Beauty on a budget

Interior designers working with clients who want a dream kitchen have a fabulous option at their fingertips, if they recognise that buying brand-new isn’t the only way to realise a design brief.

Increasingly, interior designers are creating a little magic, and allowing budgets to box above their weight, by utilising the services of The Used Kitchen Company. Over the past 12 years, this innovative company has listed over 5000 ex-display and used kitchens, at 50 to 70% off their RRP. It has also recycled around 10,000 tonnes of wood, granite, quartz, glass and other materials, which would otherwise have ended up in landfill.

For this reason, it was named as one of Kevin McCloud’s ‘Green Heroes’ at Grand Designs Live 2017, but it has long been a superstar in the eyes of interior design professionals wishing to exceed their clients’ expectations.

The kitchens listed by The Used Kitchen Company range in price, giving designers lots of scope and inspiration. Brand names regularly listed include Chalon, Bulthaup, Boffi, Mark Wilkinson and Siematic, but there are usually up to 40 different manufacturers to choose from.

Kitchens come in a wide variety of colours and finishes, allowing flexibility for the designer. Once sold, the kitchens are dismantled by an expert team and taken to their new home for fitting. Often, previous owners include the appliances within the sale, creating a full working kitchen. However, if they don’t, on the whole, appliance housing units are a standard size, enabling most models of kitchen appliance to fit the space.

The key for the interior designer is to not be limited in vision and to know which type of kitchen might suit a certain mood or design style.

For instance, the smooth lines and elegance of Italian kitchens, coupled with their typically large work surfaces and effective use of cupboard space, support the philosophy of minimalism. Many German brands have a timeless quality about them, whilst some bespoke painted kitchens are ideal for those creating a rural, farmhouse feel within a property. Designers also need to be open to the idea that kitchens don’t necessarily have to be installed in the same configuration in their new home. Worktops can be cut, to suit a new space and, if more units are required, it is usually pretty easy to purchase these, if the kitchen has recently left a showroom.

The imagination can also run riot when it comes to worktops. These can easily be replaced, if the kitchen units fit the specification of the brief, but a different material or colour is required for the work surfaces. A designer could always decide to upgrade a kitchen, by swapping laminate for stone, or they could opt to create a completely different feel by fitting stainless steel worktops.

Many of the bespoke kitchens can be painted after purchase, which really make them look new. Others can be accessorised with colourful backsplashes, the most on-trend of these at the moment being coloured glass. Bar stools, chairs, tables and even large fruit bowls and vases can all add a hue and give a kitchen a completely new personality.


Lighting is also a superb ally and a designer can add value here, by installing task lighting around work areas, or sensor-operated lighting that illuminates with a wave of the hand – very useful when the chef is mid-task and not able to flick a switch.

Kitchens with islands are often some of the quickest to find a lovely second home. An island can fulfil different functions within a design brief, perhaps being an area for food preparation and incorporating sink, dishwasher and storage areas, or becoming a zone for relaxing and entertaining, or even a wine store!

Where they are situated within the kitchen can change the entire movement flow, so designers have many possibilities when using islands, whether they wish to create divisions between cooking and living areas within an open-plan interior, or divert traffic away from key cooking hotspots.

Once installed in a new home, a used island can again be transformed. Pendant lighting can make a huge visual statement and make the island a highlight, whilst wooden islands can again be painted, to suit the decor. Mood lighting can quickly position an island as a place for relaxation, whilst lights added to the plinth beneath the island, or its base units, can create the illusion of an island afloat, to add a wow factor.

the independent hotel show

the independent hotel show

the independent hotel show

the independent hotel show

the independent hotel show





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