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Our step by step guide on how to renovate your kitchen! A kitchen remodel in Barcelona

04 Dec
A kitchen renovation in Spain.
5/5 - (5 votes)

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All the tips needed to renovate your kitchen in Spain (or anywhere in the world)!


The full kitchen renovation in Barcelona


Before going into specific details of what our renovation partner did in Barcelona, let’s first start with the basics of any kitchen renovation. By the way, we have many renovation partners all over Spain and architects partnering with us and working in different Spanish cities: Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia,… Don’t hesitate to ask for help!


For this detailed article, we did an extensive interview with the customer and the renovation team based in Barcelona.


You will learn many tips that are very useful for any kitchen renovation anywhere in the world, so enjoy it! At the end of this article, we will take the real case of a full renovation of a kitchen in Barcelona.

So, how should you start with your kitchen renovation in Spain?


    1. The kitchen before renovation


      What are the good questions to ask yourself before starting?

      • Do I want to keep the current space or do I want to increase or change the current space?
      • Are there any technical constraints? Like
        1. A beam,
        2. A load-bearing wall,
        3. A stair-step,
        4. A position of a window or a door,
        5. A water evacuation at a certain place,
        6. The position of a hood (if hood connected with outside)
      • Do I need to change the floor? / Tiles…
      • Do I need to change the tubing and electricity?
      • What about heating?


    2. What are the standard shapes of a kitchen?


      Of course, your first question is: are you going for an open kitchen or not?

      The advantages of an open kitchen are that you are closer to the action and have no doors whenever you are walking between your kitchen and your dining table. Disadvantages could be that you open everything: odours, maybe you don’t want your guests to see a “messy” situation,…


      1. A “One wall kitchen” is usually for a smaller kitchen or a kitchen completely integrated with the living room
      2. A Gallery kitchen is a kitchen made of two walls facing each other or a wall and a long island.
      3. An L-shaped kitchen is nice as well as it allows you to get a good work triangle (read more on that later in the article).
      4. The island kitchen is a kitchen organised with an island. It is very nice if you love cooking and to have extra space for family or friends. You could even have a breakfast corner on the island.
      5. The U-shaped kitchen is super convenient but of course, you need to have enough space.

      Some kitchens are completed with a bar corner, where family or guests could enjoy some quality time in the kitchen.



      How to organise ideas for your future new kitchen?


      Before we give you many tips on how to develop your next kitchen, let’s first start with a few questions you should have in mind:


      • Is the current organisation optimal?

      You have to know that the four places you will be most often in your kitchen are:

      1. the cooking area,
      2. your kitchen counter,
      3. the sink,
      4. your table (if you eat in the kitchen or even if it is in the dining room, think about it)


      • Do you need a separate room for storage and your washing machine? If you don’t have one, you will need to fit everything in your current kitchen.


      • Which furniture will you take for your kitchen? From floor to ceiling? 180cm/140cm height? or classic 91cm height furniture with wall cabinets on top of it? Bar style?


      • Which appliances? Steam cooking? Fridges? Vitroceramic? Oven? Coffee machines? Microwaves?…


      • Which appliance do you want to keep visible and within hand reach on the work surface? Which ones don’t you want to see?


      • Visit appliance shops and check online to learn about the latest trends


      • Hood: don’t forget that your hood position could be a technical constraint.



    3. What are our best tips for your kitchen renovation in Spain?


      1. Where is the light coming from? Do you use the light optimally? (get it in front of you? From the left or right side on the kitchen countertop depending if you are right or left-handed? Do you get (natural) light on your countertop or your table? If all those are not working efficiently now, you should first think about natural light and second about adding lights in your future kitchen.
      2. Where should I place the work surface? Is it big enough? Ideally, it should be close to the sink and a total “free” length of at least 3m, ideally more.
      3. Think about circulation. The space should be large enough for at least two people everywhere. If you have a closed kitchen, the door should be wide enough, at least 80cm but wider is better.
      4. Work triangle: Fridge + stovetop + Sink should be close to each other. By doing this you will have an efficient kitchen and you won’t have miles to cover daily. The space between those 3 parts of the kitchen should be kept free.
      5. Do I want a breakfast corner with a table?
      6. Try to have the dishwasher under the sink. It is very convenient if you want to rinse dirty dishes.
      7. Try to locate your cabinets with your plates next to your dishwasher and your table (or the living room if your table is in the living room).
      8. Try to have your fridge close to a kitchen counter or a table, you always have to take many items from the fridge.
      9. Microwave, oven and Integrated coffee machine are ideally placed at elbow height: think about using 140-180cm high furniture for your oven or a floor to ceiling cabinet.
      10. Put your dishwasher higher than its usual location (if possible). It is much more convenient for your back.
      11. Think about all your appliances and drawers as if they would be all open at the same time. Is it possible? Is the circulation still possible? Circulation checked with three appliances open at the same time: the oven, the dishwasher and the fridge, does this work? Of course, this will never happen in real life but it will help you to understand if you have found a good solution.
      12. The kitchen counters are 91 cm high
      13. Seating should be a minimum of 60 cm wide for each person.
      14. Allow a 46 cm leg clearance at a table.

