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Upgrading your Kitchen?

We spend so much time in our kitchen and lead such busy lives that we need all the help we can get with gadgets as well as ensuring the environment is a safe and hygienic space.  Having recently upgraded my kitchen I wanted to share some of the useful things I found and enlighten the reader with a few things to consider.

Being the most functional room in the house, the kitchen is utilised from morning through to the evening and as such warrants quality fittings, appliances and the latest technologies to help you in your every day life.

If like me you are looking to update a tired kitchen, I have put together a list of things to consider which I found useful in my latest renovation.

(1) Budget

Your budget is going to be the biggest determining factor in planning your kitchen upgrade because it will decide what you can and can’t afford. If you haven’t thought about budget, you should do so now. Look at how much you’ve got to spend before you start planning – there’s nothing worse than getting excited about your changes and then discovering you can’t afford them.

(2) What can you afford

Now that you know what you have available to spend on your upgrade you need to prioritise and decide what you can actually afford.  Whether that is upgrading the cupboard doors and reusing the carcasses of the old kitchen units, maybe even just upgrading the handles on the cupboard doors and using your money on new appliances, lighting or tiling.  Write down your wish list in priority order and work down the list until your money runs out!

(3)  Take careful measurements and always get at least 3 quotes

Are you going to be able to some of the work yourself or will you be requiring professional assistance.  Review what you actually need to purchase, your hard costs associated with the upgrade.  Are you sourcing most items individually either online or in local DIY stores, or are you seeking to get your whole renovation designed, supplied and installed by one company.  All the elements you need to consider, painters, plasterers, tilers, electricians, carpenters/joiners may mean that by going to one company who has all these trades in-house you can save yourself time and money, if the size of your upgrade justifies it of course.

Always research companies on-line, even from large chains in your local area – they may enjoy a good reputation nationally but what are the team who provide services in your local area like?  Word of mouth and recommendations from online forums and friends and family are always a more trustworthy guarantee.

(4) Check mains supplies locations

If you are having a major upgrade you should check where the mains gas, electric and water supplies are located as this will dictate what you have installed where.  If for example you are relocating all your worktop space to an island, where are you going to plug in your mixers and blenders? Talk to a specialist about your kitchen layout before you go ahead and buy.  Same goes for if you are treating yourself to a state of the art instantaneous hot water tap like the Zip Water Heater, to give you instant boiling or chilled filtered water, literally the best part of my kitchen and well worth the investment.

(5)  Plan your installations to suit you

Consider timings of when you have things delivered and installed or more invasive, noisy and dirty works completed.  Take into consideration school holidays, weekends, family gatherings that may have implications on what you can have done when for minimum disruption.

Remember, a few relatively inexpensive design tweeks can also significantly upgrade the look, feel and functionality of your kitchen.  A splash of paint, new tiles, new kitchen worktops, cupboards or better lighting can all make a difference, and doesn’t have to cost you thousands of pounds.

Happy shopping!

Advice on finding a wooden worktop for you

There is hardly any doubt that having a wooden worktop or breakfast bar is going to add some charm or sophistication to any kitchen style. Whether you have a modern or traditional kitchen, there will be a style that will suit your taste and lifestyle. There are tons of available options out there for you, including bamboo, zebrano, iroko, and walnut. Each of these styles have their own special characteristics and features and are available in varying lengths, thickness, and width for a tailor fit into your kitchen.

There are premium oak worktops that come in everything from light and cool beige hues to rich honey colors. This type is pretty adaptable to any kitchen style or unit you may have. Another premium worktop is the walnut kind that can be had in brown or black. Walnut worktops are considered exotic-looking and quite exclusive that adds a magnificent finishing touch to cutting-edge, modern, or designer-made kitchen.

Bamboo we know is technically a grass instead of wood but it makes for great worktop material and is quite eco-friendly piece. It is also pretty affordable and can take quite a beating. Iroko, meanwhile, is a hardwood tree located in Africa. You may know it by the name of African Teak. It turns into a rich brown color over time but is initially yellow in hue. Lastly, zebrano, as its name suggests, features stripes much like a zebra’s in terms of its coloration. It works well as a worktop or breakfast bar with its distinct look. It can easily fit in or be made to stand out in your kitchen.

If you intend to install the wooden worktop on your own, you have to make sure it is pre-oiled or you would need to do that before installation. It is possible to order a pre-oiled worktop but you just have to make sure that your wooden worktop is oiled well before you put it in (do not forget about the edges). Having a well-oiled worktop guarantees that it will be spill-resistant, can withstand wear and tear, and look great for a longer period of time. Maintenance of a wooden worktop would have you oiling it every three months or so to keep it in top condition.

There are different ways you can spruce up your wooden worktop even more. You can try having it professionally cut and modelled, have hot rods installed, and getting butt joints and drainage grooves put in as well.

What are the common types of kitchen worktops to choose from

Looking to overhaul your kitchen or just want to inject new life into the heart (or should we say belly?) of your home, then one of the things you are most likely considering is changing your worktop. There a couple of different types to choose from and to help you make the right choice to suit your taste, we have provided a guide for you about what you’d get from each type and the positives and negatives of owning one.


With wood, you are given a wide range of styles to choose from. It is impossible that you can’t find one to suit your taste. And you also get a unique piece of wood, no matter what you go for. Price varies from cheap to expensive when it comes to wood worktops and things like size, species, wood grade, thickness, and sometimes finish can determine the price you will have to pay. If you like doing things yourself, it can be easily fitted or you can take those made by suppliers that have already been cut to a template style and size. Wood can be easily cleaned, too.

The downside for it is that wood requires constant care. If you look after it properly, you won’t run into any problems, but if you don’t then you can wear it out rather easily. You also shouldn’t turn your wood worktop as a chopping board or place hot pots and pans on it if you don’t want to wreck the finish.


One of the more common worktops, laminate isn’t just budget-friendly; it is also easy to clean and to fit and comes in a wide variety of finishes and styles. If you want the look of fake granite or fake wood, you can achieve that with laminate.

But laminate’s durability is questionable, particularly the cheaper ones. You can get more mileage out of the higher quality ones but those on the cheaper side will look worn out pretty easily with its edges suffering from constant penetration of moisture.


While this has been initially linked to designer kitchens owned by rich and famous individuals, granite worktops have recently become more affordable and accessible for normal folk like you and me. Granite’s attractive to those who want to go for the unique factor since no two pieces of it are identical. As a natural product, it could be sourced from various locations, which means it would look different and feature unique characteristics. It has become a desired option by a lot of people because it is also quite durable, easy to clean, and is heat-resistant.

However, as affordable as it may have gotten, it is still on the more expensive side. It can also be harmed by acidic-based spills, such as fruit juice and red wine. And it’s not for your handyman. Plus, it is on the heavy side. You will need to have your units reinforced before putting a granite top on it.

There are other types of worktops you can work with—such as resin, polished cement, slate, and glass— but these are less  common options so it would be better to do your research before opting for one of these. Make sure they are durable, can be easily maintained or at least won’t be troublesome to maintain, can be cleaned easily, are heat- and water-resistant, and needs minimal repair.