1. Identify your own priorities.
Do you want a working kitchen or a showpiece? Does if need to be family friendly? Will you entertain in the kitchen? Do you want space to eat, or maybe some seating area? Think about you lifestyle, your family, children, pets etc. and how a new kitchen can best work for you and your requirements.
2. Be aware of your budget.
It is essential that you know how much you are comfortable with investing in a new kitchen. Whether you have savings or you intend to borrow, do your sums and know what you can comfortably afford. Kitchens have a habit of rising in cost rapidly as you add features so keep a grip on the costs and avoid getting carried away with gadgets and design features which will be of no real benefit to you.
3. Do some research.
Most manufacturers and retailers have web sites which will display and promote their particular product ranges and services. These will give you inspiration and ideas, and will also allow you to see what is available in terms of colours, design styles and materials, all helping you to compile lists of the styles and features you would find useful and to your taste, but don't forget that all important budget. Try to pick up some solid information on materials and kitchen construction, just a little knowledge can help you separate genuine advice from an enthusiastic sales pitch.
4. Check out your local suppliers.
You will have a choice of large DIY stores, national retailers, franchised dealers and smaller independently owned showrooms. The range of products is mind numbing, but if you have followed the previous tips you will be able to immediately rule out many offerings and focus on the products and styles which best suit your personal requirements. Its a good idea to check out similar looking kitchens in different places to see if you can notice what sets them apart; can you spot any differences yourself?
5. Take stock of your own capabilities.
Some people like to do it themselves, and kitchen fitting is a popular DIY activity, but its also a very common route to disaster! There are plenty of companies who will undertake the complete works for you, there are also independent fitters who will provide the labour if you source the product. There are companies who will be willing to provide part of the installation service and allow you to do part yourself, or use your own contractors. Each approach has its advantages and its pitfalls, but an honest appraisal of your own abilities can help you to decide. Don't forget some works (eg electricals) must by law be undertaken by a qualified person.