The benefits of buying a second hand kitchen with Used Kitchen Exchange

Classic cream and stone coloured kitchen

The cost of gutting, purchasing and installing a new kitchen can vary enormously, but I recently learned that some of us really are prepared to splash out on this part of the house. According to the Kitchen Trends Study 2017 carried out by Houzz UK, 9% of homeowners spent more than £75,000 on their kitchen renovation and a further 7% spent between £50-75k.

When spending this much money, we clearly want it to add value to a property, so investing in quality makes sense. My feeling is that few buyers realise that they can probably get the quality they’re looking for, at a fraction of the cost, by purchasing a second hand kitchen. With this in mind, I was more than happy to work together with second hand kitchen company Used Kitchen Exchange on spreading the word.

Vintage china displayed in a classic modern kitchen

UKE founder, Helen Lord, personally experienced the benefits of buying a second hand kitchen, when after much searching, she found a pre-owned Clive Christian kitchen, which she realised could be reconfigured for her space. She paid just £5,000 for the kitchen when the previous owner had originally bought it for £100k (you can read all about how she put her personal stamp on it here).

The satisfaction of buying a quality kitchen at a cheap price from a sustainable source was so inspiring, it sparked the idea to set up her company. Based in Cheshire, UK, they have since sold over 1000 pre-owned and ex-display kitchens and won numerous UK business and environmental awards.

SieMatic kitchen

“The kitchen industry is growing at 4% per year and 80% of new kitchens in the UK are replacements. Because of the risk and complexities of selling a used kitchen, most end up in landfill and a lot of these have many years of life left in them. It is not uncommon for kitchens that are only a few years old to be ripped out because of a home extension or a house purchase and the kitchen not being to the new owners taste.

It’s funny because most people would happily buy a used car, but haven’t even considered a used kitchen. Sometimes, a kitchen can take years to save for, committing families to unnecessary debt. Property developers and landlords have always bought second hand or ex display kitchens – they are savvy buyers, but with our publicity and activity on social media, more people are becoming aware that this is such a good way to buy a kitchen, that fits into your budget.”

Helen Lord, founder of Used Kitchen Exchange

Modern white high gloss second hand kitchen


So how does it work?

Used Kitchen Exchange is an online marketplace for buying and selling pre-owned and ex-display kitchens. If you’re looking to sell, UKE will survey and photograph it, free of charge. There is no charge for listing your kitchen and they offer an optional removal service, which is included in the sale price. They also operate on a no sale, no fee basis.

For customers buying a kitchen, UKE offer a delivery, storage and optional interior design service, working closely with interior designer Melanie Lissack. Their most popular kitchens are wooden in frame styles that are ideal for repainting, so they have also partnered with a specialist painter who can advise customers if they choose to repaint their kitchen.

Here are just a few examples of some of the kitchens that come up for sale:

Clive Christian walnut Metro Deco kitchen

This ex-display walnut Metro Deco Clive Christian kitchen includes Gaggenau appliances is on sale for £59k and would usually cost in excess of £132k.

Modern oak second hand kitchen with flush handleless units

modern oak kitchen located in Shoreditch, London is being advertised at £6,000. It features handleless flush oak units includes, granite worktops, island and Gaggenau, Miele and Euro Cave appliances.

Walnut in frame second hand kitchen

This bespoke walnut kitchen in Norwich (including granite worktops and appliances) sold for £5,500.

Modern white high gloss second hand kitchen

This is a two-year-old modern white high gloss kitchen in North Yorkshire. With appliances, it sold for £9,500

Second hand Alno kitchen

In the West Midlands, this 6-year-old kitchen by Alno is currently being advertised for £3,500

Benchmarx Painted Cream In Frame Used Kitchen

In London, this Benchmarx painted in frame kitchen sold for £4,000.


Helen’s top tips for purchasing a used kitchen:

● Very important, remember to inspect a kitchen prior to purchase. We survey all kitchens for our buyers so that they can buy with confidence. We also offer 14 day buyer protection.

● Choose a kitchen that’s slightly bigger than you need – this means you won’t have to compromise on layout and reconfiguration. Have an idea of what sort of layout you want, but don’t hang your hat on this. Understand how many units you will need and choose your kitchen based on this. Units are easy to reconfigure.

Dark green painted kitchen with marble worktops and art display

Dark green painted kitchen with gold fittings via Devol

● If you love, for example, the inky blue look with copper handles, but cannot afford the designer price tag, you can recreate it yourself. If a kitchen is going to be repainted, this is an ideal time to change the handles as the holes can be filled and made invisible – don’t forget to sell the old handles on eBay too!

Industrial style kitchen by Neptune

Industrial style kitchen island by Neptune

● You don’t need to have spare units to make an island, so if you really want one – make one! Equally if you have too many units, using them to create an island is very easy to do.

● Updating is not just down to paint and handles. Choice of worktop, colour of the kick boards, tiles and wall colour can all dramatically change the look of a kitchen.

Navy painted kitchen with Carrara polished black marble tiles

Tiles by Mandarin Stone

● Remember that the worktops will most probably need re-templating if they are granite or quartz, so factor in the cost of this. There are some brilliants laminates on the market now. This can be a cost effective solution if you don’t like the worktops that come with the kitchen and they can be sourced second hand.

Tiled concrete kitchen island

Tiled concrete kitchen island. Photo by Shadowplay UK via Rock my Style

● If there isn’t enough worktop for your chosen layout, mix up the worktops! Different textures and finishes in kitchens are very on trend and mixing stone worktops with wood can look very effective.

Find out more at

With special thanks to The Used Kitchen Exchange for sponsoring this post. 

Header image by Watermark Designs


Author: Antonia Edwards

Antonia is the founding editor of Upcyclist. Based in the UK, she is the author of two books: 'Upcyclist: Reclaimed and Remade Furniture, Lighting and Interiors' (Prestel 2015) and 'Renovate Innovate: Reclaimed and Upcycled Homes' (Prestel 2017).