The Guide to Modular Kitchens

What are modular kitchens?

Modular kitchens are kitchens that can be assembled using individual units, these units are then fitted  to form the skeleton of your new kitchen. Designer Kitchens for Less units are supplied ready made up with the doors fitted. There are various types of modular units, most kitchens comprise of  floor , wall and tall units.

Most kitchens available on the market today are modular. This has changed from 40 years ago when kitchens tended to be bespoke. Modular designs make stunning designer kitchens available for the majority of people, no longer do you need to work with a specialist cabinet maker to design and build you a new kitchen.

Why are the pros/cons of modular kitchens?

Here are just a few of the advantages and disadvantages of this kitchen type:


  • Appliances built to fit – Most modern appliances are built to fit in standard modular kitchen sizes. So when you purchase a new built-in oven to replace your old one, there is a very good chance you can find one which fits in perfectly.
  • Quick to install – Once the units are assembled, unless they come pre-assembled (like ours), they can very quickly be installed into the kitchen space.
  • Easier to design – Modular kitchens are much easier for designers to design, this is because the design can be refined by swapping out units until you’re happy with the layout.
  • Cheaper – Bespoke built kitchens take longer to manufacture and need highly skilled cabinet makers to build and install, therefore they will cost more.


  • Predetermined sizes – Everything you choose comes in predetermined sizes. You can often choose from a few different size options, we can sometimes make bespoke sizes , but this comes with a surcharge and this is not usually necessary.
  • Similar to everyone else – Whilst you can change the materials, designs, colours and functionality of the kitchen, a lot of it will be similar to everyone else. The only way to get something which is 100% unique is to get it made bespoke.

What are the latest trends in modular kitchens?

Let’s take a look at some of the latest kitchen design trends to hit the market over the past few years, perhaps something will ignite your imagination.

Open plan

The way in which we use our kitchens has evolved, for many families they are now at the heart of the home. This means that we no longer want them as a separate room, now we want our kitchens to join with our dining rooms or lounges in an open plan format. 90% of kitchens we sell are fitted in open plan spaces.

Industrial look and feel

Industrial design has been born out of move towards minimalist modern designs. There are a lot of customers who want to go in the opposite direction of the traditional style kitchen, for them the industrial look is perfect.


About 80-90% of enquiries we receive are for handleless kitchens. These have become popular because they can give the uncluttered minimalist look, and they can make smaller kitchens seem bigger.


When you choose from a set number of unit types and door designs it’s hard to make your kitchen unique. One way of creating something not seen before is to play about with multiple textures or colours in the kitchen. Using different textures on the floor and wall units gives you the opportunity to add your personality to your kitchen.

Things to think about

Here are just a few things that you need to think about when purchasing a modular kitchen:

Pre-Assembled Units

When your kitchen is delivered it will come in one of two formats; pre-assembled, where the units have all been constructed, or flatpack, where you need to construct them yourself. Constructing the units yourself can take time and opens the opportunity for you to make mistakes, causing headaches further down the line. With our kitchens, for example, they come pre-assembled from our German manufacturers, meaning they’re constructed in the exact way they were intended, saving our customers hours of assembly time and no issues with missing parts.

Unit Quality

It is advised that you purchase all of your kitchen items from the same supplier, for example; units, doors, worktops and appliances. This will mean that you can be sure that they will all fit and match together perfectly. Plus, it saves you time and hassle having it all coming from one supplier.

Work With A Kitchen Designer

Putting together modular units in a kitchen design sounds easy, but it is more complex than most people believe. A kitchen designer is able to take years of experience and help you create your perfect dream kitchen. They’re able to see potential issues such as; doors of appliances blocking walkways, colours clashing (unintentionally) and ensuring infrastructure (such as piping and electrics) is thought out. Using a kitchen designer is often free and included with the kitchen purchase, as it is with us, so won’t cost you anything extra.

Handleless Units

If you want to go for the clean minimalist look in your kitchen, then Handleless Kitchens may be the perfect option for you. Take a look at our recent guide on Handleless Kitchens to find out everything you need to know on this type of kitchen. As you’ll read about in this guide, a key aspect of buying a Handleless kitchens is the type of Handleless Kitchen, to go true Handleless or not. A lot of kitchens are sold with the ‘J grip’ profile, this is when a J shaped grove is cut out of the door. We only sell true Handleless, this is where you have a channel between the carcase of the unit and the door (see image below), allowing you to pull the door/drawer open from the top. The big advantage of this is that it will give you the clean lines and modern Handleless design you’re looking for.

How to make a smart, modular kitchen?

Here are just a few tips on how you can make a modular kitchen which is both smart and practical which you’ll enjoy for years to come.

Think Lighting

Often overlooked until the final stage of designing your kitchen, lighting can be a big factor in making your kitchen look great. Lighting can be looked at from two angles; natural light, for the day time, and artificial light, for dusk, night and dawn.

