Considering a kitchen renovation? Acquaint yourself with these brands, from the budget to the bespoke!

For most of us, the kitchen is the heart and hub of the home. These days, it is not only where we cook, but also where we socialise; the warm, convivial place in which we convene and break bread with family and friends. It is imperative then that we love it enough to want to spend a lot of time in it.

The good news for those considering a kitchen renovation is that there is a huge and growing number of excellent design brands delivering the best quality kitchens, from bespoke, hand-crafted, custom-painted and artisanal to the ready-to-fit. With the best kitchen companies, the options are unending, whether your aesthetic sensibility leans towards the traditional, the sleek, Shaker- or country-style.

To help you navigate the plethora of kitchen reviews and best kitchen suppliers, we’ve compiled our very favourite brands, from the high-end tailor-made to the stylish choices for those on a tight budget. Here we take a look at the best kitchen companies in the UK.

Plain English



How could we start a list of the best kitchen design companies without kicking off with Plain English? The company was conceived by accident 27 years ago when Katie Fontana and her husband, Tony Niblock, swapped life in the capital for a rural idyll in Suffolk. Unable to find a kitchen that was neither fussy nor flashy, they resolved to do it themselves.



More than a quarter of a century on, Plain English is still the cognoscenti’s favourite, its incomparable honest craftsmanship and its spare simplicity outstripping other, slicker, contenders. Plain English’s joiners operate from a Georgian farmhouse in bucolic Suffolk, which makes a certain aesthetic sense. After all, Plain English’s style is inspired by the most elegant of periods in architecture. ‘Tony and I often marvel at the Georgian houses in London. They are so simply beautiful. When I was younger and I used to go shopping for antiques, I didn’t know much about what I was looking at other than my immediate response to it. But invariably everything I ever liked turned out to be Georgian. They just had the proportions right. I work hard with our creative team on proportion.’ It shows. If you’re wondering ‘who makes the best quality kitchen cabinets in the UK’, there is a strong argument for it being Plain English.



As for her Georgian forebears, Plain English’s making process takes a satisfying length of time; here there are no cookie cutters. During the three months you’ll have to wait, there are consultations, fittings, redesigns and, of course, meticulous craftsmanship. Good, honest, non-branded cupboards to dress up or down: in short, the dream, though, we caveat, they don’t come cheap. A PE kitchen will set you back at least £45k, which is the price they start at. If that’s within reach, explore the online show room here. Like what you see in the kitchen? PE also offers interior design for the whole house too.

PROS:

  • Collaborative, bespoke approach

  • International reputation with showrooms in London and New York

  • Unparalleled quality


CONS:

  • A Plain English kitchen starts at £35,000 (supply only), so it is not a budget option


British Standard




Happily, for those on a budget, Fontana and Niblock established British Standard in 2011, a sort of diffusion line where customers can buy off-the-peg cupboards in the Plain English style. ‘It got slightly side-lined for various reasons,’ she says. ‘Now I’m giving it my full attention again, because we’d begun pricing ourselves out of the market as we expanded.’ The range of options is the same as some of those with PE but the materials are simpler, and there is no design service.

Fontana is patently excited by its renaissance. ‘It’s like having a second bite of the cherry. I want to set it up in a different way, perhaps a little like Jamie Oliver did with his Fifteen apprentices. I see us having a rolling stock of 12 new apprentice craftsmen each year who then graduate and go on.’ With a parent company as consummate as Plain English and a creative director as capable as Fontana, success is plainly assured. Explore the beautiful cabinetry here.For our money, these are some of the best kitchen units in the UK.

PROS

  • Plain English style at a lower price

  • Exceptional quality

  • Free design consultation


CONS

  • Customers must arrange fitting (although BS supplies a detailed fitting guide)


Neptune




It makes sense that Neptune's first-ever product was created around a kitchen table since, though it offers beautiful interior design throughout the home, it is the beating heart of the house that we most associate it with. Twenty years on from its launch, the same approach and onus on natural materials and traditional crafts remains. There are four kitchens to choose from: the Chichester, which has a traditional country aesthetic; the Henley, which goes heavy on north American oak; the Limehouse, which is sleek and contemporary; and finally, the Suffolk, which is shaker-inspired and perfect in its simplicity. Whatever your sensibility, you can peruse the whole collection here.Simply, some of the best kitchens in the UK.

