A century ago, kitchens were often an afterthought when it came to the layout of a home; indeed, they existed for the sole reason of preparing food, and were thus seen as little more than a functional space. Fast-forward to the twenty-first century, however, and what was once merely a humble cooking space, is now deemed by many as the heart of the home, and a place for socialising, merry-making and eating-aplenty.
It will thus come as no surprise that it’s the most renovated room in homes across Australia, but also a space that can put the biggest strain on a homeowner’s finances, with the average cost of a new kitchen costing around $20,000.
However, a new or updated kitchen doesn’t have to cost the earth and we spoke to media personality Tamara Wrigley – who’s been a property developer for more than 23 years – for her tips on how to achieve a beautiful kitchen overhaul for as a little as $10,000 or less.
And, so if you have champagne taste on a lemonade budget, here are Wrigley’s tips on how to update your kitchen on a budget – and get more of what you want for less:
THE most important tip of all. Creating a budget is an essential part of your remodel so before you start the kitchen remodel or replacement, determine how much you are willing to spend on your kitchen. Never start a renovation with an open-ended budget, you’ll end up blowing out and it will lead to unnecessary expenses. Once you have a budget, put in a contingency allowance as no doubt through the process you may want to change and tweak a few items, or you could come across some unexpected structural issues. Water damage, termites, or rotten timber are all-too common in old kitchens, walls, and sheeting. If you have little backup funds, this won’t be so gut-wrenching when you have to spend more money than expected. Keep in mind that kitchen cabinets usually take up about one-third of the typical remodel budget.
While we all want a tasteful kitchen that looks AMAZING, don’t compromise on functionality. The ‘triangle’ is still fundamental in any redesigned kitchen plan. What is the ‘Triangle’? It’s the busiest and most functional area in your kitchen where you should be able to draw a triangle between the kitchen sink, the stove/oven, and the refrigerator. Easy access from all points is a must.
Restore, rejuvenate, recycle
Renovate with a big emphasis on sustainability and protecting mother earth, and be aware of how long items you ‘dump’ will remain in or on our earth (or end up in the ocean) until it breaks down. I like to use what I have and, if possible, repurpose it. If you like your kitchen the way it is but it just needs refreshing, check out Dulux’s Renovation Range. Refreshing your kitchen space has never been easier as it requires no primer on most surfaces and is easy to apply. Use the power of paint for cupboards, benches, tiles, and flooring. If your heart is set on a new kitchen, look at places like Facebook MarketPlace as you can often find a great kitchen for a third of the price of purchasing a new one. Other great places to look are bric-a-brac shops. Some people would rather just ring up a charity shop or ‘junkyard’ to collect their old kitchens rather than paying for the cost to remove and dump them. You know what they say – “Another man’s trash is another’s treasure”. The simplest one of all is to ask a friend or family member if they know of anyone renovating and removing kitchens – again, you could score a kitchen for next to nothing. By restoring or recycling, you are doing your bit to stop wastage and scrap being bulldozed into landfills.
Keep it simple
It’s pleasantly surprising, the difference a new paint scheme can make to a space, but more importantly, you’ll be amazed how much of a difference changing minor things like power-point covers, light switches, handles, and tapware makes. Mix that with new lights and you have just transferred your kitchen space for as little as $1,000 or less. While it’s inexpensive, doing these little changes will modernise a property and lift it to the next level.
There I said it. The “F” word most of us hate, and which also leads to high levels of anxiety, stress, and arguments between partners – flat pack! If you don’t mind some good old fashioned elbow grease and instruction reading, then buying your kitchen online from places like IKEA, or Bunnings which has the Kaboodle range, or another favourite of mine, diy.com.au could save you some serious coin. All I would suggest is to know your measurements and the layout of your kitchen. If you get some graphite paper, draw your kitchen out first. Usually, in designing, 1m equates to 1cm when drawing. Some companies will offer free design apps when visiting in-store, taking advantage of their knowledge too. Once you know your design and measurements, then order away and await those boxes to arrive. I’ve been told wine may help the building process… just saying!