Bespoke Kitchen Options Explained
Our bespoke kitchen guide will take you through the typical kitchen costs and various options that affect both the cost and end result. So whether you’re looking to cut your kitchen costs or add on some luxury upgrades, you’ve come to the right place.
Although it may sometimes be tempting to pick up a ready-made kitchen from a large chain store for £1,500 you will soon realise that there is a long list of trade-offs, starting from artificial materials emitting VOCs, creaky cabinet doors with uneven gaps, kitchen drawers that stick or even come apart, and at the end of the day, the kitchen is not going to look as good as it should. If you’re thinking about installing a new kitchen, chances are that you’re a keen cook and envisage to spend quite a lot of time in your kitchen. Make sure you get something that will make you enjoy the kitchen.
Although we think that the main factor in choosing the kitchen has to be quality, it’s inevitable that price is going to be a big part of the decision making process.
How much does a bespoke kitchen cost?
Sometimes it’s hard to get a straight answer from kitchen designers and even if you shop around and get multiple quotes, you may end up comparing apples with pears. That’s why it’s important to understand what is included in the price and if there are going to be any surcharges. With the advance of technology, more and more kitchen installers are offering kitchen price calculators (we do, by the way) where you can work out the approximate price by adding the necessary cabinets and other elements. Although the kitchen price calculators are great for getting a rough idea, it’s not until the final quote when the true price can be worked out. You can also check the kitchen price comparison to see how imported factory-made kitchens stack up with the real thing.
The absolute minimum for bespoke kitchens is £2,500 but then we’re looking at small square footage and very basic options like the cheapest worktops and the cheapest cabinet door handles.
A good average price for a wholesome, well-proportioned and artistically conceived kitchen is around £8,000.
The top range for bespoke kitchen prices is around £40,000. You could probably spend more, however, in our experience, £40,000 would provide a top-quality finish even for properties valued at millions of pounds.
The scale between £8K and £40K is down to your imagination. The beautiful thing about bespoke kitchens is that there are hundreds if not thousands of options when it comes to configuration and choice of materials.
We’ll try to break it down a bit to give you a better overview of how to choose options and materials for your bespoke kitchen.
Why are bespoke kitchen cabinets significantly more expensive than the run of the mill options you can pick up from the big stores? Apart from the small details, there are three major factors affecting the price, however, we believe all three are fully justifiable and you will come to appreciate the difference they make.
1. Bespoke kitchen cabinets are made of solid wood. Chipboards and other artificial materials will never give you the finish and feel that you want. Besides they emit VOCs because of the way they’re made. In some cases VOCs are emitted even as long as 20 years after the manufacture date.
2. They are made in the UK or EU. Our kitchens are made in a workshop based in the UK. Some kitchen designers make their items in EU, which is ok too, as long as the quality standards are maintained. The cheap options are most often imported from far away, which is both a trade-off in quality and adds unwanted carbon footprint through transportation.
3. Dovetailed drawers. It may not seem important to you on the spot, however, when you come to think about it, or if you recall one of your old kitchens with those rattling drawers where the front pieces started to come off, you realise that dovetailed drawers are the only correct way to go.
It’s the finer details that make the most difference. For example, soft-close hinges. Once you’ve experienced a kitchen with soft-close hinges, you will never want to go back to slamming the cabinet doors.
Other options affecting the price of cabinets are size and configuration. For example, tall kitchen cabinets are really in fashion now. In fact, our own research showed a strong trend towards favouring tall kitchen cabinets as an extra storage space and a way to achieve a farmhouse feel. According to research, tall kitchen cabinet sales will increase by 7% in 2020.
If your kitchen is big enough and you don’t require a wrap-around work surface, consider designating one wall to tall kitchen cabinets or farmhouse dressers. It will provide a nice flow in the space and you will be truly amazed at the extra storage you get.
Configuration-wise, you can go for straight cabinets with no frills – just some shelves inside. However, if you’re after some optional extras like wine rack or pull-out corner cabinets that help you store all sauce pans in a logical and convenient way, this will affect the price. Also, kitchen cabinets that are designed to conceal dishwashers or other kitchen appliances – they require a special thought and you would have to budget for these.
Kitchen islands are in fashion. According to a recent survey, 42% of people installing new kitchens will also choose to have a kitchen island. The benefits are obvious because kitchen islands are very convenient and they look great. How much does a kitchen island cost? A free-standing kitchen island will cost around £600. A static one will cost more. Of course, the final cost is determined by the complexity of your kitchen island. Many clients now choose to use the island as a basis for various built-in features starting from wine racks and ending with integrated instant boiling water taps. The latter can easily add £3,000 to the cost of a kitchen.
