The fitted kitchen was a great invention for chore-trapped 1950s housewives. But now? The lock, stock and barrel concept can feel a bit Stepford. So how can you personalise your cooking space?
"Kitchen planning is about furniture, not units," says Johnny Grey, author of Kitchen Culture. "Why should it look like a hygienic, futuristic box? It should be a living-room where you can cook – take back ownership."
Twist and shout
I subverted an Ikea fitted kitchen by mismatching wall/base-unit doors (Solär with yellow-gold Nexus) and clad Wickes's cheapest worktop (fitted square – ie wrong – edge out) in 1950s-style flecked Formica (formica.co.uk).
Mind the gap
Building your own cupboards? "Remember to leave gaps behind for pipes and electrics," says Bosch DIY expert Chris Tidy.
For a quick pimp: replace base-unit doors with simply hemmed fabric threaded over plastic-coated curtain wire. Forget gingham, check fancymoon.co.uk's far-out fabrics (above).
On the pull
Bombayduck.co.uk is awash with good drawer/doorknobs to personalise what you have.
Kitchen dressers don't need to be all floral crockery and horse brasses. Reappropriate a G-Plan Fresco wall/ base-unit combo and go urban-retro.
In a non-fitted kitchen, with no under-cabinet options, "wall lights look quirky: pick fittings you can angle," says Peter Bowles of OriginalBTC.com.
"Hunt for reclaimed materials," says Chris Tidy. "I did a kitchen with doors clad in ship timbers, all different shades."
Find Kate's blog on affordable interiors at yourhomeislovely.com