Best kitchen brands: Planning a kitchen Kitchen costs
Can I get a kitchen on a budget?
The average spend on a new kitchen is £8,000, but you can get a good kitchen on a much smaller budget. You could also consider updating elements of your kitchen, such as cabinet doors and worktops, instead of buying a whole new kitchen - see our kitchen design ideas for suggestions on how to transform your kitchen cheaply.
Whatever you decide to do, we’ve taken a look at all the elements of a kitchen and whether it’s worth spending more to get a better finish.
Before you start, download your kitchen planning calculator to help you asses what you need to spend and stick to it.
For a new sink and base unit, one double base unit, three single base units, four wall units, work tops and housing for an oven and dishwasher (plus handles and fixings, but not appliances or installation) you could pay £1,000 from a budget brand such as Ikea, and up to £8,500 from a premium brand such as John Lewis.
Of course you can pay far more than this for a bespoke kitchen. A costly bespoke design will give you flexibility for pieces to match your specification, but cheaper units work just as well providing they’re installed properly.
More expensive units tend to be made from thicker wood and arrive pre-assembled (and glued together), making very strong and rigid units. In some instances, cheaper units can be cut with a lesser degree of accuracy and lead to poor and misaligned assembly. However, as long as units are fitted properly and the correct shelf fixings are used, then both types will be sturdy and take the same weight on shelves.
It’s important to check that 800mm and 1,000mm units have a centre-supporting shelf bracket, as these widths of shelf can tend to bow.
Visit our guide to the best kitchen brands to see the average costs of brands such as B&Q and Magnet, and find out what our members thought of each.
Kitchen doors and drawers
New worktops and cupboard doors are a low-cost way to spruce up a kitchen. Doors can costs upwards of £100 each, but you can buy one for as little as £10. However, some cheaper door fronts are covered with a printed paper film, which can scratch and damage easily.
Cheaper wood-finish doors often have just a veneer, while a better-quality door is coated in a thicker surface layer, making it more durable. You’ll get a wider choice of door, such as high gloss or solid wood, if you spend a bit more.
Upgrading to soft-close doors and drawers makes a marked difference when using your kitchen. Soft-close drawers, which allow you to close slowly without it slamming, are designed for years of use with hard-wearing mechanisms. The cheap basic drawer runners can be clunky but will do the job.
Prices vary from £50 to more than £500 for the same length of worktop depending on the finish and material. Laminate is cheapest and is long lasting and durable, but not the best quality.
Solid-surface worktops have a thicker surface layer, which can be sanded and buffed, so joins are masked to give a better finish.
The more expensive solid wood or granite will give a beautiful finish that should last a lifetime with proper care. Wood worktops can warp if poorly stored, so check thoroughly before installation.
Quartz worktops are similar in appearance to granite, but are more durable and even stronger.
A typical list of appliances for a kitchen including washing machine, cooker hood, oven, hob, dishwasher and fridge freezer will cost from £1,800 for budget Best Buys.
For a top-of-the range Best Buy American-style fridge freezer, dishwasher, range cooker and hood, you'd pay around £5,000. Visit our kitchen section for guides to kitchen appliances to help you choose the right model for you.
Installation and tradesman costs
The cost of installation is extra and could be anything from £250 for pre-assembled units (such as those from John Lewis) up to £900. But if you have a compact kitchen or are willing to do some DIY, you can spend far less than £1,000 (for tips on installing a kitchen yourself, try DIY Doctor).
Knowing how kitchen plumbing will be connected and how and where waste water will be channelled out of your new kitchen is key to understanding what you'll be able to afford to do. The more services you need to move, including electrics, the higher the cost for your kitchen improvement will be. Which? members can find plumbers, electricians and kitchen fitters recommended by other Which? members at Which? Local.
Second-hand and bargain kitchens
You can buy a second-hand kitchen at a bargain price, but it’s vital to check it all fits well and that care has been taken to avoid damaging the kitchen when units are removed from another building.
Look out for sales to grab a bargain – post-Christmas and pre-Easter are usually good times to buy a new kitchen.
For advice on how to negotiate your way to a bargain, see our haggling video in our guide to bargaining in shops.
Once you've found a company you like, if it can't reduce the price any further, ask whether it will include the sink or certain appliances for no extra charge. Avoid giving a company more than 25% deposit before everything is delivered. If you're able, pay at least £100 of the deposit on your credit card. This will give you extra rights should you encounter problems later on.
Check the payment schedule before signing any contracts for products and fitting.