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Kitchens for Living Whitepaper

A picture of the UK

Kitchen Earlier this year, Häfele completed a study with over 2,000 homeowners from across the UK to get a true picture of the nation’s kitchens. As part of the research, we delved into localised trends in current kitchen layouts and styles, and critically, regional variations in what consumers want from their space in the future.

Through Kitchens for Living: A Picture of the UK Kitchen, we aim to give our customers real actionable insights to help drive sales and marketing activity.

L shaped Kitchens

The nation’s kitchens today

LAYOUT U-shaped kitchens are most common in the UK, with over a third of homes having this layout. Yet analysing the results regionally, there are some stand out trends.

  • Around 14% of homeowners in Northern Ireland have an island – 4% higher than anywhere else in the UK
  • L-shaped designs are prominent in the Midlands at 28% while city-wise, Liverpool topped the table 
  • Cardiff is the galley kitchen capital of the UK (18%), followed closely by Birmingham (16%)
  • Single wall kitchen layouts dominate in urban hubs of Leeds (8%) and London (7%)


Despite open plan kitchen-diners being popular for many years, just under 60% of homes have a kitchen separate from the rest of the house. The lowest levels of open plan living are in Wales (34%) followed by Yorkshire & Humber (35%). Conversely, London has the highest levels of open plan living at just over half.

Average age of a kitchen

Age of kitchen

Our research found that, on average, Brits have had their kitchen nine years and three months.

Exploring regionally, Wales, and Cardiff in particular, had the oldest kitchens at 11 and a half years, while over the Severn Bridge, Bristol was next at 10 years. Approximately 17% of respondents in Wales had a kitchen over 15 years old.

The UK’s newest kitchens are in London and Brighton, but the average age is still eight years, while around 7% of residents in the East of England have replaced their kitchen in the past year.


Style and colour

At present, almost a third of UK kitchens are traditional in style, followed closely by modern or sleek (29%). In terms of colour, wooden cabinetry dominates of current kitchens (24.1%) followed by white (23.8%). Beige, cashmere and neutrals were third at 21%.

  • London has the highest frequency of ‘retro’ (10%) followed Edinburgh and Southampton
  • Minimalist designs were above average in West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber
  • Nottingham is the colourful kitchen capital with 9.45% of residents having kitchens that are either green, pink, red, yellow, orange or purple.

Sink-ing feelings?


Mancunians had the strongest dislike towards their current kitchen (26%) with the words sad and stressed the most negative emotions described. Glaswegians were next on the list with ‘depressed’ 13% selected as the negative term they’d use to describe their space.


How kitchens are used

It’s unsurprising that the majority of people use their kitchens for cooking, but 9% of respondents do not use their space for culinary purposes.

While residents of South West England are the keenest cookers at 94%, Londoners take advantage of the Capital’s thriving restaurant scene with just 78% using their kitchen for meal preparation. Residents of Norwich are the UK’s busiest bakers (75%) while 15% of Mancunians use their kitchen as a home office too.

Expected time before changing a kitchen

Kitchen plans

Our research found that most British homeowners expect to change their kitchen before 2027. Retailers in Yorkshire and Humber have the biggest opportunity where this figure is just over four and a half years.



Yorkshire and the Humber

4years and 8 months

South East

5 years

West Miidlands

5 years and 2 months

Greater London

5 years and 3 months

East Midlands

5 years and 5 months

North West

5 years and 5 months

South West

5 years and 5 months

North East

5 years and 7 months


5 years and 8 months


5 years and 11 months

East of England

6 years and 7 months

Northern Ireland

7 years and 6 months


Drivers for change

Updating the style of their current kitchen is the biggest driver for consumers, followed closely by their desire to improve their home’s value while. Not enough storage was a close third at one-quarter of respondents.



A lack of storage posed a particular issue in the West Midlands where it was just two points behind style at 29%



Accessibility and making their kitchen more appropriate for an aging family was key to 15% of respondents in the East of England – almost five times higher than in other parts of the UK



Flexibility and multi-functionality was a standout reason for change for those in Scotland, with 10% citing it as their reason for upgrading – double other parts of the UK



A desire to be more eco-friendly was also important to 13% of Londoners and 14% of Mancunians

Style choices

Thinking about their new kitchen, most respondents would opt for a modern and sleek aesthetic (44%). White, light grey, beige, wood are the most popular colours for cabinetry and for those wanting stronger colours, dark grey, dark blue, light blue and light green topped the list.

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