The best fitted kitchens for a stylish home 2024

We reveal the best fitted kitchen brands—from ranges on offer and guarantees to pricing and buying options.

By Rachel Ogden

October 19, 2023
Dark home interior in blue with open kitchen and dining area with round table

All products and services featured are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Jump to: What is a fitted kitchen? | How much does a new kitchen cost? | Best fitted kitchen companies in the UK | Our recommendation | Other companies to consider | Ready-to-fit vs showroom | How to plan a kitchen renovation | Kitchen worktops | Kitchen units | FAQ | Methodology

Redesigning your kitchen is a big undertaking and requires you to make a lot of decisions, from the colour scheme to the types of cabinets you want. Perhaps one of the most important choices is which retailer will provide your fitted kitchen. There are several national providers that offer a wide range of styles, colours and finishes, appliances, and services. In this article, we’ve reviewed seven of the most popular retailers below, assessing how many different styles of kitchen they offer, services available, finance options, installation options, homeowner feedback, and the length of guarantees to help you make the right choice.

What is a fitted kitchen?

One of the choices you’ll have to make when designing your new kitchen is whether you want it to be freestanding or fitted. There are major differences between the two types of kitchen, so you’ll need to consider which is best for you.

A freestanding or unfitted kitchen usually consists of base units, dressers, cupboards, and islands that aren’t permanently attached. While the upside of an unfitted kitchen is that you can take it with you when you move, fitted kitchens offer many advantages that make them a worthwhile investment.

Fitted kitchens—made of units that are attached to the wall or floor, often with integrated or built-in appliances—are the norm for many homeowners. This concept makes the most of the space you have, as units fit flush, worktops are routed in, and each piece of furniture can be tailored to fit the space. The overall look is streamlined, with the ability to incorporate storage solutions and hide unsightly elements.

For the purpose of this article, we discuss only fitted kitchens, as many retailers offer fitted kitchens. First, let’s at how much a new kitchen costs and the factors that can impact the final price.

How much does a new kitchen cost?

The cost of a new kitchen depends on a number of factors, so it can be hard to estimate how much you should budget for when planning your project. On the lower end of the price scale, you could pay as little as £3,000 for a small kitchen with a simple update, whereas a larger project that includes new floors, tiles, and lighting or changing the layout of the kitchen could cost upwards of £60,000. 

Let’s take a look at some of the factors that can impact the cost of a fitted kitchen.

The size of your kitchen

This will be one of the most important factors to consider when setting your kitchen renovation budget. A small kitchen will obviously cost less than a large kitchen, as it will require fewer units to fill the space. As an example, IKEA has eight-unit kitchens listed on its website for as little as £475, not including appliances or door handles. On the other hand, high-end kitchens from retailers like Harvey Jones can start at £18,000.

Kitchen layout

Along with size, the layout of your kitchen will be a major determining factor in your budget. A simple, one-wall or galley kitchen is likely to cost less than a U-shaped or open-plan kitchen with a complicated layout. Another important thing to consider is whether you’re happy with your current layout or want to include a more extensive refurbishment. Remember that changing your layout or the location of your appliances and sink will likely require you to hire an electrician, gas engineer, and plumber to carry out the necessary work, which will push your costs even higher.

Materials

When it comes to kitchen units and kitchen worktops, there is a variety of materials to choose from, and all of them will come with unique price tags. For instance, solid wood cabinets will cost much more than those made out of medium-density fibreboard (MDF), but they will also be more durable. It’s important to note that the cost of timber has increased by more than 35% in the UK in the last year due to supply constraints and inflation, so the cost of your kitchen units is likely to fluctuate depending on where you live. 

Worktops typically come in six material choices: laminate, wood, Corian, granite, quartz, and marble. Laminate is the most affordable, while natural stone worktops such as quartz and marble are more expensive. Like timber, the cost of stone worktops can vary in different locations around the UK depending on supply issues.

Kitchen flooring and tiles

If you are planning to replace your flooring or wall tiles during your kitchen renovation, this will cost more, as you might need to hire specific tradespeople to install them in addition to your kitchen fitters. Again, materials will also impact the cost, with vinyl and laminate floors usually being the most affordable option and solid wood or stone tiles being the most expensive. Wall tiles also vary greatly in price depending on whether they’re natural stone, ceramic, or vinyl.

