During the process of renovating one’s home, one of the decisions one should make is regarding the kitchen. Is a sleek modular kitchen better than the trusted carpenter-built one? Doubtless, the modern readymade kitchens look smart and are efficient, but they cost a lot. While they have their advantages, they also come with their fair share of disadvantages. Knowing their pros and cons can help to decide whether to opt for a small modular kitchen in a tiny home or a large one in a spacious bungalow.
In this article, we outline the pros and cons along with modular kitchen photos that provide inspiration for designing a beautiful and functional space.
When one is looking to bring a more contemporary look to one’s home, modular kitchens present a smarter and more modern choice compared to carpenter-built kitchens. With their straight-line design and sophisticated finishes, they look more luxurious that regular kitchens.
One of the doubts many home owners have is whether they can get modular units that suit the layout and size of their kitchen, especially when they are considering modular kitchen designs for small kitchens. The primary advantage of built-in kitchens is that they are extremely versatile with a combination of tall units, wall storage, cabinets, drawers, floor-standing cabinets and dedicated shelves or space for appliances.
Moreover, they are available in an array of colours and finishes, including matte and glossy surfaces. They even come in wood finishes that resemble the older handcrafted kitchen cabinets.
With efficient planning by professional kitchen planners, these kitchens provide more storage and better work flow. As it is well organized, with space for everything, a built-in kitchen doesn’t run the risk of looking cluttered. For instance, modular kitchen cabinets come with special systems such as built-in bottle racks, plate holders, cutlery compartments, garbage holders and wire trays for vegetables. They even have specific systems such as carousels or lazy Susan attachments that make corner cabinets more accessible.
Most conventional kitchen cabinets are wooden, which makes them prone to attack from termites and other borers. The advantage of modular units is that hassle-free. Most of them use high-quality plywood that is resistant to boiling water and undergo treatment to allow them to handle moisture better. While some cabinets use cheap MDF and particle board instead of plywood, reputed modular kitchen manufacturers take additional care to ensure that the kitchen is easy to maintain and durable. Some of the additional measures they take to make the kitchen last longer include lining the cabinet doors with aluminium, especially in water-prone areas such as sink cabinets. While the cabinet will match the rest of the units, it will have added protection to make it durable.
Additionally, for Indian kitchens, instead of plywood, we recommend using granite for the countertops. Other options are steel, WPC boards or premium-quality plywood with PVC coating.
Unlike carpenter-built kitchens, which are made on site, thereby involving months of noise and dust, the manufacturing of modular kitchens takes place in factories, and they come ready-to-install. Another benefit is that they are also easy to dismantle so that one can reinstall the kitchen in a new home if one shifts residences.
See these modular kitchen designs for more inspiration.
A significant factor to consider, especially for home owners who don’t want to wait forever while the carpenters complete creating the kitchen, is that modular kitchen cabinet systems take less time from design to installation compared to carpenter-crafted kitchens. On an average, they are ready in around four to six weeks after the manufacturer's team comes in to take measurements and finalise the design.
With their smooth and water-resistant surfaces, these kitchens are simple to clean. All one needs to do is periodically wipe down the cabinets and counters with a mild detergent solution to get rid of grime and dirt.
While modular kitchens save time, they come at an increased cost compared to traditionally crafted kitchens. While this can be justified by the space saving systems that come with these modern kitchens, not every home owner might prefer to spend almost double for it. Additionally, while the units are easy to replace compared to hand-built cabinets, it’s more expensive to do so.
These kitchens are not suitable for rough use. Unless one uses high-quality hinges and systems (that are more expensive) the kitchen may require frequent repairs, adding to the maintenance costs.
Granted that the surfaces are easy to clean, but one needs to clean regularly to keep the cabinets and counters free from stains caused by spices and oil residue. It’s advisable to clean the kitchen after every use to keep it looking as good as new.
Here are some more points to consider before installing a modular kitchen.
The price of a modular kitchen can vary significantly depending upon the layout, fittings and the quality of the material one uses. The rate per square foot ranges from INR 600 at the lower end for basic plywood, going up to INR 2300 for waterproof plywood with polyester veneer or lacquer glass finish. In general, the cost of 8 feet by 10 ft L-shaped modular kitchen with basic baskets, waterproof ply with laminate finish in the bottom units and commercial plywood for the top cabinets can work out to a little more than INR 100000. Features such as pull out units, bottle racks or baskets can elevate the price considerably. Corner units are another item that increases the cost of a modular kitchen with prices varying from INR 10000 to up to 1 lakh rupees.
The budget is of primary importance when deciding between carpenter-built and modular kitchen designs as the latter is far more expensive. Besides this, other factors such as the size of the area, the type of use, the amount of time one can wait for the project to finish are worth considering. For instance, if one is in a hurry to move into a new apartment and doesn’t have the time to wait for months until the carpentry work of the kitchen cabinets is complete, then a modular kitchen is more suitable.
Don’t forget to match the style of the kitchen to the rest of the home! While modular kitchens look great in a house with a modern design, it might not match the décor in the rest of the area in a country-style home, especially if the house has an open layout that combines the social spaces and the kitchen. One of the main reasons that Indian home owners prefer to use modular units over conventional ones is that they come in a wide range of colours and finishes that allow them to match the tones in the rest of the space. It's always best to consult an interior designer to get advice on the best option for your home.