Project Management - From beginning to end we manage the entire process to ensure faster installation, continuity and quality of installation so that your kitchen is just as you imagined and we promised to deliverSurvey - No other retailer undertakes a more rigorous initial survey - and not just of the room but of the client's wishes for how they use their kitchen.Design - Good design that understands a client's wishes and marries the beautiful and the practical to create their perfect dream kitchen Fitting - We use only experienced kitchen fitters who only fit kitchens for a living and who use specialist tools which are set up just for installing kitchensA well planned kitchen means you shouldn't notice the plumbing, so we use only experienced plumbers that do the job right Gas Safety - Nothing's more important than a gas safe kitchen so we use only fully qualified 'Gas Safe Register' engineers and provide all the legally required certificates Nothing's more important than a safe kitchen which is why we use only fully qualified electricians and provide all the legally required electrical certificates Lighting - Properly integrated lighting can create a subtle, visually stunning  look and feel that's designed to improve your kitchen's look and feel  Plastering - The invisible foundation on which every beautiful new kitchen is built.   It is essential to have clean smooth walls for painting, upstands or splashbacks Tiling - Floor or wall, tiling done well goes unnoticed except for the beauty it presents Flooring - Whether you want tiles, wood, Amtico, vinyl or any other type, we'll ensure your floor perfectly complements the rest of your kitchen Decorating - Decorating is the finishing touch that really shows off a new kitchen in its best light and can arranged if required Waste Removal - Removing and replacing your kitchen creates a lot of waste! We remove and recycle what we can

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How much should you spend updating your kitchen?

The number eight.

At first, it appears to be an unassuming number – until you realise the importance of it to the entire world around us. It’s the number that ensures that we humans exist (it’s the atomic number of oxygen and the number of known B vitamins); it can be a force for good (it’s a lucky number for the Chinese), evil (’88’ is the abbreviated terminology used for the Nazi salute, “Heil Hitler”—”H” being the eighth letter of the alphabet, repeated twice) and it can bringjoy and laughter to large sections of the population (because it’s important in Chess, Bingo and Pool!)

And it’s a key number to many kitchen retailers!

Why?

Because 8% is the rough estimate of the percentage of a home’s value that ‘design experts’ often quote that people should spend on replacing a tired, worn out, out-of-date kitchen with a quality new one without overspending on a remodelling project.

So, for the purpose of this blog, let’s accept this figure and check to see whether it’s the average amount our clients are actually spending currently. For illustrative purposes (and to make it easy for me!) I’ve taken just one of our trading areas, Milton Keynes, where the reported average house value is £193,245 (April-June 2011, source: BBC) making eight percent almost £15,500.

So is £15,500 the reality of what we’re seeing customers spend on their kitchen? After all, in reality doesn’t what people spend on a new kitchen depend on their taste, size of the room, number of cabinets and type of appliances required and, ultimately, budget?

Taking an average of all the kitchen installations we’ve done during the past year our clients’ average spend in the Milton Keynes region has been about 6-8% lower than this.

This really doesn’t surprise or worry me. All retailers have had to adapt to meet customers’ changing needs, whatever sector they’re operating in – and we’re no different.  For example, on Saturday I was in our showroom overseeing the installation of a beautiful, modern two colour slab door kitchen display kitchen that offers customers a quality alternative to the DIY sheds, builders’ merchants and other flat-pack providers for a great price.  It replaced a rather tired, rather less fashionable intricate in-framed one and shows what customers are looking for today versus just a couple of years ago.

And we must be doing something right because despite the general economic gloom and low consumer confidence people have about spending their hard-earned money on big ticket items such as a new fitted kitchen currently, we will finish our financial year at the end of this week up by almost 400% on the previous year.

So we tend to ignore the ‘magical’ 8% figure. We’d much rather work with clients to understand what they’re trying to achieve within whatever budget they have because, at the end of the day, we’d rather have whatever a customer wants and can afford to spend than 8% of nothing!

For more information about Nicholas Hythe Kitchen Design Studio please go to www.nicholashythe.co.uk or telephone 01480 468598 or email us at info@nicholashythe.co.uk

For hundreds of pictures of kitchens we’ve installed for delighted clients please go to www.facebook.com/NicholasHytheKitchenDesignStudio

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