Kitchen Renovations: When to Save & When to Splurge

Kitchen Renovations: When to Save & When to Splurge

Rebecca Bond
Aug 19, 2014
(Image credit: Jennifer Pade)

A kitchen reno can get pricey. Before you know it, your fancy floor tiles and gorgeous cabinets have swallowed up half the budget and you haven't paid the plumber or even thought about appliances. A great kitchen—one that makes your heart do a little jig every morning as you fix your coffee—doesn’t just look good, it is organized, efficient and functional. So here are a few (highly subjective) tips on when it’s okay to cut budget corners and when you can let yourself go a little crazy.

SAVE on cabinets: Bespoke solid wood cabinets are beautiful, but they could set you back tens of thousands of dollars—way beyond many people's budgets. So, take another look at your existing cabinets. If they are still in good working order and the layout works well, you can restore, repaint or replace doors. If you are looking at a major remodel, IKEA cabinets are inexpensive, good looking and use the same identical hinges and drawer dampeners as more expensive makers.

SPLURGE on hardware: So you've saved on your cabinets, but they are looking a bit dull and workaday. Time to spend some money on cabinet hardware for a more individual finish. Check out how these over-sized brass handles (above) completely transform the painted cabinets in this kitchen remodel.

SAVE on floor: Your kitchen floor is super important. It's a high traffic area and likely to get a certain amount of punishment from spills and breakages. But unless you have a really tiny floor space, you could see your budget quickly disappear. Figure out exactly what you can spend per square foot and stick to it. There are tons of options—reclaimed wood, porcelain, bamboo, engineered cork, luxury vinyls, rubber—that won't break the budget. If you have a closet-sized kitchen, feel free to splurge on hand painted floor tiles or a natural stone floor.

SPLURGE on backsplash: If you are still hankering over those budget-breaking floor tiles you renounced for a more affordable option, indulge in a little high-end color or pattern over your stove or sink like the Made a Mano project above. The smaller surface area and lower overall cost, means you can widen your options and chose something you adore.

SAVE on freestanding vs. built-in appliances: Go for freestanding appliances over built in and save your self thousands of dollars. If you choose cabinet-depth models, you can still get a streamlined look without spending extra. It also makes it easier to switch things around in the future if you need to replace them.

SPLURGE on worktops: If you have the budget, nothing beats natural stone countertops. They are easy to keep clean, hardwearing and good looking. I know there are some good laminate options out there, but for me they don't come close to the real thing.

So, where have you saved or splurged in the kitchen and was it the right decision?

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