Lighting

While it is possible to buy inexpensive light fixtures, the cost of installing new lighting could increase if you’re considering changing it altogether. For example, switching from pendant lights to recessed lighting will involve replacing your entire kitchen ceiling and hiring an electrician to install the necessary wiring. 

Old kitchen removal and installation

While many fitted kitchen companies offer an in-house installation service and can include the cost of installation in your quote, some only supply the cabinets and appliances. If you’re required to source your own kitchen fitter, we recommend getting quotes from several installers to find the one that fits your budget. You should also be sure your fitter will work with your kitchen supplier and vice versa. Most of the time, companies that don’t have an in-house installation team will be able to provide a list of recommended local fitters that they have worked with in the past.

When you get a quote, be sure to check whether this includes removal and disposal of your old kitchen units and appliances, as some installers might charge extra for this. Since your old kitchen will be considered commercial or construction waste, your installer might be charged to dispose of it legally, and they will pass this cost on to you. You should also ensure the person or company handling the disposal has a waste carrier licence, as this will assure you that your waste material won’t end up being fly-tipped illegally. 

Hidden costs of a new kitchen

You may have heard horror stories about homeowners starting what should have been a simple kitchen renovation only to discover problems that need to be addressed before continuing. This is not only frustrating and can delay your project, but it could also end up costing you much more than you were expecting or have budgeted for. For example, if your current kitchen is fairly outdated and you’re replacing your appliances, you might find that the electrics in your kitchen do not provide sufficient power for modern products. This will require an electrician to rewire your kitchen. Another common problem that is difficult to spot until your old kitchen is removed is damp, rotten, or damaged floors under the units, which will need to be replaced before your new units can be installed. 

There are other costs associated with a kitchen renovation that are not always thought of but can be budgeted for, such as the cost of ordering take-away meals or going out to eat while you’re without a working kitchen, higher electricity bills due to your installers running their equipment, and parking fees for your fitter’s vehicles if you live on a metered street.

Comparing the cost of the best fitted kitchen companies in the UK

In the table below, we break down the prices on offer from each of the fitted companies we’ve reviewed for their example kitchens.

Fitted kitchen companyCost (excluding installation and appliances)

Wren

From £505 (eight units)

Wickes

From £929 (eight units)

Magnet

From £2,400 (eight units)

John Lewis

From £4,500 (12 units)

Neptune

From £8,000 (eight units)

Harvey Jones

From £18,000 (estimate for unknown number of units)

Smallbone

Average £60,000 (estimate for unknown number of units)

The 7 best fitted kitchen companies in the UK

Wickes fitted kitchens

Fast facts 

What we like: Wickes is the place to head to if you’re looking for a one-stop shop. It offers a wide range of kitchens to choose from, as well as tiling, lighting, and flooring to complete your dream room. You can opt for a virtual or in-person appointment with its experienced design consultants and see a 3D plan of your kitchen, and they’ll even handle all the installation.

Wickes makes an excellent choice for those on a budget by offering flexible payment options—including buy now/pay later and monthly payment plans ranging from 12 to 48 months. Plus, its warranties give real peace of mind. It offers a 20-year guarantee on cabinets, 10 years on doors and drawers, and, if you choose installation from one of its approved, trusted installers, their work is guaranteed for two years.

Read our full Wickes fitted kitchens review.

What homeowner reviews say

Based on the most recent 100 Trustpilot kitchen reviews, we noted that Wickes’s Design Consultant service is highly rated. However, reviews also mention missing parts, delayed deliveries, and that aftercare can be inconsistent.

Upsides and downsides of Wickes

While Wickes offers a wide range of fitted kitchens and is rated highly by customers, there are some pros and cons to consider before choosing it to install your new kitchen.

UpsidesDownsides

Dry or wet fitting available—choose to have just the units and appliances installed, or include floors, tiles, and lighting.

