We like flat pack kitchens. You have to get the quality right, but when you do, the options offered these days are impressive, and the cost savings are always attractive when you’re on a budget.
Putting together your cabinet configurations and colours and choosing features is always the fun part. Then comes the installation. It's not rocket science, but it does take some DIY smarts, so be prepared.
Let’s take a look at some more specific material options and the fine art of DIY installation.
Colours & textures
You can go crazy on colours and textures and even patterns because the range available now is so broad. You’ll find matte and gloss finishes and timber grains, so you can choose to suit your tastes exactly.
If the timber look is your preference, the good news is that lamination technology has come a long way. We found that the look and feel is now very close to the real thing. And laminates do have advantages over the real thing including lower maintenance, durability and easy cleaning.
There really isn’t any natural material that cannot now be replicated with laminates from timbers to stone variants. The technology now allows for the most accurate reproductions and the laminates are moisture-resistant. Cost-wise, you’ll be looking at starting prices of around $60/m², not including installation.
This option creates a seamless look by totally integrating your bench with the sink and splashback. This material is usually made from acrylic and natural minerals to create that seamless, one-piece finish, which is super streamlined and modern. It can be made to fit awkward layouts without visible joins. When it comes time to take out your credit card, you’ll be looking at prices from $400/m², including installation.
Also known as ‘reconstituted’ because of the process, this product is available in a huge range of colours and patterns. Engineered stone is actually stronger than natural stone, easier to care for and definitely cheaper. A triple win! Some options are designed to be laid over existing surfaces, so you can achieve your kitchen makeover without demolishing it. Prices on these stone options range from around $380/m² to $450/m².
Not all flat packed kitchens are of the same quality, and some can be flimsy. Take a close look at samples and displays and make sure the components are stable and strong. Check that drawers are full-extension, and that soft-close drawers and doors are standard.
Installing flat pack kitchens
So, while anyone can create their own kitchen from this wide selection of options, installing it can be complicated. This is not a job for beginners, so take a reality check before you (or your ambitious partner) commits to DIY installation.
If the skills aren’t there, you could be opening up a whole lot of heartache, stress and a compromised end product. If that’s the case, bring in the professionals.
But, if you do have that DIY confidence, then go for it. With a solid level of DIY experience your average flat packed kitchen will take around 2 - 3 days to assemble the cabinetry.
Even the very best DIYer will need to bring in qualified trades to handle plumbing and electrical. But still, the potential to save even more with DIY installation is significant.
So, that’s our take on flat packed kitchens. They can be a fantastic option and opportunity to save, while still achieving good quality finishes and features.