10 steps to planning your kitchen renovation  

Josie Shepherd

Written by

Josie Shepherd

Senior Brand and Communications Manager

Less than 1 minute

Updated: 3 Jul 2024

Is a new kitchen something you’re planning for 2024? Alongside looking after brand and communications at Homeprotect, I’ve also been project managing my own kitchen reno – so here are my top tips… 

  1. Plan out your space – It’s easy to get straight into the cabinet colours you’re lusting after or researching the perfect kitchen worktop, but it’s best to start with thinking about what you need from your kitchen and how you can make it work best for you. Originally we were just going to replace our kitchen units, but we decided we’d get much more from the space if we knocked through an internal wall and reconfigured what went where. If you think you might sell your house in the short to medium term, it’s also worth thinking about who it would appeal to (e.g. Families with young children or first time buyers etc) so you can sense check that your plans will enhance your existing space and be appealing to your target buyers when you come to sell. 
     
  1. Should I renovate or extend? – It’s important to decide from the get-go if you’re just refitting existing units, reconfiguring the space (as we decided to do) or if you need to extend. Obviously budget is a big consideration here, and even if you do have the budget to do a larger project or to extend, it’s worth thinking through what that will get you and whether you think you’d make the money back on it when you move (a local estate agent may be able to help you with this). We were able to work with the existing footprint of our house, as reconfiguring the space has given us much more worktop and storage space, without needing to extend. 
  1. Work out what’s important – The kitchen is often described as the heart of the home, and so it’s important to think about what’s important for your home and family set-up. I drink endless cups of tea, so a boiling tap was a no-brainer (particularly when you consider the longer-term cost saving of a boiling tap vs. a kettle), and we desperately needed more worktop and storage space, so we thought about how we could reconfigure our existing footprint to get more usable space – my favourite things are the ‘quad bin’ that keeps all our rubbish, food waste and recycling tucked away in one cabinet, and the pantry/larder cupboard which we designed to house our coffee machine and breakfast items. Visual social platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram are also brilliant for inspiration. 
  1. Plan what will go where – Once we had a draft plan, I found it really useful to check our plan against the ‘golden triangle’ rule and physically allocate our existing kitchen equipment and items against the new design to check that we had the right mix of cupboards, drawers and shelves. I did this by noting down everything we had, sticking each category on individual post-it notes (e.g. Mugs, wine glasses, plates, baking trays, toaster etc) and then allocating them to the different cabinets we had on our plan to make sure I had considered where everything would go.  
  1. Speak to multiple suppliers – If it’s the first time you’re redoing a kitchen (this was the case for us) there is a lot to learn about when it comes to different styles and design features – from shaker style to in frame, plinths to pelmets, cornice and end panels – there’s a lot to consider! Give yourself plenty of time to research options before you commit to anything and book appointments with multiple kitchen suppliers – many of the high street ones (such as Benchmarx, Howdens, Ikea, Magnet, Wickes or Wren) will create a 3D kitchen design for you based on your measurements etc so you can get a sense of what it might look like and the difference in price. Some may even price match if you have a design you like from one supplier but prefer the colour or range available from another. We ended up getting our kitchen from DIY Kitchens, which was a little more work upfront as you have to input the design into their online planner yourself and check all your own measurements really carefully before you order – but they were really competitive on price and had excellent customer service, both before and after our kitchen delivery. 
     
  1. Be savvy and shop around – Most kitchen suppliers will also be able to offer you the other elements you might need, such as worktops and appliances, but you might find you have a greater choice of brands and possibly a more competitive price if you shop around at independent, local suppliers to see what they can offer you.  
  1. Get ready to reuse – A new kitchen is a big expense, so think about whether you can reuse or upcycle anything from your existing kitchen (for example, we reused some of our existing kitchen cabinets by moving them into the utility room to create new storage there). You may also be able to source some items second hand too – Facebook marketplace or other local free sites can be great to find things like tiles, flooring or even furniture – helping you to cut costs and give those items a new lease of life.  
  1. Check your tradespeople – Who you need will be determined by the size and scale of the work – if it’s a simple kitchen refit, a kitchen fitter may be best placed, but if you’re reconfiguring, doing any internal alterations such as removing walls, adding steels or doing a bigger extension, you’ll likely need a builder who can help bring in a range of trades including plumbing, electrics and carpentry. Ask locally for recommendations and take the time to get thorough references, check their insurance and paperwork and where possible, see some of their previous projects.  
  1. Read up on the regs – Even if you’re not extending, you may need Building Control approval before you start works if you’re doing any internal structural alterations. Contact your local council’s planning department to get more information, and agree upfront with your kitchen fitter/builder whether you’ll use your local council’s building control service or a private building control company. Your tradesperson may liaise with them directly, but the completion certificate you’ll get once they sign off the works is a really important document that you’ll need if you sell your house in the future, so it’s vital you’re aware of the requirements and that you’re in the loop if you’re not the one liaising with building control directly. If you live in a terraced or semi-detached property and you’re planning to do any work to the party wall (the adjoining wall to your neighbouring property) such as taking out a chimney breast or adding in a steel beam, you will need a party wall agreement with your neighbours. 
  1. Don’t forget about insurance – One final thing to think about – particularly if your project involves any structural work – is to let your existing home insurer know about your proposed works before they start. This is so they can determine if they need to make any revisions to your existing home insurance policy and to make sure you have sufficient cover for your property whilst you’re renovating. For bigger projects, if you decide you need to move out and rent elsewhere while your house in undergoing renovations, then you’ll probably need unoccupied home insurance

Want more tips? Check out our home renovation checklist

Wondering how easy it might be to get planning permission for a bigger project? See our post on the easiest and hardest places to renovate in the UK