Smarter ways to stretch your spend when it comes to a budget kitchen remodel
Choosing your cabinets is just the first on a long and expensive list of kitchen essentials and totting up all the attendant accessories can see your initial spend go up in smoke.
There are clever ways to stretch your money, though, if you're planning a budget kitchen remodel: consider an interim countertop or ask about display units and appliances, under counter-mount an inexpensive sink or buy a ready-made island. For even more ideas, big brand experts weigh in with their tips to trimming your costs to achieve the budget kitchen remodel of your dreams.
1. Keep it classic
Clean, classic design is the key to a cost-efficient kitchen with enduring appeal, according to Adam Dempsey at House Kitchens. “Contemporary designs without ornate cornices or pelmets cost less, are easier to maintain and in later years you could upgrade your worktop or change the handles and have a completely different kitchen.” Take note of colour too. Pastel shades of sage, sky blue and Millennial pink have made way for Crayola brights in the kitchen, but minimalist units in natural wood, navy or grey won’t date as quickly.
2. Going solo
Renovations or extensions could require ripping out a perfectly good built-in kitchen and if expansion is on your horizon, look to the flexibility of freestanding units. As well as working around existing stoves and fridges, the raised metal feet of the SieMatic 29 buffet (pictured) give the feeling of space. Pair it with contrasting units in glass or stainless steel for a completely unique look that you can add to and update as fashion and function requires. Available at Arena Kitchens.
3. A plus
Back in the day, we were swept away by the appeal of over-sized American fridges: retro brands with the square footage of a city centre apartment. Nowadays, when it comes to appliances, the energy rating should be your key concern: an A-rated appliance may be more expensive initially but will save you more on electricity costs in the long run and some kitchen showrooms will offer bundle deals so do your research.
“At the moment we are offering 50% off refrigeration in our cooling promotion,” says Dave Fagan, Brand Manager of Kube Kitchens. “With the purchase of a suite of Siemens or Neff appliances, you can get half off your refrigerator. This could go a long way towards freeing up a portion of your budget to put into other areas.”
4. On the tiles
If you’ve ever dropped a casserole pot on the kitchen floor you know exactly how fragile those costly stone tiles can be, and good luck prying that lone offender out. Wooden floors are equally vulnerable to scratching and scuffing in high traffic areas, so luxury vinyl tiles are a cost-effective alternative. Forget the peeling, spongey floors of old, this is vinyl 2.0, engineered to withstand heavy duty wear, water and stain-resistant and, more importantly, available in a range of sizes and finishes including wood, stone and on-trend patterns.
Amtico’s latest Décor range, at TC Matthews, has a Victorian sensibility and is based on original designs with complementary edging and border tiles creating a contemporary twist on this classic look.
5. On the shelf
Before committing to a budget kitchen remodel design, consider how much storage you really need. This helps to avoid adding in units for gadgets and appliances that you neither use nor want. Open shelving above the countertop will create a feeling of space and give room to display beloved crockery and glassware, as well as items used on the daily. Paint them the same colour as your units to create a cohesive scheme or mix and match lengths, depths and materials for interest, and add as and when you need them. Pictured units, wall below shelf and wall return in Harley Green 312, and upper wall in Tea with Florence 310 from Little Greene.
6. Spot the difference
A real wood kitchen can escalate costs and melamine units are a savvy alternative, says Lorraine Stevens of Lomi Design. “The kitchen should be a practical and workable space that’s robust and easy to clean, and a good quality well-made Melamine door offers all of these features with the added bonus of being very well priced.” Melamine units are made from a manufactured wood material, like MDF or plywood, and covered with a durable Melamine laminate that’s scratch and shatter-resistant. “The choices of Melamine are vast and we are currently doing very well with oxidised metal finishes. We’d highly recommend wood Melamines such as the Hook range from Maxima. It’s a larch wood-style and is indistinguishable from the real thing while being much easier to maintain,” she advises.
7. Mix ‘n’ match
Mixing your materials will not only add a textural difference to your space, it can also trim your costs. Opt for solid wood countertops in cooking nooks or pantries and save your spend for luxury stone surfaces in the most visible areas such as dining bars and islands. The Taos kitchen from Caple uses different elements to create zones, with warm wood in the eating area and stone countertops in the prep and cook areas.
8. Extra, extra!
All those little extras come at a cost, from under-counter lighting to those divine leather tab drawer pulls you spotted on Anthropologie. Cut back on the hardware costs by choosing handleless drawers and cabinets. Not only is it one less expense, the end result is a more streamlined contemporary kitchen that is easier to clean. Winning. Check that the recessed groove is deep enough to grip, and as for those natty drawers that light up when you open them, IKEA have you covered with their Omlopp lighting strip. ikea.com.
9. Counter commitment
Granite is often considered the holy grail of countertops but there are less spendy alternatives that could bridge the gap until the house fund recovers. Ikea does a decent marble-look laminate at €55 per length. At Woodworkers formica kicks off around €100 and a three-metre solid wood counter starts at around €125, all depending on length, width and depth. Silestone quartz composite surfaces (pictured) come in 90 colours and start at a very affordable €350 sq m. If you are looking for newness, Neolith is a manmade stone that combines ceramic, porcelain, quartz and glass and clocks in at around €500 per linear metre. Look for it at Tile Merchant.
10. As above so below
Vinyl isn’t just for floors, consider it in the splashback space or to create a feature wall too. Easy to apply and wipe clean, the stickers from Beija Flor are ideal from those with a limited budget and DIY skills. Pictured is Tin Panel, priced from €35 (40x100cm).
11. Upcycle it
There are a few eco-smart ways to do a new look budget kitchen remodel:
- Need chairs? Look on local selling sites like DoneDeal.ie and if you can’t get a matched set, simply paint them all the same colour.
- Update your dining table with an oilcloth. Buy per length at Home Focus. We love this Little Tree pattern in mustard or charcoal, €24.95 per m.
- Give your chairs and table a lift with new fabric. Hessian costs a mere €6.50 per metre at Cloth Dublin and with a trim of brass tacks and glass top on the table, it’ll look seriously luxe.
- Update doors with a length of moulding, from €1.12 per m at Woodies, and tack it around the door edges to create a panelled effect. If you have recessed panels, knock them out and replace with frosted glass; a glazier can cut to fit.
- Is your fridge is looking worse for wear? Give it a lick of blackboard paint: instant notice board.