      Other resource on the same subject: Architectural digest ideas on the renovation of a kitchen.


      Start your new kitchen plan


      How do you start? It is quite easy:

            1. You take the measures of your future kitchen (current or future space if different)
            2. You take a paper and draw the future space with a scale you are comfortable with (A4 with squares printed? Decide for an optimal scale: 1cm on map = 10cm in reality? and draw lines every 5 cm on your map. If needed, take a lot of A4 paper and scotch them together. Rule of thumb: the bigger, the better.
            3. You list all your appliances and countertops
            4. For each of those you draw a small image to represent each appliance the correct scale for your map and add initials to each, for instance, FR for fridge and so on…
          A plan "to play with" for this kitchen.

          A plan “to play with” for this kitchen. Our excuses for this low quality image

            1. Now, let’s use those as on the picture above:
            2. Start by locating your fridge and your “work triangle” (see above for more on that).
            3. Play with it and try to get the best organisation:
              1. Think esthetics and symmetry.
              2. Don’t forget to have one or more countertops.
              3. Don’t forget natural light.
            4. Got it ready? Time to speak to your kitchen specialist that will bring the final ideas to perfection.
          New kitchen plan in Barcelona

          Barcelona kitchen plan from the kitchen specialist

      What is your style?



      Get some extra help from specialists

      • A team for the kitchen in itself: furniture & appliance
      • A team for the renovation. Ask for a renovation team if your project is based in Spain from our network on howtobuyinspain.com


      The technical aspects of your kitchen

      • For each appliance ask yourself those questions: Does it need Electricity? Does it need Water? Do you need wastewater disposal? Does it need a network cable or wifi signal?…
      • Rules for Electric network:
      1. Check the power you need for each appliance.
      2. Some appliances such as cooktops need specific power, first, check that.
      3. Check where each appliance will be added and make sure you have the electric power arriving there.
      4. Don’t forget electric sockets. You’ll need those a little bit everywhere.
      5. Place the power switches at easy to use places.
      6. Don’t forget the lighting.
      • Do you need any network cable for a computer or television? Of course, nearly everything is wireless now but take that into account.
      • Rules for adding lights:
      1. Always make sure you don’t work in your shadow.
      2. Don’t forget indirect light under wall closets.
      • Rules for the water network:
      1. You will have hot water.
      2. You will have cold water.
      3. Some fridges need one for ice and some steam ovens need one as well.
      • You will have a network for wastewater disposal.


      Why is a renovation always a good plan in Spain?

      You have many advantages with a good renovation in Spain:

      1. It will be 100% “your taste”.
      2. It is not too expensive as:
      • manpower doesn’t cost too much and is very well qualified
      • materials are not too expensive in Spain and they have a lot of local companies producing quality material at very competitive prices locally dedicated for houses: tiles, furniture, kitchen and bathroom,…

      The disadvantage is that it takes time and you need a good team.

      Have a look at our article for more on that: Advantages vs disadvantages of resale vs newbuild in Spain.


    4. What are the costs of a kitchen renovation?

      Of course, there are many different parts in the renovation budget of a kitchen…

      • If you decide only to change the cabinets and some appliances, you have a good view of your budget: between €5,000 for a small kitchen from a big retailer to €30,000 for a large kitchen from a high-end kitchen company. As an easy way to calculate, with classic appliances included, you should count a little more than €1,000 per meter for an “entry-level” kitchen with a kitchen from a big retailer and no fancy appliances. Of course, this is without renovation works: only furniture and appliances and don’t forget the installation costs and the kitchen worktops: this can easily double the costs of any kitchen if you want something top level.


      • If you decide to go for a full renovation: a correct budget in Spain to take into account for renovation is between €500/m² and €1500/m². Of course, you can have it for cheaper if you don’t do too much and take cheap materials/tiles. On top of that budget, you have to add the price of your kitchen: furniture, appliances, kitchen wortops and installation costs. If you want top materials and expensive finishes, renovation work can go much higher than this budget: top-notch finishes could take you to €3000/m² for a luxury apartment.


      • Of course, if you buy a kitchen with a DIY style, don’t forget to get help from someone with experience to place and fix the furniture on the walls. You might think that it is easy but it is an art. We do have experience from many different kitchens and saw differences even with experts. So, don’t DIY for everything if you are not experienced, is one of our biggest pieces of advice. Don’t forget to take this into account as well when calculating your budget.