Limited colour options on some ranges

Multiple payment options available

Installation can vary in quality depending on local fitters

Long guarantees on fitted kitchens

How much do Wickes fitted kitchens cost?

Wickes is one of the most affordable fitted kitchen companies in the UK, offering ranges in various price points to suit any budget. However, it does not provide guide prices for its Bespoke kitchen ranges online because these are made to measure. Instead, the company puts its kitchens into three price brackets from least expensive to most expensive. However, online estimates place the most affordable Bespoke kitchen range, the Kendal, at around £1,369 as a starting price. Below, we’ve broken down the cost of its more affordable Lifestyle kitchens.

Kitchen rangeCost for eight units (excluding appliances and installation)

Dakota

From £929

Orlando

From £1,027

Ohio

From £1,124

Madison

From £1,369

Camden

From £3,128


Magnet fitted kitchens

Fast facts

What we like: From its humble beginnings as a joinery business in 1918 to full kitchens in the 1970s, Magnet has grown to become a kitchen retailer with more than 195 showrooms nationwide. However, you’ll still find everything that has made it the UK’s largest kitchen specialist: a good range of designs, TrustMark accreditation for installation, and a 3D plan of your kitchen.

The company makes it easy to plan and buy your kitchen, offering virtual appointments and in-store visits, as well as payment options that include interest-free credit, pay monthly, and buy now/pay later. You can even receive samples of cabinets, worktops, and accessories at home. Then you can view, approve, and pay for your design online.

Read our full Magnet fitted kitchens review.

What homeowner reviews say

Magnet is highly rated on Trustpilot with 4.6 stars. Based on the most recent 100 reviews, we note that the majority rate the company as excellent from start to finish. Sadly, some customers have had issues with product quality.

Upsides and downsides of Magnet

Magnet is a well-known fitted kitchen provider, having been in the business for decades. However, just like any company, you should consider the pros and cons.

UpsidesDownsides

Large range of kitchens and customisation options available

Can be expensive for those on a budget

Long warranties

Dry-fit only—you will need to sort new floors, tiling, plumbing, electricity, and plastering elsewhere.

Rated highly for customer service

Some customer reviews say Magnet’s recommended fitters are expensive

How much do Magnet fitted kitchens cost?

As with any fitted kitchen company, the price you pay with Magnet will depend on your final design, but the company does offer guide prices on its website, some of which we’ve outlined below.

Kitchen rangeCost for eight units (excluding appliances and installation)

Ascoli

From £2,393

Nova

From £3,101

Tatton

From £3,512

Luna

From £3,541

Ludlow

From £4,077

Winchester

From £4,123

Hoxton

From £4,687

Wardley

From £5,348

Soho

From £5,908

Dunham

From £6,004

Nordic Nature

From £6,739


Wren fitted kitchens

Fast facts 

What we like: One of Wren’s primary selling points is that its kitchens are manufactured in the UK, with each one made to measure to fit your space. However, its wide choice of designs, 3D plans, 105 showrooms nationwide, a handy app, and transparent prices make it a favourite retailer for many. There’s even the option of virtual-reality tours of your kitchen in some showrooms.

Appointments can be in-person or virtual. The company also offers an installation service—although it’s worth noting that this is dry-fit only, which means it won’t include plumbing, electrics, tiling, and plastering. There are also finance options, including interest-free credit; buy now/pay later; and pay monthly so you can pay for your kitchen flexibly.  

What homeowner reviews say

Most customers rate Wren kitchens as excellent or great on Trustpilot. Based on the most recent 100 reviews, we note that many mention good-quality products and helpful sales advisors. However, quality control and manufacturing defects appear to be issues.

Upsides and downsides of Wren

Although Wren is one of the most popular fitted kitchen companies in the UK, it’s still important to weigh up the benefits and drawbacks of choosing them.

UpsidesDownsides

Wide range of kitchens and customisation options

Dry-fit only—you will need to sort new floors, tiling, plumbing, electricity, and plastering elsewhere.

Good company reputation

Some customer reviews point out issues with quality control

Transparent prices

How much do Wren fitted kitchens cost?

