DIY tips...

Fitting a new kitchen is usually an expensive, lengthy and disruptive business, so it’s essential to get it right.

A nice kitchen will add value to your home and make it more sellable – it’s a key room for buyers – and while you don’t want to blow your budget, a new kitchen is a really worthwhile investment.

If you’re starting from scratch, the first step is to get ideas from the internet, showrooms, brochures and magazines about the sort of kitchen you want.

Kitchen-diners (usually with doors out to the garden) are really popular because they’re family friendly and fantastic for entertaining, but creating one often involves knocking two or more rooms together and/or building an extension, which obviously increases the cost.

Sometimes there’s little you can do with a kitchen other than have the same layout, but the layout itself can often be improved – and the experts at doing this are kitchen and interior designers.

Many kitchen retailers offer a design service, so try a few to see what ideas they come up with.

It is, of course, possible to devise a new layout yourself, but you may well find that the experts may think of solutions you haven’t.

You or the designer will have to consider things such as the water and gas supply, drainage, electrical sockets and switches, windows and doors, etc – making changes to these is often necessary but can be expensive.

Takeaway kitchen units are usually cheaper than ones you have to order and if you’re in a hurry, they’re really the only option.

Some come complete with the doors and handles, while others are just the basic carcase – you buy the extras separately, giving you more flexibility.

Depending on the size and shape of your kitchen, takeaway units may not be ideal because they’re a standard size and not made to fit the space.

Unless you’re a really experienced DIYer, I wouldn’t recommend fitting a kitchen yourself because it’s often harder than you think, especially if the room’s not square or you’re changing the layout.

Many kitchen companies offer a fitting service – although this can be expensive – and you may prefer to use a local builder or carpenter instead.

The builder should have access to other tradespeople, such as plumbers and electricians, or you can use your own – the key thing if you do is to get the order of works right.

Just remember that if the work involved falls under building regulations and the tradesperson doesn’t belong to a competent person scheme, you’ll have to get their work checked by your local council’s building control department.