Freestanding kitchens do exactly what they say on the tin – they’re kitchen units that are not fixed to the wall or floor, so you can configure them in any way you like. The main components of freestanding kitchens are island units, storage units, display dressers and wheeled trolleys – which can be moved around your kitchen space freely.
The benefits of freestanding kitchens are numerous: you don’t need to have costly fitted appliances, you can use existing or second-hand furniture (such as a cupboard, sideboard or dresser), and you can move your kitchen units around if you fancy a change later on. The fact that everything doesn’t ‘match’ means freestanding kitchens are often a more affordable option than fitted kitchens. They’re certainly more flexible too, and can evolve to fit in with your needs, rather than needing to be perfectly planned from the outset.
If you have a large kitchen, a central unit will give you plenty of worktop space and create a sociable feel. Check out our round-up of kitchen island ideas for inspiration. Alternatively, if you’ve got a small room, why not take a look at our ideas for compact kitchens.
Combine vintage and retro pieces for a characterful, laid-back look. They don't have to be kitchen units as such - look for oversized buffet tables, consoles and generous butcher's blocks at antiques fairs. Feel free to mix eras and styles then paint them all to match. Combine fitted wall and base units with one or two freestanding statement pieces to enjoy the best of both worlds. Elegant larder cupboards, display dressers and sideboards are all great for bringing the relaxed freestanding look to an otherwise fitted kitchen.
For an elegant look, display favourite pieces of tableware in an open-rack dresser such as this one. If you have an old dresser and aren't happy with the colour or finish, consider giving it a coat of paint to suit your scheme. It's a simple approach to decorating a freestanding kitchen, but will make the most of any existing furniture you may have.
Freestanding kitchens don't have to be uncoordinated - they can look as seamless as fitted furniture. We love this country-style bespoke kitchen in which solid tulipwood cabinetry is hand-painted to provide contrast with the floor-standing units below. Neutral shades in the rest of the scheme go perfectly with both the wooden and painted units, without the need to be perfectly matched either.
Mix colours to accentuate the beauty of a freestanding design - shades of blue, off-white and warm oak combine for a calming country look. White walls and tiles are the ideal partners to a bold colour like this blue, as they let it stand out while keeping everything fresh and bright.
Stand-alone units are now being embraced in modern open-plan spaces, where the kitchen literally takes centre stage. A growing trend in island design is to have tall legs that give a free-flowing, freestanding feel. Here, such an island is teamed with matching fitted furniture that has open display shelves for everyday essentials, which add colour and personality.
Holloways of Ludlow
A repurposed industrial sink and storage unit makes a great freestanding kitchen piece, fitting neatly into a niche. The chunky cook's table positioned in the centre of the room, open shelving and stainless-steel accents and appliances complete this easy urban look.
Similar freestanding furniture
One of the great benefits of choosing a freestanding kitchen is that you can start with the basics and add pieces in further down the line. Stylish and understated, this design could go either modern or traditional. Crafted predominantly from solid oak and oak veneer, this kitchen has the rich characteristics of natural timber, such as knots and natural colour variations - a striking backdrop for accents of red.
Marks & Spencer
This relaxed farmhouse scheme is the perfect example of classic design. The refreshing arrangement features just a handful of freestanding pieces of bespoke furniture painted in subtle shades to complement the Aga, with wooden accents adding warmth and colour.
Classic English kitchen from deVol
A larder cupboard is a classic piece of furniture that can be added to all types of kitchens where space allows. If you have room in the dining area, use it to store china and glasses for entertaining or make it a breakfast cupboard with easy access to cereals. Mix up the colours and finishes of your cabinets - for example, having two or three complementary paint shades on different units. You can also use this idea on a fitted kitchen to give a freestanding feel.
John Lewis of Hungerford
This fabulous freestanding kitchen has the look of the polished-steel desks that were so popular in mid-century America. Here, it's warmed up with pattern and vintage finds for a striking but homely feel, proving stainless steel doesn't have to be cold. Non kitchen-style lighting has real impact in this unorthodox space.
Similar floor tiles
Freestanding units are the ideal choice for listed buildings, as they require no structural interference. Old and new can easily work in harmony, as demonstrated in this modern kitchen, which features a stainless-steel table island and uber-organised cabinetry. All the shelves are self-contained, with hinged units that close to hide contents completely from view, producing a beautifully streamlined working space.
For those seeking a laid-back kitchen design, the idea of freestanding cabinets is proving increasingly attractive. Selecting stylish freestanding pieces to match living-room furniture is a great solution for large open-plan spaces, where cooking and living collide. Here, the industrial-style sideboard in the dining area is matched to a tall larder unit serving the kitchen.
Similar kitchen design
Although you have the flexibility to move things around in a freestanding kitchen, it's still best to have a layout plan from the start. Unfitted works best in larger rooms where you have the flexibility to include standard-sized units in between the key areas of sink, cooker and fridge. Here, mixing colour accentuates the beauty of this freestanding design.
Kitchen design and cabinetry
This kitchen is made up of modules, each designed for a specific function. Every piece is a stand-alone item and can be added accordingly. You can include antique or vintage freestanding cabinets, such as a pantry or dresser unit, to add character and interest in a modern kitchen.
Who says freestanding has to be traditional? The tall units in this kitchen are ideal for separating zones in large open-plan kitchens. Pocket doors pull right back allowing full access to the contents, but can also be closed to conceal the kitchen when not in use. Muted neutrals are used throughout and give the space an elegant feel.
Classic designs work especially well for the unfitted look. Painted wood has a timeless feel and freestanding units are particularly easy to repaint. Choose delicate pastels for a warm and welcoming scheme.
Kitchen design and cabinet
A freestanding has remarkable versatility. It's a concept that can evolve as your tastes change, your family grows or perhaps your room extends, without having to compromise on what may well be your dream kitchen. For a kitchen in keeping with a period property, this Victorian-inspired hand-painted design fits the bill.
The Old Creamery
Freestanding cabinetry is ideal for space where fitted units would look too cluttered. Hand-painted, specially commissioned pieces can look fabulous when teamed with antique furniture, creating an individual look.
Using a range of colours, materials and styles means each item looks like a piece of furniture in its own right. Less is definitely more when it comes to choosing freestanding furniture, so don't feel you have to fill every nook and cranny with cabinets. Make sure there is enough space to use your kitchen comfortably.
Kitchen design and cabinetry
The beauty of freestanding kitchens is their ability to mix, match and fit virtually anywhere - so if you have a small or awkwardly shaped kitchen, they could be an option for you. We love the hand carved pilasters of this Prague-inspired architectural collection.
The Bohemian Company
Freestanding pieces are ideal for spaces where fitted units would look too cluttered. Here, splashes of blue and yellow next to white brick walls and a pared-down wooden floor create a relaxed, coastal feel.