We think that the little details like décor objects can elevate or ruin a kitchen design. If you spend £8,000+ on a new bespoke kitchen, you’re unlikely to want to pick up your décor objects at bargain stores. Since most of our designs are classic or Shaker kitchens, we often encounter customers who wish to recreate a sort of a cottage or rustic feel in their kitchen. One of the best ways to do that is to include copper paraphernalia. Quality antique copper pans or kettles may cost hundreds. If your house refurbishment is a long-term project, you can delay decoration.
Things like butchers block, designer sink, top end taps and hand-made handles can also make a lot of difference to the final price.
Worktops make up a big part of the kitchen cost and you can adjust the cost and the final look and feel of your bespoke kitchen. The cheapest option for a worktop would be laminate. Of course, the price largely depends on the size of the kitchen, however, as a rough guide, a laminate worktop would cost approximately £750.
A solid wood worktop would be £1,500, composite – £2,200 and granite or quartz as high as £3,500 – £5,000. The most expensive worktop option is Dekton – the newest addition to the kitchen worktop range. It’s a relatively recent material, introduced in 2013 and it has taken the industry by a storm. Dekton is a combination of quartz, porcelain and glass and it is very durable and resistant to scratches and cuts. The high-tech nature of this material means that it is one of the most expensive you can go for – a typical price for a Dekton worktop is in the region of £6,000.
Another price point to consider is which appliances to go for. This decision will sway the final kitchen price quite substantially. We work with three different classes of kitchen appliance brands – budget, mid-range and top end.
The budget brands are Beko and Caple. A typical Beko American-style fridge freezer costs a little over £500. A similar size fridge by Neff will add £1,200 to the final bill. The top end brands are Fisher Paukel, Siemens and Miele adding at least £1,400 for an American-style fridge.
Smart kitchen appliances
If you’re going all out to craft a perfect kitchen and you’re a bit of a geek, you may want to look at smart kitchen appliances. A couple of years ago this was just another science fiction dream. Today it’s yet another way in which technology affects our lives. For example, LG and other manufacturers are working on a whole range of smart home appliances that can work in unison with one another and that can be operated through mobile apps or a smart home hub. As it’s emerging technology, a smart fridge freezer can cost more than £2,000.
Although it may be out of reach for some clients, the prices are likely to go down fast with more and more people adopting the new smart technology. This is going to open new opportunities for bespoke kitchen designers as they will have to be able to reconfigure their cabinets to include the new smart gadgets.
Other Factors Affecting Bespoke Kitchen Cost
If you’re starting from bare bricks or if you’re building your new kitchen in an extension, every decision you make is going to affect the final price in one way or other: flooring, electrical installation, tiles, plumbing, additional equipment and décor elements – all this has to be budgeted in when you’re planning your new kitchen.
For example, underfloor heating is a great way to go if you don’t fancy an idea of unsightly radiators taking up valuable wall space.
Kitchen Installation Cost
Most bespoke kitchen designers, even those who make their kitchens in the UK (like us) supply the new kitchens as flat pack. This requires an installer to put the pieces together. You can assemble the kitchen yourself, use a contractor you trust or obtain a list of recommended contractors you’re your kitchen designer. A recent UK consumer survey found that almost 10% of people who have ordered bespoke kitchens have ended up installing it themselves.
A typical bespoke kitchen installation cost in the region of £1.000 – £3,000 depending on the size and complexity of the project. If you’re building a new extension or doing a full refurbishment, kitchen installation is probably already included in your project price. It’s worth to check with the builder before you agree on the job spec.
Painted Kitchens Cost
Although some of our customers prefer the natural hardwood look of our classic kitchens, painted kitchens will require application of primer and paint. Technically, you can do it yourself, however, since it’s subject to fluctuation in temperature and humidity as well as occasional kicks and bumps, this has to be professional primer and professional paint applied by someone who know what they’re doing. Professional paint job cost may average at £1,500 – £3,000 although smaller painted kitchens may end up costing less.
Ways to cut the cost of your kitchen?
Repurpose your old kitchen
In some cases our customers are so fed up with their old kitchen that all they want to do is get a sledgehammer and rip it to pieces. Don’t! Your kitchen may still have a resale value. If it’s not totally knackered, stick it on Gumtree or eBay and you can recoup a few hundred quid. If it can’t be sold as a whole, we bet you can still find materials that can be repurposed or upcycled.
Hunt for a sale
Even the best kitchen designers end up with units that they may struggle to shift. Browse around and look for kitchen sales or end-of-line kitchen units that can be picked up at huge discounts – even 50%.
