We can all tell the difference in quality between cheaper and more expensive clothes. We partly depend on the brand label, and we expect more expensive garments to be properly finished inside. The seams, linings and buttonholes will be as exquisite as those aspects more obvious to the outside world.
The same can be said of kitchen furniture and design. On the surface a lot of kitchens look similar, but when you ask about prices you find very different figures. How can you tell if the higher prices offer luxury and value for money? As with clothes it is about looking inside, underneath and round the edges! The most expensive luxury kitchens should be offering something extra benefit the surface.
To get you started, look at the lines where the tops and sides of doors, worktops, and side panels meet. The best manufacturers will have laser welded edges, with no visible gap or seam, and often will have perfectly chamfered edges and corners to avoid sharp points.
Move onto the sink and taps. Good quality stainless steel sinks have a soft almost warm look to them, with rounded corners for easy cleaning. Cheaper versions will look tinny in comparison. Ceramic sinks come at all prices; the more expensive ones will have a better finish, be easier to keep white, and give you better value in the long term.
Check out the join between the sink and the worktop – an area that can look grimy after a while. Some companies weld their sinks directly into their work surface, so no unsightly silicon seals or potential leaks. This can not be done with some worktop materials such as granite. In this case look for sinks that can be installed under the work surface for a smooth finish.
Next open some cupboards and drawers and try out the storage options. Will everything be easily accessible, or will some items end up hidden at the back? Internal drawers, hidden behind cupboard doors, will allow you to reach everything with ease. And are the drawers crafted with dovetail joints and fitted internally with high quality materials? Give the drawers a little shake – will they run smoothly even when filled with heavy pans or food-stuffs?
The true high quality kitchens have beautiful materials even 'behind the scenes'. If you look hard enough you can find solid oak, walnut, leather, glass and top quality stainless steel inside, to help you organize your kitchen utensils, crockery and ingredients.
Next time you are browsing a kitchen showroom, check out the hidden depths as well as the surface shine. That's how you'll know whatever you are buying something of valuable value.