House Tour

House Tour
House Tour

Renovation

Renovation
Follow the Reno

DIY Projects

DIY Projects
DIY Projects

How We Fitted Our DIY-Kitchen

How to fit a DIY Kitchen

Back in January, after a year long wait, I finally ordered our new kitchen. I've mentioned previously that we decided to go with DIY-Kitchens (read about our showroom visit here) and having closely watched their website for many months, it was pretty apparent they fairly often offer 10% off. That was of course, until we were ready to order. Months went by, no offer. 10% isn't a huge saving, but every little really helps and I was determined to wait it out.

Christmas day they started their 10% sale, but to my horror only on selected colours and styles of certain kitchens. At that time we thought we would be buying a Lamp Room Grey kitchen, which guess what - wasn't in the offer. Heartbroken, I waited some more. A few weeks later they decided to include all the kitchens and styles in the 10% saving (huge thanks to Kayleigh from Yellow House Tales for the heads up!!) and of course, I had a total change of plan and went and ordered a different kitchen colour anyway. But the point was - it had been ordered! I scheduled it to arrive the end of March as we still had a little to do before kitchen fitting.

Months passed, hours went into getting the room ready and eventually, it was K-DAY! DIY-Kitchens offer three different levels of delivery - ranging from £75 to a whopping £250, which I think is a tad ridiculous. I mean, £75 is freaking expensive but £250?! Surely no one is opting for that? The £75 will get you one guy to off-load (so you need to have someone around to help) and only gives you a days notice to delivery. £250 provides you with two folk and you get to pick the day. Obviously we paid for £75 delivery buuuuttt I was then charged a further £50 for having to request a smaller van. At the delivery checkout it asked if a 25m length lorry (I think this was the measurement - don't quote me on that though!) could fit down the street. We've had a fair few lorries down our street, but 25m seemed pretty big and the problem with our street is the turning into it and reversing out - I decided to play it safe and say no. Which added the £50 surcharge, dammit. So in total, yep a whopping £125.

Anyway, crazy delivery prices aside; after a whole year and more without a kitchen, I couldn't contain my excitement - you may have seen it over on Instagram ;)

DIY-Kitchens how to fit

An hour later and it was here. All pre-built and ready to go. It was packaged amazingly well, with both thick foam and rigid card around the units and then cable straps to secure it nice and tight. With the units being made from quite a thick material, the larger ones were pretty heavy to carry alone - although the guy who was unloading the van seemed to manage pretty well! The heaviest item though, was obviously the belfast sink, which we had to check off there and then and sign to say it wasn't damaged. By the time everything was off the van, the dining room was like total chaos. Here's some shots of the packaging..

kitchen packaging from dii-kitchens
diy-kitchens review
secure packaging of a kitchen

We were so excited, we got to work pretty much straightaway! I thought I'd share how we fitted our DIY-Kitchen as there doesn't seem to be any official guide online to take you through step-by-step and if you've never fitted a kitchen before, it can be hard to know what to expect. Most of it is obviously common sense and pretty obvious - but sometimes the most obvious of things aren't always obvious. So anyway - here's what we did...

Arranging the Units & Attaching Feet

With the units being pre-built, it meant we could literally just slot everything into place in a matter of minutes. No messing about with flat-pack instructions and no unnecessary arguments. I'm pretty sure the units are glued as well as screwed together so it also means they're ridiculously sturdy and there was no wobble in any of the units. The only 'DIY' required here was to attach the feet, which literally just screws into the bottom on it's own interlocking connector already on the unit. Initially we tried to turn the units upside down to do this, but the first one we tried (which was one of the largest units!) ended up being a nightmare to turn back the right way around without leaning it on one foot and snapping it off. So after that, we figured we would lift up one side of the unit at a time and get underneath it and attach them that way. They're really easy to connect, you just slot the stem of the foot into the connector and twist to lock.

how to attach feet to kitchen units
DIY kitchen fitting guide
how to position kitchen units

Levelling the Units

Once the units were in place, we could then begin levelling them out to make sure they were spirit level straight and all at the same height. Again, this is done with the feet which can screw higher and lower to the right height. You do need to lay down on the floor a little for this to reach the back feet, and it can be a bit of a faff going up down and back and forth between each foot, but once you've done a few it gets easier. As our kitchen is a galley style one, we also needed to make sure the units were level with one another either side of the room. The height we've gone for is 870mm (excluding thickness of the worktop) which is generally the recommended height online.

