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How much should you spend updating your kitchen?

Bill Halliday

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!


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of a home’s value that ‘design experts’ often quote that people should spend on replacing a tired, worn out, out-of-date kitchen with a quality new one without overspending on a remodelling project.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

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