"My powerful and versatile team. Having met you gave me so much hope and courage to push harder in everything I do. Keep going, keep pushing Milestone Kitchens Team"
- Phindile, Pinetown

What is the difference between a fitted kitchen and a free-standing kitchen?

Free-standing kitchens are made up of self-supported, movable, mobile units that arrive at your house complete and ready for placement. Here we explain to you the difference between fitted and free-standing kitchens and show you why our kitchens are so fantastic.

The most amazing thing about free-standing kitchens is that they give you CREATIVE FREEDOM.

Today it is common practice for architects to draw a fitted kitchen for each house. Once the design is approved by you it goes to a workshop and the kitchen is built to a point where it can be transported and assembled in your kitchen space. The whole process can be quite long from discussion, to measure up, design and construction, delivery and eventual assembly by specialist tradesmen in your kitchen space. All this before you can see and examine the kitchen in its finished form.

In contrast, our Milestone Kitchens free-standing kitchen range is on display on our website and in our showroom, where the full range of units designed for all your kitchen needs are shown. The units are shown in a number of different styles and colours for you to pick what suits you best. You choose your units and your design preferences, place your order online, and we manufacture your kitchen in our factory. Approximately six weeks later your fully assembled units are delivered to your home, and ready for you to arrange them in your space. You might need the help of a plumber or electrician, but that is all!

Architectural Drawings

An architectural drawing showing how an architect or draughtsman will automatically draw in a built-in kitchen regardless of whether you want a built-in one or a fitted one.

We have tabulated the ways in which our kitchens are different to fitted kitchens. If you would like to know more, please continue to read the table below.

Fitted Kitchen

Free-standing Kitchen

Limits you Gives you creative freedom
Became popular in 1930 Have always been around
Stuck to the walls Kitchen units are not stuck in place
Joined together Kitchen units have gaps between them
Cover strips are used to cover gaps between walls and cupboards Cover strips are not necessary
Internal linings used which creates hidden spaces that pests love to nest in No hidden spaces
Kitchen base is a recessed plinth You have a choice of castors, legs, plinth or a recessed plinth
Materials used in construction of base
Made with chipboard Made with solid wood and supawood
Chipboard disintegrates over time Wood lasts a lifetime and more
Chipboard is easily damaged by water Wood is much less porous than chipboard
Chipboard cannot be sanded and repaired if damaged Wood can be sanded, repaired and repainted if damaged
Toxic materials used in construction Environmentally sound
Kitchen base is a recessed plinth You have a choice of castors, legs, plinth or a recessed plinth
Tops are continuous Different work areas have different tops
No gaps in the working surface Gaps in the working surface
False importance is placed on length of continuous working space Smaller working surfaces are allocated for specific culinary jobs
One type of material throughout Different tops may be used in different areas
Floor covering stops at base of kitchen Floor covering covers the entire kitchen from wall to wall
Kitchen is levelled on site while being constructed Arrives with adjustable feet
Plumbing cannot be accessed without a great deal of mess Plumbing can be accessed easily and leaks easily repaired
Stove cannot be moved if it is built in Stove can be moved, even if built in
Wall Units
Wall units are stuck to the wall Wall units are attached to the walls with bolts
Same colour throughout the kitchen Can have many different colours in one kitchen
Deconstructed a fitted kitchen falls apart Kitchen units do not fall apart when moved
When deconstructed there is no value Kitchen units keep their value
Can only be renovated at great expense and mess Can be re-arranged with minimal fuss and a lot of fun
Huge initial capital outlay Kitchen Units can be bought piece by piece
Delivered in pieces and assembled on site Delivered to your home fully constructed, ready to use
Needs to be fitted by an expert Our kitchen units are placed in position by you
Consultation needed in your home You order your kitchen online

A brief history of kitchens

  • Our great grandparents' kitchens were equipped with separate pieces of furniture to work on, and to store things in. These kitchens were made up of useful pieces of furniture that were designed and built for their unique culinary purpose. For example a butcher block or a stainless steel table top to prepare meat, fish, vegetables or pastry, and a pantry cupboard to store groceries in - whatever was useful. It is these timeless pieces that we, at Milestone Kitchens, have based our ranges on.

  • Fitted kitchens originated in 1929 in Germany. Often people who buy new homes inherit old, fitted kitchens that are dark and dated.

  • Today we are starting to realise (again) that kitchens do not have to be fitted. This is where we can help you.

  • We like to say: Fitted kitchens are old, but free-standing kitchens are timeless.
History of fitted kitchen and a free standing kitchens

Early kitchens were free-standing. Kitchen companies that fitted kitchens had not been invented yet.