    5. Do you need any license for your works?

      In Spain, if you want to do small renovation, you should ask to the local administration a “licencia de obra menor“.

    6. A real case: a complete kitchen remodel in Barcelona


      This work was done by one of our partners active in Barcelona and on all the Costa Brava.

      Here are the practical steps of this project:

      The initial situation

      The current kitchen was a closed space, not a lot of light (one window north-facing and inside a building). Its shape was a one wall kitchen of a length of 6m with a separate fridge. At the entrance, there was an apart place fitting just a washing machine and a vacuum cleaner. So the function of the kitchen was only to prepare food and clean dishes or clothes. Nothing to enjoy. When you were in it, it was close to being in a dark corridor.


      Define the space

      Do we keep the kitchen as is? Same space? Closed?

      Floor plan of an Apartment in Barcelona

      South is 90° from the terrace of the living room.


      The problems the team needed to solve:

          1. More light,
          2. More space and better circulation,
          3. More storage,
          4. A good fit with the living room and the dining table,
          5. A place to enjoy with family and friends.


      At the same time, it was not really “a problem” but we took the opportunity of adding a modern look to the place to make it more attractive and enjoyable.


      Issues to solve: Where will the fridge go? Where will we place the washing machine?


      Technical issues: the window position on the left


      Open question: Do we go for a breakfast corner?

      Here are the pictures after breaking everything down:

      Yes, agreed, that was a real renovation :-).


    7. How did our partner solve the problems for this kitchen in Barcelona?

      The partner explained that the best solution was an open kitchen: this decision was easy to take as it solved many issues at the same time:


      More light in this kitchen of Barcelona

      … but not as beautiful as the lights of the Sagrada Familia.

      By opening the kitchen, we got natural light coming from the south (6m away in the living room)

      • It increased the space: even if we kept the same proportion as the initial kitchen, it was a huge difference.
      • Our partner added a small island: by doing this the customer got many advantages: first, he could have a place for the washing machine and hide it a little bit: not visible from the living room and not visible on the “one wall” with the rest of the furniture, second, of course, this gave more light, third, it created a natural separation between the kitchen and the living room and fourth and not least, we added some working space that could allow many people to prepare dishes and a place to put meals ready before serving to the table and of course a side table for the diner table.


      More space in this kitchen project

      • Breaking the walls increased the space and gave more light, which is even more increasing the impression of space of course.
      • By creating an island, it redefined a new spacious area within the kitchen and the dining room, while at the same time we kept the same kitchen measures…
      • From the living room, we could use the island as a “side-table”


      More storage is a must for any kitchen

      • It is obvious, as we increased the number of full columns to two from zero (one is of course filled with a big fridge).
      • Our partner added wall cabinets on the full length, which gave a beautiful line to the new kitchen. Of course, if you can keep symmetry, it helps for the modern look.


      A good fit with the living room

      • Particular attention was given to keeping the living room independent. As it was spacious enough, we did not want guests to have the impression that they were in a small apartment. That’s why we kept a wall to separate both (as was the case in the first kitchen)
      • Our partner gave proposals to the customer to integrate windows in that wall between the living room and the kitchen but we agree that the solution taken was the best (no window).
      • Other solutions were discussed as adding a window and a sliding door on the island to keep the kitchen closed. We told the customer that keeping it open was a smart choice to have a nice area to prepare a meal with family.

      Kitchen in Barcelona with the dining room

      As a final result, the customer got a very nice modern place to enjoy with family and friends.

      He will add some personal colour touch for sure to finalise the project but this white and black kitchen will allow any touch. Here is the final picture after the work surface was delivered.

      The total budget for this project was in the region of €25,000 for the complete renovation: breaking down the initial kitchen, the addition of all utilities, the repair of walls, adding new walls, the new tiles on the floor, the furniture, the appliances, work surface,… So, yes a lot of money but we think it is worth it.


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    Senior analyst and strategist at HTBIS

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    Is it difficult to renovate a kitchen in Spain?

    No, it is not very difficult if you have a qualified team. Renovation does not cost a lot in Spain: manpower and materials are very qualitative and not expensive. Have a look at our article with many useful tips.

    How much does a kitchen remodel cost in Spain?

    A classic kitchen remodel cost will depend on the size of the kitchen first, on what you want to remodel (only the furniture?) and on the quality of finishes. Between €1000 and €2000 per square meter is the correct answer. Check our article for a precise example.

    How much does it cost to renovate an apartment?

    A very correct budget is €1000 per square meter, if you want a number. But of course every renovation is different. The good news is that manpower and materials are not expensive in Spain. Check on our site many renovation examples.

    Can you remodel a kitchen for 30000?

    Yes, for sure, look at our example of a kitchen remodel in Barcelona. But yes, the kitchen was not big.

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