With lockdown measures easing, some fitted kitchen retailers have reopened for business. Many are operating either through virtual appointments or with social distancing in stores. If you've been thinking of redesigning your kitchen, you might be able to start now.
However, some firms haven't restarted delivery and installation services yet, so you may face a wait before your plans can become reality.
Wren Kitchens' showrooms are open, and some kitchen brands, including Benchmarx and Magnet, are offering virtual design appointments. John Lewis's fitted kitchen planning services are suspended, however. Read on to find out more about which stores are operating and what services are available.
Tradespeople, including kitchen fitters, are allowed to work in homes as long as they stick to the government's latest guidelines, including social distancing.
Whether you live in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, the levels of restrictions on retailers will vary. Each nation is setting out its own plans to ease restrictions further in the coming days, so we'd recommend you check with your local store for up-to-date opening times before making a journey.
Keep reading to see the latest on fitted kitchen retailers' design, delivery and installation options.
|Retailer||Stores open||Design appointment format||Delivering?||Installation services|
|B&Q||Kitchen design services available in 174 stores||In-person in 174 stores||Home delivery||n/a|
|Benchmarx||No||Phone or video call||Collection by appointment from 69 stores or home delivery||n/a|
|DIY Kitchens||Online retailer but its one Yorkshire showroom is open||n/a||Home delivery||n/a|
|Homebase||Yes, with design appointments in five stores||In person in five stores, or online video consultation||Yes||No|
|Howdens Joinery||Yes, to trade only (as usual)||Phone or web call||Installer can collect from store||n/a|
|Ikea||No||Online||Home delivery, with restrictions on two-person delivery||No|
Table correct on 19 May, B&Q information updated 26 May.
Update 26 May: 174 B&Q stores have re-opened their kitchen design service. Kitchen showrooms are open to look around in the remaining stores.
Customers sit two metres away from their kitchen designed during the planning appointment.
While stores are closed, you can have a full consultation on the phone or via video call. Your designer will talk you through the process, discuss various options for your kitchen and create a bespoke 3D design.
Customers with an online account can order products, including self-assembly kitchens, taps, sinks and appliances, for delivery.
Where branches are offering a call and collect service, you make an appointment in advance to collect from an allocated point outside the store. Cash payments aren't being accepted.
Five Homebase stores are trialling personal kitchen design appointments in their showrooms. Customers have exclusive use of the showroom during the appointment, social distancing will be maintained and the showroom cleaned between customers.
This is currently available at Altringham, Gateshead, Orpington, Truro and Winchester Homebase stores, with more to follow in June.
Alternatively, you can have a virtual design consultation and get a 3D plan for your kitchen.
It plans to resume kitchen installation services in the next few weeks.
You have to be a trader to buy from Howdens, but you can use its personal design service to plan your kitchen. This lets you consult a designer remotely for expert advice. Howdens will then link you up with a tradesperson to buy and get it installed.
You can book an online planning appointment with a home furnishing expert to design your new kitchen. They will help you measure accurately during the call and can order your kitchen online as part of the appointment.
Ikea kitchens are also available to order online yourself.
Magnet is offering virtual design consultations with designers who are working from home.
They will talk you through options and ideas remotely. Magnet says that the more it knows about you and your dream kitchen, the quicker it can bring it to life.
Magnet says that 'pre-arranged deliveries will now be dispatched on your scheduled date' but its installation service is 'currently paused'.
Wickes stores are now open, but they are not offering kitchen design appointments. Kitchen customers can book a virtual design appointment between 9am and 6pm.
It is operating its home delivery service, though it warns that some products may not be available for delivery if social distancing rules cannot be observed.
There are a very limited number of kitchen units available for click and collect on Wickes' online store.
Wren Kitchens is offering in-person design appointments at its stores. You have to make an appointment in advance and phone when you arrive so you can be let into the store.
Once inside, customers watch an induction video before the appointment and tour the showroom at a distance from the staff member. Anything you touch will be marked and cleaned before the next customer.
You'll then sit at a separate desk and computer to your designer, who will talk through your personalised kitchen design on the screen via an in-store telephone link so you can maintain a social distance.
The government's guidance is that everyone should work from home, unless they can't. This has encouraged many brands to now offer digital or remote alternatives to physical in-store appointments.
In-store appointments must maintain a two-metre distance, not share pens or other equipment, and make sure meetings are in well-ventilated rooms.
To get the most from your design appointment:
Of the stores we checked, almost all are delivering to customers' homes. Traders can collect from Benchmarx as usual. However some stores, including Ikea, aren't delivering products that need two people to carry them. Check whether this will affect your delivery before you place your order.
Government guidelines around home deliveries state that contact should be kept to a minimum during deliveries, paperwork and payments. For example, the driver may phone you, rather than ring your doorbell, to let you know your delivery has arrived. Single workers should unload deliveries (where possible), rather than teams or pairs of drivers. If possible, they may leave your purchases outside your home for you to carry indoors yourself.
New processes that your delivery might involve include:
For example, Wren Kitchens' customers won't sign any documents at the door; they'll be in their online account instead. DIY Kitchens' customers can ask for their delivery to be left in a garage if you'd prefer the driver not to enter your home.
Wickes and Wren Kitchens are currently offering installation services, among the firms we checked.
If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, traders including repair services, fitters and plumbers are allowed to work in your home, in line with the following:
Any traders in your home should maintain social distancing as much as is possible. You should speak to the trader in advance about how to maintain this. Traders may wear face coverings, but it is not compulsory for them to do so.
You can help minimise risk by:
If you live in Scotland, traders are currently only allowed to enter your home for 'essential maintenance or repair (but not improvement)'.