A kitchen renovation is on many of your home improvement wish lists for 2018. But buying a new kitchen, with all the appliances that come with it, is by no means cheap. It can cost anywhere from £14,000 for a standard kitchen, all the way up to as much as £80,700* for a large, bespoke kitchen.
However, if a renovation is top of your New Year’s resolutions, you don’t have to spend a small fortune to get a kitchen you’ll fall in love with. Whether you’re getting a new kitchen or revamping your current one, check out our five simple ways to cut the cost of your kitchen and then read our comprehensive guide to fitted kitchens for all you need to know.
1. Consider a budget kitchen brand
A higher price doesn’t always mean a better kitchen. We asked 3,443** kitchen owners to rate the company they bought their kitchen from, including big brands such as Ikea, John Lewis, Magnet and Wickes. You might be surprised to hear that the top-rated brand is one that won’t make the biggest dent in your bank balance.
However, cheap isn’t always cheerful, and other budget brands weren’t rated so highly. Find out which were rated highest and lowest in our guide to the best and worst kitchen brands.
2. Watch out for the extras being added to your bill
This summer, we went undercover to find out average prices for mid-range kitchens from popular brands, such as B&Q and Wren Kitchens. We visited two branches of each company and asked for a quote for the kitchen layout below:
We were surprised to find that the same kitchen varied in price considerably, even at different branches of the same brands – for one brand, the kitchen was 21% lower at one store than the other. This was largely down to two things:
- Sales being applied in different ways: At Wren Kitchens, for example, while the pre-sale quotes were almost identical, one discounted price was 11% lower than the other. At Magnet, one undercover shopper was offered a discount price that was 14% lower than the other.
- Extras being added to the quote: Our shoppers asked for basic options, but some stores added extra fittings, such as soft-close hinges or end panels, to their quotes. For example, at one B&Q store premium drawers were included at the additional cost of £124, while the other quoted for standard drawers.
Some extras are worth having – they can help to complete the look of the kitchen or make it easier to use. But some may be unnecessary, so keep a close eye on what’s being added to the list of essentials. Always check how much discount is being applied and, if you can, visit more than one branch, as you may be able to barter the price down.
Visit our page on kitchen costs to find out more about what you can do to avoid being charged for extras, and to find out the average cost for each brand’s mid-range kitchen.
3. Consider how a kitchen is constructed
A lot of kitchens from big-name brands are made of the same materials – MDF or chipboard covered in laminate or PVC wrap – yet cost different prices.
You might be surprised to find out which materials kitchen owners rated most highly when we asked them about the quality of their kitchen – see our page on kitchen units, doors and worktops to find out.
According to kitchen traders, how a kitchen’s units are joined together is more important than what they’re made of. Kitchens that arrive pre-assembled are likely to be more sturdy, as the joints have already been fixed and glued together.
Flat-pack kitchens, on the other hand, have the potential to be installed incorrectly. They may be cheaper, but you’ll pay more for the time your installer takes to put them together and could end up with unstable joints. When buying your kitchen, ask about how it will arrive at your home and how it will be assembled.
It’s also worth speaking to a local kitchen supplier for advice and tips, instead of just heading to one of the big brand names. You can use Which? Trusted Traders to find a reputable trader in your area who’s been through our rigorous selection process.
4. Choose Best Buy appliances
We test hundreds of kitchen appliances every year, including fridge freezers, built-in ovens, dishwashers and freestanding cookers. Our tough lab tests have shown that you don’t have to pay the highest price to get the best-quality appliance.
Fridge freezers – Best Buys will chill your food quickly and evenly, making sure it lasts longer. They won’t guzzle energy either. Our cheapest Best Buy fridge freezer is just shy of £300.
Built-in ovens – heating food evenly and staying at the right temperature is easy for a Best Buy – you’d be surprised to find out how many ovens struggle to do this. Our lowest-priced Best Buy built-in oven costs less than £250.
Dishwashers – we’ve found far too many dishwashers that leave grease on your plates and spots on your glasses – something that a Best Buy won’t do. Two of our Best Buy dishwashers cost less than £200.
To see all our kitchen appliance reviews, from hobs to microwaves, visit our kitchen section. You’ll also find reviews of kitchen gadgets, such as food processors, juicers and coffee machines.
5. Can you update instead of replace?
Replacing your kitchen cupboard doors and drawer fronts is a lot cheaper than a total renovation and can completely transform a tired kitchen. It could cost around £142 a door, if you were to get five damaged doors replaced.
You could also consider a lick of paint, or a new worktop, to completely change the look and feel of your space.
Visit our page on kitchen costs to find out the average costs of repairing or replacing your kitchen doors, drawers and worktops.
*These kitchen costs are from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, and uses pricing data from its Building Cost Information Service database, where costs are collated from a variety of sources and analysed to arrive at average prices for each type of project.
**In October and November 2017, we asked 3,443 Which? members about the kitchens they had bought in the past ten years.