Fitted Kitchens Buyers Guide

What are Fitted Kitchens?

Fitted kitchens are exactly what you would expect from the name, they are kitchen units that come assembled. A fitted kitchen is made up of units that are attached to the wall. They will look seamless in design as they perfectly fit your kitchen space. This is often because you will deal with a designer at a local kitchen showroom. They can measure up your space and discuss with you exactly what it is you want to create design-wise. These tend to be bespoke designs, so you can be assured that your new fitted kitchen will be something you love.

A fitted kitchen is a great choice over an unfitted kitchen (you can read about this in section 2). The options you have are endless and showrooms will often demonstrate a wide range of different kitchen cabinets on offer to find the right style, size and colour for your aspirations. Fitted kitchens will include all your cabinets within them, as they make up most of your design. The rest of the design will be made up with your appliances, such as ovens, hobs, microwaves etc. The options are all yours and endless.

There are a range of different fitted kitchen designs and styles to begin your new exciting journey, which can seem quite daunting, especially if you are new to the idea of a fitted kitchen. Hopefully you have a slight better understanding of what a fitted kitchen is, what it contains and how you can go about planning your beautiful new space for you and your family to enjoy for years to come.If you would like more personalised information and a free discussion about how you can get started with designing your new fitted kitchen, give one of our kitchen showrooms near you a call from our showrooms page.

The fitted kitchen is a great option if you are looking to renovate your home, have something very personalised to you and doesn’t have to break the bank. They are a great way of making the best use of the space you have, being fitted to the wall, you make the most of every inch of your home. Most companies such as Home Joinery, Wickes, Howdens and so on will provide the product built and ready to be fitted to your home upon arrival. This is a great thing about fitted kitchens, as you don’t have to worry about any of the DIY work, all you need is a trained fitter to install your fitted kitchen and you are done. They are great for those people who know what they want, but don’t really want too much of the hassle associated with kitchens.

Because the kitchen is fitted, you can be sure that you won’t have any small gaps between units, or any uneven cabinets. Everything will be flush and perfectly fitted, so you will be the envy of your friends at social gatherings. Ultimately, it’s the best way you can create a perfect homely feel, as they do say memories are often made in the kitchen, so create one you will be proud to claim.

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Fitted Kitchens v Unfitted Kitchens

Price

The price of a fitted kitchen is often much more favourable than those unfitted. This I because you can combine units and kitchen cabinets much easier and design your kitchen to blend in, including appliances and avoiding stand alone units. This tends to mean you can find a fitted kitchen, bespoke to you and will be a lower price. Cheap fitted kitchens doesn’t necessarily mean cheap quality. For example, we offer 7 different price groups of fitted kitchens, it just allows our customers to find the kitchen design perfect to meet their budget. With unfitted kitchens, you either buy the units stand alone of buy them together, which doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper. You may find stores such as Ikea will offer standalone units at a cheap price, but fitted kitchens bring everything together, which isn’t included in the cost of an unfitted kitchen.

Sleek minimalist design

One thing that is often mentioned and noticed with fitted kitchens is that they always have a sleek minimalist design. They look like they should be together and this is what brings a kitchens emotional feels together. Once something looks seamless in design, it leaves a flushed effect that is known to be a great feeling to relieve stress and scores highly on most interior designers’ checklists. This is one thing unfitted kitchens lack. Because they come as separate units and are used to standalone in  a kitchen, they lack the connection and sometimes can break the design flow, if one is uneven or slightly laid out imperfectly. By opting for a fitted kitchen, you can ensure that your kitchen will fit perfectly into your space and will have no gaps or uneven surfaces, because it joins together as one. Unfitted kitchens are more for those people who admire the more unstructured look, often seen in old farm homes. Fitted kitchens appeal much more to everyone and usually towards a classic or modern market, depending on your style preference.

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Practicality

The practically of a fitted kitchen over an unfitted kitchen is down to usually one simple aspect – ease. A fitted kitchen is focused around making the kitchen as easy to design, install and live in, over a fitted kitchen. Once it is fitted, you do not need to worry about moving cabinets or any gaps down the side of units. The fitted design allows kitchen cabinets to fit seamlessly together and allow your worktop to glide perfectly over the top. A practicality benefit of fitted kitchens is that you can have them designed perfectly around your working triangle to make your kitchen ‘fit’ you and your lifestyle.

