A new, spacious, bespoke kitchen kitted out with high-end materials and top-of-the range appliances could cost an eye-watering £83,000*. But your dream kitchen doesn’t have to break the bank.
Although a truly tailor-made, luxury kitchen design is well above many people’s spending ceiling, a more DIY approach in a smaller space could still come in at an average of nearly £15,000.
However, there are things you can do to bring the price down. Whether you want to start from scratch with a new kitchen or update your old design, we tell you how to make your money go further.
For a full breakdown of the average kitchen prices for new bespoke and DIY options in different sized rooms and houses, visit our page on kitchen costs.
Choose the right kitchen company
If you’re buying anything new, be it an entire kitchen or replacement parts, choose the company you buy from carefully.
When we asked 2,228 kitchen owners (May/June 2019) about their kitchen, there was a real variation in how the well-known kitchen brands – such as Ikea, John Lewis, B&Q, Wren Kitchen, Magnet and Wickes – were viewed.
The top-rated name got a customer score of 95%, while the bottom just 61% – a big difference. You might be surprised to learn that it’s not always the most expensive companies that do well either.
The highest scorer also got a four-star rating out of five for durability, while a couple earned just two.
Visit our guide to the best kitchen companies to see our full review of each high street kitchen company.
Keep an eye on kitchen sales
The sales can be a great way to bag a bargain, but, be cautious. When we analysed kitchen prices and promotions over a year we found that a lot of the kitchen companies ran some kind sale most of the time, so they might not be as amazing as they seem.
To get the best from the sales, we recommend:
- making sure you shop around and get a number of quotes from different companies – a price drop at one might not make it cheaper than another.
- checking exactly what is and isn’t included in a deal and how long it will be and has been running for – one that’s been available for months of even years is unlikely to end soon.
- only buying when you’re ready – don’t fell pressured to buy there and then. Unless you have your heart set on a specific item, you’re likely to find something similar at another time in another sale.
Lastly, consider ex-display kitchens or even second hand items. Make sure you know what you’re buying and are clear what, if any, damage or faults there are.
Our kitchen sales page lists all our top tips to help you navigate the promotions and avoid getting sucked in.
Don’t opt for bespoke
As the prices above highlight, a fully made-to-measure kitchen that fits perfectly into your space and meets all your requirements is more costly.
There are ways to achieve a happy medium though. For example, you could choose pre-designed units for the bulk of your kitchen, but get in a local tradesman to create storage solutions or units for awkward areas.
Also keep in mind that many of the DIY stores have customisable options when it comes to the layout, style and storage options. Our page on planning a kitchen will help you to think about what’s important for you and what the options are.
If you go bespoke, you’re likely to need to have the kitchen fitted by the company you bought it from. But fitting an off-the-shelf kitchen yourself will make it considerable cheaper.
However, you do run the risk of not fitting items correctly or damaging them, which might prove more costly in the long run. Just 8% of the kitchen owners we spoke to installed their kitchen themselves, and 5% got a friend or family member to do it.
We’d therefore advise seeking help if you’re layout or components are complicated or you are unsure about your DIY skills.
If you’re looking for a reliable tradesman or independent kitchen company in your area, use Which? Trusted Traders. All traders using the Which? logo have been through our rigorous checks.
Reuse old kitchen units
A large part of what makes up a kitchen is the units or carcasses. If you’re updating an old kitchen and the units are in good condition, reusing them and changing the fronts or doors will save you a lot of money.
It could even be worth keeping them if they’re not in excellent nick but can be repaired. However, it will depend on what kind of work needs doing and whether it’ll be in show.
As an example, repairing a drawer unit and refixing the front and runners could cost around £150 (less if you get more done at once).
The main thing is to think about how sturdy they are and whether they will withstand many more years of use.
When we assessed kitchen units (summer 2019) we looked at the type and quality of joins – some tend to be stronger than others – the strength of shelves, hinges and drawers as well as imperfections.
There were differences between the best and worst units in our lab, all from big-name brands. Visit our page on how we test kitchen units to find out more and what to look out for.
Repair or replace kitchen doors
The same goes for kitchen doors. If you have the option to keep doors, repairing a tired or damaged one could cost as little as £165. Again, this will be less per door if you do more in one go (our kitchen costs page details these prices in full).
If your doors are perfectly usable as they are but you dislike the colour or want a fresh look, painting them is another option. It is also a great opportunity to be bold, add pattern or think outside the box – more on this below.
You can either have them professionally done or paint them yourself. If you go with the latter, make sure you prepare the surface correctly and use the right type of paint.
Getting new handles is another option too – they’re cheap and there are a lot of styles available.
If you’d rather replace them, basic kitchen doors can cost as little as £20 and style and colour choices are endless. They could really transform the look and feel of your current kitchen.
Use less pricey materials
It stands to reason that more high-end materials will cost more. For example, a standard laminate-covered worktop will cost £255 on average for 1m, while a granite one as much as £665.
Flooring and tiles are another area where you could make a big difference to your spend. Ceramic, stone, marble or granite floor tiles will cost considerably more than vinyl or laminate flooring.
Both have also come a long way in terms of the range of choice, quality and authentic feel, if they’re aiming to emulate a wood floor or tiles, for example.
This doesn’t mean that luxurious materials are totally out – you could mix and match. Consider where will have the most impact and then add your favourite choices to smaller but highly-visible areas.
Lastly, keep in mind that more expensive products might last longer, so could be considered cheaper in the long run. Our page on kitchen units, doors and worktops reveals what kitchen owners think about the quality and durability of different materials.
Keep kitchen appliances or get cheap replacements
As with kitchen units and doors, any appliances you can reuse will shave hundreds off your final bill. Even if they’re fitted, you might be able to find a suitable alternative housing for it.
If they’re faulty, get quotes for the price to repair them – it might be cheaper than buying a new one. Have you also considered checking your rights to find out whether you’re eligible for a repair or replacement for free or at a reduced rate?
If you’re current appliances are beyond redemption, or you’re creating your kitchen from scratch, make sure your next purchase will last by opting for a Best Buy kitchen appliance.
It’s not always the expensive brands that come top. In fact, one of the cheapest ovens we have tested is a Best Buy.
Refresh with paint and tiles
Paint and tiles can work wonders in a room, and they can be cheap too. You can use them to inject colour and patterns, create zones, make a statement, hide imperfections and totally change the design of a kitchen.
You could also think about getting specialist kitchen wallpaper for a truly distinctive touch – they can be inexpensive too.
Don’t forget accessories. Small appliances, gadgets, decorative items, photographs, art and even tea towels can all help to turn your kitchen into a new space.
*Costs from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, which collates costs from a variety of sources and analyses them to arrive at average prices. £83,000 and £15,000 for a bespoke 24 m2 kitchen in a detached house and a DIY kitchen in a 8m2 terraced house.