Wren offers its kitchens in four ranges—Vogue, Easy-Fit, Infinity, and Infinity Plus—and each comes with its own price range. The company offers something to suit any budget.

Kitchen rangeCost for eight units (excluding appliances and installation)

Vogue Slab

From £505

Vogue Autograph

From £1,087

Vogue J Pull

From £1,308

Easy-Fit Slab

From £1,405

Easy-Fit Autograph

From £1,625

Easy-Fit Shaker

From £1,975

Infinity Autograph

From £1,335

Infinity J Pull

From £1,399

Infinity Linea

From £1,954

Infinity Shaker

From £2,594

Autograph Elements

From £3,244

Milano Ultra

From £3,372

Country Ermine

From £3,748

Georgian Ermine

From £4,144

Shaker Forest

From £4,195

Shaker Chelsea Ermine

From £4,220

Milano Elements

From £5,286

Infinity Plus Handleless

From £5,460

Contour Spectrum

From £6,356


Harvey Jones fitted kitchens

Fast facts 

What we like: There might only be five kitchens to choose from at Harvey Jones—ranging from classic Shaker style to modern flat-fronted designs—but each one is built to last. Its kitchens use traditional handmade techniques, such as in-frame construction and dovetailed drawers for longevity, and they are built in the UK. And while the company has only 31 showrooms across the country, it offers virtual home visits and showroom experiences for those who don’t live nearby.

One big plus is that Harvey Jones’s kitchen designers manage the project throughout the process until it’s installed by one of its skilled installers. The company also offers finance options, including paying monthly. 

What homeowner reviews say

Harvey Jones has a consistently high rating on Trustpilot with a score of 4.6. Most reviews mention the quality of service and well-built furniture. Negative reviews are few but tend to revolve around delays.

Upsides and downsides of Harvey Jones

As with any company, you should weigh up the pros and cons of Harvey Jones before contacting it for a quote.

UpsidesDownsides

Highly customisable because cupboards are hand painted after installation

Expensive

Made to order, so you can alter the size of your units

Short guarantee compared to competitors

Easy to repaint if you want to change your kitchen without buying new cupboards

The process from design to installation can take a long time

How much do Harvey Jones fitted kitchens cost?

Because Harvey Jones makes all of its cabinets to order, it is impossible to give an exact price for your fitted kitchen unless you book a design consultation. However, online estimates suggest you can expect to pay at least £18,000 for a Harvey Jones kitchen, though larger kitchens can cost upwards of £50,000 or more.


Neptune fitted kitchens

Fast facts 

What we like: Believe it or not, Neptune started its life selling hammocks before branching out into pieces for the garden, then furniture and kitchens. Founded in 1996, its first “design family” was Chichester, still one of the four timber kitchen ranges it offers today. While the company is based in Wiltshire, all kitchens are made at its own production house in China, yet are reassuringly sturdy, constructed from solid oak, tulipwood, and hardwood ply.

One plus of Neptune is that you can buy more than just the kitchen—the company also offers flooring, tiles, paint, window treatments, and lighting. Unlike many kitchen companies, though, while the design consultation is free, there’s a £350 fee for your design. However, it’s redeemable against a kitchen order. You’ll only have to put down a 20% deposit until it’s time for your kitchen to be delivered. But there aren’t any financing options.

What homeowner reviews say

Neptune has a 4.1 rating overall on Trustpilot, with the majority of reviews mentioning the quality of the kitchen furniture and good service. Recent reviews do mention issues with quality and installation, however.

Upsides and downsides of Neptune

Neptune has a strong brand reputation, but we’ve examined the pros and cons of choosing this company for your new kitchen.

UpsidesDownsides

Expert in-home design and measurement service available

Expensive

Cabinets are repainted after installation to ensure high quality

Dry-fit only—you will need to sort new floors, tiling, plumbing, electricity, and plastering elsewhere.

Lifetime guarantee when installed by a Neptune-approved fitter

No finance options listed

How much do Neptune fitted kitchens cost?

As with other bespoke fitted kitchen companies, Neptune does not provide guide prices on its website, as each kitchen is made to order. However, its brochure says its kitchens start at £8,000 for the cabinets, while online estimates say you could pay up to £50,000 for a fully fitted kitchen.