Don't worry if some of the doors aren't hanging perfectly level - you can adjust this later with it's very simple and clever hinges, which I'll show at the end!

How to level kitchen units
levelling kitchen units
galley kitchen levelling units

Connecting the Units Together

After levelling, we then connected the units together with the locking screws provided with the units. These basically clamp the units together so they're all connected in one big line and you know they're not going anywhere. Some people also connect the units to the walls, but if your cabinets are butted against the wall, we personally don't think particularly necessary - we didn't do it in our old house and those units certainly weren't going to be moving anywhere! If you have any gaps behind the units (maybe from non-straight walls) I'd recommending using a cabinet locking wedge screw to fit into the gap though - these are great.

how to connect kitchen units together
clamps on kitchen units diy
locking screws for kitchen fitting

Cutting & Fitting End Panels

For this job we picked up a new toy - the plunge saw. It's basically like a circular saw but works on a track so that you know you're getting a straight cut every time. It's also a little more accurate as well. The end panels come in 60cm widths which is a little wider than the units - this allows you to scribe the panels to the walls and hide any gaps if your walls (like ours!) aren't perfectly straight/square. Cutting the end panels was probably the trickiest part of fitting the kitchen - not necessarily because of the cuts, but just making sure we'd gotten measurements right, as obviously we didn't have any end panels spare to get it wrong. We used a laser measure to get the most accurate readings possible and basically profiled the cut out, taking several measurements in different areas, to get a full picture before translating it to the board. I recommend checking YouTube videos (like these) on how to scribe, if you've never done it before.

But once that was cut, we simply attached it with screws from the inside of the unit. Obviously making sure the screws are shallow enough not to pop out the other side through the end panel ;)

how to cut kitchen end panels
how to attach kitchen end panels


Fitting a Belfast Sink

The sink we've opted for is a Belfast one, known for tricky installation and difficult up-keep, but I freaking love them and have always wanted one - so just had to have it. The sink sits on-top of its own special unit, but needs to have a hole cut into it for the protruding bottom part of the sink to sit into. We made a template from cardboard and used a jigsaw to cut this out.

how to fit a belfast sink
template for belfast sink
cutting out unit for belfast sink
cutting a kitchen unit with jigsaw

We also realised the unit was about 13mm too short in height to bring the sink up to the right height it needed to be - which is in line with the top of the rest of the units. The door obviously needs to line up with adjacent units at the bottom as well, so this wasn't just a case of raising the feet. So to deal with this, we sourced some thin pieces of timber for the sink to sit on and we painted the front one in the touch-up paint which came with the kitchen. It matches so perfectly in colour - you would literally never know and these are screwed down into the unit.

belfast sink too low
wood to prop up belfast sink

We've also added an end panel next to the sink, which you can see the photo above, as we're actually having a freestanding washing machine next to it - so this finishes that runs of units off nicely and also has something for the plinth to butt up against.

Boxing-In the Fridge Freezer with a Top Box

Part of the plan for the kitchen was to box in the new fridge-freezer, like you would often see with an American style fridge freezer. For this to work I ordered a tall length end panel and a top box. The end panel covers the side of the fridge and the top box sits over the top of it. We're also having a wall dresser unit, so boxing this in helps the dresser unit to blend in with it and not stick out randomly against a fridge.

We attached the tall end panel (once cut to the right height) to the base units alongside it, with the same locking screws we used before. The top box is then attached to the tall end panel and also to the wall. But because the top box and fridge are both 60cm, we've had to use blocks against the wall to enlarge that gap so that's there's space around the fridge. Am I making sense? We've then used an off-cut of an end panel to cover over the blocks, attached with glue.

tall kitchen end panel
how to fit a top box
boxing in a fridge
top box over fridge freezer to appear boxed in

Cutting Worktops

As I mentioned before, we've decided to use Worktop-Express for our worktops, their prices are a tad more competitive than DIY-Kitchens and they have a much bigger range of wood to purchase. We've opted for the wood Ash, which is beautifully light with a lovely grain. I'm going to do a full blog post on the worktops themselves, but we cut them to size using the same plunge saw which worked really well. But I'll talk more about that (and the upstands) soon! Here's a little sneak peak though.

DIY cutting kitchen worktops
Ash worktops in kitchen DIY

Adding the Dresser Unit

Once the worktop was in we could then add the worktop dresser unit. We actually thought the unit would be hung to the wall in some kind of way, but turns out it just sits there. We did however connect it to the tall end panel next to it with the locking screws we used before, to make sure it doesn't move around. We've also added a dresser end panel to finish it off nicely.