Avoid costly structural changes
Unless you’re building an extension, you may wish to rethink structural changes. Even a seemingly trivial thing like moving a sink slightly to the left will end up adding hundreds of pounds to the final bill because it involves unplanned plumbing work. If cost saving is on the agenda, try to minimise any structural changes as they tend to trigger the domino effect – to carry out one change, a bunch of other changes has to happen first.
Reduce the number of drawers
Although this tip may sound strange, drawers are the most expensive part of a kitchen so if cost is an issue, try to reduce the number of drawers.
Fit or paint the kitchen yourself
If you fancy a bit of DIY and you no longer consider yourself a newbie, see if you can install and paint the kitchen yourself. This is potentially a hefty saving – you could save as much as £2,000 on the whole job.
Does a new bespoke kitchen pay off?
If you ask savvy people or estate agents, they will always tell you that every decision you make towards house alteration or refurbishment has to be based on added value. Can you increase the value of your property by building an extension, converting your loft or installing an awesome bespoke kitchen?
On one hand, there are areas in the UK where house prices are limited by the so-called ceiling price. If the ceiling price on your street is below the national average, say £260,000 and you spend £40,000 on a new kitchen, unfortunately, that won’t increase your house value to £300,000. On the other hand, if the property market keeps creeping up and you’re lucky enough to live in a postcode that is not much affected by the dreaded ceiling price, your investment will probably pay off.
A recent study by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found that a new kitchen can add 4% to the property value. A similar research by Which? lists 6% as the actual value increase. As we said before, it’s not a huge increase, however, it will work out in your favour if your house is valued at slightly more than average.
For example, if you spend £16,000 to install a bespoke kitchen in a £500,000 worth house and the value goes up by 6%, then you can sell the property for £530,000 meaning you’re now £14,000 better off. However, this is just an example. If you’re planning on installing a kitchen as a way to bump your house value, always ask at least two local estate agents for their thoughts.
The other way to go about this is to evaluate the state of your current kitchen. If you envisage selling your property in the next couple of years and you’re currently stuck with a scruffy IKEA kitchen or some ancient chipboard creation, that is for sure going to devalue your house. Ripping it all out and installing a bespoke kitchen may add little value in monetary terms, however, it will definitely make your property more saleable.
On average, houses stay on the market for 3 months before a buyer is found and in some cases it may take longer or even end up a “no sale”. Kitchen is one of the biggest selling points of a house, so if you want to command the top price and get a quick sale, installing a bespoke kitchen will go a long way to help you achieve this.
Bespoke Kitchens FAQ
Does a bespoke kitchen have dovetailed drawer boxes?
Although there are no rules stating that a bespoke kitchen has to come with dovetailed drawers, in our opinion, there is no point investing in an upmarket product and cutting corners.
What does bespoke kitchen really mean?
A bespoke kitchen is one that is designed and built specifically for you. This is different from ready-made kitchens as it is not based on an existing design and is not made in a big factory. When buying a bespoke kitchen, a designer will work with you to ensure that the kitchen is exactly what you want and fits the space perfectly.
How to plan my new kitchen?
There are a few ways to go about it. The easiest and most widespread method is doing it yourself. You can download a kitchen planner blueprint here, you can use one of the suggested 3D planning software or you can entrust this to a professional.
How do I choose a kitchen that suits my lifestyle?
This process is usually finding the balance between your “head” and your “heart” – you need something that is practical and suits your lifestyle and cooking style, while at the same time you want a kitchen that takes your breath away (not in a direct sense, we hope). We’d suggest you start by exploring galleries of existing kitchens to determine the style you prefer. Or head over to Pinterest, browse some kitchen design boards and create some mood boards for yourself where you collect the kitchen styles you liked. Then get a few kitchen quotes to test the waters and find out how much a bespoke kitchen cost.
What is the best thing about a bespoke kitchen?
It’s handmade and not mass produced, so each kitchen is unique and unrepeatable. The run-of-the-mill readymade kitchens tend to have a plastic feeling and we believe a handmade kitchen gives our customers a perfect authentic feel.
What is the average lead time for a kitchen project?
The lead time can be as short as 6 weeks, however, in our experience, it may take several weeks and several revisions before the kitchen plan is finalised and agreed upon. If you spend upwards of £7,000 you want to make sure your kitchen is perfect, that’s why we’re happy to do as many revisions as necessary to ensure a superb end result.
Bespoke Kitchen Videos
Kitchen Installation Time Lapse Video
Here’s an interesting video showing a DIY installation of a kitchen from start to finish. You can see the actual effort going into the kitchen, however, the end result is stunning:
Here’s another time lapse, interestingly shot from different angles. Also, the project is more complicated and more expensive:
And finally, here’s a video explaining our approach to bespoke kitchens. Have a look and give us a call on 01202 481177 to discuss your project:
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