We’ve all been there: You want to update your kitchen, but the budget just isn’t there. And the only thing more frustrating than a kitchen you don’t love is one you can’t afford. So what do you do?
You can’t have a whole kitchen renovation for the price of a single cabinet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve your space, even if you’re on a tight budget.
This is especially so if you don’t want to get into property finance and re-mortgaging your home.
Obviously, you’ve had your kitchen for a while and have gotten used to where things are and how it all gels together – or doesn’t.
It’s the ideal time to have a family gathering and discuss whether you want to keep the basic layout the same or, say, bring the fridge nearer to the work surface, so you don’t have to walk so far for the things you need.
Do you really need more storage space – or do you need to have a massive clear out of that stuff that sat at the back of the cupboard for years, “just in case?”
Once you’ve established the basics, you can look at things like the electric points. Since you originally had your kitchen, you probably bought more gadgets, so it might be the ideal time to add electrical sockets and review how you use the surfaces and appliances to make them more efficient.
It could be worth looking at the lighting and how that falls short of what you need. Maybe you have old incandescent light bulbs and circuitry that you can change to low voltage LED lighting and even ventilation.
Maybe you’ve always wanted a cooker hood – but weren’t able to afford it when you initially moved in or bought the kitchen.
If you’re happy with the basic layout of the kitchen carcasses, there are companies out there who will simply replace the doors and the trim of the kitchen – keeping the basic structures and tweaking them to suit your ideas.
You may not need to replace everything. You can mix and match your new ideas with the old ones that worked well.
Looking around kitchen showrooms is a fantastic way to come up with ideas and see how you can combine your kitchen with innovations and layouts.
If there are no kitchen showrooms in your area, you can also look at kitchen websites for ideas, or look for property management near me, and go to a few rental properties or properties for sale locally and see what they’ve done with similar properties to your own.
One thing that people tend to forget, but gets hammered in any kitchen, is the floor.
A kitchen floor has to be many things. It has to be durable, cleanable, and attractive. It has to blend in with the overall decor of the kitchen, and it has to be functional.
There is a vast range of alternatives, from wooden floors to ceramic tiles, plain concrete, marble, laminate – even linoleum or carpet – not that we recommend either of these last two options!
Ceramic tiles are a good bet for most kitchens. They are easy to clean, hardwearing and tough. They come in a large range of colours and styles and, once laid, are easy to maintain and virtually indestructible – unless you drop that big saucepan on them, of course.
If you go for this option – make sure that you keep a couple of boxes of spare tiles back in case any get damaged or broken and need to be replaced.
A solid timber floor is another good option, but it will need a bit more maintenance. Whether you leave the wood bare, paint it, varnish it, stain it or oil it, wood will need some TLC – and a good hardwood floor cleaner – to keep it looking good.
Laminate flooring is another popular choice for kitchens, but it needs to be one of the better laminates because it will need to deal with liquid spills and a lot of foot traffic. Laminate can “blow” if liquid seeps into the gaps between the panels.
They make the best laminate floors with high-quality polyurethane coatings. These are wear, heat, and liquid resistant. Cheap laminates and kitchen floors don’t really mix – it’s often a false economy as the kitchen is usually the most used room in the average house.
Most kitchens are enclosed, but if you’re lucky enough to have an extension or adjoining room, you can convert this into a dining room or breakfast room. This means you can use your kitchen space for the preparation and cooking of food without you having to entertain family or guests while you’re trying to cook.
If you’re really fortunate, you might even have access to your outside space from the kitchen. Putting in a door or a set of patio doors leading to an outside patio area or deck is a really attractive option here. To add that extra touch of style, you can also choose an outdoor paint colour that elevates the space and helps you design your dream home.
Like the kitchen floor, the patio can have a wide variety of finishes. Flagstones, granite, brick, outside ceramic tiles, slate (although this can be slippery in wet conditions) and even wood are viable options.
Decking – either polycarbonate slats or wood – is another popular choice for an outside space.
The polycarbonate slats can be indistinguishable from wood and need no maintenance. They are tough and strong, but you need to be careful if you are considering a barbeque area because if hot coals fall, they can damage the slats badly.
Wood will need to be treated with a sealer to keep it in good condition and protect it from moisture and insects. There are a wide variety of sealers available but be sure to buy a good quality one with insect repellent, as the cheaper options do not last as long.
Spending more on the best exterior paints, oil, or varnish will pay dividends in the long run.
Your kitchen is somewhere where guests and family alike will spend a lot of time and is probably the place that is most “you” in the house.
It’s worth taking the time and making an effort to make it somewhere that stands out and that you can be proud of.
Making it comfortable, practical, and inviting is the first step.