Creating a new look for your kitchen is a great chance to stamp your personality onto the busiest room in your home. Before you start, draw a detailed plan on graph paper and double-check your measurements. Base and wall units come in standard sizes, and will form the basis of your kitchen. But as products can differ, make sure you read the manufacturer's installation instructions carefully.
How to fit kitchen base units
Always start by removing your old units and disconnecting your power and water supplies. It's also a good idea to finish any preparatory work you need to do on the walls and ceiling before you start fitting your units. So try and put the first coat of paint on the walls and ceiling before you fit your units, and the top coat after they're in place.
Safety first - Gas and electricity
Any fitting or moving of gas appliances must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered professional. Modifications to plumbing or electrics must be in accordance with the Wiring and Building Regulations. If you're in any doubt, get advice from a professional.
Starting with a corner cabinet, put together the base units and move them into place. Rotate the legs of each unit to adjust the height until it lines up with the pencil guideline on the wall. Use a spirit level to check the run of cabinets is level.
Clamp adjoining cabinets together to hold them securely. Wrap masking tape 20mm from the end of a 3mm twist bit as a depth guide. Drill between the two hinge holes, through one cabinet and 4mm into the next, stopping when you reach the tape. You'll need to do this at both hinge positions. Next, screw the units together using the 25mm screws supplied.
To turn a corner with a run of cabinets, you'll need to fit a corner post - otherwise there'll be an ugly gap. Screw two brackets at the top and bottom of the inside face of the central post of the cabinet that goes into the corner.
You'll then need to attach each base to the wall with two brackets. Start by marking the drilling positions in pencil on the wall and cabinet. Remember to check for any pipes or cables before you drill into the wall. On solid masonry, use a drill with a hammer action and masonry bit - and wall plugs too. On plasterboard, use plasterboard fixings. Drill a pilot hole into the cabinet and secure the bracket with a 15mm screw. On end panels, angle the screws slightly downwards so they're easy to get to.
How to fit kitchen wall units
Wall units hook onto brackets - and you'll need to fix these to the wall securely.
First, measure up from the top of the base unit and mark the bottom edge of your wall unit (make sure you allow for the thickness of the worktop). Then use a spirit level to mark a horizontal guideline on the wall, stretching as far round as your wall units will go. Draw another line marking the top of the wall units. Then consult the kitchen plan and draw vertical lines where the cabinets will meet.
Check the manufacturer's instructions to find the right position for the wall fitting brackets. Each unit will need two brackets - one in each top corner. Hold a bracket in place and mark the position of the fixing holes. But how you fix the brackets to the wall really depends on what kind of wall you have.
Hook the wall cabinets onto the brackets and use the adjustment block in the top internal corner to position them accurately. Put a spirit level across the top of the cabinet and turn one screw to level it straight, then place the spirit level against the front face and adjust the other screw until it's vertical. Check at this point that the units are level with each other.
How to fit a plinth to the bottom of your kitchen units
Adding a plinth around the bottom of your kitchen units will give you a neat finish and make cleaning easier. It's held in place by special brackets that clip to the units' legs. Or you could look out for the latest plinth lock fixings, which attach the plinth ends to nearby panels and give a very tight, secure fit.
Measure the distance of the run of units corner to corner, and cut the plinth to fit. Lay the plinth on the floor next to the front edge of the units and, using a try square, draw lines level with either side of each leg.
Next, hold a fixing bracket between the two lines and use a bradawl to make a starting hole. Screw the bracket in place parallel to the bottom edge, using the screws supplied. Then fit the other brackets in line with each leg along the length of the units.
Slide the plinth clips into the brackets, then clip the plinth into place by simply pushing each bracket onto the legs of the unit.