How to fit a wall dresser unit
Wall dresser with end panel from DIY-Kitchens

Fitting Appliance Doors

The only integrated appliance we have is the dishwasher, which very handily came with its own template for door fitting. You simply attach the template to the back of the door and you attach the fittings at the locations shown on the template. There's then a couple of screws on the appliance which hold the door in place.

how to fit an integrated dishwasher door
template for dishwasher door


Plinths

Last but not least is the plinths! These hide the feet of the units and make the whole kitchen appear built-in. I used a mitre saw to cut these to size, taking measurements with my trusty distance laser measure (seriously if you don't have one - GET ONE!). Our blade on the mitre is getting a little used - so I added some tape over the cut so not to rough up the paint. The plinths attach with some clips, again provided for you, which slot over the feet. It's preeeeettty simple. The only issue we had was the integrated dishwasher which when lowered would hit onto the plinth. So to deal with this, we've cut a tidy channel out for the door to slot into when it's lowered. This is far from ideal but apparently a pretty common problem with integrated dishwashers and seems to be what everyone recommended from my research online.

Titan Distance Laser Measure
Cutting plinths with mitre saw
how to cut kitchen plinths
Dishwasher hitting on plinth - how to cut


Adjusting Doors/Drawers

So as I mentioned before, the doors and drawers have really clever hinges that allows you to alter the position of the door/drawer. The mechanism is hidden behind the tabs on the hinge/edge of drawer - and you simply use a screwdriver to change it. So simple. So brilliant.

DIY-Kitchens Drawers adjustment
Ultima kitchen hinge
How to alter kitchen doors
ultima kitchen hinge
DIY-Kitchens fitting guide

We did make one alteration to the initial plan and ended up buying two extra units after the original delivery. This was because the washing machine we'd purchased to replace our very old and always-breaking previous one, was actually much deeper in size than we thought. The original idea was to place this in front of the stop tap in the kitchen, but we ended up not being able to do this as it would stick out too much. So all the units ended up being shifted down to the left by about 20cm, which meant the gap near the french door (which I had pitched for a nice chair) was really small.

DIY kitchen renovation

I got in touch with DIY-Kitchens to see if we could swap the bigger unit at the end for a smaller one, but unfortunately they don't accept returns on any units, which I was a tad gutted about. BUT they did very kindly offer 15% off the new units we needed to buy instead, which was really really kind of them! In fact, huge shout-out to Beth on the team who was all-round amazeballs at helping me out in general! We also went to collect the new units to save on delivery as well. We're about an hour away from their factory - so it made sense!

So the unit we changed, is the one at the end near the french door from an 800mm unit to a 400mm unit to gain back some of that space. And we also purchased a 150mm unit to sit in font of the stop tap next to the washing machine, obviously cutting a hole in the back so that we can still gain access to the tap. This unit is so small that we had to buy a special tiny screwdriver to be able to get into it and attach the end panel ;) Anyway here's how it looks for now. You'll see we're still missing the worktop on this side (I'll explain all that in a later post!) and I've attached our tap, which is an Amazon bargain (no longer stocked - but similar one here) via a random piece of wood.

Linwood Graphite kitchen DIY-Kitchens
how to fit a kitchen DIY style
Satin Nickel pull out kitchen tap

So that's basically everything really. It was all fairly simple and straightforward to fit. This is our second kitchen we've fitted now and other than cutting the worktops and end panels, there really isn't that many huge DIY skills required. It really is just a case of screwing it all together in a kind of jigsaw fashion. I'd totally recommend anyone giving a DIY kitchen install a go, you can obviously save quite a wad - just take your time, measure carefully and cut once ;) Definitely recommend investing in a plunge saw for the end panels as well! I'll do a full reveal of the kitchen with finished worktops soon ;) And for anyone interested - this is the Linwood Kitchen in the colour Graphite from DIY-Kitchens.

So here's a run down of the final costs below. I'd love to know if you're thinking about or have fitted a DIY kitchen?

Costs:

(rounded to the nearest pound)


New Tools Purchased:
Clamps £8
Plunge Saw £100
New Blade £12
Laser Measure £20
Tiny screwdriver £1


Materials Used:
Screws £4
Sink Waste £5


Kitchen Costs (excluding worktops & appliances)
All Units & Delivery £2521
Sink £107
Tap £55


Total: £2833



2 comments

  1. This looks super! Thanks for the detailed account, it will be very useful when we do our kitchen.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It’s awesome. Your kitchen looks great.

    ReplyDelete