Fitted Kitchens - A complete buying guide

From preparing delicious meals to helping your children with homework, there’s no doubt that the kitchen is one of the most social in the home.

Your kitchen is a space where everyone comes together. From preparing delicious meals to helping your children with homework, there’s no doubt that this area is one of the most social in the home. That’s why it’s so important to create a space that works for you.

If you’re planning a kitchen renovation, it’s not always easy to find the right balance between practical and stylish. To help you create something special, we’ve put together our expert advice on choosing a fitted kitchen. From getting it right in the planning phase to finding your space, you’ll find plenty of information below.

Budget     Installation    Choosing the Style     Size & Layout     Colour     Worktops    Accessorising     Appliances

Dunham kitchen by Magnet. Smooth matt finish traditional or modern style available in over 20 colours.

Budget

Adding a new kitchen to your home is an exciting prospect. While many of us start to think about design and décor first, one of the most critical parts of the planning phase is budget. Your finances will determine what type of kitchen you can afford and dictate the choices you make throughout the process.

How much is a new kitchen? It depends on what work you want to complete. Minor adjustments, like new cabinets and worktops, are likely to be much cheaper than a full kitchen extension with updates to all your appliances.

To decide your budget, it’s a good idea to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you going to strip out your kitchen and start from scratch?
  • Do you want brand new kitchen cabinets and worktops?
  • Are you planning a kitchen extension?
  • Do you need to move the gas or water source?
  • Do you want new appliances?
  • What type of accessories (like taps, extractor fans and sinks) do you want?
  • What type of flooring, doors and lighting do you want?
  • Will you fit your new kitchen yourself or hire professional help?
  • What other trades (like electricians, plasterers or gas engineers) will you need?
  • Do you want other furniture, like dining tables, islands or bar stools in your space?

All these things can quickly add up, so it is a good idea to plan your new kitchen in detail from the very beginning. By creating an itemised list of the work you want, you can make decisions on what you can and can’t afford.

On average, a new kitchen can cost upwards of £8000. This figure may not include preparation costs like removing an old kitchen or plastering and painting either. It’s a good idea to set your budget before you start looking at fitted kitchens and appliances, so you don’t fall in love with something over budget.

To help plan your kitchen, try our innovative kitchen planner tool. Once you’ve designed your dream kitchen, we’ll give you an approximate quote and put you in touch with one of our in-house kitchen designers.

How to Install

While planning your kitchen budget, it is essential to think about installation. If you choose a newly fitted kitchen, you’ll need to think about who’ll be doing the work when the time comes. There are two fundamental options:

1. Flatpack

Flatpack fitted kitchens are ideal for those on a budget as they tend to be cheaper than custom options. If you choose to do it yourself, be sure that you’re confident in your construction abilities and that you can put together your new kitchen safely.

It is also worth bearing in mind that flat pack kitchens offer less flexibility for layouts and custom designs. To ensure that everything fits correctly, you’ll need to measure and plan your kitchen very carefully.

2. Approved fitter

The most convenient option is choosing a recommended fitter for your kitchen installation. Many kitchen manufacturers have a specialist fitting service, which will supply you with a team that is skilled at installing your chosen kitchen in a high-quality and efficient way.

At Magnet, we have a range of installation options available. Whether you’re already working with a trade professional, need help with choosing a trusted local trade, or want to use our fitting service, you’re sure to find something to suit your needs. We offer installation support in tiers, meaning you can tailor what you want.

Want to learn more? Visit our kitchen installation service section to choose the best option for you.

Choosing your style

Choosing the style of your kitchen is an inherently personal process. It can be a lot of fun too. Whether you love the sleek style of contemporary minimalism or the classic elegance of traditional décor, there are plenty of kitchen cabinet ideas to explore.
Dunham kitchen by Magnet. Smooth matt finish traditional or modern style available in over 20 colours.

Shaker

Shaker kitchens timelessly deliver minimalism. Their clean lines and simple appeal are particularly well-suited to country kitchens.

Modern

For contemporary styling, choose a flat (or slab) fronted kitchen. These modern kitchens look exceptionally sleek in a gloss finish, lending an ultra-cool sophistication to every kitchen space.

Handleless

To create a minimalist design with edgy detail, a handleless kitchen is the best way to achieve this. Why not opt for a bold hue (like Graphite) to create something spectacular.

Size and Layout

Deciding on the layout of your kitchen is the next big step. Kitchen layouts should be functional, making the most of your space while keeping aesthetics in mind. The key to designing a usable space is to divide it into zones. These may include:

The cooking zone
This is likely to include your hob, oven, extractor, and pots and pans storage.

The preparation zone
This may include your refrigerator, preparation worktops, pantry cupboard space, and crockery storage.

The washing-up zone
You may want to include your sink, draining area, dishwasher and cleaning product storage here.

The dining zone
If you are planning a kitchen diner, you may want to include a breakfast bar area, dining table space, bar area, and cups/glasses storage nearby.

It’s usually best to have the cooking, preparation, and washing up zone within easy reach of each other.

Many subscribe to the ‘work triangle’ school of thought when planning kitchens, which suggests that you situate these three zones in a triangle shape to ensure you have unobstructed movement between the three.