Smallbone fitted kitchens

Fast facts

What we like: For those with a generous budget, a bespoke kitchen by Smallbone makes a great investment in your home. Handmade in Wiltshire, its award-winning designs encompass contemporary and classic styles with an extensive choice of materials and finishes, from scalloped glass to striking wood veneers. And for those who like the personal touch, each finished piece bears the name of the person who made it.

The options for real-life viewing are limited to two showrooms, both in the London area. However, virtual consultations are available. While each kitchen comes with a “Smallbone guarantee”, the company isn’t specific about the length. There’s also no mention of finance options. 

What homeowner reviews say

Surprisingly, Smallbone’s Trustpilot rating is average at 3.4, although most positive reviews within the most recent 100 refer to outstanding service and quality. As the company has changed hands in recent years, there’s been some service disruption.

Upsides and downsides of Smallbone

When you consider the cost of Smallbone fitted kitchens, it is especially important to research the company’s pros and cons before contacting them for a quote.

UpsidesDownsides

Truly bespoke, hand-made cabinets

Very expensive

Good brand reputation

Only two showrooms in London—if you live elsewhere you will be offered a virtual design consultation

Extensive choice of materials and finishes

No transparency on guarantees or finance options

How much do Smallbone fitted kitchens cost?

Since all of Smallbone’s kitchens are custom-made to order, it does not provide guide prices on its website. The only way to get an accurate cost is to book a design consultation. However, our research shows the average Smallbone kitchen costs around £60,000.


John Lewis fitted kitchens

Fast facts 

What we like: John Lewis has been selling kitchens for nearly 90 years and has won best-buy awards for its units, so it’s no surprise that many head to the High Street for their kitchen. It offers a broad range of designs, from classic to contemporary, as well as flooring and lighting, and all John Lewis kitchens are hand-built in the UK. 

There are kitchen showrooms in 25 of its stores, or you can book a virtual appointment that includes a showroom tour. The company also offers a flexible way to buy—with monthly payment plans from 12 to 60 months—and a transparent pricing structure, with estimated costs for different designs and worktop options. 

What homeowner reviews say

Based on the most recent 100 Trustpilot reviews that mention kitchens, we noted that positive feedback tends to be focused on service. However, negative reviews mention a lack of aftercare.

Upsides and downsides of John Lewis

Before making a decision on which company to choose for your new kitchen, you should research the pros and cons of each.

UpsidesDownsides

Transparent pricing

Negative online reviews point to poor customer service

Flexible payment plans

Kitchen showrooms only available in 25 stores in the UK

Good range of designs and colours

How much do John Lewis fitted kitchens cost?

While not the least expensive brand on our list, John Lewis does offer a fairly large range of prices. Take into consideration the fact that the company lists 12 units in its example prices, whereas other suppliers in our guide provide prices for eight units, so it’s possible you could get a smaller kitchen for a lower cost than the ones outlined below.

Kitchen rangeCost for 12 units (excluding appliances and installation)

Merano

From £4,491

Fairford

From £5,196

Aldham

From £5,222

Astbury

From £5,593

Modena

From £5,776

Savina

From £5,884

Hanover

From £6,238

Carradale

From £6,861

Chester

From £6,861

Ambleside

From £6,861

Burford

From £7,731

Leckford

From £7,731

Windsor

From £9,222

Highgrove

From £9,581

Our recommendation

Your budget may dictate where you buy your kitchen, but knowing what different retailers offer can help you make that decision. Wickes is a good choice for many, thanks to its large collection of kitchens and ability to supply other items, such as tiling and flooring. A range of payment options, skilled design consultants, and long guarantees are big plus points. 

Harvey Jones is a solid option if a timeless kitchen appeals to you. Good service was noted repeatedly in reviews, as were aftercare and furniture quality. While its kitchen offering is limited, Neptune also came out as a favourite place to buy a kitchen, with good service and transparent pricing appealing to its buyers. However, you’ll need to have the budget set aside as no financing options are advertised.

