We went with IKEA, since they're very cheap, and we were impressed with the quality - I have a friend who had an IKEA kitchen 5 years ago and it still looks brand new.
I used the online design feature to put the layout together. Fortunately once we'd paid for it instore a fitter came out to measure and corrected all of the mistakes I'd made. Oops! My measuring mistakes meant that I didn't get everything I wanted - double sink, built in microwave and full sized dishwasher being the biggest dissapointments!
When we bought our place it'd been a student rental for a long time and the cheap kitchen was really past it. The oven door had lost its handle, and its ability to light the gas. The fridge barely kept anything cold and the freezer frosted up within hours. The sink was leaking and the cupboard doors were warped. In short - ready for the knacker's yard!
|Before - uninspiring to say the least|
I've been very impressed with the IKEA appliances - they're all A and above rated and seem to have been designed with very sensible and practical use in mind.
We've made good use of space, with a carosel cupboard in the corner - the shelves pull out completely so you can get right to the back and it works better than I'd thought it would!
The drawers with a cupboard front were a bit of a wild card - we only got them because there wasn't enough space for a regular drawer unit. Actually, though, they work really well. The height of the bottom drawer lets me stand up cleaning spray and kitchen roll, while the top 2 drawers fit cutlery and cooking bits and bobs simply.
The obligatory before and after shots:
The 'dining' part of the room got some wall cabinets and a sideboard for storage. Using the alcove left by the chimney breast gives us more space in the room/ We're planning to buy a new, bigger table which will be the same size as the current table at full extention, seating 6, but pull out to seat up to 10. As we've used the length of the room there should be plenty of space for that.
It feels as though we have more space now, and the room feels much nicer too. As the front door opens directly into this room, it's helped to improve the feel of the whole house!
There's a lot of work to do still - tiling the cooking space, painting the walls, making a new blind, fitting new lights and, eventually, stripping the carpet off and doing up the original oak floorboards in the whole of the room. All we have to do is find the time and the money!
I have to say that I've been very pleased with the IKEA purchasing process, the fitters (who came back to fix a minor issue with the work top placement 2 days after I called about it) and the quality of the cabinets and appliances.
Fridge: Framtid fridge freezer
Oven: Datid OV8
Washing machine: Renlig
Work surface: Numerar Oak
Sideboard: Stornas Buffet
Doors: Ramsjo white
Fitting £3490 (IKEA approved firm DTW)
All but £1000 of that went on 2 years interest free credit.
The appliances are all under 5 year warranty, the units 25 years and the installation 3 years, so we're pretty confident it'll last!
If you're looking for a good value kitchen, I'd say that IKEA are well worth a look. They're well designed and the service is very good (we had a named contact to deal with). You can almost certainly save money by putting cabinets together yourself if you have the know-how and looking for a local firm to fit them and the appliances, though you won't be able to spread the payments that way.