Photo Credit: CountrySampler

History of fitted kitchen and a free standing kitchens

Fitted kitchens are typically dark with wall to wall and floor to ceiling cupboards.


  • In a fitted kitchen all units are fixed permanently to the walls and cannot be moved without a great deal of time, mess and expense. The kitchen is supported by the walls to which they are fixed so if you detach the units from the walls, you are left with many loose, flat pieces of chipboard, a whole lot of separate doors and one long top probably in a corner shape.


When you deconstruct a fitted kitchen, you are left with a great big mess.


This image shows how fitted kitchens are fixed onto the walls of your home.

  • Our free-standing kitchens are self-supported.

  • The units you are buying do not need the walls to support them.

  • When you buy a Milestone Kitchen you are buying kitchen furniture as stand-alone pieces.


This picture shows how a fitted kitchen cannot stand alone without the support of a wall and the floor.


A Milestone Kitchen being constructed. This picture shows how our kitchen units stand alone - they do not need a wall to support them.

  • Walls in houses are often not 100% square and straight so fitted kitchens have to have internal linings, false bottoms and cover strips added to them to make them fit properly without gaps. This makes cosy little homes for various household vermin like cockroaches and rats to nest in.

  • Milestone free-standing kitchens can be moved away from the wall so you can clean behind and underneath them. Household pests like cockroaches and rats don’t have any convenient little spaces to make cosy homes that are out of your reach.

This image shows a rat's nest in a cosy closed off base of a fitted kitchen.

  • Your choice of base in a fitted kitchen is limited and mostly confined to recessed plinth as this is the base that the kitchen is constructed on.

  • In a Milestone Kitchen you have a choice of either castors, legs, plinth or recessed plinth or a combination of some of these.


This image shows a fitted kitchen being built on to a recessed plinth.


This image shows a Milestone Kitchen with different base constructions.

Materials used in construction

  • The carcass of a fitted kitchen is constructed from chipboard, which is a synthetic product. It is unnaturally straight and square and cannot warp or twist unpredictably so there are cost savings and work proceeds faster. However, these particle boards give off harmful gasses from the glue that binds the particles and that continues long after the kitchen has been installed. Chipboard is porous and brittle, is easily damaged by water and disintegrates over time.

  • Milestone's free-standing kitchen units are made without chipboard - everything, and we mean everything, is constructed from either solid wood or SupaWood. Solid wood lasts a lifetime. SupaWood will not disintegrate over time. Milestone Kitchens' units can be sanded, repaired and repainted if necessary.



A carpenter in Milestone Factory working with solid wood. We use these solid pieces of wood to make our legs which forms the base structure of our units.


  • In a fitted kitchen, the tops are continuous and are usually made of one type of material throughout. The quality of the kitchen might be falsely measured by the length of continuous work space.

  • The tops in a free-standing kitchen are not usually continuous and can be made of different materials according to your cooking needs. It doesn’t really make sense to have meters and meters of the same granite surface to cater for all your kitchen preparation and working requirements.

  • Different kitchen activities need different work stations - this is what a Milestone Kitchen can provide for you.

In this fitted kitchen these granite tops are continuous.


This image shows how different tops can be used in one kitchen. We have an Ash top on the corner unit, a Saligna top on the butcher block and a stainless steel top on the stove unit with the oven and an induction hob.


  • In a fitted kitchen, the floor covering stops at the base of the cupboards. So, if you want to change anything in your kitchen you will have to re-do your entire floor!

  • In a free-standing kitchen, the floor covering goes underneath the kitchen, all the way to the wall. You have the freedom to re-arrange your kitchen, move your kitchen, or buy new units as your budget allows.

  • The floors in houses are not always precisely level so fitted kitchens are levelled on site while being fitted.

  • Milestone Kitchen units have adjustable feet so they can be levelled individually if the floor in your home is uneven.

In this fitted kitchen the floor covering stops at the base of the cupboards.


In this Milestone Kitchen, the floor covering goes right to the edge of the wall. Note the plinth on the island and the legs on the grocery cupboard.


  • In a fitted kitchen the sink is completely immovable. If you need to access the plumbing, it is a complicated affair to remove the units from the wall. You have to destroy most of the sink area to access the plumbing. When the sink area is reconstructed you might find that the original materials used are no longer available and cannot be matched.

  • Sink Units in free-standing kitchens are completely movable. Once you disconnect the plumbing, and pull the unit out to work behind it, a leak is an uncomplicated repair.

Should this kitchen have a leak in the sink area it would be impossible to get to the pipes without making a huge mess.


