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 5 Secrets Of A Budget Kitchen Renovation

5 Secrets Of A Budget Kitchen Renovation

Are you tired of looking at the same old kitchen? Are you thinking about a kitchen renovation to give your kitchen a fresh new look? If so, there are a number of important things you need to consider.

If you are renovating to achieve the ‘dream’ kitchen in your forever home then price, while still an important factor, is going to take a backseat to other considerations such as quality and functionality. 

When renovating with a view to continuing living in the home for at least another 5 years or more the key driver of your renovation should be to achieve the desired result without compromising too much for the sake of saving a few dollars.

That being said, we know money doesn’t grow on trees and it is generally accepted that you should allocate somewhere between 5-10% of the overall value of your property to a kitchen renovation to ensure you don’t overcapitalise.

If you are updating your kitchen with a view to selling your home within the next few years then what you spend will be much more of a priority. Therefore, sticking closer to 5% of the total value of your home should be your aim. 

It is also going to be less about personalising the room for you and your family and more about creating a space that has broad appeal.

In this article, we are going to talk about some of the things you can do to keep your budget within the bounds of reason, while still achieving the look and feel you have always wanted. 

There does need to be a few compromises made in the process but if the name of the game is saving money, then we have some great tips for you.

1). Cabinetry

Cabinetry will make up the largest portion of your new kitchen, both physically and in terms of budget allocation, but there are a few ways you can significantly reduce the cost of your cabinetry without compromising too much.   

Modern kitchens tend to have a lot of expensive internal fittings, such as pull-out pantries and lazy-susan corners, and while they do make our experience of using the kitchen better, they are not necessities. A standard melamine shelf will still do a perfectly fine job of storing your pantry items and cookware.

Another factor to consider here is that drawers cost a lot more than a standard cabinet with a hinged door. Cutting back on the number of drawers in your kitchen will certainly save you a few dollars.

Just remember, drawers that roll-out to meet you will save a lot of strain on your back and negate the need to forage around on your knees trying to get to that item at the very back of the cabinet.

The biggest impact you can have on the price of your kitchen without changing the functionality or quality of your cabinetry is by sticking to a melamine (laminate) material for your door and drawer fronts.

Melamine is very good quality, UV stable, easy to clean, durable, looks great and is the most cost-effective material to use.

If you are serious about keeping your costs down, you really should stay away from high-end laminates, vinyl wrapping, veneers and two-pack and look at melamine as an alternative.

Melamine now comes in a great range of colours, finishes and textures and with modern edge banding techniques you will not be able to tell them apart from their two-pack or timber veneer counterparts.

The biggest compromise you may have to make here is that if you had your heart set on a Hamptons style kitchen with a shaker profile door you won’t be able to achieve this with a flat melamine panel.

In summary, looking at a flat panel door with a melamine finish is the way to go if you are on a tight budget, without compromising on the look and quality of your kitchen. 

2). Benchtops

Selecting your benchtops can be one of the most important decisions in your kitchen renovation journey.

This is what jumps out when most people first walk into a kitchen and is the surface which is going to get the most use of all. Benchtops need to be aesthetically appealing but also must be durable and easy to clean.

Most people think that using stone is the be-all and end-all for kitchen benchtops. However, using a high-quality laminate for your benchtops, rather than stone, can save you a considerable amount of money.

Laminate is a very good product and the quality of laminates today is much better than it was in years gone by. There are some great laminate reproductions of concrete, stone and timber finishes which will trick the average person into thinking they are looking at the real thing.

However, if you really have your heart set on stone, then try sticking to the ‘standard’ price range with engineered stone and don’t be tempted to go up to the higher price brackets when it comes to marble look options.

Try to choose a fairly plain texture without any veins running through the stone. Choose a stone that looks like sand on the beach or gravel or something similar as these types of patterns will sit in the lower price range. The moment you come across little vein pockets, the cost will increase dramatically. 

In terms of thickness, if you do decide to go with stone, you should stick to a standard thickness edge of 20mm. If every dollar really counts, this is a way to reduce the costs of your benchtop as the stonemason will not have to do any extra work building up a special edge profile.

So, in terms of benchtops, laminate is by far the most economical option but if you do want stone benchtops stick to the base colour ranges and don’t be tempted to jump up to the higher price brackets.

3). Handles

Not many people give too much consideration to the handles for their cabinet doors and drawers. However, making the wrong choice can lead to day to day inconveniences that end up driving you mad and also cost you more money down the track.

One of the trends for the modern kitchen is push to open or other mechanical operating systems instead of handles. This is because they offer a flat look which is desirable in contemporary design.

However, most people do not realise that these systems add extra costs to your budget and are not always the most functional.

Therefore, there is nothing wrong with choosing handles. Handles are the most cost-effective and ergonomic way to operate your cabinet doors and drawers.  We also like to think of them as the “jewellery of the kitchen”.

You can really emphasise a particular design style or period through the right selection of handles without it costing the earth. There are some very discrete options available too if you don’t want the handles to be a standout feature of the kitchen.

You can do nice, slimline handles such as tab pulls, which just subtly poke out over the top edge of the door.

4.) Flooring

Flooring is another big-ticket item when it comes to renovating your home and if your current floors are outdated or in poor condition, replacing your floors will be another cost you will need to factor into the budget.

As we live in open-plan spaces nowadays the kitchen flooring will usually flow into adjoining rooms requiring you to replace the flooring throughout much of your home, which quickly adds up.

There are some really great flooring options available now that won’t break the bank if you do need to replace your floors, such as vinyl and hybrid planks.

Both vinyl and hybrid planks are waterproof, quick and easy to install, durable, warm and soft underfoot and available in a large range of colours and finishes which look strikingly similar to real timber.

As both of these products are only a few millimetres in thickness they can be laid over the top of any existing flooring which is structurally sound, level and even.

This could save you from the mess and cost of having to remove any existing flooring materials before laying down the new floor.

If your existing floors are in good condition and won’t look out of place in your newly renovated kitchen you may be able to retain them however in most homes the floor finish will not actually extend underneath the existing cabinetry.

In these instances, you might need to work within the existing flooring footprint for your new kitchen design or alternatively make some repairs or patch the existing floor to allow you to change the layout and make improvements to the space.

5). Splashbacks

When it comes to splashbacks, there are quite a few choices of materials available to homeowners such as glass, mirror, porcelain, stone and tiles.

The most budget-friendly choice of all these options is the humble ol’ tile. We have seen a huge resurgence in the popularity of wall tiles for kitchen splashbacks in recent times.

The plethora of sizes, colours, patterns and styles now available means there is a tile to suit any kitchen design, from traditional through to contemporary. Handmade tile designs with organic edges and earthy colours are right up there in terms of current trends.

As far splashback finishes are concerned, tiles are really “on trend” now, and something you really should think about if you want to keep costs down without compromising on the style of your new kitchen.

Final Thoughts

A kitchen renovation is a big investment no matter which way you look at it however if you plan things carefully and take a good look at the different options available, you can still achieve the look and feel you want without overspending.

We hope that these tips and ideas have given you some inspiration when it comes to designing your kitchen renovation so you can finally fix up your tired old kitchen with something that is modern, practical and aesthetically pleasing.

If you’d like any further advice or information on how to set and stick to a realistic budget for your kitchen renovation please call Let’s Talk Kitchens & Interiors today on (03) 9888 5100 to talk to one of our friendly design team.

Let’s Talk Kitchens & Interiors have been custom designing, building and project managing home renovations right across Melbourne and greater Victoria since 1972. Please feel free to book a consultation with us today!

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