Using space

This may be arguably one of the best reasons to go for a fitted kitchen over unfitted. A fitted kitchen really does allow you to use every aspect of space. The base units and kitchen cabinets are fitted and built to fit your kitchen measurements, whereas an unfitted kitchen provides units that just place in your kitchen, so you may be left with gaps and space either side of walls and unable to fill tight spaces. A fitted kitchen allows you to plan your space from the ground up, making room for any extra units you may need or allowing you a bigger island than you perhaps could allocate for with unfitted kitchens. If you are working with a small kitchen design, fitted kitchens will be a life saver in this case. The best way to see your space is to visit a kitchen showroom near you and speak to an expert designer who will know exactly how to utilise your space.

Cooks best friend

We mentioned about the working triangle earlier, this is because if you are a keen chef in the kitchen, then you will be able to fully build your kitchen around your culinary needs. The working triangle can be the focus of your design and work to make each point in perfect distance from one another to ensure your never cluttered or stepping over your toes.

Easy to keep clean and tidy

Now, who doesn’t like making the cleaning jobs easier and shorter? This is not a guarantee, but in general, fitted kitchens are easier to clean. This is down to what we have mentioned a lot through this section about not being joined, so leaves slight gaps. The gaps that are left provides space for food to fall and dust to build. You can eradicate any of this with perfectly fitted units to remove those small and deep gaps in your kitchen and reduce the need to clean. All you then need to focus on is everything else. It makes the worktop also easier to clean as its just one big surface, making your life just that little bit easier!

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Fitted Kitchens for Small Spaces

In the previous section, we brushed upon choosing a kitchen for small spaces. This is becoming one of the biggest design changes experienced from kitchen retailers across the country, due to our rising population.

It is no shock that property size is shrinking, it has been pointed out that new homes being built in the UK are on average 32% smaller than they were in the 1970’s, shrinking from 24.9 square metres to 17.1 square metres according to analysis from the LABC Warranty https://www.buyassociation.co.uk/2018/04/10/micro-homes-why-are-properties-in-the-uk-shrinking/ . Kitchens happen to be one of the rooms experiencing the reduction in space with the average size reducing from 14.96 metres to 13.44 square metres. This means that we need to be more savvy with the space we use in our homes and the designs we pick. Most of these smaller houses will be scoped by young professionals looking for their first home to purchase and would sacrifice space for price. If you are looking to renovate your kitchen in your first home, looking at a gloss slab kitchen would be a perfect option, but only pick cabinets you know you can get the most storage from. Try not to get carried away with large American double fridge freezers that will eat space. Also, a massive modern trend we have seen is fitted kitchens taking an open plan design in modern apartments. You will have seen some stunning open plan kitchen apartments in places like Pinterest and Instagram. This style of kitchen in these homes will give the illusion of freedom and open up the space.

Apartments of this kind are becoming extremely popular in larger cities, such as London and Birmingham. With professionals seeking a fast-paced life and using the kitchen as the essential need it was designed for, usually drops social aspects, such as islands and breakfast bars. City apartments tend to focus on function first, design second. Don’t get us wrong, most of these apartment kitchens look stunning, but it is because it has been designed perfectly to spec. A very common theme is most of the small city apartment kitchens you will notice, is that 90% of them are white. The reason for white is very simple, it makes any room look bigger. White gloss or matt will give a luxury feel of cleanliness and contemporary design, which is why it isn’t going out of fashion any time soon.

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One thing we have spent a lot of time innovating at Home Joinery is storage solutions. These are creative ways of making the most of the space you have, without having the astronomical prices of building outbuildings, extensions or internal renovations. There are a range of storage solutions on the market that can greatly enhance the space you have in your home, from some high-quality suppliers, such as Kessebohmer. Clever storage considers convenience for today’s multi-use kitchens as much as it considers capacity, meaning kitchens consider great design ideas on the inside, as much as the outside. A tall larder unit can be used to excellently display supplies and easy to reach by anyone in the home. We often underestimate how much food we store and how much space this takes in standard cabinets, yet a tall larder unit can host all of these in a linear fashion. Cantilever corners are the perfect solution for those messy cupboards you often find where you stuff your pots and pans. You then find it’s a challenge to reach in the back and get ones you don’t use as often, dragging everything out first. This doesn’t happen with cantilever corner cupboards as the swift mechanism allows you to slide all the pans out in the orderly fashion you left them in. We could go on forever about other products, such as internal waste units, but the point is that this is a great solution to battle kitchens with small space.

A final point on small kitchen design is never underestimate the power of your colour choice. You may have always been set on having a dark and dramatic kitchen, but if you have a small space to work with, this could be detrimental to the emotion your kitchen gives off. It will make the room feel much smaller than it is and gloomy which may make you start feeling miserable and no one wants that. We mention white to be a great colour; it is the top colour that we recommend as it gives a clean and open look in your home. If you are not a fan of plain white for your design, opt for light pastel colours for your kitchen. This will give it a soft and bright touch, keeping the illusion of a larger space.