This Milestone Butlers Sink Unit is on castors. It is easy to disconnect the plumbing and roll the unit forward to work on the plumbing behind it.


  • In fitted kitchens the stove is often fitted into the units which makes the stove unit completely inaccessible and difficult to access if it needs repairs, replacing or maintenance.

  • In free-standing kitchens the stove itself is usually free-standing. If it is fitted into one of our Stove Units, it can be unplugged and shifted for access or to replace it.

It would be extremely difficult to access the stove in this fitted kitchen.


This Milestone Kitchen Stove Unit can be easily moved forward to work on the electrical component behind the stove.

"The electrician who came to fix my oven couldn't get over the fact that they could access the oven so easily, he kept on saying every kitchen should have the oven on wheels, he was totally blown away and so impressed. He'd come with 3 extra helpers to move the cupboard only to discover that he can do it all on his own!"
- Ankè Kusal, Harburg

Wall Units

  • The wall units in a fitted kitchen are stuck to the walls.

  • In our kitchens they are separate pieces of furniture that can be hung with bolts in much the same way a heavy picture or mirror would be. If at a later stage you feel like moving the unit, you absolutely can.
Wall Unit

The wall units in this fitted kitchen are stuck to the walls.

Wall Unit

The wall unit in this free-standing Milestone Kitchen can be removed and replaced or repainted if you feel like a change and it needn’t cost you a fortune.


  • In a fitted kitchen, because the cupboards are all joined together, they all have to have the same colour.

  • In a free-standing kitchen, the cupboards are not stuck to each other so you can have many different colour units.

In this fitted kitchen all the units are the same colour.


In this colourful Milestone kitchen, each unit can be a separate colour because they are not all joined together.


  • A deconstructed fitted kitchen falls apart. These loose pieces of chipboard and doors you are left with have no value. All you are left with is a great big mess.

  • Milestone Kitchen's units keep their value. They do not fall apart when moved. You can move them easily if you think of a better arrangement or feel like a change. Renovating your kitchen can be done with minimal fuss and a lot of fun.

Renovating or changing a Milestone Kitchen is as easy as pie.


  • A fitted kitchen needs to be constructed all at once - this can be a huge capital outlay for you.

  • With Milestone’s free-standing units system, you can buy units and improve your kitchen piece by piece when your cash flow allows, avoiding the big hit of a full kitchen renovation.

We have a 7 Piece Starter Set Special or you can start with just one unit.


  • A fitted kitchen is partially completed in a workshop, then it is delivered in pieces to your home where it is assembled on site in your kitchen space.

  • Milestone Kitchens units are made in our factory and then delivered to your home fully constructed and complete; ready to be used.

  • If you would like to save even more costs you may arrange your own delivery or fetch the kitchen yourself.


  • A fitted kitchen needs to be installed by experts.

  • A free-standing kitchen does not have to be installed by experts. The units are simply placed in position by you with minimal aid from tradespeople.

  • Those who are willing, may save even more costs by attempting the plumbing and electrical work themselves.

A fitted kitchen being installed.


Tiyon says "we fitted the kitchen units ourselves which contributed to their affordability. It turned out to be a painless and extremely gratifying experience".

Order online

  • The best thing of all is that you can avoid the shops, and avoid having strangers in your home (and avoid COVID-19!) by ordering your kitchen online.

  • If you are buying a fitted kitchen, a kitchen designer needs to come to your home to measure your kitchen space and design a kitchen for you. It is very difficult to do it on your own. Teams of tradesmen then have to be on site to fit the kitchen.

  • If you are buying a free-standing kitchen you measure your own kitchen space, look at the units available on our website, choose the pieces you want, order them online and we will deliver them. Approximately 6 weeks after you have ordered your kitchen it will be delivered to your home, fully assembled and ready for placement.

Consulting with a kitchen designer in your home.


Order your Milestone Kitchen Units online.

There are many good reasons to opt for a free-standing kitchen and Milestone Kitchens offers a great product in this section of the market. We have a comprehensive range of units and styles which fit into any interior scheme. Our range can be seen on our website or at our showroom in Johannesburg where you can see their quality, robust construction and the colours and styles available. There are no surprises when the kitchen is delivered except perhaps in the efficiency of our service and the beauty and solidity of the units when you see them ready to be put into place.

If you move home you can take all of your kitchen or just your favourite pieces with you. (Remember to leave details of the supplier in the kitchen so the new owners can order their own custom free-standing kitchen that suits them.)

"I would like to congratulate you on your absolutely brilliant service!"
- Hanien Moolman, Beaufort Wes