Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Tips for renovating your kitchen on a budget

Tips for renovating your kitchen on a budget
Firstly, a warm Happy New Year to all our loyal followers.  You will all be pleased to know that being more regular with our Blog, holds the number one place on our "New Years Resolutions list".  So hopefully this will be the first of around 12 or more blog posts this year.  So for now, here are some great tips for renovating, or just tarting up your kitchen.  Enjoy !!
The kitchen.  It is fairly widely accepted that the kitchen is the “hub of the home”, probably even more so in recent times.  Historically, entertaining at home meant eating canap├ęs and starters in the formal lounge, followed by dinner being served to the table in a formal dining room.  Guests were worlds away from the cooking and food preparation, and children were definitely “seen and not heard”.  Generally, entertaining in the home strived to be a more formal experience than it is today.

The kitchen of today is more than just a space for food preparation.  Even when you are entertaining at home, odds are the guests will be piled into the kitchen, sitting around drinking and talking while you are putting the meal together.  Most kitchens these days have informal spaces to eat at, like a breakfast bar, which often doubles up as a home office or homework space.

More than ever, people have embraced cooking, with the rise of reality shows such as Masterchef and cook book sales going through the roof.  No longer do people have a set of saucepans and a few essential dishes, we now have woks, vacuum sealers, ham slicers, juicers, and of course the beloved food processor.  Therefore, kitchens today need to have loads more storage space than ever before.

So as you can see, not only do we use kitchens differently to how we did in the past, kitchens now have to function differently.

In fact 100% of real estate agents we spoke to said that a good kitchen can be the number one selling point for a house.  So ask yourself ….. what is your kitchen like ?  Is it letting the team down big time, or does it just need a bit of a pick-me-up ?

Really, there are three types of kitchen renovations. 

Renovation No.1.   The rip everything out and start again version;
Renovation No. 2.   The layout is reasonable, but everything is incredibly dated; and

Renovation No. 3.   The, it’s not too bad, it just needs a freshen up.


When it comes to Kitchen Reno No. 1, you’ll need to budget somewhere between about $8,000 and $30,000, depending on level of finish.  Appliances will cost around another $3-8,000 again, depending on what brand you choose and how many you can re-use from your previous kitchen. 

One option to give you a leg up financially is to consider selling your old kitchen using something like ebay or the trading post.  Sometimes your trash can be someone else’s treasure, and you may even save some money on the demolition and removal of the old kitchen, as usually it is the purchaser’s job to remove the kitchen themselves – although anything hard wired, connected to mains gas or plumbed in will need to be disconnected professional first.

There are a number of kitchen companies around who do amazing work.  My advice is, do your research, have a look on line, go and visit some show rooms, speak to friends or family who have done kitchen renovations recently and make a time when you are not in a rush to speak to a kitchen designer at one of the kitchen companies you have looked at.  There are some great online resources, such as this one http://www.realestate.com.au/home-ideas/space-kitchens.  Knowing what you’d like to achieve before you spend time with a kitchen designer will definitely make the time you spend with them more productive.  A good kitchen designer is worth their weight in gold – they know all the latest products and trends and can help you spend money in the right places in your kitchen.  

If you are in the Kitchen Reno No. 2 bracket, there are a number of key areas that you can work on in your kitchen that will make a huge difference to the look and feel of the space.  Firstly, cabinetry.  If you are generally happy with the size and location of your kitchen cabinets, but the doors are dated, worn or broken, you can remove all the cupboard doors and drawer fronts and replace them with brand new ones.  Not all kitchen companies will do this, so it is important to check, but new doors can make an old kitchen look absolutely brand new.  The same goes with benchtops.  These can be easily replaced with newer sleeker materials – and don’t forget your splashback ! 

Another really popular change you could make to your kitchen, particularly if it is one that feels closed in or dark is to remove the cupboard doors from your high levels cupboards, revealing open shelving.  Check out this blog piece from Apartment Therapy which talks about open shelving. http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/great-open-kitchen-shelving-th-124683  Admittedly, you’d have to be fairly neat and tidy to pull it off, but it does really work.


Seriously, any one of these changes would make a big difference, let alone doing all three.  Obviously, the more changes you make, the more money you will spend, so as with all things, it is important to do all the research you can, including pricing before you make any key decisions.


If you are looking at Kitchen Reno No 3, a general freshen up, a new splashback, and / or a lick of paint on the walls will really put the life back in your kitchen.  It’s amazing how grimy and yellow a kitchen can get, even when you are a fastidious cleaner.  Another idea could be to re-spray your kitchen cupboards.  A number of companies now make paint suitable for spraying over laminate (although I don’t believe it is suitable for benchtops, and most enamel paints will go nicely over timber with a polyurethane finish, so long as your preparation is according to the directions.  This usually requires some sanding of the timber work, but can have really amazing results.


Lighting can also make a huge difference to the look and feel of the kitchen.  Dim, inappropriate lighting can really date a kitchen, making it appear old and tired.  New task lighting can really transform a space, and new advances in LED lighting has meant that smaller lights can now be concealed within cabinetry more successfully than ever before.


Don’t forget to give any appliances you are intending to keep a deep clean – even using a toothbrush in those small cracks and hard to reach places.  A good clean could bring them back to looking brand new.  It’s amazing how over a period of time things get dirty or soiled and you don’t notice.


So, now that you are armed with a whole lot of new strategies for giving your kitchen the new look it deserves, it’s time to appraise your own kitchen.  It’s a new year, what better time to put some of these ideas into practice and plan a new look for your kitchen !  What are you waiting for ??