Whether you are looking to buy a new kitchen or scouting around for inspirational ideas on how to refresh your existing one, a visit to a kitchen designer will open the door to a world of possibilities.
Here's our pick of the most impressive kitchen designers around the UK.
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BEST FOR: MODERN TRENDS
The new Waterloo-based kitchen designer Life have utilised a wave of technological advances to create the ultimate in smart kitchens. This new conceptual space’s standout feature is an innovative, 3600 4D virtual-reality theatre where clients can fully immerse themselves in a bespoke kitchen of their own choosing. And what's more, if you visit the showroom, you can try-before-you-buy. The wide range of stylish kitchen options means you can personalise a kitchen that is truly unique to you.
Railway Arch 213, Newnham Terrace,Hercules Rd, Lambeth London, SE1 7DR (0203 972 0150,life-kitchens.co.uk)
BEST FOR: CLASSIC SCHEMES
Contemporary kitchens needn’t be all about engineered materials and state-of-the-art gadgetry. Celebrating the natural ruggedness of raw materials such as wood and metal, it has a soft-yet-sturdy aesthetic and plenty of personality. Choose from 12 ‘inherently English’ colours and embrace the studio/cabin/loft look,all of which are lovingly hand-crafted in Suffolk.
28 Blandford Street, W1 (020 7486 2674, plainenglishdesign.co.uk)
BEST FOR: BESPOKE DESIGNS
Step away from the MDF and treat the heart of your home to some solid wood. From the oak worktops to the birch and poplar cabinets, all the material is hand-picked from sustainable sources. It’s the first step in a process that’s full of admirable control-freakery.Not only is each kitchen designed and painstakingly handmade in-house, the company even constructs its own handles and catches. As you’d expect with bespoke design, the focus is on your personal needs, so if you need space for a sofa or a dog basket, consider it done.
87-93 Wandsworth Bridge Road SW6 (020 7371 9997, neptunefulham.com), plus Chiswick, Weybridge in Surrey and Tonbridge, Kent
Holloways of Ludlow
BEST FOR: GRAND PLANS
At Holloways of Ludlow you can really let your imagination run wild. The kitchen designers here are waiting to turn your ideas into something tangible at the west London workshop, where its bespoke (and award-winning) kitchens are made. There’s no set style, so this really is a creative, collaborative process.
113 Shepherd's Bush Road, W6 (020 7371 1787, hollowayskitchens.com) and 36 Friar's Stile Road, Richmond (020 8332 9442)
See our kitchen section for more dream kitchen ideas and inspiration
BEST FOR: MODERN IDEAS
Innovative design and impeccable attention to detail are the secrets to this German brand’s success. There are three main looks: the sculptural simplicity of b1; the workshop concept of b2 with its ‘tool’ cupboards and workbench; and the b3 kitchen with its multifunctional wall. Hand-selected veneers, immaculate lacquers and technologically advanced laminates demonstrate style stakes that are as high as the environmental standards.
37 Wigmore Street, W1 (020 7495 3663, bulthaup.com), plus 36-42 Clerkenwell Road, EC1 (020 7317 6000), 142-144 Holland Park Avenue, W11 (020 7822 2800), 145-149 Lower Richmond Road, SW15 (020 8785 1960), and St Albans, Herts
Smallbone of Devizes
BEST FOR: HISTORY AND INNOVATION
Master of reinvention, Smallbone has a talent for spotting forgotten favourites and bringing them up-to-date. A new look for painted cabinets, rustic schemes fashioned from recycled wood and a fresh enthusiasm for freestanding furniture, this company has championed them all. There are some thoroughly modern designs in the extensive collection and while they all still come out of the Devises workshop, they now make their way all over the world.
220 Brompton Road, SW3 (020 7581 9989, smallbone.co.uk) and 6/7 Thurloe Place, SW7 (020 7581 9989), plus Beaconsfield, Bucks
BEST FOR: EASY UPDATES
This ever-popular kitchen company has a simple premise: Three straight-forward cabinet styles made in Cambridgeshire and tailored to your precise requirements. An experienced designer will help you make the most of your space and choose the right style for you, either classic Shaker, contemporary Linear or period-property-friendly Original. All can be painted any colour you choose and inspired extras include a brilliant free-standing pantry larder. A plethora of stylish freestanding pieces means that you can mix-and-match to tailor a scheme that works for you and your space.
182 Northcote Road, SW11 (020 7228 4454, harveyjones.com), plus Islington, Hampstead, Fulham, Notting Hill and outlets across the Southeast