Flexible units mean design freedom
A freestanding kitchen is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a flexible design that oozes character. Not only does it allow you to change your layout around or take your kitchen with you when you move, but it also works perfectly in spaces where fitted furniture would look too cramped. Plus, it’s easy to mix and match pieces as you choose, creating a completely individual look.
The first thing to think about is what it is that you want from your freestanding kitchen. Do you want lots of storage, more worktop space or a design that makes the most of a small space? Take into account anything about your existing kitchen that you’re not happy with – for example, do you find that you’re forever walking back and forth from the fridge to the sink, or do you yearn for an island unit? These are areas you should be looking to improve in your new layout.
A working triangle is a way to create the most efficient use of space and is an imaginary triangular shape with the sink, cooker and fridge at three opposite corners. Whatever the shape of your room, try to create a working triangle in your design and you’ll find you have a scheme that is as practical as it is aesthetic.
Look at the space you have to work with and decide how you can make the best use of it. The good thing about freestanding furniture is that it’s very versatile – so if you have a tricky alcove or corner, you can simply work around it.
There are five basic shapes that a kitchen can be, so decide which one you prefer and then consider what units you will have and where they will go.
U-shape This design works well with corner units and, if it’s wide enough, is ideal for incorporating a breakfast bar.
L-shape Keep your hob, fridge and sink well spaced out and if you don’t have enough room for storage, why not consider wall units?
Galley If you use both base and wall units this scheme can easily look like a corridor, so try and stick to just base units and keep everything simple.
Island A good plan is to keep your cooking appliances on one side of the island, with the hob or sink on top of the island to keep everything easily accessible.
Open-plan Freestanding furniture comes into its own in an open-place space, as it can easily be incorporated into your living and dining space too. Ensure you have enough storage to keep your room uncluttered and tidy, as it is likely to be on display when you entertain or have visitors.
Next, take accurate measurements of your kitchen in order to check that your preferred layout will fit. For ease and accuracy, it is advisable to measure with the help of another person, and always use a metal tape measure, as fabric or plastic tape may stretch.
Make sure you’ve measured all the essential features
You’ll also need to keep in mind where your gas and water supply is, any plumbing outlets, and plug points for appliances.
If there are any pieces from your existing kitchen that you’d like to keep, note the dimensions so you know exactly how much room you have for additional pieces.
Draw a rough plan to check your chosen freestanding pieces fit and won’t be blocking any windows or doorways. Place any tall units at the end of a length of base units to ensure maximum work surface.
Don’t put the fridge or freezer next to the cooker as the fridge will use more energy to offset the heat. And don’t place the cooker or hob in front of a window, near curtains or beneath a low wall unit.
If you’re planning on having two rows of cabinets, ensure that you allow enough room for doors to open on both sides – ideally at least 1.2 metres. If in doubt, mark the shape of your new layout on the floor (taking care not to mark the floor with anything that may damage it) to ensure you’re happy with the fit and have left yourself enough room.
Basic 2-door unit for storage
Island unit with display shelving
Now you can start deciding on the units. A freestanding kitchen has lots of benefits, and one of them is that you can buy units piece by piece, making it an excellent choice if you have a budget to stick to. It also means you can move items around, to create a whole new look, although it’s worth remembering that any cabinet to which utilities run to have to remain in situ.
Our two freestanding kitchen ranges, Sonoma and Fenchurch, work equally well in both traditional and modern homes. Choose from one range or mix and match to create a look that’s personalised to your tastes. And don’t forget that you can use other matching items, such as tables and chairs (pictured above), dressers and sideboards from the Sonoma living and dining collections, to complete your scheme. Solidly made, either range offers a choice of units that combine to create your perfect working space. Included are:
One and two-door base units offering plenty of storage
Wall units with frosted glass doors
A pull-out larder unit is ideal for housing dry goods
A butcher’s block that is great for providing extra worktop space
Corner units make the most of awkward space
An island unit that makes a great centerpiece
A tall storage cabinet is ideal for brooms and vacuums
A large two-door larder unit with integral wine rack that will hide a huge amount of equipment and crockery
Curved end units, available in both left or right-hand options
Opt for one of our worktops, in either solid oak, laminated oak, or granite, all designed to fit both collections.
Opt for wood if you’re after a warmer, softer look. Both are available as worktops with splashbacks.
Finish off your freestanding kitchen with our stainless-steel one-and-a-half-bowl sink and classic swan-neck tap.
You can order online at marksandspencer.com, in one of our participating stores or by phone on 0845 603 1 603. Delivery is free and as all of our units come fully assembled (except corner units) you can position them yourself where you want them. Taps, dishwashers and cooking appliances must by installed by a professional; contact the following organisations for local installers.
Gas Safe Register 0800 408 5500; www.gassaferegister.co.uk
Chartered Insitute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering 01708 472791; www.ciphe.org.uk
Electrical Safety Council 0203 463 5100; www.esc.org.uk