How To Save and Where To Splurge On Your Kitchen Renovation

Nadia Hursky on March 3, 2016

We all want to save money on our kitchen renovation, but we don’t want to sacrifice the quality, look and function of our kitchen design. So, we want to give you a few tips and suggestions for ways you can maximise your kitchen budget and still achieve the kitchen of your dreams.

How To Save Money On Your Kitchen Renovation

1. Less Is More - The Eye Is Drawn To Symmetry

Some elements of your kitchen renovation are simply going to be costlier than others. These include things like materials, layout and internal mechanisms that make your kitchen work. If you can keep the design simple than you can keep the cost down too.

For example - while it would be wonderful to have drawers popping out in all directions, the internal mechanisms for this make the pricing almost double that of the same size cupboard. It is the internal mechanisms that make the drawers pricey, so instead of having two banks of 450mm wide drawers, why not have one bank and extend it to 900mm? Not only will your drawers be elongated and streamlined, but you will save some dollars too!

Another tip is to keep your cabinet sizes the same where possible. Your eye is drawn to symmetry and your kitchen will have a designer appeal if you can maintain cabinets at the same width. See the below images of simple yet symmetrical cabinetry. Also shown is a detail of wide drawers that are fairly cost-effective.

kitchen cabinetry- symmetrical and uncomplicated

wide kitchen drawers- simple and streamlined

2. Wall Cabinetry

Can you go without wall cabinets? Not only will your space look more open and spacious, but you will also save significantly on your budget. On an average kitchen, this could mean savings of around 20-30% of the total cost. You will just need to weigh up your storage needs. Sometimes there will be no other option but to incorporate wall cabinets into our design. However, it is a money-saving option worthy of exploration when you’re designing your new renovation. Below, are some stylish looking kitchens that are wall cabinet free.

kitchen floor cabinets in a scandinavian kitchen

simple and stylish kitchen without wall units

3. Door Finishes

The finish on your doors can affect your kitchen budget dramatically. Depending on your budget and what you desire to achieve, there are less expensive ways to present your doors. Below are two options that show a budget approach for two different types of look you may be trying to achieve.

A Modern Kitchen

A flat door surface is often finished in polyurethane. There are many advantages to this material, but it does come at a price. Another option is to go for a handless laminate finish, which will look very similar in the end. There are laminate finishes that come with an ultra-matte finish, a sheen finish, and a textured finish - so the choice is large.

A Timber Kitchen

Solid timber or timber veneer can be a pricey option for your kitchen design. You can now find finishes that resemble timber closely and are much cheaper. For example, look at the NAVurban range, as well as the Polytec Ravine range. Below, are some kitchens that make use of these finishes. The first image uses Polytec Natural Oak doors, the second is a detail of Navurban ‘Hooped Pine’, and the third is Navurban ‘Toorak’.

polytec natural oak doors

Navurban hooped pine door detail

naturban toorak timber door detail

4. Fancy Mechanisms

No doubt, internal mechanisms will make your kitchen more ergonomic, but they can also add a great deal of cost to your kitchen. Pull-out pantries, internal drawers, lemans unit, lazy Susan’s, pull-out bins, appliance cabinets, etc. are all great gadgets to include in your kitchen if your pockets are deep. Don’t worry too much however, if your budget doesn't stretch far enough to include these nifty gadgets. The look and quality of your kitchen are not going to be comprised without them.

lemans corner unit for kitchen

hettich pantry pull out unit

5. Choose Appliances Wisely

Your appliance selection is going to affect your budget dramatically. You can spend anywhere from $2, 000- $80, 000 for a selected package. Our main recommendation here is to never go for the cheapest made appliances – as attractive as the low prices may seem. We suggest sticking to a reputable brand, even some of the top brands such as Smeg and Miele and opting for their lowest range product. That way you will be assured of quality but are not overpaying for features that you may not even use.

Where To Splurge On Your Kitchen Renovation

We all want our kitchens to look like they are worth a million dollars, without actually having to spend one million dollars on it. Below are our top tips on where you should never scrimp on your renovation and where you should invest your money to achieve the best outcome.

1. Custom Made

There is nothing worse than seeing a newly renovated kitchen where the cabinets simply don't fit. The cabinets don't reach the ceiling, and there are filler panels where cabinets should have been extended. Every home and building is unique, and it is very rare that a prefabricated kitchen will work with the measurements that your space allows. Your renovation will look half complete, so it's worth searching for a company that will make custom kitchens at reasonable prices. That way, the kitchen becomes part of the architecture rather than looking like mismatched cabinets stuck into place. Below are some examples where you can see that the sizes of the cabinetry were not custom made.

kitchen cabinetry showing filler gaps

kitchen wall units don't fit well

2. Hinges and Runners

Opting for excellent quality hinges and runners is not going to break the bank, but it will keep your kitchen functioning smoothly over many years of use. A kitchen, unlike many other areas of your home, is above anything a workspace. You want your workspace to be an ergonomic engine house. The bones of your kitchen are the hinges and runners. You want your drawers and doors to open and close without effort. You want hassle-free longevity in your hinges and runners. Top brands to consider are Blum and Hettich which are both German made, and are highly engineered mechanisms - a simple door hinge will have up to 26 parts. They also both offer a lifetime warranty on their products. Don’t cheap out on the hinges and runners (make sure you choose the soft closing options too) you definitely won’t regret it!

blum hinge showing soft close detail

3. Bench-tops

Sure it is cheaper to put in a laminate bench top, but we believe spending the extra money on a manufactured stone bench top will be a rewarding priority. Spending an extra $1500 or so will get you the following benefits; 1. higher rental return. 2. bring a higher resale value to your property. 3. Will make your kitchen look and feel luxurious. To keep the costs low opt for a standard range of colours with a standard edge profile (20mm). Below are two images of standard 20mm edge, the first uses a natural stone, the second is Caesarstone 'Snow'.

stone bench top 20mm thick

Caesarstone benchtop in snow 20mm

Lighting design is something many kitchen designers fail to address. The kitchen is a work space, and needs ample task lighting, but it also needs ambience lighting too. LED task lighting under wall cabinetry and pendant lighting coupled together with some overhead lighting should do the trick.

kitchen LED task lighting

kitchen pendant lighting in copper

kitchen shelf LED feature lighting

There are many ways you can save money on your kitchen renovation. Much of this comes down to a cleverly designed space using good quality but reasonably priced materials. To keep the cost down, strip the kitchen back to its bare necessity but pay close attention to the details.