Kitchen layouts

With the zones in mind, you might consider these kitchen layouts:

Galley kitchens

Galley kitchens are common in homes across the country, and it’s easy to see why. With this layout, you have a central corridor surrounded by your kitchen cabinets and appliances. They’re an excellent choice for those looking for small kitchen ideas, as they give efficient storage and workspace for the footprint you have available.

U shaped kitchen

For larger spaces, U shaped kitchens are a must. Both practical and aesthetically pleasing, U shapes allow you to maximise floor space while getting plenty of cupboard storage in return.

If you’re looking for small kitchen ideas and still want to make us of a U shape, we suggest choosing reduced depth cabinets to give you enough floor space to be comfortable.
Ascoli by Magnet. Affordable contemporary kitchen constructed from 18mm MFC. Available in 6 colours.

L shaped kitchen

As the name suggests, L shaped kitchens have two cabinet runs at right angles of adjacent walls. L shaped is a particularly useful layout for creating the work triangle and can make very efficient use of the space you have available.

If space allows, you may want to experiment with an L shaped kitchen diner.

I shaped kitchen

If you’re searching for small kitchen ideas, I shaped kitchens are your go-to. These kitchens are fitted against one wall in your space, making efficient use of the footprint you have available. With an I shaped kitchen, you can use the rest of your space for dining or combine your living area into the kitchen for open plan design.

Island kitchen

With an island kitchen, a central unit sits in the middle of the room with cabinets fitted against the surrounding walls. The island layout is trendy and well-suited to large kitchens. It creates a practical area for cooking, preparing, or even socialising, making the most of unused space.

Planning your colour palette

No doubt planning your colour palette is one of the most exciting moments in the kitchen renovation process. Whether you’ve been browsing for kitchen inspiration or collecting paint swatches, there are plenty of options to explore.

The good news is that the sky’s the limit when choosing your fitted kitchen colour. From bold hues to classic shades, your kitchen manufacturer will have plenty of options to present.

However, it’s worth thinking about the finish of your kitchen too. Options usually include:

  • Matt
  • Glass
  • High Gloss
  • Super High Gloss

 

It may be worth looking at a kitchen design tool or visiting a showroom to get a feel for what you like.

Find out more about our range of kitchen colours here.

Worktops

Worktops are just as important as cabinets when it comes to the look and feel of your kitchen. Whether you prefer natural textures or a glossy granite, there are a variety of worktops to discover. These fall into two categories:

Humanmade

Laminate or composite worktops are an excellent choice for those on a budget, and they look exquisite too. They can also be just as hardwearing as natural textures and may be easier to clean. The real benefit of choosing a humanmade worktop is that you can get creative with your style. With a variety of effects and colour finishes, it’s easy to create something truly spectacular.

Natural

Natural textures continue to be a popular choice for kitchen worktops. The most popular options tend to be wood, quartz, and granite and each of these are exquisite in kitchens of every style. Whether you’re channelling a minimal Scandi vibe or an edgy industrial design, you’re sure to find something to suit your décor.

Accessorising your space

When planning your space, it’s important to remember your kitchen accessories. These can make a real difference to the look and feel of your kitchen and add some serious style to your décor. Whether you’re looking for something classic or quirky, it’s a good idea to plan your accessories from the start.

Taps

Kitchen taps can add the perfect finishing touch to your space. From brushed brass to sleek chrome, there are a variety of options to suit both contemporary and traditional styling.

Sinks

From Belfast sinks to sleek stainless steel, it’s important to plan in your sink space right from the beginning. For example, be sure you have enough allocated space if you want a sizeable double design or consider additional water sources if you want a small preparation sink in addition to your main one.

Lighting

The right lighting can take your kitchen from standard to stylish. From under-cabinet spotlighting to statement pendant lights, there’s a range of considerations to bear in mind.

Flooring

Flooring is another important consideration, and it’s not just an aesthetic one. Think about durability and ease-of-cleaning before you make your decision to save difficulty in the future.

Pick your appliances

Of course, no kitchen is complete without the right appliances. It’s a good idea to begin thinking about what you want right at the start of your planning phase. The size, depth and functionality of your chosen appliances might affect the design of your fitted kitchen. You may also want to think about how to arrange your kitchen appliances early on, as this may impact the layout you eventually choose. When it comes to must-have appliances, we suggest thinking about your:

Refrigerators

Do you want an under cabinet design or freestanding fridge? Will you choose an American-style fridge-freezer or something more compact? These will all impact your kitchen plans, so think carefully about your choice.

Oven

There’s a range of oven styles and sizes to choose from, so it’s essential to plan what you intend to fit in your space.
Hob

Hobs

Like with ovens, there’s a range of sizes and styles to discover. We suggest thinking about your cooking routine before you decide. For example, if you regularly host dinner parties, you may want to choose a five or six-zone hob.

Hoods

Hoods are essential for keeping your kitchen clean and hygienic while cooking. They can be a real style statement too. If you want to include an extractor fan in your space, be sure to plan this in. Remember, you may need to make structural changes depending on the type of extractor you choose.