Whether you are custom building a home in southern Spain, or remodeling an old one, expect to make your dreams come true in the kitchen. Thanks to a rapidly expanding market, it is now easy to obtain kitchen appliances, furnishings, accessories, decorations - and even advice - from many other countries. This is especially true along the Costa del Sol where you can find specialised shops from the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Italy catering to the tastes of a wide variety of foreign residents.
Layout & DesignMost specialised kitchen outlets will have a professional to guide you in creating the ideal layout and design for your family. Some will even be able to set you up with a three dimensional computer model of your kitchen to be. The key is to spend plenty of time playing around with the furnishings and appliances you plan to install, and not to balk at the idea of changing the arrangements of pipes and outlets when dealing with an old home. After all, it's not every day you design your dream kitchen.
FurnishingsSpanish prices for furnishing a kitchen start at about 3,500 euros. But this is a very basic, small kitchen package and will typically use low range nationally produced products and Formica worktops. Shop for high range Spanish products and granite countertops, or head into the import market, and you can expect to both pay more and get more.
AppliancesIf you are purchasing several electric appliances at once, you would do well to visit a specialised appliance shop and try to obtain a 10 to 15 per cent discount. Large super stores will not permit such bargaining, but specialised shops often do. Also see the appliance section for more information.
WorktopsChoose from Formica, Corian and Granite. Here is the rundown on each:
FormicaThis is you cheapest and least durable option. However, if meticulously treated well, it should do just fine over the long term. So, if you must use Formica, avoid setting hot things on the countertops and use that cutting board!
CorianThe advantage of working with Corian is that you can order beautifully molded single unit pieces in a variety of colours and styles. This is more expensive than Formica, and it can be damaged if not treated properly.
GraniteSpain is one of the cheapest countries in the world to buy granite. This fact, however, does not mean it is not still one of the most expensive options. But you'll get maximum durability out of this product. Do be advised though that the colour you see in the store is only a sample from the colour "range" being offered. The finished product could vary substantially. Therefore, visit the factory and reserve a specific piece if the exact colour is important to you.
SilestoneConsidered by many to be the King of kitchen surfaces, silestone is the most durable (and expensive!) option for kitchen surfaces. Made of natural quartz, it resembles granite but is far superior in terms of strength as well as range and accuracy of colours. Silestone is virtually maintenance-free, it is completely scratch proof and does not need sealing. Cleaning is easy, simply by wiping with soap and water and this material will retain its shine indefinitely.
TileIf you're dreaming of a beautifully tiled kitchen, you're probably dreaming of a more rustic ambience. Nevertheless, considering the potential problems tile can pose, you might want to consider carefully just how important this part of the fantasy is to you: the grout between tiles is hard to clean and replacing a broken tile can be a major pain.
WoodHere is the single-most expensive option in Spain, but basically because the climate demands that you invest in very hard wood. Keep in mind that it must resist both humidity and temperature.
AccessoriesOnly a few years ago, Spain's kitchen accessories market was still on the lean side. Now, thanks to growing demand, the market is expanding and the shopping is great.