More fitted kitchen companies to consider

While we’ve listed several fitted kitchen suppliers in this guide, there is a huge market for new kitchens in the UK, so we recommend shopping around. Other companies that are well worth researching include British Standard Cupboards, Homebase, B&Q, Howdens, and IKEA. These retailers offer kitchen ranges that suit a number of budgets and tastes, so you might find they have options that are more in line with your dream.

Comparing ready-to-fit and showroom kitchens

In this guide, we’ve focused on showroom kitchens rather than ready-to-fit. Generally, the differences between them are these:

How to plan a kitchen renovation

Making the decision to get a new kitchen is not easy—as there’s a lot of planning involved, and it’s a big expense. However, updating your fitted kitchen is a great way to breathe new life into your home and potentially add value if you’re planning to sell your house in the near future.

There are some important things to consider when planning a kitchen renovation, which we’ll explore briefly below. You can read our full guide to planning your new kitchen here.

Your kitchen’s shape

The layout of your kitchen is a critical consideration when planning a renovation. Most importantly, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll keep your current layout or opt for a new kitchen shape altogether. Of course, this will depend on the size and shape of the room your kitchen is in. Changing the layout of your kitchen will cost much more than keeping the existing shape, but if your budget allows, it can be a nice way to maximise your space and achieve your dream kitchen. 

The most common kitchen shapes in the UK are:

Single-wall and galley kitchens tend to be on the small side and therefore less expensive than larger kitchens, which require more units to fill the space.

Kitchen design

All of the manufacturers on our list offer a range of kitchen designs to suit different tastes, so you’ll need to consider which one will match the style of your home. Kitchen designs are usually split into three categories:

Kitchen elements

When thinking about what you want to achieve with your new kitchen or when sitting down with a consultant to design it, you’ll need to consider the various components that make up a kitchen. This includes the cabinets, the worktops, splashbacks, sinks and taps, appliances, flooring, lighting, and accessories such as storage organisers and drawer inserts. Each of the elements will come with their own choices, such as the materials you choose for your cupboards and worktops, which we’ll explore in more detail later.

Your budget

We recommend doing a bit of research to find out roughly how much people have paid for fitted kitchens that match your vision. Setting a clear budget will be an important step in choosing a supplier and an installer. It will also allow you to be more informed when it comes to gathering quotes, as you’ll know if a company is charging too much for what you want.

If you’re thinking about getting a new kitchen to increase your home’s value, experts recommend budgeting around 8% of its current value, as a new kitchen could add around 4% to 10% in value. However, this is not guaranteed, so like any home improvement, the cost is a gamble. As mentioned earlier, there could be some hidden costs in a kitchen renovation, so it’s a good idea to factor in an extra 10% to 15% of your budget for surprise expenses.  

Choosing your fitted kitchen company

Once you’ve got an idea of how you want your new kitchen to look and how much you can spend, it will be easier to choose which fitted kitchen companies to contact for quotes. Most retailers have very user-friendly websites that allow you to browse their ranges, colour options, worktops, and other kitchen elements to determine if they have the products to match your vision. Not every retailer provides guide prices on their websites, however, so it’s important to look up independent reviews to get an idea of what other customers have paid for their kitchens. This could be critical if you’re on a tight budget, as you wouldn’t want to contact a company that typically charges £10,000 if you know you can only spend £5,000, for example.

What is the best kitchen worktop material?

One of the most essential aspects of your new kitchen design is the worktops. They not only add character to your space but also act as your food preparation area. This means your kitchen worktops have to be built to withstand spills, scratches, heat, and so many other potentially damaging factors. But with a range of materials available—stone, wood, laminate, and Corian—which is the best type of worktop to get?

Read our full guide to choosing the best kitchen worktops.

Stone

If style and durability are your main concerns, you might want to consider stone worktops such as granite, quartz, or marble. Each material has its upsides and downsides, which we’ve outlined below.