How Much Do Fitted Kitchens Cost?

This question will always cause debate as the final cost is completely dependent on your personal preference and what design finish you want to achieve; your budget will also have a massive impact on your average cost. To avoid being overly vague about how much it will cost on average, the price rests around £8,000, which includes VAT and fitting, but excludes appliances and prep work such as ripping your old kitchen etc.

Don’t let this price put you off if your budget is below this, as most kitchen companies can competitively get a kitchen for under this cost. Equally if you are looking for a bespoke design you could be paying 4/5 times this cost. If you have your eye on designer appliances, such as Neff you could look to pay again substantially more, but you always pay for what you get, so make sure you keep an eye on quality when selecting your kitchen furniture.

We can’t speak much for other kitchen retailers, but we can give you a rough guide of what you could look to pay for kitchens alone. We have our kitchen ranges broke down into 7 price groups to ensure any budget can be met from those looking to keep costs low and keep high quality, up to our top price range for solid oak cabinets. Our price group 1 and 2 aims for those who have just bought their first home and are looking for great value but not sacrificing any quality. These kitchens start at price group one for £1,375 for an 8-unit kitchen, so very affordable as a quick and stylish upgrade to your home. Our price groups 3, 4 and 5 looks to those who have slightly more to spend and are looking for extra touches that make a big difference in your kitchen design. These ranges start at price group 3 from £1,832 for an 8-unit comparison. The price groups 6 and 7 are if you really want to splash out and have a very flexible budget and are putting quality and design first. These prices start at £2,225 for an 8-unit kitchen. You can find out more on these on our kitchens page.

Keep in mind these costs do not include appliances, worktops and fitting, it is for the kitchen furniture only, but it gives you an idea of where to start setting your budget. If we were to gather rough prices of what the extras would cost, they would look something similar in average. A set of appliances including washing machines, built-in oven, hob, cooker hood, dishwasher and fridge freezer can cost anything from around £1,500 for a budget range. Installation costs typically cost anywhere from £250 for pre-assembled units to £1,500 depending of course on the size of your kitchen and what’s being installed. Worktops depend again on the quality you want and can range from £100 for worktops up to thousands for the likes of Granite worktops.

This as you can see would put you around that £8,000 mark, but please visit a kitchen showroom near you and sit with a designer to work out your costs. This is only an average guide and can be above or below depending on YOUR requirements.

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Fitted Kitchens On A Budget

As you can see from our prices above, you could get a kitchen at a very budget price. There are a lot of good retailers on the market who will offer very cheap cabinets, but not necessarily offer great quality. You need to find a company that will offer both. We pride ourselves in offering very low prices, but among the best quality kitchen cabinets on the market. The industry average cabinet size is around 18mm and you don’t want to be going below that as you start to sacrifice the longevity of your kitchen. To make sure you are getting your kitchen at the best price you can you should always shop around for 3 quotes.

A kitchen showroom will have an expert design team and create and design your plan with you to get your dream kitchen in no time. If you outline your budget, they will make sure you get the most value for your budget. Our expert advice is when planning a fitted kitchen on a budget, do not skimp on cabinets. Make sure you get the best quality you can afford as these will outlive most other items in the kitchen. You should look at reducing your costs on your appliances as these can give the greatest of variances. You have a wide range of different brands from own brand items from the likes of Curry’s to mid-range designer items such as AEG and higher cost products from companies such as Neff, so select the range accordingly to what you want to save on. Also, try minimising the amount of appliances you want in your kitchen. You may want full built in ovens, microwaves etc. but you could save by buying free standing microwaves and fridge freezers and avoid items like dishwashers completely if this brings your costs down significantly.

Another great area to save money on is your worktops! Although granite and oak worktops look stunning, their price can take you off your feet. There are great alternatives available in high quality laminate worktops that can give you the solid wood look, but saving significant amount of money without losing the image of quality.

Fitting Your Kitchen

It is exciting times ahead. You have selected your kitchen and decided it’s time to make the move and get things in motion. You are excited about designing and planning your kitchen, having inspiring chats with your kitchen designers and want to have it now! This is all great, but you need to ask yourself at this stage, who is going to install it?

As you know, you need to have your new fitted kitchen installed and it is always best practice to have a professional do this. You want to have your new living space fully fitted and installed as promptly as possible, so it’s best to start considering this service now.

The increase of fitted kitchens being installed means finding a trusted and reliable kitchen fitter is becoming more difficult. There is also a shortage of staff due to this as they will be getting booked up months in advance, so getting in contact with someone at this stage allows you to reduce your wait time.

