Yes, I did it! I fitted my own kitchen:

My Kitchen!

This was fitted a few years ago in my current home. It took me a VERY long time to do! But I’m really proud of the fact that

  1. I did it!
  2. I know HOW to do it now, and have the skills for tiling, cabinet fitting, plumbing etc
  3. I know what I’d do differently if I did it again
  4. I feel much more confident about what you need to know when fitting a kitchen! Even if I don’t do it again myself, I know what questions to ask and what problems need to be solved.

So what should you bear in mind when fitting your own kitchen?

Next time I do this, I’ll be documenting every step of the journey to share, and including how-tos along the way.  This is how my kitchen looked before I got to work:

The before picture!

Here are my biggest learnings from my first time fitting a kitchen:

  1. DO put in a LOT of thought into planning! Don’t assume you can come up with the best design yourself! Plenty of companies offer a free consultation and kitchen design service, and I used one. Even if you don’t buy your kitchen from them, they will give you a lot of ideas, usually including potential layouts. This will provide a totally different perspective on your kitchen.
  2. DO consider practicality. Much as I loved the floor tiles, Wickes Havana, I would go for a darker tile and grouting in future, purely for practicality. I would also include under floor heating!

    My kitchen floor
  3. DO automate jobs where possible. Mixing floor adhesive and grout by hand is ok, and I spent HOURS doing it. But next time I’ll be going for a mixing paddle I can attach to a drill, something like this mixing paddle
  4. DO take a shopping list when you go to purchase your kitchen. My kitchen is the Ikea Tidaholm. I spent a LONG time planning out everything I’d need before I went to the store to order it, and made up an itemised list using the Ikea catalogue numbers. I then only had to hand over an itemised list to the sales assistant.

    Installation in progress
  5. DO find unit carcasses that have a gap built-in at the back to cater for pipes and uneven walls. Mine didn’t. That would have saved a lot of time cutting shapes out of the back of cabinets! Ikea have changed their carcass design since I purchased this kitchen so they may now include the gap.
  6. DON’T skimp on the number of drawers! Drawers are much easier to find things in than cupboards. Next time around there will be a LOT more drawers. And probably a pull-out larder unit or two.
  7. DO take your time on the trimmings at the end. Having nicely fitted trims under the floor and wall cabinets makes all the difference. They take a long time to fit, just know it’s worth it!
  8. DO use a spirit level to check everything! A spirit level is the most essential bit of kit – ideally a really long one like this 120cm spirit level. Seriously – for the floor, the units, checking worktop across corners, fitting shelves, this is required!
  9. DO risk a bold colour! Initially I painted the kitchen a pale lilac. When I took the plunge and changed to bold purple I was nervous, but it feels lovely and welcoming. I think the colour is Wilko Grape.
    The first paint colour

    The second paint colour
  10. DO go for what you want! I really wanted wooden worktops, and persuaded myself they were impractical and too expensive. My next kitchen will definitely have them! I also wanted a designer radiator, and went for this Avoca column radiator from B&Q. I love it and would definitely use something similar again.

    The kitchen radiator

That’s my kitchen, and my learnings. What did you learn from your last kitchen?

My Kitchen!
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