How to get a stylish kitchen on a budget

How to get a stylish kitchen on a budget

It is possible to create a kitchen that has a luxurious, high-end feel on a tight budget. Discover how with our expert guide, which includes bespoke, handmade designs.

When it comes to planning a new kitchen, there is often a huge gulf between budget and expectation. An installation is made up of many smaller elements, aside from the units, that when you start adding on the price of labor, appliances, worktops, tiles and other extras, costs quickly escalate.

When it comes to planning a new kitchen, there is often a huge gulf between budget and expectation. An installation is made up of many smaller elements, aside from the units, that when you start adding on the price of labor, appliances, worktops, tiles and other extras, costs quickly escalate.

To add to the confusion, ‘off the peg’ suppliers and bespoke manufacturers can offer similar-looking cabinets for wildly different prices (as much as $6,500 versus $50,000), which makes it difficult to know where to begin.

  • How much should I budget for a new kitchen?
  • What type of kitchen cabinets should I buy?
  • Buying worktops
  • How to choose a sink
  • Tiles and splashbacks
  • Money-saving tips

How much should I budget for a new kitchen?

As a very rough guide, it is sensible to spend a maximum of five percent of the overall value of your house on a new kitchen, to avoid losing money if you sell. Fitting a cheap and cheerful kitchen can have a negative impact on value, which makes your choice of cabinets and finishes so vital. You will have to invest carefully to get a beautiful finish on a limited budget.

On any budget, it is wise to the first factor in the cost of any known quantities. These include appliances, decorative finishes and necessary electrical works to add extra sockets and lights etc; deduct these from your total budget before choosing how much to spend on the units and fitting. You could save over $1,000 by installing the kitchen yourself, but you will compromise the finish if your DIY skills are not up to scratch.

What do kitchens cost?

When pricing up your furniture and worktops, be aware that estimates will vary quite widely depending on the quality and level of design you are after.

  • From $23/sqf for standard off-the-shelf units and work surfaces
  • Up to $200/sqf for bespoke units and design service

 

 

Which type of kitchen cabinets should I buy?

If you have a total budget of between $10,000-15,000, you may be surprised at the quality of cabinets you can afford. The majority of kitchens within this price bracket will consist of flat-pack carcasses with doors mounted on to the front using hinges screwed into the chipboard. The units are generally all the same on the inside – although some are made sturdier than others with an 18mm frame – with the look dictated by the style and color of doors and decorative panels.

The cheapest way of getting a kitchen with a solid wood finish is to buy affordable off-the-shelf carcasses, such as from Ikea, and then get a joiner to make solid wood door fronts.

The beauty of this type of kitchen is that it can recreate the look of a more expensive in-frame design for less, which can then be dressed up with luxurious fixtures and finishes, such as a beautiful Belfast sink and bridge tap. Smart storage solutions, such as pull-out carousels, can also be installed into the units at a fairly low cost.

Buying worktops

When it comes to finishes, premium worktops will lift the look of the whole kitchen. Granite and quartz surfaces are a real investment, at several hundred pounds per 3m run, but durable composites, which replicate their intrinsic character and sparkle, are much more cost-effective.

Mix and match worktop materials, for example, a granite island against timber topped units, for a bespoke finish. This also allows you to use a cheaper and more durable material where you do most of your work and prep, then inject a bit of luxury with a breakfast bar or plinth in something more high-end such as quartz.

How to choose a sink

The style of sink you choose will be dictated by how much space you have available and what will work with the look of your kitchen. Most sinks are inset into a hole cut in the worktop, so they are easier to fit and tend to be cheaper. Sinks can also be under-mounted (fixed to the underside of the worktop) which creates a cleaner finish and works well if you choose to have draining channels cut into the adjoining work surface.

When it comes to choosing a material, your main choices are stainless steel, stone/composite or ceramic.

  • Stainless steel is low-maintenance and tends to be the cheapest option.
  • Composite sinks can withstand high temperatures and come in a variety of finishes. They can be pricey but are a good investment as they are hardwearing.
  • Ceramic sinks tend to come in styles most suited to period homes. However, they are prone to staining and chipping, but still a good choice if properly cared for.

Kitchen tiles and splashbacks

Luxurious tiles are an obvious way to lift the look of a budget kitchen. Use hand-finished tiles sparingly to give an artisan look to space. You can then use less-expensive tiles for greater expenses. Try mixing in plain tiles in two or three different tones, such as grey or sage with cream, for a characterful country look.

Stainless steel or glass splashbacks are easy to clean and add interest to a tiled wall. Kitchen suppliers have a number available, but consider looking online too. Some companies provide made-to-measure splashbacks at a fraction of the cost you would expect.

Top tips for saving money on your kitchen renovation

  • Plan the order of works well so that you don’t have to redo or undo work. Wiring and plumbing issues need resolving before you start installing cabinets, flooring and wall finishes.
  • Ahead of your project, keep an eye out for deals on big-ticket items such as worktops and appliances.
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