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25 ways to update your kitchen on a shoestring – part 1

Image of curtains used instead of kitchen units by @theobert_pot

25 ways to update your kitchen on a shoestring – part 1

Looking to update your kitchen? It can feel like every aspect you’d like to change will break the bank. Never fear! I’ve got lots of expert hints and tips to share for renovating your kitchen on a budget – 25 of them in fact! As well as some beautiful imagery to inspire and delight. Here’s part one of 25 ways to update your kitchen on a shoestring.

1. Keep your current layout

The old adage goes, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ – and this is certainly true for kitchens. If your existing kitchen layout is working for you, why change it when you update the space? Keeping appliances in the same spots means you won’t have to call in professionals to relocate plumbing and electrics.

2. Source your own trades

You could use a specialist company to source the tradespeople you need for your kitchen renovation, but, if you want to save costs, you can do this yourself. There’s also an element of security in doing your own research, as you’ll be checking references, meeting the tradespeople for yourself and discussing what you want and how much it’ll cost. Design note: this approach takes time and careful management as well as knowledge of which people to bring in when.

3. Refresh old appliances

Are your appliances still going strong? If they are, it makes economic sense to work them into your new kitchen design. If they are looking a little worn, why not bust out the paint? Charlotte of @wiltshirewonderland did exactly that, refreshing her refrigerator with two coats of Rust-Oleum in Rose (below). If you need new appliances, try to buy them online – it’s generally cheaper than going through a kitchen showroom. Remember to do your research and check consumer reviews before parting with any cash.

4. Reveal and conceal

If you’re splashing out on new appliances for your kitchen, a little strategic thinking goes a long way. Choose well-known brands for the appliances on show – typically the hob and oven – then offset the cost by integrating cheaper, lesser-known brands for items that’ll be behind closed doors such as the fridge and dishwasher.

5. Repurpose parts

Check if there are any parts of your existing kitchen that can be repurposed. For example, if your wooden worktops are still in good nick, save on buying new timber by reusing them. Bored with your wooden work surfaces? You could use some of the wood to create a breakfast bar.

6. Keep your kitchen cabinets

Before ripping out your kitchen cabinets, check if the carcasses are still in good working order. If so, you can simply swap old doors for new ones, instantly giving your kitchen a new lease of life without spending a fortune.

If your kitchen cabinets are in good condition but in need of a refresh, why not paint them? Check first to see what they’re made of. If they’re melamine or MDF, your best bet is a specialist kitchen cupboard paint that’s engineered to work on these materials. For wooden cabinets, any eggshell or interior wood paint will do the trick.

7. Dabble in door stickers

If your kitchen cabinets aren’t to your taste, you could do an affordable update with door stickers. @iamhayleystuart (above right) transformed her utility room this way, using a marble design from Pixers.

8. Consider a curtain

If your budget won’t stretch to replacing kitchen cupboards, follow in the footsteps of @theobert_pot and hide the contents of your base cupboards with a simple curtain (below left).

9. Research alternatives

If your kitchen cabinets need updating, you don’t always need to splash out on new ones. Companies such as The Used Kitchen Company (above) specialise in selling both used and ex-display kitchens. Another savvy way to manage your budget is to bide your time and wait for Black Friday or seasonal sales to buy big ticket items such as appliances and cabinetry. It’s also worth keeping an eye on end-of-line or closing-down sales. 

10. Shop smart with flat-pack furniture

Kitchen cabinets that come flat-packed and ready to assemble on site are generally cheaper than preassembled designs. They’re available from DIY stores such as Homebase or Ikea, or suppliers such as Howdens, and many retailers offer virtual or face-to-face design consultations (be prepared to take accurate measurements of your space before the meeting). Retailers may have a kitchen installation service too, or you can save money by installing the cabinets yourself.

11. Make money

Boost your renovation budget by selling your old kitchen to one of a number of companies that will buy old cabinets, worktops and appliances. This not only solves the problem of what to do with your old kitchen but is also the best choice for the environment too, saving on average 1.2 tonnes of landfill and 6 tonnes of carbon waste (source: Used Kitchen Exchange).

12. Find affordable floor tiles

Tiling your new floor doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise. If you steer clear of natural stone tiles and stick to ceramic or porcelain instead, there are some very affordable options available. Tiles are ideal in the kitchen because they can withstand water, are easy to clean and need very little maintenance. On the downside they don’t retain heat well and are cold underfoot, but this can be solved with underfloor heating. Design note: if your DIY skills are up to scratch, you can save money by installing them yourself. 

Don’t miss: 25 ways to update your kitchen on a shoestring – part 2.

Featured image: A stylish alternative to cupboards from @theobert_pot.

Want more? If you’re keen to get more tips, don’t miss our other blogs on everything from clearing kitchen clutter to what to think about when buying worktops.