So, you’ve decided to purchase a new kitchen. Like many people, the next question on your mind will likely be ‘exactly how much should I spend?’. Of course, affordability is important, and you should be comfortable with the budget you set for your new kitchen. However, even with your affordability in mind, how do you establish good value for your money? What factors should you consider to ensure that you are making a worthwhile investment? With so many options available and budgets ranging from £5,000 - £80,000+, it can be complex for those outside the industry to distinguish the difference.
In this article, our designers share some insights into how kitchens vary at different budget levels and where it is worth investing more.
The Factor that Most Affects Budget
Quite simply, quality & exclusivity. The quality of the manufacturing and products has the most influence on price, and you do get what you pay for. Read on to learn some of the key differences in quality between low budget and high-quality kitchens.
Low Budget Kitchens
Low budget kitchens sit within the fast-fashion category, manufactured with a shorter lifecycle to meet current trends. As these kitchens are usually off-the-shelf, they are immediately available, making it possible to update your home for a lower investment.
These kitchens are a flat-pack furniture construction rather than solid cabinets. Keeping costs as low as possible informs the construction quality of the doors, carcasses and mechanisms. It is the quality of the materials, bonding techniques and exterior finish that determines the long-term durability of the furniture. Laminate worktops also fall into this category because although laminate is a wonderful, durable and practical material, not all laminates are created equal. Low budget carcasses, doors and laminates are constructed using a less dense material and lower quality bonding techniques. This makes them more prone to chips, peeling and water ingress – something you would expect from a low budget kitchen anticipated to last a few years. Aside from the carcasses, doors and worktops, the mechanisms such as door hinges and drawer runners will be different. The drawers in a low budget kitchen are often manufactured with smaller storage and weight capacity which means they are less functional and enjoyable to use.
There are also sustainability considerations for low budget kitchens. These kitchens don’t survive a rip out, so they aren’t suitable for reselling and will end up in a landfill. Multiplying this on a scale makes it easy to see that fast-fashion kitchens will quickly become an environmental issue that is not serving our planet.
Ultimately, a low budget kitchen will function and is a suitable option for those who have financial constraints or are less concerned about the longevity of their kitchen, functional enjoyment, or the environmental impact.
As expected, high-quality kitchens use entirely different materials and components to low budget alternatives. The construction of high-quality kitchens focuses on longevity; the build stands the test of time with robustness to suit the heavy daily use that comes with family life. The expectation is that a high-quality kitchen will last 10, 20 years or more, so it is something that you will want to pass on rather than throw away. This longevity has a myriad of benefits. Firstly it will simply work. Ten or twenty years after installation, a high-quality kitchen will still look great and function well. It is an excellent choice for those who don’t wish to repeat the intrusion of refurbing their kitchen every few years or those creating a forever home.
A high-quality kitchen can be removed and resold to make way for a new design or layout. There is a thriving market for second-hand kitchens so the kitchen can continue its life and benefit someone else rather than going to a landfill. Equally, high-quality kitchens add more value to a home and can help achieve a higher sale value because of the additional wow factor and reassurance the kitchen will last.
High-end kitchen carcasses are one-piece construction. This approach uses the technology and precision of the manufacturer to reinforce the sturdiness of the cabinet. Understandably, a product made as one piece will be sturdier and robust than one made as multiple parts and assembled on site.
The same is true of high-quality laminate worktops. The construction is a higher density, premium core material paired with a durable innovative exterior finish with exceptional resistance to scratches, scuffs and other damage that can occur.
This focus on quality, durability and longevity continues to the construction of the mechanisms. For example, drawer runners have a higher load-bearing and increased capacity, and at KCA, some of our team members have stood in a pan drawer to test this. However, we wouldn’t advise trying this at home unless you are confident of the specifications; your kitchen designer can advise you.
So, it is clear to see the difference in quality that comes with low budget or high-quality kitchens and the pros and cons of each option. Below, our designers share their insights on other features of high-quality kitchens beyond quality and the main reasons people choose to invest more.
Designing a kitchen can seem simple. Place some units here, appliances there, and hey presto, what more is there to it? However, there is a big difference between a kitchen and an expertly designed one. Highly skilled kitchen designers have trained and studied for many years to gain technical knowledge and design finesse far beyond simply space planning and popping units into position.
There are so many ways that a professional kitchen designer adds value to your design, and we’ve highlighted a few of them here:
Beautiful, Enduring Design
Have you ever seen a kitchen that is just a few years old, yet it looks old fashioned already? A well-designed kitchen should have a timeless quality that transcends years. Yes, styles, lifestyles and tastes will evolve; however, if a design is done right, it won’t look out of place for ten or more years. Expert kitchen designers will be abreast of the latest trends, innovations and technologies to produce a design that will endure.
The Wow Factor
Most of us can recall a moment when we walked into a space, whether a museum, hotel or home and thought, ‘wow’. But what exactly made us say ‘wow’ is sometimes harder to quantify; this is the difference that great design creates. Beyond planning the position of units, designers are experts at creating designs that feel balanced, well-proportioned with beautiful design details that add a little something special to the space. The best designers will find clever ways to achieve this wow factor whilst adhering to your budget, maximising the visual impact of your room and resulting in a design that is perceived to be worth so much more than your investment.
