The Right Choice with Display Kitchens

By HomeAdvisor

Updated May 31, 2019

The display kitchens that are in nearly every one of the mega-home stores are eye-catching, elegant, and unique. It’s hard not to want one for yourself. But the attractiveness of the displays begs the question: Are they good for your home?

Display Kitchen Breakdown

On a scale of 1-10, rank the display kitchens you’ve seen and compute the average:

  • How attractive is the kitchen to you?
  • How many items does it contain that you don’t like?
  • How much of a difference will it make to your home’s appearance?
  • How much of a difference will it make in your kitchen’s functionality?
  • How much of a deterrent is the price?

These questions will give you a sense of how your emotional attachments play into your choices.

If the average is below 8, hiring a contractor for a custom job is probably a better choice than the display kitchen. If your average is relatively high, 8 or better, you should investigate further. There are some hidden secrets that you will want to at least be aware of even if you are choosing the display kitchen.

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Model Kitchen Secrets

One secret is that model kitchens are not operational. Of course some of them have running water and electricity, but they are not operational in the sense that there is not constant weight on the drawers, keys are not being thrown on the counter, and big meals are not being prepared. Certainly, any new kitchen is the same way, but it’s important to realize that these displays may not function the same in your home as they do in the store.

The biggest secret about model kitchens is that hundreds of other people could buy the same kitchen and have it installed in their homes. It would be like wearing the same dress as several others at a party or buying the same model car in the same color as a dozen other people on your block.

Another problem can be cabinet dimensions. Most model kitchens have standard cabinet sizes. No matter how much room you have in your kitchen, it will be near impossible to make everything fit the way custom cabinetry would. This might not be a problem for you, especially if the savings outweigh the few gaps between cabinets, but it is just something to note.

Tips for Your Model Kitchen

If your budget and wishes have led you to buy a display kitchen, there are a few things you can do to help make what you bought feel unique to your home.

In some cases the cabinets are not prefinished, and if so, aim for a stain or finish that is different from the actual display. Most people will be too lazy to change anything, and by simply changing the stain, you can make the exact same cabinetry seem completely different.

In this same vein, if you can choose a different color of laminate, solid surface, or granite pattern, it will be difficult for others who buy the same kitchen to see the similarities. This may not be important to you, but if it is, these are just some ways to get around wearing the same shirt to the party.

Final Thoughts on Display Kitchens

The quality of the materials and craftsmanship will be higher with a custom kitchen remodel, but the cost of a display kitchen (even with the installation charge) will be lower. These are the simple facts. Custom kitchens will last 2 to 3 times longer than display kitchens, but display kitchens can last a long while, look great, and do the job. Either choice has its benefits, but it is important to understand these benefits to make an informed choice.

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