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Your HMO Kitchen – Small Budget, Great Results

Go open plan! – we all love the feeling of open plan, flexible living space, especially HMO tenants who will often buy into the “community” feel of an HMO. What better selling point then a beautify designed kitchen, ideally open plan with your lounge area. So, if your floor plan allows, always go open plan – even if involves removing a wall or two – the results will be worth it.


Think about what you need. First, the practical stuff. How many tenants will there be, and what do you need? Based on 5 to 6 tenants we aim for the following:

  • One double cupboard for each tenant, plus two cupboards for communal items.
  • Oven with separate grill area and four rings – always induction.
  • Fridge freezer – now this is a matter of debate. Our view is if you give too much fridge freezer space, tenants will use all the space that’s available, so if you have too much fridge freezer space it encourages food waste and tenants are not having to think what they need. For six people, we will try to go for an American fridge freezer. Check that the model you are going for has six freezer shelves and six fridge shelves.
  • We always put in a separate washing machine and tumble dryer. Combined washer/dryers are prone to going wrong and need to be replaced more often, not to mention the fact that you cannot dry and wash at the same time.

Which units should you get? Most kitchen companies provide free consultations so always use this service. However they won’t necessarily understand HMOs so have a clear brief of what you need so they can help you produce the right design. We always go for pre-assembled units as opposed to flat pack as they are more robust and less prone to installation problems.

How to get the best price? Quite simply, compare the market. We normally have one designer from one company visit. Once we have the design and know what we need, we then send the plan to three or four other companies. We then play them off against each other until we know we have the best price. The key is always haggle – kitchen suppliers have large margins and they will always do drop margins to win the business.

Tiles and/ or Splashbacks

Either or is fine. Glass splashbacks look awesome but can be more expensive then tiling and normally needs to be made to measure in advance. Whether you go for tiles or splashbacks, this is one of the main opportunities you have to showcase your kitchen. If you have a good eye and can choose the right tiles, it can really help achieve the wow factor. Consult with friends and family to ask them what they think works well – it’s definitely worth the extra time and effort. Tiles don’t need to be expensive – it really depends on where you purchase them – but even if the tiles you want are expensive, remember you won’t need more than a few square metres so it’s worth the extra spend

Summary: Well chosen tiles/splashbacks are a great way of creating a “wow” factor without breaking your budget.

Integrated or free-standing appliance?

Without question, integrated always looks better, however you need to consider that they are more expensive to buy, and more expensive to replace in the future.

We tend to go for free-standing units, however we always choose black or dark grey appliances as we feel they look some much nicer than the standard white ones. That’s just our preference.

Which worktops?

Stone worktops will of course always create a total “wow” factor, but we feel there are other ways of creating a “wow” factor other than the considerable extra cost involved in stone/composite.

There are some really good quality laminate work tops available these days. The quality and design is far superior to what it used to be, and so if thought about carefully and well chosen, this can really lift the look and feel of your kitchen.

Avoid wood! It is too difficult to maintain in an HMO environment.

In most cases we opt for laminate, however a compromise between laminate and stone/composite is something that not many people know about – and that’s called “solid laminate”.

Solid laminate has the look and feel of stone/composite, but is made purely from the resin.

Use eye catching free-standing items to dress the room

American fridge freezer – we go for black or chrome. Black or chrome kettle and toaster and microwave – all matching. Maybe aim for a slight “retro” theme. Go for great-looking bar stools – you don’t need to spend the earth – buy second hand on somewhere like Facebook Marketplace or shop around online.

How about dining space? This is another opportunity to really showcase your kitchen. If possible, we go for a kitchen island between the lounge area and kitchen. This can look fantastic with well-chosen bar stools and creates a break between the lounge and the kitchen, but still retaining that open-plan feel. 

How much do I need to spend?

The following is a rough estimate of expenditure:

Kitchen carcasses, units and doors £1000-1500
Work tops (including breakfast bar)

Laminate: £500/       

Solid Laminate: £1000

Fridge/Feezer £600-750
Washing Machine £400
Dryer £400
Oven £450
Finishing features £1000
Installation £1500-2000
GRAND TOTAL £7500 (Maximum)