What are modular kitchens?Rebecca Hinshelwood
If you’ve started considering a kitchen refit, you’ll have come across different processes of installing your new kitchen. Depending on your budget, building, and preferences, a modular kitchen may be the choice for you. So what are modular kitchens and what features do they incorporate? Why are modular kitchens so popular, and how do they compare with alternative approaches?
Understanding Modular kitchens
The majority of kitchens available on the market today are modular in some way. A modular kitchen is made up of standard sized individual units. These units form the structure of your new kitchen when put together in a sequence that suits your preference. You can choose from both pre-assembled or flat packed modular kitchen units. This aspect can have an impact on the cost. All units are made to standard sizes and include specific functions. Your designer will decide on the function of each unit to help to zone your kitchen and direct how the space is used.
Benefits of Modular Kitchens
There are strong advantages to this approach to kitchen design. The term modular kitchen includes a huge range of products, from the very basic to the more durable and high quality designs. In this way, it is clear why modular kitchens are so popular, since they are extremely accessible.
Assembling modular units in your kitchen is pretty straightforward. This is because the product is predominantly constructed in advance. Some ranges of unit arrive fully assembled and ready to be fitted. Others are flat packed and will require some assembly. For a kitchen fitter, though, the assembly takes considerably less time than bespoke units.
There are always improvements being made to unit functionality. This includes a number of clever solutions to storage challenges. You might find fitted baskets, mechanical accessibility or drawers within drawers. All of this function can be hidden under your marble worktop to keep those stunning surfaces pride of place.
Modular kitchens are uniformly made and blend well with other aspects of your kitchen. Integrated appliances for example, tend towards a standard size. Therefore, if they need to be replaced, it’s easy to update your kitchen without any structural impact. Higher quality modular unit carcasses are extremely solid and, like a stone worktop, will withstand a kitchen facelift.
Since the description ‘modular kitchens’ really refers to the structure of the units, you can enjoy a huge flexibility of aesthetic. Modular kitchens work with any style of cabinet front that you wish. Then cover the units with trendy marble, classic granite or contemporary quartz for a striking and durable finish.
Modular kitchens can be relatively cheap, depending on the products that you choose. You have a lot of control over your expenditure since you select each individual element. In this way, modular kitchens can be a great way to manage your kitchen refit budget.
Challenges of Modular Kitchens
To counteract the persuasive benefits of a modular kitchen, there are of course disadvantages to consider. We look at some ways to overcome potential cons of a modular kitchen.
A modular kitchen can be as expensive as it can be affordable. This is because cost really depends on the materials, supplier and functions that you select. Try to stay disciplined as it’s very easy to get carried away! Also, remember the long term investment of higher quality items!
While modular kitchens can be customised, they are not completely unique to your home. Your kitchen could appear very similar to the one next door, and the popularity of modular kitchens does nothing to prevent this. However, simply put thought and attention to other features of your kitchen to get that unique feel. Some people choose to finish their modular kitchen with a granite or marble worktop. These natural materials are mined in slabs. This means that no two worktops are the same.
As each unit is a standard size, it can be a juggle to fit into non standard spaces. For period or character properties, this can present a challenge. Practically, it results in wasted space within the full width and height of your kitchen. You could end up with a gap which can be frustrating. However, with dedicated planning, you can utilise space, with a pull out towel rail or tray storage for example.
Comparing modular kitchens
To understand whether a modular kitchen is for you, it is worth comparing this kitchen structure with other approaches, such as bespoke or semi-modular kitchens.
Essentially, a bespoke kitchen allows you to ensure that every detail of your kitchen is to your taste and preference. The design will also optimise the space available, since everything is made to measure. While modular kitchens include a huge range of functionality, bespoke kitchens really can integrate anything you like. This may include integrated booth seating, or smart gadgets, for example. Since there is no standard unit size, extra cupboard width or worktop height can enhance the ease of use of the space. This level of bespoke design has a price tag, though. In addition, it can be hard to replace individual elements should they get damaged.
Free Standing Kitchens
It’s rare nowadays to encounter a fully free standing kitchen. This kitchen structure would ordinarily be based around a range cooker or Aga, with individual, free standing dressers, sideboards and a larder cupboard. It’s a really vintage look, which many designs draw from for modern trends.
A mix and match approach tends to offer the best of all worlds, and kitchen design is no different. Semi modular kitchens take much of the structure from prefabricated units, making up the bulk of the space. Add in elements of bespoke carpentry, high quality stoneware, and up-cycled free standing furniture, and you have a fabulous space that is aesthetically pleasing and functionally sound without breaking the bank!
To discover how you can enhance a modular, semi-modular or bespoke kitchen with a centrepiece worktop, browse our ranges or get in touch.