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What is the difference between a modular and carpenter-made kitchen?

  • Kitchen Design
Feb 26, 2021
White & Wooden kitchen design - Beautiful Homes

You may have flipped through a décor magazine lately or surfed through some of your favourite platforms online and stumbled upon a sleek modern modular kitchen, which would have made you think about doing up your own. But for an Indian home, and in our country where we have a rich pool of craftsmen and skilled labour, is it wiser to get a factory-made modular kitchen from a brand or create your one customised modular kitchen made by a carpenter you trust?


While both have some benefits and disadvantages to them, we break down the difference between a modular kitchen and a carpenter-made one to help you make a choice to create a space that fits your home’s requirements best.

What is a Modular Kitchen?
As its name suggests, a modular kitchen is quite simply a variety of cabinetry, drawer and storage options available in a range of styles, finishes, shapes and colours, serving several functions, which can be paired and fitted together like modules to create the latest kitchen designs. Depending on the different functions and purposes your kitchen is used for, each module can be selected to create a space that easy to use while also being well designed. Often, these modules are available with a set of customisations pre-decided by the brand.

Wooden kitchen design with white flooring & ceiling - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, KNS Architects

Each of these pieces is factory-made or mass produced, and fits the broad aesthetic and design sense followed by the brand across all its products. The price range of a modular kitchen, too, depends on the brand you choose—while some offer modules at several price points, others, such as high-end luxury labels, may have an overall price point to reflect the quality and image of the brand.

What are the benefits of a Modular Kitchen?
1.    The Latest Kitchen Designs at Your Finger Tips
When investing in a modular kitchen for your home, if you choose to select your cabinetry and modules from any of the leading popular brands, you’re guaranteed to get the sleekest, most modern latest kitchen designs at your fingertips. With styles inspired by trends from across the globe, you won’t have to go through the headache of designing anything yourself or scouring the internet, magazines and brochures for inspiration. 


2.    All the Inspiration You Need Under One Roof
Usually, the showroom you step into will have a slew of mood spaces or inspiration rooms for you to browse through. These have been styled and designed to help you decide what layouts will work in your home’s modular kitchen, along with giving you the chance to visually gauge and understand the space each module will take up. The difference between seeing a layout online or in a magazine compared to real life is tremendous, and, usually, there’s always an in-store expert around to help you make a decision. Should you want a consultation in your own home, several brands send they expects to your home to assess the space and floor plan to give you the right layout for a modular kitchen that will work in your home.


3.    A Fuss-Free Procedure
When you sign up for creating a modular kitchen, the brand you choose usually offers an end-to-end service which begins with assessing your kitchen floor space, working out the best layout for your modular kitchen design to fitting out all your modules and making sure everything is running smoothly along the way. Every step of coordination between a contractor, labourer and handyman is handled by the brand, giving you a seamless experience without any responsibilities to look into.

White & wood modular kitchen design - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, Sleek, Asian Paints

4.    A Brand Garauntee And Warranty
Like many other things you’d buy from a brand, a modular kitchen, too, comes with its own set of brand guarantees and warranties for each product that you install, some going up to a span of five to ten years. This is extremely helpful when you need to fix or service any of the fittings in your latest kitchen designs, which are often prone to wear and tear. For example, with the Beautiful Homes Service, any products from Asian Paints or its associated brands come with a set of warranties and quality assurances to add value to everything being fitted in your house.

The modular kitchens which are provided by Sleek, come with a 10-year warranty against manufacturing defects; while every paint and wallpaper finish by Asian Paints comes with its individual product warranty, as well.


What Are The Drawbacks of a Modular Kitchen?

1.    The Price Of A Modular Kitchen
The modular kitchen’s price is the first thing you should take into consideration before getting carried away with all the bells and whistles you’ll be tempted to install in your space. While every option for the swankiest, latest kitchen design will be available to you, they all come at a hefty price which is also commanded by the reputation and value of the brand. The key here is setting aside a a fixed budget beforehand and working in whatever you can get from there, or discussing it with the brand’s design expert for your modular kitchen.


2.    The Quality Of Materials
If you’re someone who prefers solid, high quality wood for your cabinetry and drawers, this might pose a problem, as modular kitchens use engineered wood such as MDF boards in most of their carpentry. While these have some benefits as well, you have to consider the value of it for long-term usage and the money you’re spending.


3.    Feasibility In An Indian Home
While a modular kitchen might look stunning and visually look like a dream space when you see it in a picture, it may not necessarily work in an Indian home. Often, these are created by International brands and work in their home environments but may not serve every purpose and long-term use by and Indian family.

What is a Carpenter-made Kitchen?
As its name suggests, a carpenter-made kitchen is one made by a carpenter of your choice, customised according to the designs you provide to him or create with him. Carpenter-made kitchens are more customised that modular kitchens and spare room for including any specifications you’d like in the kitchen design. In a country like India which is ripe with skilled labourers, craftsmen and carpenters, this is sometimes an option many people are more comfortable with, as you can create exactly what you like with the materials of your choice.

Rustic light wood kitchen design - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, Federico Rostagno

 What Are The Benefits Of A Carpenter-made Kitchen?
1.    Customised to the Finest Detail

Since you’re designing the kitchen yourself, you can add in any details you require in the space according to your liking. The materials, colours and size of all the cabinetry and drawers can be customised exactly as you’d like it to fit in all your kitchen appliances, cutlery, crockery and accessories.


2.    A Kitchen on Any Budget
Since you’re working with a design on your own and a carpenter you might have a long-standing relationship with, it’s easier to play around with the budget and price of your kitchen and the fixture you’ll fit it. You can decide which elements to splurge on and which ones to scale back on.


3.    The Reliability of Your Carpenter
Often, in an Indian home, we’ve had a relationship with our handymen and carpenters for generations. Because of this, they sometimes know the ins and outs and blueprints of our home better than we do, along with the tastes, habits and preferences of each member of the family. Also, these carpenters are well-versed in what works in an Indian home and how to make the most of the climate changes around the home.

What Are the Drawbacks of a Carpenter-made Kitchen?
1.    A Clear Vision
Since it’s someone else who’s working on creating your kitchen, you have to be aware of the space being created each step of the way. While you may have a vision for the kitchen to look a certain way, your carpenter may add a dash of his own creativity, which may not go down well with you.


2.    Supervision at All Times
The main drawback of getting anything done by yourself is having to oversee it at all times, every step of the way. If you’re pressed for time time and have a busy schedule, this can pose as a challenge you’ll have to temporarily accommodate.


3.    Man Versus Machine
This bottles down to your personal preference—for anyone looking for a sleek factory-finish look, hiring a carpenter to do the job may not be the best option for you. While nowadays, several carpenters are getting quite skilled in the latest methods using up-to-date technology, there is a fine difference between modular kitchens made in a factory or created by hand. The choice of aesthetic is yours!

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Image Courtesy, Studio Osmosis

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Image courtesy, Sleek, Asian Paints

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