For natural lighting, consider adding a skylight or spotlights to the ceiling, and ensure none of the windows are blocked by wall units. Sometimes just replacing a window with less structural elements can make a huge difference.

When it comes to artificial lighting, you need to think about placement. You need to consider whether you just need ceiling lighting, or whether you also need lighting under wall units and along the plinths.

Another important decision to make with artificial lighting is the temperature of the light. For example, lights with more red and yellow in its spectrum will give you a more cosy feel. Whereas cooler lighting with more blue and white colours will give a colder more clinical feel to your kitchen.

The kitchen triangle

This is a kitchen design principle which you should consider with your design. Imagine that your kitchen is divided into three key areas; sink/dishwasher, cooker/hob and fridge/freezer. These key area should be arranged in a triangle on your design, this will give you the most efficient layout for using your kitchen. See image below for an example of the kitchen triangle. Your designer will work with you to ensure that this principle is followed in the kitchen design.

Go for quality

At first glance, a Budget Kitchen and an upmarket Designer Kitchen may look the same, but when you look closer you begin to see the differences in functionality and design. Furthermore, after years of use, a budget kitchen can begin to show signs of fatigue, whereas quality designer units will stay looking incredible. With kitchens, it is definitely worth spending a small amount more to get something of much better quality.

What are the different Units of a Modular Kitchen?

Going for a modular kitchen enables you to take advantage of all the great feature units being developed for modern kitchens. There are of course the standard wall , tall and floor units, these just standard units with height adjustable shelves, the really interesting elements are in the internal fitments, let’s take a look at a few of the options we offer.

Eco Bins

These units come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, they’re primarily designed for waste, but could equally be used for storage. Below is just one example waste unit, but your kitchen designer will be able to talk you through all of the options.

LeMans Pull Out Units

Corner units can be tricky because you cannot reach items in the difficult to access back corner, but this LeMans unit solves this with a sturdy pull out swing arm. The two arms are fixed to the unit and enable you to pull out items with ease, no more awkward reaching into the back of the units.

Glass Fronted Storage Units

These are self-explanatory, they are wall units with a glass front, but what makes them really special is their internal lighting. These wall units are great for showing off your beautiful plates and glasses. Plus, it means you can find what you’re looking for very quickly!

Storage Units

This type of unit has shelves specially designed for storing all of your cooking ingredients. They feature a small rail at the front of each shelf to ensure everything stays exactly where it should. There are different types of storage units available; those with shelves built onto the door and those with pull out shelves and those which pull out all of the shelves when you open the unit. Think about what you need to store and you can find the perfect option for your kitchen.

Drawer Units

These units are unlike standard drawer units, they often feature hidden drawers inside and an interior organisation system. This enables you to arrange your drawer to perfectly fit your cooking needs.

How much does a decent modular kitchen cost?

Kitchen designs are completely customised for each person, so saying exactly how much a modular kitchen would cost is tricky. Kitchens units can range from £3,000 for a small kitchen setup, to £15,000 (or even more ) for a full large kitchen. To get an accurate idea of cost you need to get a quote for your design. However, we can look at some common areas where you could save money.


We all love the look and feel of the Quartz or Granite worktops, but perhaps it may be best to go for a cheaper option to ensure you can get the permanent fixtures (units and flooring) you really want. It is possible to select a laminate worktop for the initial kitchen installation, then after a few months/years upgrade to your dream worktop. You can read all about worktop types in our worktop guide here.


Going with a one-stop-shop kitchen business is fine, but the installation and supply service can cost you a premium. You may find it cheaper to buy the kitchens from one company and find a separate company to install the kitchen, you’ll often find that freelance kitchen installers are very good value for money. Ask friends and family and try to find a recommended one.


Appliances is another area where you can go for a cheaper alternative, at least temporarily. You may be desperate for the NEFF slide and hide oven or the latest FlexInduction hob, but can you go for a cheaper alternative for now? As with the worktops, appliances can be upgraded at a later date, it’s more important to focus on ensuring you have the right permanent fixtures.

How to buy cost effective modular kitchens?

It’s easy to achieve your dream kitchen with modular units, they enable you to easily create a brilliantly functional space that looks stunning. However, you need to be careful where you buy your kitchen from. Choosing a cheap kitchen from a chain or mass market retailer will give you a kitchen which shows fatigue after just a few years of use, but going for a designer kitchen from a premium retailer will cost you a lot of money. Designer Kitchens for Less is a supply only designer kitchen business, we aim to provide you with a quality designer kitchen for much less than you might think. Buying a kitchen from us will mean you get a quality German made designer kitchen, but won’t pay the premium price.

Get in touch for a free no obligation design and quote, our expert designers are on hand to guide you through everything you need to know about our kitchens. They’ll discuss your kitchen requirements and transform them into a design (free service of course) which perfectly suits you.

Call our team on 01279 504230 or email