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Creating your perfect kitchen space and making your project budget work effectively. Part 4

Décor Panels, Kickboards and Trims

Most kitchen designs need to incorporate necessary décor infill panels to ensure the fitted kitchen does just that, fits very neatly to the room itself, be that new property or a listed building.

'No wall is 100% true' as the saying goes, so allowing for a bit of tolerance with scribing decor panels is very wise. Still, you don't want too many as they are a costly item.

Green Kitchen with scribed decor panels
Green Kitchen with scribed decor panels

In many fitted kitchens, décor panels - the pieces with the same finish as the door and drawer frontals - are used to finish an exposed or in-line end of a fitted cupboard section. These décor panels and infills conceal the often bland cabinet material, cover any service void, and offer a neat stopping point for kickboards on the base cupboards.

In some instances, a décor panel is needed to add extra support to a worktop section.

For example, either side of a butler sink to support the worktop, or on one side of a freestanding, under counter appliance where there are two appliances set next to each other or an appliance butts up to a wall.

Range cooker with added decor panels each side
Range with added decor panels

Below the worktop, décor panels are used on either side of freestanding range cookers to create a neat stopping point for the kickboards and, if need be, make an air gap for the appliance installation compliance.

In this range cooker scenario, my Designer's Top Tip would be to use simple 100mm base infill décors, set sideways on, next to the adjoining base cupboards providing the main worktop support.

This will create the kickboard stopping point next to the range and by using a less expensive decor, save a bit of your budget for use elsewhere.


If you are working to maximise your budget, in some instances, don't use a décor panel at all. In the picture below, there is no decor panel to the left of the freestanding fridge.

No decor end panel by freestanding fridge
Colourful Kitchen, no decor ends

You can be thrifty with tall décor panels, too, especially when 40% is hidden from view! Where a tall decor panel clads the side of a tall appliance housing or tall larder and breaks up a neat line of cupboards and drawers, use 60% of one tall décor panel to fit neatly onto the worktop, saving the rest for use as a base panel elsewhere, like so:


The current trend is for peninsula and island ends to feature raised panel contours and pillars framing large décor sections.

Effectively breaking up a solid block with detailed features.

These feature ends are a great design addition if you have an island or peninsula end that faces you as you enter your kitchen, and you do not want to incorporate seating on that side, which would add depth and texture to the veiw.

These more bespoke décor ends will undoubtedly add to your costs, so consider any sockets' placement carefully, so you don't distract from such a lovely feature.


Kickboards are another splurge or purge option.

For most lay on construction cupboards, the kickboard is set behind the bottom of the door edge by 60 to 80mm, leaving unhindered space for your toes when you stand up to the worktop. Tick for a cost effective and practical choice.

With cupboards built on a framed construction, i.e. a traditional door with seamless frame surround and exposed hinge detail, many kitchens now have 'legs' in line with the cupboard frontals that drop to the floor.

This style offers the choice of no décor filling-in beneath the cupboard bases, saving on kickboard costs, although that creates a perfect place to store escaped peas and dog hair!

The set back kickboard filling in has been beautifully done here by Sims Hilditch:

Using Skirting as Kickboards.

The second choice, as seen in many sumptuous kitchen images, is an applied décor skirting instead of a kickboard to finish the fitted kitchen cupboards scribed neatly to the floor.

This décor finishing detail looks very grand, but the downside is that you will naturally kick it because it is not recessed beneath the cupboard unless you have an extended depth worktop overhang to off-set the line of your feet.

As an applied detail, it is the point at which Henry Hoover will bump and the mop will wipe, so as a décor it will become the part of the kitchen that will show wear very quickly.

My last tip for décor panels and trims is to opt not to have them on some open ends. Get creative by adding an ad-hoc feature instead. Etsy has a good selection of less mainstream items that would be a practical enhancement, such as a bookshelf, plant nook or simple hanging rail.

If you are renovating your existing kitchen with a fresh, painted finish, my Kitchen Cupboard Paint Tip is 'Add the end panels to the total length of units you measure when calculating your Kitchen Cupboard Paint requirements.'

I hope this has shed a little light on the use of décor panels within kitchen design and how you can flex your budget with a well-considered décor panel design.

Thank you for following.

Best wishes from Charlotte


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