usual pitfalls when embarking on a new kitchen design 



1 Find the right tradespeople

While there are many functional aspects that are important to be aware of when redesigning the most technical room in the house, there is also a key human element to take into consideration first: trust.

Trust is a key aspect to finding the right kitchen-fitting company for you. Not only are you about to spend a significant amount of money with them but they will also be spending at least a week in your home so you want to make sure your comfortable with them and that the job will be done properly.

2 Create a realistic timescale

Get a clear timescale of the works and a daily schedule of what’s expected to get done from your chosen builders. This helps with communication and making sure your kitchen project runs on schedule. The scale of the project will dramatically effect length it will take. As a rough guide the bigger the budget the longer the timescale. Bespoke kitchens usually take six to eight weeks, while a budget off-the-peg kitchen can be two weeks from start to finish if all parts are in stock.

3 Be clear about your needs

The kitchen is a working room and often the heart of a home, make sure it’s being designed for how you will use it and your style of cooking and entertaining. This can effect everything from the choice of worktop (marble if you like baking) to specialised storage for all your herbs and spices. If you love entertaining then consider an island unit with the hob in the middle so you can join in the conversation while you prepare food. 

4 Agree on a budget

This helps both the customer and the kitchen company to understand what’s achievable and realistic from the word go. If you’re not sure about costs ask for a guide based on the company’s previous kitchens, search online or ask your friends. Always be clear and upfront about your budget, it helps build trust and saves time planning a kitchen that you can’t afford. Word to the wise: keep a small contingency fund aside for any unseen issues that may arise when working on a full kitchen refurbishment. 

5 Know what style you want
There is a wealth of looks you can choose from and tailor to your needs, if you’re not clear on what you’re after try browsing the websites of kitchen companies or take a look online for some inspiration (Pinterest is a great place to start). Generally you’re either one of two camps: modern (high gloss, slab fronted with no handles) or classic (farmhouse or shaker). Always consider lighting too, as it can transform your kitchen for little extra cost. 

6 Have a solid project manager
The key to a happy refurbishment is project management, but this doesn’t have to be complex if you’re unfamiliar, simply ask for the builder’s daily schedule before they start and talk to the job manager at the end of every day for an update on developments. Often minor issues arise that may require you to make a decision to move the project on so make sure you are contactable and expect at least a few questions from the builders – the team should be experts at working round problems and have at least one solution available. 

7 Final handy hints

Make sure there is a formal sign off of the work done before paying final installments; getting people back into the house after all monies are paid is not always easy. Let the neighbours know that you’re planning building works to smooth out relations and agree working times to avoid upset from noise.  Plan to eat out. You wont have a cooking facilities or a sink for about a week so be prepared.  Providing tea and biscuits for the workers goes a very long way to keeping everyone happy and provides an easy start to an informal chat.

To start your kitchen refurbishment, contact Ben or Toby at Barnard Interiors on 020 7228 4950 or visit

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