Tailored & Future Proof Design
One of our favourite aspects of kitchen design is that each project is different because each client is different. When designing a high-quality kitchen, a designer knows that the design has to enhance the client’s lifestyle at home both today and in 10+ years. Achieving this takes extra consideration and a genuine commitment to understanding the client and their needs. Of course, a lot can change in 10 years… maybe the plan is for children to join the family, or perhaps older children will no longer live at home. Whatever lies ahead for a client, the best kitchen designs will be future proof, suiting their life now with scope to evolve or adapt.
You know by now that a high-quality kitchen will last for many years, and we have talked about the potential to resell your kitchen. However, another option is to adapt, update or upgrade your kitchen.
At KCA, we have re-visited many projects and assisted our clients with upgrades to their existing KCA kitchen. Due to the quality of the furniture, there may not be a need to change it, but the client may wish to upgrade the look, add additional furniture and storage or upgrade the appliances to the latest models. Kitchen doors, worktops and handles can be swapped, dramatically changing the aesthetic without replacing the cabinets. Alternatively, repainting a high-quality painted kitchen creates a fresh new look.
We curate our products based on their performance and our 28 years of experience supporting our clients’ kitchens and products not only through the warranty period but for the life of the kitchen. As a result, we have high expectations for our products and our kitchen designs so that our clients can enjoy the quality of their kitchen for many years.
Last but certainly not least is service. High-quality kitchens should come with service levels to match the quality of the furniture. This service should include on-site liaison with builders and trades, installation, and aftercare. Leading kitchen specialists take responsibility for the final quality of the kitchen, so they will offer a holistic service to ensure the very best possible outcome. Beyond installation, high-end kitchens should come with a long-term commitment to service that helps clients maintain their kitchens and provides peace of mind.
We hope that you have found this article interesting and that it has helped to introduce some of the differences between low budget and high-quality kitchens.
At KCA, we advocate for buying once and buying right by opting for quality products, exceptional design and trusted service over low quality, fast-fashion options. We see every day how great design can genuinely improve people’s lives. We believe that investing in superior craftsmanship and expert design enhances the lives of those living within the home and is kinder to our planet.
To speak to a designer about your kitchen project, call our showroom on 01344 883777 or request an appointment online, here.
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Very professional company. A pleasure to work with. The kitchen designed and workmanship was stunning. They really listened to our wants and lifestyle needs. Would wholeheartedly recommend.Mr. Magal
It really is an excellent service. No detail is left unchecked. Everything from the beginning has been amazing. The initial design was well thought out, imaginative & exciting. All our questions no matter how silly were answered. Measurements on site were checked very carefully which meant when issues were found they could be resolved before the kitchen was ordered. It arrived on time & was fitted with the same care & attention we'd come to expect. The kitchen itself - WOW!Mrs. Scott
After visiting a number of kitchen specialist, KCA were the only ones who listened and were able to translate my ideas into reality. The final product was perfect and the service and after care provided was exceptional.Mr. & Mrs. Bhalla
We found their design to be unique, resulting in a bespoke kitchen which excelled our expectations. Excellent aftercare and would not hesitate to recommend.Mr. & Mrs. Gilbert
KCA have been a pleasure to work with from the very start of the project. They listened to my requirements, designed a beautiful kitchen and built it on time and to budget. The whole team have an excellent eye for detail and a great sense of customer service; I could not recommend them more highly.Mrs. Alexandrou
I cannot recommend the team at KCA highly enough. From concept to completion the whole experience was seamless.Mrs. Robert's
Having previously worked in kitchens, I know how painful having your kitchen fitted can be - I think our experience was as painless as it could have been.Mrs. O'Doherty
From concept design to finished kitchen the process was seamless. KCA not only produced a great design but their interface with the architect and builders made the project a great success.Mr. & Mrs. Cardwell
KCA came up with the design for our open plan kitchen/dining/family space and we loved it immediately. No other kitchen designer/supplier came close!Mrs. Gibson
We are THRILLED! KCA are a very professional, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and caring business. Their attention to detail and our requirements were always top of their list.Mrs. Chapman
From concept to completion the whole experience was seamless. Being interested in interior design I had quite a specific vision for my kitchen and KCA wholly embraced my input making me feel very much part of the decision making process whilst using their expertise to guide and steer regarding practicality and functionality.Mrs. Roberts
Just Perfect from the point of walking into the showroom and the journey taken to the end product including aftercare.Mr. & Mrs. Perera
The customer service is second to none. The kitchen design and choice is superb.Mrs. Hanson
KCA were the 3rd kitchen design company we approached, they were the only ones to listen to us and our design requests and ideas. The 3D view of how the kitchen would look was perfect.Mr. Ryan
The kitchen fitter is very efficient & an excellent communicator, his work is to a very high standard & he is very tidy!Mr. & Mrs. Cass
Very friendly, informative and helpful service. I would definitely use KCA again. Thank you all.Mrs. Tucker
The design of the kitchen differed hugely from any of the others we received. This really was a "design". Clever and inspiring, not just someone drawing what we'd said. The fitting was efficient with the same regard to detail.Mr. & Mrs. Scott
Great service from start to finish.Bentier
Always a pleasure to deal with, fantastic designs and great service all round.Beaufield Homes
KCA have installed a new hob and oven, a Quooker tap and new work surfaces. I am overjoyed with the results.Mrs. Burston