MaterialUpsidesDownsides

Granite

Resistant to heat, stains, impact, water, and acid Polished finishes require minimal maintenance Each piece is unique

Longer runs of granite worktops will require multiple slabs, which means you’ll have more joins Honed, brushed, or leathered finishes need regular resealing Can be expensive depending on availability

Quartz

Good scratch- and stain-resistance and antimicrobial properties Greater colour uniformity than granite and marble Can be joined seamlessly on longer runs of worktops

Expensive, though more affordable options can be found if you shop around Can be prone to heat damage due to the resin used to make it Might not fit traditional-style kitchen designs

Marble

Highly stylish and luxurious Each piece is unique due to marble’s natural veining Can help to increase your home’s value

High-maintenance material—marble worktops need constant resealing to protect them from damage Prone to scratches, stains, and heat and acid damage Can be very expensive

Solid wood

One material that tends to look good with any colour scheme and any style of kitchen thanks to the variety of options available is wood. Solid wood worktops can be made from a large number of wood types, including oak, walnut, beech, ash, mahogany, and bamboo, among others. Below, we’ve listed the pros and cons of solid wood worktops so you can determine if they’re the right choice for your kitchen.

Upsides of wooden worktopsDownsides of wooden worktops

Due to being a natural product, each piece of wooden worktop will be totally unique and you can choose the type of wood that best matches your design.

High-maintenance—wood worktops need constant resealing and oiling to keep them in good shape.

Long-lasting—scratches and imperfections can be fixed more easily than with other materials.

Prone to water damage if not sealed properly, so you will need to clean up any spills immediately.

Can be eco-friendly—there are sustainable wood options on the market from responsible sources, so check with your kitchen company where their wood worktops come from. Bamboo is also considered to be a sustainable material.

Prone to scratches and dents—though as stated in the upsides section, these can be fixed relatively easily.

Laminate

If your budget is a bit tight and you’re looking for a durable but inexpensive worktop, then laminate will be the most obvious choice for you. Laminate worktops tend to be the most affordable, and thanks to advancements in the manufacturing process, the range of colours and patterns available has grown considerably in recent years. There are even laminate worktops on the market that emulate the look of wood, granite, and marble, so it’s possible you could get your dream style at a fraction of the cost. Let’s look at the benefits and downsides of laminate.

Upsides of laminate worktopsDownsides of laminate worktops

Budget-friendly prices

Still requires care—although laminate is durable, it’s still not a good idea to cut directly on the surface or put very hot pans on it.

Wide range of colours and patterns

Can be damaged by water ingress—if a join fails or the top layer of laminate is damaged and water gets in, it will cause the core to swell. If this happens, a replacement will be needed.

Durable—resistant to scratches, stains, and heat—and low maintenance

Most laminate is not suitable for undermounted sinks, so you will likely have to choose an inset sink.

Easy to fit—doesn’t require specialist fitters to cut pieces to size

Can have a shorter life span than stone or wood worktops

Corian

A relative newcomer to the kitchen worktops market is Corian, an engineered material that is somewhat similar to quartz but usually costs less. It is made using resin and natural minerals and can be thermoformed into various shapes during manufacturing, for instance to create an integral sink. Like quartz, it’s available in a variety of colours and designs. Corian is not as durable as quartz, but it is often favoured for its warmer feel. Here are the pros and cons of Corian.

Upsides of Corian worktopsDownsides of Corian worktops

Wide variety of colours and patterns available—Corian is also favoured for its colour uniformity, much like quartz.

Prone to heat damage and scratches, so care is needed when preparing food

Less expensive than quartz but offers a similar look

Can be damaged if water manages to seep into joins down to the core

Corian is non-porous, so it is hygienic and easy to clean.

Can become discoloured if exposed to harsh acids or cleaning chemicals

Highly customisable because it can be formed into practically any shape during manufacturing.

What are the best types of kitchen units?

As with your worktops, choosing the right kitchen units for your renovation is the key to achieving your design goals. Of course, there are options to suit any budget, and each type of material carries its own pros and cons. Let’s take a look at each option in detail.

Read our full guide to choosing the best kitchen units here.

