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Leekes' top tips for the perfect kitchen; ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE.

We all know that the kitchen is the hub of the home, but when the time comes to invest in something new, choosing from the vast array of styles and designs available on the market can be quite daunting.

"Traditionally, the kitchen is the most commonly used room in the home, so when considering something new, it's vital that its designed around you, your home and how you'll use it," says Paul Collier, kitchen buyer at Leekes, pictured.

"Kitchens come in a huge range of shapes, styles, materials and colours - and that's just the cabinets. Add to that the range of different appliances, handles, work surfaces, lighting and tiles available and you'd be forgiven for not knowing where to start."

But with a little expert advice on how to go about making an investment that can add as much as 10% to the value of your property, you'll soon be well on the way to creating the kitchen of your dreams, just by sticking to a few 'rules'.

STEP 1 - CHOICE There's so much choice when it comes to planning the perfect kitchen that it's good to talk to the experts. Choose a reputable retailer who can offer you kitchen options from both ends of the spectrum - from the latest in contemporary high-gloss models to the finest hand crafted designs.

STEP 2 - DESIGN AND PLANNING Most kitchen retailers will offer a comprehensive service which will include free design and planning. An experienced kitchen designer will have extensive knowledge of the design and planning process from the initial technical service through to the creation of a computer-aided design which will enable you to visualise the proposed layout and overall look of your new kitchen before you make a commitment.

[bar] Sheraton Continental Gloss with aluminium trim STEP 3 - INSTALLATION The free design and planning service that most reputable retailers offer usually extends to installation too. Ensure your new kitchen is fitted by approved qualified craftsmen who are able to handle both gas and electrical installations. STEP 4 - QUALITY Buy the highest quality kitchen cabinets, appliances and accessories you can afford and you'll have a kitchen that will stand the test of time. Make sure you opt for a design that is timeless enough to look great for many years to come.

[bar] Elica star cooker hood, pounds 2159 STEP 5 - AFFORDABILITY Investing in a new kitchen can be one of the most costly purchases you will ever make as a homeowner, so having the option to spread that cost is always appealing. STEP 6 - INNOVATION Handle free units with a soft-close action are the latest innovation, and extra touches such as touch-sensitive controlled appliances and clever lighting look smart and are a good investment too.

[bar] Charles Rennie Mackintosh linear gloss ivory and walnut STEP 7 - APPLIANCES Appliances are now more ergonomic than ever before with brands such as Neff, among others, introducing touch-controlled technology. And it's not just the look of appliances that has changed over the years - the insides have too. Several of the leading appliance manufacturers have introduced 'Pyrolytic cleaning' into ovens which is a feature that heats the oven to 500 degrees meaning you'll never need to clean your oven again.

STEP 8 - WORK TOPS Kitchen work tops are probably the most used element of the entire kitchen. A variety of work tops are available these days, all of which combine style with practicality, ranging from granite, silestone, laminate, corian, solid wood, glass and maia.

STEP 9 - ACCESSORIES It's the finishing touches that make all the difference and a full interior design service is the perfect way to work with an expert to complete the look of your kitchen.

STEP 10 - AFTER SALES SERVICE A dedicated after sales support team should be on hand to offer assistance in dealing with any queries you may have once your kitchen has been installed. Ask a sales consultant about a guarantee - most reputable retailers are so confident in their products that they'll want you to have peace of mind for many years to come.

[bar] For more information on your nearest Leekes store call 0845 050 8240 or log on to www.leekes.co.uk
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 12, 2011
Words:695
Previous Article:A life in print; Patterns are back in fashion, but there's a right and a wrong way to use them. WM interiors editor Rin Simpson shares her top tips...
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