Kitchen design ideas that won't break the bank
Article by: Kimberly Guest
Improve your home

Kitchen design upgrades that won't break the bank

The kitchen is the heart of the home and improvements in this room can have a significant impact on the value of your home. Unfortunately, full kitchen remodelling can come with a steep price tag and burn a large hole in your budget or require additional financing.

This doesn't mean that you're stuck with your outdated kitchen. Instead, consider these easy and cost-effective tips and tricks to give your kitchen a facelift.

  • Lighting
    Still stuck with an outdated or ugly light fitting? Head over to your local lighting store for options that will add a flourish to your kitchen as well as improve the lighting. While you're there, ask about options for discrete under-cabinet lighting and in-cabinet lighting for display areas.
  • Fitting and fixtures
    Swop out old handles, knobs, hooks and rails for an updated look. Explore different colours as well styles and finishes to transform the feel of your kitchen. Head over to your hardware or bathroom store for a new set of taps or a mixer that will make a statement as well as add to the functionality. 
  • Countertops
    Your countertops are the most used area of your kitchen and can show signs of wear and tear quite quickly. If marble and granite are out of your price range, consider using butcher-block style wood for a warm surface that will outlast laminate options such as Formica.
  • Flooring
    If your kitchen floor is beginning to look a bit grubby, then new flooring could give your kitchen a new look. Remember to select an option that will cope with heavy traffic, heat and oil splatters and is easy to clean. If you are planning to change the floor area of your kitchen, leave the flooring upgrade to the end to prevent damage, gaping or unfloored areas where cabinets used to be.
  • Island
    Turn your island into the heart of your kitchen with drop lighting or even a chandelier; a new countertop that extends enough to provide for seating; a hanging frame for glasses, plants or pots and pans. If your island is generally an unused space, bring in some decorative items to draw the eye. Thinking about adding an island to your kitchen? First, make sure you'll have enough room by marking off the space for a few days and seeing how it will interfere with the flow of your kitchen. Instead of installing a fixed island, consider a mobile option with lockable castors for more flexibility.
  • Upper cabinets
    Rethinking your upper cabinets can do much to give your kitchen an airier feel. If you have enough storage space, look at removing some of your upper cabinets or replacing them with shelving. These shelves can be used to show off decorative items or to set up your own indoor herb garden.
  • Glass-inset cabinets
    If you don't have enough storage space to go without your upper cabinets, consider replacing some doors with others that have a glass inset. Combined with in-cabinet lighting, these cabinet doors bring a touch of class to your kitchen. If you're not keen on displaying the contents of your cupboards, look for stained glass options, or stain them yourself.
  • Update your cabinets
    Looking for an entirely new kitchen look? Instead of replacing your cabinetry completely, try changing up the cabinet doors at a much lower cost. If new doors are too much for your budget, then painting over your existing doors can give you that new look you're after. Speak to your hardware store about how to prepare laminated and Formica doors so that the paint attaches properly.
  • Colour and contrast
    While you're thinking of your new or rejuvenated cabinetry, take some time to plan a proper colour scheme for your kitchen that considers your cabinets, walls, flooring, fixtures, appliances, fabrics and decorative pieces. Look online for ways to use contrasting colours to open up small kitchens, bring warmth to large kitchens, and highlight feature areas.
  • Refresh your walls
    Kitchen walls take a lot of battering having to deal with heat, steam, splattered oil, splashes of water and regular cleaning. Keep your walls looking great with regular paint jobs or, if you have tiles, redo the grouting. If your current tiles don't fit into your new colour scheme, speak to your local hardware store about how to prepare tiles for painting over. Remember to use good quality satin or gloss paint in the kitchen for better water resistance and easier cleaning.
  • Backsplash
    Turn to the internet for ideas on backsplashes that don't just weather heat, steam, oil and food splatter, but add a focal point to your kitchen. Speak to your hardware store about the finishes available in glass, steel, bronze and copper; or your tiling store for different tiling options such as mosaic, textured, patterned or decorative, stone or stone-finish, mirrored and marble. Don't limit yourself to the old square tiles either; speak to your tiling store about the shapes and sizes on offer and the different ways these can be laid out for effect.
  • Appliances
    Sometimes it is old appliances that hold a kitchen back from being at its visual best. Consider your current appliances and decide on the types of finish and function that would work best for you and turn your kitchen into the envy of friends and family. Speak to your appliance store about the differences in energy efficiency for options that will bring your electricity bill down.
  • Give your fridge/freezer a facelift
    If your plain, white fridge/freezer doesn't fit into your new colour scheme but is still in good running order, it's time to get creative. If you're looking for something that jumps out, turn to the internet for instructions on how to wallpaper your appliance. If you're not that adventurous, speak to your hardware store about the best paint to use on your fridge/freezer and how to properly prepare the surfaces to get the best finishes. 
  • Finishing touches
    Now that your kitchen is looking showroom ready, it's time to add your stamp of personality with decorative items, plants, collectables, family heirlooms, fabrics or message boards. This doesn't require spending a fortune on the latest kitchenware, but rather pulling in those personal items, craft or DIY projects, and displays that make the kitchen the heart of your home. 
  • Don't forget
    Your kitchen upgrade might be all about getting a new look and feel, but don't forget to pay attention to the protective elements that will keep your kitchen in good condition for years. Be sure to regularly refresh the seals around sinks and where cabinets meet walls and floors; check your plumbing for any leaks or blockages; and the health of your electrics, paying particular attention to plug points that are overloaded.
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