Ex-Display Kitchens: A Guide for Buyers

Unsure if buying an ex-display kitchen is a good idea? Need some inside information before you buy? Look no further! Today we’ll answer the 5 most commonly asked questions about ex-display kitchens, helping you make sure your ex-display model is definitely a bargain and not a disaster in disguise:

Dave White
Dave White
January 8, 2019
Cost Effective Kitchens

1. What does ex-display mean?

Let’s start with the basics: an “ex-display” kitchen is simply a kitchen that was originally installed in a dealership showroom to showcase their products to the public. In most normal cases, a year or two will pass before the kitchen is then put up for sale to make space for something more current.

“Ex-display”: originally for display, and now for sale. 

As a prospective buyer, the million dollar question here is: why?

2. Are ex-display kitchens “used” kitchens?

Yes and no. Whilst the doors, drawers and hinges on display kitchens will pick up a good amount of wear and tear throughout their showroom lifetime (although this does depend on how busy the dealership is) display kitchens aren’t usually functional, meaning most of them have never been cooked in. 

As a result the sinks, taps and worktops are generally in good condition, and if your display kitchen comes with appliances included you can usually be assured that these will be as good as they were on the day they were installed. 

That said, it’s always wise to get in touch with the seller at the outset to clarify these things (or even better - go and view the kitchen in person) whilst bearing in mind that even well looked after, “un-cooked in" displays will show signs of wear and tear.

3. Is an ex-display kitchen cheaper than a new kitchen?

As price is one of the main attractions when buying an ex display kitchen, this is an important question. The answer is…. it depends! 

If the display is still current (not a discontinued door or colour), in good condition and not too old, there is a strong argument for the dealership to list it for more or less the normal RRP. After all, why shouldn’t they? It’s (almost) as good as it was on the day it was made!

Additionally, dealerships often get extra buying discounts on their display kitchens (sometimes even entirely FOC), meaning sticking to the RRP will present them with a hard-to-resist opportunity to make some extra cash when it comes time to sell it off. 

On the other hand, it's also possible for the dealership to simply want rid of their display kitchen as quickly as possible, which means lowering the price to encourage a speedy sale.

This can make working out if you’re getting a good deal or not pretty tricky. What you need here is a second opinion: send the item list to a competing dealership and ask them to quote you the same kitchen at their normal RRP, then compare the prices. Hey presto! 

On the subject of price, it’s also worth mentioning that a display kitchen will rarely be a perfect match for your home: you’ll almost certainly need extra units, panels or even new worktops to make it fit your space properly. All this will of course equate to….that’s right, extra costs.

Designers advice: If you’re thinking of rearranging a display kitchen into a new layout or shape, tread carefully! As the unit sizes and hinge orientation weren’t designed for your space, you’ll probably just end up with a kitchen that looks forced or unbalanced, and wont function as well as one that was actually designed for your home.

Before deciding that an ex-display kitchen is the right choice for you, check out our kitchen price examples for an indication of what a brand-new German kitchen from GKS could cost – made to your specifications and supplied with our full 5 year warranty and free UK delivery.

4. What are the risks of buying ex-display kitchens?

Now we’re getting into the real nitty-gritty. When buying an ex-display kitchen, the difference between making a clever purchase and a regrettable one lies in how well you manage the associated risks. 

The important thing here is to be savvy. After all, this kitchen has been selected for resale for a reason. 

While it’s normal to resell display kitchens, there’s several reasons kitchen dealerships do it.

The most common ones are:

  • The display is old or faulty/damaged
  • The door or colour is no longer available
  • The dealership is closing or has stopped trading with this specific manufacturer
  • The warranty on the kitchen may have expired 
  • The display kitchen was designed in is now dated/out of fashion.

While some of these reasons present more of a risk than others for a would-be buyer, it’s still important to protect yourself and your purchase.

A new kitchen is an investment, and not an inexpensive one either. It should improve your daily life and add value to your home, which means this isn’t a purchase you want to live to regret (or worse - discover you need to replace the whole kitchen again in a year or two if it starts dropping to bits).

So how do you dodge these pitfalls? 

It’s simple - by asking! Quizzing your seller is perfectly normal, and the only way you're going to find out exactly what's-what with your ex-display kitchen.

Here’s a few standard questions to fire over to the seller of your ex-display to paint a clearer picture of exactly what you're buying. A simple phone call is all that’s needed here - if you’re happy with the answers you can always make a visit to view the goods in person later on.

NB: With a normal kitchen purchase these questions shouldn’t be necessary, but when purchasing an ex-display kitchen they’re nothing short of vital:

Why are you selling this display kitchen? 

