Planning a kitchen
By Liz Ransome-Croker
Article 3 of 8
Our guide takes you through how much a typical kitchen costs, how to get a bargain kitchen, and where and how you can cut your kitchen costs.
The cost of a new kitchen can escalate quickly, soon running into tens of thousands of pounds depending on what materials you go for and which company you use. But choosing carefully and using a few money-saving tricks could cut your final bill considerably.
We've spoken to thousands of kitchen owners (3,443) and experts to get their insider tips on how to cut the cost of your kitchen. We've also worked with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which publishes average building work and repair costs, to bring you the average price of a new kitchen.
The company you choose can make a big difference to your project's overall price, so read our snapshot investigation into the kitchen prices of some of the biggest brands to get an idea of how much a kitchen from each of them will cost.
New kitchen cost
To help you work out how much you should expect to pay for a totally new kitchen, the table below reveals the average cost of a standard or bespoke kitchen, as calculated by RICS. The prices are based on averages for a terraced, semi-detached and detached house.
These prices include the removal of existing units, installation of new units, fittings, flooring and wall tiles, as well as plumbing and decorating. They also include a built-in hob, cooker, extractor fan, kitchen sink and taps.
Updating kitchen units, doors and worktops
Wondering whether to refresh rather than replace your kitchen? We've rounded up the average prices for replacing or repairing doors and drawers and fitting a replacement kitchen worktop.
|Kitchen worktop replacement|
|Material quality, thickness and width||1m||2m||3m||5m|
|Standard quality 38mm thick and 600mm wide laminated plastic with rolled edge|
|Good quality 38mm thick and 600mm wide laminated plastic with rolled edge|
Kitchen brand prices
Each kitchen brand displays its prices in a different way, so when browsing online it's almost impossible to work out how much a kitchen will cost, and whether it's overpriced when compared with a similar kitchen from a different brand.
The only way to know for sure would be to traipse around numerous kitchen stores getting quotes. Thankfully, we've done the hard work for you.
Based on a specific layout and mid-range kitchen, we carried out a snapshot investigation (summer 2017) to get quotes from all the big kitchen companies.
We visited two stores for each brand, and have listed the two different prices we were given in our table below. These prices are just for kitchen units and a worktop, and don't include installation, appliances, a sink or taps.
Only Which? members can see the prices in the table by logging in. You'll also find out what we've learnt about how to get the lowest price for your kitchen.
The gallery below shows which kitchen and worktop we were quoted for by each brand. The layouts pictured are not the ones that we got a quote for (see below for our kitchen plan), but they will give you an idea of the style of each kitchen.
What you can do to save money
Our mini investigation uncovered more than just prices - we discovered lots of inside information that you could use to reduce the price of your kitchen.
Which? members can log in now to find out what you can do to help avoid the traps that are easy to fall into. To unlock all this advice, as well as our kitchen brand reviews and thousands of product reviews, join Which? today.
This will also give you access to our customer satisfaction results - where customers rated these kitchen brands for customer service, quality, durability and value for money - and reveal which brands became Best Buys after our lab assessments of kitchen units.
Kitchen prices: how we did it
Using a set kitchen layout (see below), we visited two stores for each brand to ask for a price for one of its mid-range kitchens and worktops (including VAT and without installation). The kitchens and worktops used were based on what the brand identified as its most popular mid-range kitchen and a worktop to accompany it (see gallery above).
We asked each company to quote us for the exact layout we wanted, as per our plan below. We asked for everything needed to fill the kitchen’s space, and for basic fittings but no extras, such as taps or a splashback.
The kitchen was a straight run of units designed to fit along a single wall, including: two 100cm-wide base units; two 60cm-wide drawer units; two 50cm-wide wall units; one 60cm-wide tall larder cupboard; one 60cm-wide oven housing for a built-in oven and space for a 60cm-wide freestanding dishwasher.
The total length of the kitchen was 5.04 metres and it was 3 metres wide. The visits were done in June and July 2017, and each kitchen brand was visited twice.
Please note that while this plan was checked by kitchen fitters, it's only a guide for the purpose of getting a rough quote. It would potentially need tweaking in the real world.
Where there was no exact match for components, the companies were asked to replace with the nearest similar alternative.
Where we found that main items were incorrectly quoted, we made sure these were corrected. Any extras, such as lighting, that the customer was made aware of, were removed from the quote.
Kitchen budget plannerTo help you assess how much you will need to spend, download our budget planning calculator to work out costs for extra work on heating, plumbing and electrics.
Cheap kitchen tips
We asked 3,443 kitchen owners what they did to cut the cost of their fitted kitchen. Which? members can log in to see what tricks you could employ to shave money off your final design.
Our page on kitchen units, doors and worktops will give you more of an idea as to what materials are available, and which will better stand the test of time, according to people who have lived with them.
Kitchen sales and second-hand kitchens
Look out for sales to grab a bargain kitchen – post-Christmas, pre-Easter and summer are usually good times to buy.
If you're able to, pay at least £100 of the deposit on your credit card. This will give you extra rights, in the event that you encounter problems later. Check the payment schedule before signing any contracts for products and fitting.
You can also 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.
Whether you get a new kitchen or a second-hand one, if it's from a big brand, it's worth checking how highly its customers rate it.
Our fitted kitchens review rates and ranks the most popular fitted kitchen brands based on customer feedback, including B&Q, Homebase, Howdens Joinery, Ikea, John Lewis, Magnet, Wren Kitchens and Wickes.
If you decide to buy all new appliances, a typical collection, including a washing machine, built-in oven, hob, cooker hood, dishwasher and fridge freezer, will cost from around £1,500 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. Read our full guide to kitchen appliances to see how much you have to pay to get a Best Buy - they're not always the most expensive - and to help you choose the best for you.
Kitchen installation and tradesman costs
Installation is an extra expense on top of the kitchen itself. It can cost anything from £250 for pre-assembled units up to around £1,000, depending on the size of your kitchen and what's being installed.
Your kitchen's plumbing, electrical wiring and waste water pipes also have a bearing on the overall cost. The more pipework and wiring that you need to move, the higher the cost of your project will be. That means that installation will be significantly cheaper if you retain the layout of your old kitchen.
Many kitchen companies offer an installation service, at extra cost. We asked customers about their experiences with the kitchen brand they used for installation, including the speed and quality of installation, the amount of mess made and the communication with their installer.
Overall customer scores ranged from 51% to 83%, so it's worth taking a look at our guide to kitchen brand installation if you want to use the company you're buying the kitchen from.
But you don't have to use the kitchen company you buy from to install it; 18% of people in our survey found their own installer, while 9% installed it themselves and 7% got a friend or family member to do it.
17% of the people who used their own installer said they opted to do so because it was cheaper than using the kitchen brand's service.
You can use our free Which? Trusted Trader service to find recommended plumbers, electricians and kitchen fitters who have been through our stringent vetting process.
Which? and RICS research
In October/November 2017 we asked 3,443 Which? members about the kitchen they bought in the past 10 years and their experiences of buying a kitchen and with the brand they bought it from.
In 2018, we assessed three units (a base unit, wall cupboard and a drawer unit) from the kitchen brands that achieved a customer score of 70% or more, as well as four- or five-star ratings for all five elements we asked people about in our survey.
RICS uses cost data from its Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) database, where costs are collated from a variety of sources, and analysed to arrive at the average prices. Material costs are based on the best trade prices from a range of suppliers across the UK, which are then benchmarked to reveal the best national average.
Labour rates are based on the current Building and Allied Trades Joint Industrial Council wage agreement. It then uses this data in a standardised model of the average kitchen.