Kitchen Appliances & Fixtures

How to buy the best modular unit

A lot of people nowadays whether in Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai or Pune opt for these as they offer a lot of design options. They also offer a lot of convenience you can opt for an appropriate kitchen decor depending on the cost you want to incur.

The systems consist of standard units and cabinets which are built and available in various materials, colors and finishing. They come with accessories and fit in various budgets as different cost ranges are available. Brands like Godrej, Sleek make nice designs. There are standard units for wall and floor and these take care that eletrical and appliances as well as various utensils can easily fit. Thus the modular units can be done in lesser time and budget than a complete custom built one.

Modular Kitchen

If your cooking area is completely bare and during construction no counters have been made then you can opt for a box type kitchen. The box type is completely modular and contains everything which includes counter, cabinet, shutters and pullouts.

On the other hand if the builder has already provided counters and sink then you will need to work around that to get a modular unit. This will save you on overall cost of modular framework but you can go for parts like cabinet shutters, shelves and pullouts.

Many brands have fittings, shutters, drawers and other parts in fixed sizes. This works well in box type kitchens as the counter height can be adjusted. But for those where the counter is already built the parts should be customizable so as to fit accordingly. Else you should go for custom built option.


It is better to let the store owners guide you on buying cabinets and drawers. They can be made from different material like wood or cominations of wood and laminate, granite and laminate or alumunium and marble. You can also suggest any other material that you might have in mind for a custom built cabinet.

The material for cabinets should be water resistant. Marine ply is a good cabinet material because of it's higher resistance to water. The other grades of plywood might not be water resistant so make sure while seelcting.
Solid wood cabinets typically need a lot of care and regular polishing is needed to maintain the lustre. Any contact with water can cause solid wood to rot so you need to keep this in mind.
You should also ensure that the materials used have been treated for termites and other pests.

Mild steel cabinets get rusted if powder coating is not done. Mild steel above or near the stove area should be avoided as cabinets can get heated and opening them will become very difficult.

You should get good quality shutter hinges and drawer channels so that they do not get spoilt by rusting specially in monsoons.
For drawers that shut on the lightest touch, get hydraulic hinges as they have a smooth mechanism. Smooves are a type of hinge that have a similar mechanism but are of a better quality and will be more expensive.
90 degree hinges for regular cabinets, 165 degree hinges are ideal for corner cabinets in L-shaped platforms.
Blumotion channels close at feather touch but never bang shut and hence the shutters are protected.
Telescopic channels are very useful. The drawer with these channels open fully so items stored at the back can also be brought out easily.
Bottom mounted channels should be avoided as they do not open completely.

Also see More Tips on Cabinet Design


For counters, granite is the best option keeping in mind our Indian style of cooking, which involves food colouring and gas stove preparations. However, if you are getting counters too from dealers you might land up spending more than if you bought the granite from the suppliers directly. But then again, you will have an all inclusive cost for installation.

Wood and laminate are ideal for cabinets and shutters. For worktops, marble or granite are ideal.

These incorporate chimneys as well. The repairing in such units are easy as they are organized.

Also see More Tips on buying countertops


These are available in a variety of designs. You could have parallel counters, an L- shaped, U-shaped or C- shaped.

If you have a large cooking area or want an open kitchen, you could also opt for an island design. The bad part though, is that the designs include the hob in the island, these are not recommended as Indian houses generally do not have underground pipelines. This makes it difficult to conceal the gas pipeline.

The designs options depending on the space available can be as follows:

1.) Island


2.) L Shaped

L Shaped

3.) U Shaped

U Shaped

4.) Parallel Counters

Parallel Counters


The steel pullouts, trays and racks are sold by weight, and it will be much cheaper if you buy them from the suppliers in wholesale markets directly. The costs in the showrooms will be huge. On an average a steel pullout weighs anywhere from 3 to 4 kgs.

You will typically need to check out the dimensions of the accessories as per your kitchen and cabinets. The corner cabinet accessories will have to be selected separately.

The consideration for the accessories should also include the type of utensils and where they need to be placed. e.g. a knife holder cannot be placed at the bottom and should be close to the cooktop and easily reachable.

You could have a few glass shuttered cabinets with glass shelves to display fancy crockery. Glass shelves are cheaper and modular too.

You can also look at thin plywood shelves that are fitted with sliding channels so you can access stuff at the back of the cabinet. With plywood make sure that you select the grade that is water resistant.



Typical unit prices range between Rs 1 lakh and Rs. 25 lakhs, this depends on the style, look, materials and space. Some of the international luxury brands are more expensive and the rates can go from Rs. 2 crores to Rs. 5 crores depeding on your needs.

A Hacker basic one for 8ft * 10ft costs Rs 2 lakhs. You should visit the store and enquire more about the costs, typically websites do not provide any cost estimates.

The accessories will also define the price e.g. if you add chimney or burner then the price will go up based on your choice. Installation for typical brands can take upto 15 days.

Local brands will be cheaper, however you should ensure that you do not compromise on material or design.




Alno has a planner software, you can try it out at


Check out some designs from India brands

Godrej Design Photos

IFB Design Images

- By Saurabh Srivastava