It might sound obvious, but this is a great question as it puts the seller on the spot. If you get a sidestep or non-answer here, run a mile - it probably means the display has hidden issues or is dropping to bits already. 

How old is this kitchen?

Good to know in general, but also helps you tell if somebody is fibbing to you about warranties or if it’s listed condition is likely to be accurate. 

Will this ex display kitchen fit my room? 

Kitchen dealerships use CAD design software. Send them your room dimensions and ask them to plan it into your space for you before you buy. This should really be done FOC. If they insist on charging for this service, ask for the design cost to be deducted from the final sale price. 

If the kitchen doesn't fit my room, can I still buy the parts I need to make it fit?

Remedials will almost certainly be required when moving a kitchen from one space to another. Make sure they're available, and clarify all the additional costs for these at the outset to avoid nasty surprises later (the CAD process mentioned above will outline what extras you need)

Does the kitchen come with a warranty or guarantee?

Most manufacturers offer a 3 or 5 year guarantee with their products, which means (unless it really is ancient) the display kitchen should come with some of this still remaining. Ask for written confirmation of this for your own protection, should it ever be needed in future. 

Have the appliances/sink and taps been used before?

Wear and tear on sink and tap valve seals is something to consider, as is the condition of any supplied appliances. There’s also a hygiene question to answer here too if the display was functional during its time in the showroom. 

What is the make & model numbers of the appliances/sinks & taps?

Appliances are a pivotal part of a working kitchen, and this is a great way to do some sleuthing online about the quality of the appliance models you're about to buy. Look for user reviews for unbiased opinions, and online listings to check if the appliances come with the features you want. 

What warranty do the appliances/sinks & taps come with?

Appliance warranty is usually not bundled in with the warranty on the kitchen furniture, and appliances can come with separate warranty periods for both parts and labour. Asking this question will tell you exactly where you stand should something break. It may also be worth asking if the display can be supplied without appliances if you have any doubts. 

If you get satisfactory answers to all the above, congratulations - you can breathe a sigh of relief! 

The most important question by far is that of remedials and warranty: you won't get far without remedial items, and if the warranty has expired any replacement bits you might need in future (assuming they’re still available) will be chargeable, regardless as to the cause of the damage. 

Without warranty, you’re in the lap of the gods from the second you purchase your ex-display kitchen.  

If you can, now is a good time to go and view the display whilst it’s still in situ to assess the quality and sound out any damages etc, but if this isn’t possible (eg if you’re purchasing the ex-display kitchen through a 3rd party company/website) then responsibility will fall to the seller to accurately detail the condition of the kitchen, meaning you’re reliant on their description being comprehensive, accurate and fair. 

Wherever possible, always go and inspect the goods yourself before buying. 

5. What are the benefits of buying ex-display kitchens?

It’s not all about dodging pitfalls: ex-display kitchens come with their own unique set of benefits too!

With so many quality kitchen brands available in today's marketplace, finding an ex-display model from a renowned manufacturer that fits your home and tastes to a tee can be an awesome way to snag a high-quality bargain. 

Display kitchens are usually designed to have a certain WOW factor too (they have to be eye-catching, after all) and therefore commonly feature some of the more special “design-led” items that might be left out of a standard kitchen design. Grabbing one as an ex-display can be a cheap way to install a kitchen that has been “pre-designed” with style in mind. 

Purchasing an ex-display kitchen is also more environmentally friendly than buying a kitchen from new too. By buying an ex-display you're effectively extending the potential life of the kitchen, ultimately meaning less waste goes to landfill and less carbon is produced by manufacturing and transport industries.

Finally you'll also have the benefit of being able to go and view your actual kitchen before you buy it, giving you the real-life opportunity to stand in your new kitchen, move around in it, ensure there’s adequate storage and of course test all the mechanisms first-hand.


If you’re able to confirm that your ex-display kitchen is in good condition, get a CAD plan drawn up to pin down the cost of any remedials and secure a warranty policy to protect your new installation, there can be real potential to grab a bargain with an ex-display kitchen. 

If you can’t get all three of these areas taken care of, think long and hard before buying. An ex-display may be cheaper than buying the same kitchen brand new, but as Benjamin Franklin said:

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”

If you’re in the market for a high quality, cost-effective kitchen why not take a look at our collection of made to order German kitchens. Produced to your exact requirements and complete with our 5-year manufacturer’s warranty. Fully designed just for you, and delivered to your door free of charge.

Got a kitchen plan already? Upload your design for a free, fast and no-obligation quote on a brand new, made to order German kitchen delivered directly to your door by Nobilia: Europe’s largest kitchen manufacturer.

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