PROS

  • Balances tradition and innovation

  • Installation service available

  • Various kitchen styles are available, all within a unifying signature style


CONS

  • High cost. Designs start from £8,000 but a fully fitted kitchen is considerably higher


IKEA




Installing a new kitchen is, so often, a vastly expensive endeavour. But, as ever, we can rely on trusty IKEA to save the day when it comes to interiors overhauls on a budget. Where it excels is in simplicity and clean lines; you can pick each individual element, from cabinets to worktops to appliances. We like the BODARP kitchen for contemporary spaces (see the gallery here); the BODBYN Dark Green (images here) for more traditional homes; and the AXSTAD grey for shaker-style rooms. You can also use IKEA’s online kitchen planner to see if its styles are right for you. And if you want to pimp your IKEA kitchen, there are companies that can create bespoke cabinet fronts for you, so you get the artisan look without the price tag. If this appeals, do consider Holte Studio and Plykea, both of whom specialise in deftly raising these off-the-peg kitchens’ games.

PROS

  • Affordability

  • As mass-produced kitchen cabinets go, it offers the best-fitted kitchens

  • Flexibility. Install them how you like. Mix and match. Replace easily if needed


CONS

  • Self-assembly

  • Excellent quality on its own terms, but cannot compare to bespoke cabinetry


DIY Kitchens




DIY Kitchens started out in 1982, its mission being to deliver stunning yet cheap kitchens for those who wanted something beautiful on a budget. Operating from its West Yorkshire workshop, it offers a plethora of choice with over 50,000 branded products that run the gamut from kitchen units to appliances to accessories. Modern, traditional, shaker-style, custom-painted and handleless options are all available, starting from just £917. Bargain.

PROS

  • Affordability

  • High spec fully built units at flat pack prices

  • 9,000 cabinets available to choose from

  • Expert team available to offer advice

  • Showroom in West Yorkshire


CONS

  • Supply only


Naked Kitchens




You won’t find Naked Kitchens showrooms on the high street, and there’s a reason for that. The company believes in keeping its overheads low so that it can deliver value for money. What it does pour its energy into is supreme attention to detail, engineering and exemplary design. We love Ladbroke, a stunningly simple handle-free kitchen, as well as the heavenly craftsmanship of the Long Acre kitchen.

PROS

  • Every project overseen by Design Director

  • Costs kept lower by being online only

  • Making happens from a giant WW2 aircraft hanger manufacturing room

  • Great aftercare


CONS

  • No high street presence but this keeps costs lower. Customers can visit the showroom, however


Howdens Kitchens




Howdens is Britain’s number one trade kitchen supplier and is thus one of the first brand names people consider when thinking about which kitchen company is best. Founded in 1995, its offerings come in nine ranges, covering the ever-popular shaker style right through to more modern styles at one end, and the more traditional at the other.

PROS

  • UK manufactured

  • Finance is available

  • There is a planning service

  • Good budget option (expect to pay between £5k and £15k)


CONS

  • Works exclusively with contractors thus you need to go through an approved trader

  • No installation service


Magnet Kitchens




Magnet has been making kitchens for more than one hundred years, making it the oldest manufacturer in the country. There are some 30 kitchens in its range, and customers can call on its Signature Service, which helps guide you through the process of buying and installing its products, providing a dedicated designer, home survey and aftercare service.

PROS

  • An experienced designer will guide you through, as your single point of contact

  • Complimentary 3D design and no-obligation quote

  • Sustainable and responsible

  • A century’s worth of experience

  • Lengthy warranties and good-quality materials

  • 4.6-star TrustPilot ratings


CONS

  • As a premium brand, Magnet commands higher prices


B&Q Kitchens




In 2021, B&Q was awarded the Lowest Priced Leading DIY Retailer of Kitchens, beating Homebase and Wickes in the category. Starting at just over £1k for an eight-unit kitchen, you certainly cannot argue with its prices. There are twelve styles to choose from and we are particularly taken with the Garcinia Matt Stone number.

PROS

  • Leading low-cost supplier of kitchens

  • Hard wearing

  • Great for rental properties


CONS

  • Trusted fitter necessary or self-installation

  • No aftercare


Wren Kitchens




A great choice for anyone looking for a knock-out kitchen on a budget, Wren Kitchens has a fantastic range of inexpensive kitchens (many starting at under £2,000) in a good variety of styles. If sleek Italian gloss is up your strada, then plump for the Milano range (we like the Milano Ultra in Dove). If your home is of a more traditional persuasion, then the Edwardian Kitchen is a great bet. And if you like your kitchen to come with a more bucolic flavour, then the Country Kitchen in Drawing Room Green is a winner. Browse the whole selection here.

PROS

  • Kitchens available in 50 colours, 15 worktop finishes and 10 door styles

  • Offers flat-pack, ready-assembled and bespoke options

  • Average price for a small, 8-unit fitted kitchen without installation is £1.796

  • Design planning service available

  • Fitting service available at extra cost


CONS

  • Though Wren offers long warranties on its kitchens, these do not apply to appliances or worktops



By Nancy Alsop
Updated November 2022

Nancy Alsop

Editor

Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.

FIND OUT MORE