Cupboard materialUpsidesDownsides

Solid wood

Durable and easy to maintain Can be painted or stained to change your kitchen colour without replacing units Eco-friendly if sourced from sustainable manufacturers

More expensive than other materials Requires specific cleaning materials that won’t damage the wood Can be prone to water damage and humidity

Plywood

Durable and easy to maintain More resistant to water and humidity than solid wood Can be painted, veneered, or laminated to change the style

Heavy material, so you will need strong hinges and runners for doors and drawers Less smooth finish than other materials, so laminate or veneer can be hard to install

Medium-density fibreboard (MDF)

Affordable prices Resistant to humidity Easy to paint

Has a reputation for being flimsy, though modern units are durable Prone to warping under weight Not heat resistant

Melamine-faced chipboard (MFC)

Most affordable units on the market Moisture and scratch resistant Wide range of colours and patterns available

Melamine facing can be prone to chipping Expensive to refinish Can be prone to water damage if saturated Heavy material, so good hinges and runners are needed

Timber-faced MDF or MFC

Offers the style of solid wood without the price Moisture resistant Veneers can be painted or stained to change their look

Veneers are thinner than solid wood, so scratches can only be sanded out so many times Excessive moisture can cause veneers to warp and separate from carcass

Fitted kitchen FAQ

Does a new kitchen add value to your home?

Yes, updating your kitchen will add some value to your home, though you should be careful when reading estimates about how much value it can add. While it’s possible you could get between 4% and 10% more for your house if you sell after installing a new kitchen, it’s not guaranteed. It depends on how much your house is worth to begin with. For instance, if you install a £30,000 kitchen in a home that’s only worth £100,000, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to recoup your costs when you sell. Some experts suggest budgeting around 8% of the value of your house for a kitchen renovation.

How long should fitted kitchens last?

A well-made, properly installed fitted kitchen will likely last 20 to 25 years or longer. The life span of your kitchen will depend on the materials used to make the units and worktop, the quality of craftsmanship, the quality of installation, and how well you maintain it. You can improve the longevity of your kitchen by wiping up spills immediately, regularly cleaning your surfaces with a gentle solution, and repairing any damage—such as chips in cabinet facings, broken door hinges, and scratched worktops—as soon as possible to avoid further trouble.

Do fitted kitchens include appliances?

It’s your decision whether you want to include new appliances when updating your fitted kitchen, but it’s something that is worth considering, as replacing everything at once can save you further installation costs. Upgrading your appliances also means you can more easily integrate them with your kitchen units, such as built-in wall ovens, a fridge-freezer with a door that matches your cabinets, and an integrated dishwasher. Most fitted kitchen companies give guide prices of units without appliances and accessories included, though this cost will be added to your bespoke quote if you decide to include them. If your chosen installer doesn’t offer the appliances you want, it’s worth shopping around for your desired products and then having your installer ensure their design can accommodate your choices.

How long does it take to install a new kitchen?

The amount of time it will take to install a new kitchen can be difficult to determine. It depends on how long it takes for the company to make your units (if you have not chosen ready-to-fit cabinets), what kind of availability the installation crew has, and whether you’re simply replacing your cabinets and appliances or undertaking a more intense renovation. For a simple update that doesn’t involve changing the layout of your kitchen, you might be lucky enough to have the work completed within a week or two following delivery of your cabinets. Larger projects that involve laying new floors, tiling walls, or moving gas, electricity, and water points will likely take much longer—potentially several weeks or even months. This is assuming the project doesn’t hit any roadblocks along the way, such as damaged floors underneath old units, missing or damaged components of your new kitchen, or an unforeseen need to upgrade your home’s electrics to accommodate new appliances.

What is the average cost of a new kitchen?

It’s difficult to give a guide price for a new kitchen, because the final cost depends on a great number of factors and will vary depending on where you live. However, our research has found that the average cost of a new kitchen is likely to be around £8,000 to £11,000, though a budget kitchen could cost as little as £3,000 and a luxury kitchen upwards of £30,000 or more.

How we chose the top fitted kitchen providers

Each fitted kitchen company we’ve mentioned in this guide has been scored using our Reviews Standards matrix across multiple categories. These include how many showroom kitchens styles are offered, length of guarantees, payment options, reputation on TrustPilot, and any additional benefits offered, such as virtual appointments, complimentary services, how many showrooms nationwide, and customer support available.