Some retailers still offer fitting services with their own kitchen fitting staff, equally there are many that don’t, B&Q recently announced that they will be ending their Homefit service suggesting that the demand for retailers to fit is reducing.

This seems a trend as when researched, around 90% of people who have bought a new fitted kitchen would prefer to use their own tradespeople, so you wouldn’t be alone in searching for one yourself. This offers you better prices and more flexibility to fit around your schedule.

One thing we strongly suggest is do not just go for the cheapest and fastest kitchen fitter you can find. You will regret this. Having your kitchen fitted by a trusted and reputable installer is just as important as buying the goods. You have just spent all your money buying the cabinets, all your time planning and designing, to be bodged at the last and final stage.

The fitting is the part what makes your kitchen personally fit your home and bring your living space together. An experienced fitter will ensure that no gaps are created, the worktop fits perfectly, and all sections fit exactly how they should. They have the experience and will be able to have this passion when installing to make it look exactly how it does on your design plans.

The  British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI)  suggest that fitting costs will amount to 25% of your kitchens value, so you want to make sure that you get your money’s worth from the service. According to BiKBBI, you should expect to pay anywhere between £800-£1500 for a medium sized kitchen. This should give you a rough idea of what to expect based on your requirements.

You can read a full breakdown of finding a fitter in our blog here: https://www.homejoinery.co.uk/News/Kitchens/How-To-Find-Your-Kitchen-Fitter

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Fitted Kitchen Ideas

So, you have a rough idea of what you can expect with a fitted kitchen. Let’s get down to showing you some extraordinary examples of fitted kitchens that will give you kitchen envy in no time.

When looking at kitchens you very often will have around 6 common kitchen layouts that will look familiar to you. Once you have the layout identified, 3 of the most popular choices for kitchen design are classic shaker kitchens, modern handless kitchens and matt/gloss slab kitchens.

We will start with the 3 most common choices of kitchen styles, as usually this is the part we all start at. We love looking through brochures, social media, online images or divine kitchens and how they dazzle in design. If you are looking for a new kitchen you will not get bored of this stage, so it’s handy to have a bit of a plan when you start looking for the style you want to achieve; at least then you will have an idea of what style you’re looking at.

The first on our list is a classic shaker kitchen. This design has been consistent across time and the “shaker” recessed panels on this kitchen design pull the classic look into your kitchen. The initial design of a shaker kitchen originates from the late 1700’s and a family who believed that every object in your home must have some function. This is where the shaker kitchen gets its square frame and panel profile. The panels can be split up into more than one section using pieces known as mid-rails. The main feature of the shaker kitchen is the timber and functionality of the cabinetry.

The design and style of the shaker kitchen is based on an uncluttered and orderly approach, referring to the ideology everything must have a function. Shaker kitchen cabinets work in a range of kitchen styles from classic and even modern settings. The recessed panels are either bevelled or plain suiting the certain style of kitchen design you opt for, usually with an open plan design. The focus is to keep the kitchen looking sleek and stylish and this is supported by keeping limited colour schemes and keeping the focus on uncluttered design. 

Moving onto the handleless contemporary kitchen design. These kitchens are a perfect way to express your style and taste for contemporary design. The handless kitchen design is the ultimate expression of sleek, cutting edge bespoke designs that can be integrated into your kitchen. The handleless concept on the design creates a seamless view, which emphasizes a calm, modern aesthetic that people love to see through design, especially kitchen design. The handless kitchen design gives the illusion of maximising space, whilst creating a seamless flow of cabinetry. The handless cabinets transform classic kitchens with pure and modern details.

Similar to shaker kitchens, the aim of contemporary handleless kitchen designs are to offer clutter free design and free living in its best example. The removal of handles provides spacious features to your design that allow you to manoeuvre in a freer manner, perfect for small kitchen designs and busy families. The great thing about a handless kitchen you should consider is that it ties practicality with exceptional design into your very home.

Our final design style is the matt/gloss slab kitchen designs. These are growing increasingly popular due to lending a modern look to any kitchen and bathroom. Slab doors don’t have a frame on their design, they are what they say on the tin – solid slabs! Slab kitchens offer two main differing looks, one that offers sleek modernity and the other of plain utilitarianism, both these themes will offer what the slab kitchen is famous for – the smooth, clean and uncomplicated lines of a contemporary kitchen. The two main finishes of slab kitchen are what gives it that definitive look, which are gloss and matt. Gloss kitchens leave more of a sleek, attractive kitchen that drives a stylish and up to date feel in your home. Gloss kitchens are also light reflective, meaning the light will reflect lovely off the gloss finish giving a shiny new look for years to come. This is also great for making a room feel brighter and larger, which is commonly used in small apartments/homes. Matt kitchens are starting to make a design statement, and have been for the past few years, for the opposite reasons to its rival gloss. Instead of reflecting the bright light, it instead absorbs the light, but don’t be fooled into thinking this will leave a dull look in your kitchen. Rather it gives a professional feel, sophisticated if you must, that offers a smooth featured finish from every angle. Matt kitchens perfectly offer a bold image and this can create a dramatic look, which is very popular with KBB trends.

