How to renovate your kitchen on a budget

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Interior Stylist and former contestant on The Block, Carlene Duffy

Cedar & Suede

Kitchens can be daunting spaces to renovate - not only due to the numerous decisions that need to be made, but also because of the cost involved in the process. Kitchen makeovers are what I call trade-heavy, and these costs are often unavoidable, but there are a few ways to keep the cost down without compromising the success of your finish.

Laminate instead of 2pac

Once upon a time, laminate got a bad rap but it’s not what it used to be. Huge advancements in the product means laminate is now a very reliable and effective material for your cabinet fronts. It is a more cost effective option than 2pac lacquer, and laminate suppliers are keeping ahead of the game by offering an excellent range of on-point colours and timber grain looks. A personal favourite is Polytec natural oak which I have used on numerous projects with much success.

Replace the cabinet fronts only

Depending on the age of your kitchen, there is a very good chance that your cabinet internals are still very much intact, so why not simply replace your cabinet fronts? If your internals absolutely need replacing and the budget is tight, opt for doors instead of drawers. While drawers are fabulous, the price tag reflects this.

Lay tile in an interesting pattern

I am pleased to report that tile suppliers are responding to market demand for interesting tiles and are offering tiles in a good range of shapes and colours. I am pro tiled splashback more than any other material (glass is dated; mirror isn’t practical; and stone can be cold), but that doesn’t mean you need to spend a bomb on a marble mosaic. Why not consider an inexpensive subway style tile for $20sqm and lay in an interesting pattern(herringbone, brick laid, stacked, perpendicular etc)?

Use open shelving instead of cabinets

I recently added recycled timber open shelving to my kitchen because I didn’t need more cupboard storage. This is a considerably more cost effective alternative to overhead cabinets, and more visually effective.

Avoid custom-made

Many of the big chain hardware and homeware retailers are responding to the ‘house proud’ movement and the burning desire people have to update their homes with minimal damage to their bank balance. As a result, you can now purchase pre-cut timber bench tops and cabinet doors in a good range of colours, finishes, and prices. So, if your dimensions allow you to buy ‘off the-shelf’, why not do it – you could save yourself thousands of dollars.