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Where To Buy Fitted Kitchens?

So, now you are all excited and ready to start planning and designing your new kitchen, but where do you go? There are a large number of different types of kitchen showrooms that will be near you. These will range from large chains, with stores all across the country, which you will have heard of before, there will also be local independents that specialise in kitchens. It is just about finding what is right for you as everyone will offer different products, service and quality. The key is to do your research on which companies are offering what you want and visit a few, the staff will be extremely friendly and will want to help you along the way!

The best place is to start searching on social media as most good companies will post their products frequently and will give you a chance to see their ranges, particularly Instagram and Pinterest. The next best place is trusty Google. Sift through the many companies on Google and find a few that are listing kitchens you like and this will start to inform you of where to buy your kitchen. The best things to keep in mind when deciding where to buy is quality, choice, value, price and most importantly service, as you don’t want to be spending loads of time planning a kitchen with designers who are not interested.

Use Google’s local features to start finding kitchen showrooms near you as these will be the easiest ones to visit. Make a note of a few and spend the day going to view some real kitchens in the flesh. You can either buy from retail focused showrooms, or if you have a fitter, you could opt for trade focussed kitchen showrooms, both will offer different prices and levels of service. Ideally opt for a kitchen retailer who deal with the trade and retail as they will most likely have the greatest balance of customers and be able to help you on both sides.

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Finding a Fitted Kitchen Showroom

As mentioned in the block above, always start with identifying what you want when selecting your fitted kitchen. Some people are driven by wide choice, others by the best quality, maybe it’s all price driven, but whatever it is make sure you keep that at your focus. This will help identify quicker if the showroom is the one for you. Always start by making a list and allocate time to spend with each showroom to get a feel of their products and service you will receive throughout your kitchen journey. You may or may not have some plans already drafted of your kitchen, which will help speed up the process of finding out price and space for units. If you don’t, not to worry, you can pick a plan up from most showrooms if you are likely to proceed with them.

With this all in mind, how do you find a fitted kitchen showroom near you? Well, let’s start by typing “fitted kitchen showroom near me” into Google. This is a very simple search that will list kitchen showrooms close to your local area and offer contact details and reviews etc. of that showroom. It will bring a map up with those showrooms listed near you and then links to each sites website on the results page helping you navigate to those that stand out to you. This will help with planning visits and doing your research on your project. Kitchen showrooms near you will often be focused for your local area and will know the local area well, which is a benefit for you as it will feel personalised by the staff and this means you’re likely to get a better service. A great feature some companies will have is virtual tours of their showroom (check one of ours here) which allow you to navigate around the showroom before even stepping foot into there, so when you do visit it all feels very familiar. Their website may feature images of the displays they have currently and this will also start to build familiarity of what you expect to see in a showroom.

When picking the right showroom, you need to be considering a few different features for different reasons. One suggestion is to choose somewhere where the staff are very friendly and really go out of their way to help you. You are about to spend a lot of your hard-earned money on a project you’re really excited about. The last thing you want is flatlined typical sales people, you want them to be excited about your project as much as you and really show that they want to help you along the way. You will often gauge this within the first 5 minutes of speaking to them. One second point to follow this up is to check their reviews on sites such as Trust Pilot and Google. Trust Pilot is a great source to find out what other people think about the showroom you are considering, as these are people who have previously visited the showroom near you and can back up what they were like when they visited them. These are often verified and genuine reviews so you know what has been discussed here is from real people. Regarding the actual kitchen, make sure you look for the quality of the product, this is what will determine how long your kitchen is going to last and deal with your day to day life. If you have never been to a kitchen showroom this may be a fun little task to do. Start feeling how thick the cabinets are, how smoothly they open and close, do they have soft close doors etc. After visiting a few showrooms, you will start to realise what quality is in kitchen cabinets and this will be most likely what decides which showroom is best near you.

So, you have your key items to consider initially, quality, choice, service and price. You know what you are looking for when you are in the showroom with staff and the products, you just need to get out there and visit the fitted kitchens near you.