Deirdre Mc Gettrick profile pictureAfter struggling to easily find the right items to furnish her own apartment, Kuldea Co-Founder, Deirdre Mc Gettrick, was inspired to create an online platform to make home shopping as straightforward, efficient and fulfilling as possible. Here, she shares her top tips for updating your kitchen on a budget.

Purchasing a new kitchen can be a huge expense, yet this can often be the one room in the house which is in most need of updating, and which you spend the most time in. If you have recently bought a new home, there is nothing more frustrating than having to use a kitchen which doesn’t suit you. But if you simply can’t afford the full cost of replacing an entire kitchen and the expensive labour involved with that, then here are five ways you can update your kitchen on a budget, without the hefty price tag.

Country style kitchen with a oak wood kitchen table and bench

Top tip 1) Only replace items which really need updating

You don’t need to gut your kitchen and replace everything to refresh the look and make it suit you. Consider what really needs replacing. Do you simply dislike the doors on the cabinets? Maybe the worktops are not in a material you would choose? Or is the floor old and worn and you could do with a new dining table? Perhaps the walls just need a lick of paint to refresh and lift the entire room?

Installing new replacement worktops can transform the look of a kitchen in an instant, the same as changing the cupboard doors can and will cost a fraction of what you could spend on buying brand new units and cabinets. If the condition of these is fine, then there is no need to buy new ones. You could possibly afford to splurge on a material you really want for the worktops rather than scrimp on material costs if you are having to replace the entire kitchen. If you’re working to a tight budget, then it really is worth using your money only on what needs updating so you can buy exactly what you want.

Top tip 2) Small changes can make a big difference

If you know that you want to completely change your kitchen in the future, but don’t have the time or money to do it right now, you might feel frustrated having to put up with a kitchen you dislike. However, there are ways you can easily make your kitchen feel more like you, without spending very much money at all while you wait until you can afford your dream design.

If you have old tiles or ones which you don’t like, then re-tiling a kitchen is a big job and a big expense. However, there is a way of refreshing the look of the tiles without having to take them all off and start again. Clean them up as best you can, removing any surface grease and grime, and then use stick-on tiles which can be bought in a variety of colours and patterns online. Simply adding in a few pattern tiles can revamp a kitchen, add colour and interest, and the best part is you can do it all yourself. Most retailers will allow you to try samples before you commit to purchasing in bulk. They are super easy to use, and you can change them whenever you desire.

Painting is another easy and relatively cheap way of transforming the look of your kitchen. You can paint the walls or even the kitchen cabinets, which are the most visible element of the room, to add colour or refresh anything which is old and worn. Make sure you choose a paint which is adapted for use in the kitchen, making it resistant to stains and household products. From natural colours such as cream or white to bold, striking colours such as red or green, let your creativity and personality decide.

Changing the knobs and door handles on your cabinets can change their look without breaking the bank and replacing the entire unit. Colourful, original or classic, there is a huge variety to choose from, and if in the future you do decide to have a full kitchen makeover, you can always keep the handles and knobs for your new cabinets, saving you money.

Top tip 3) Consider a spot of DIY

The cost of labour to refit your kitchen is a large proportion of your overall spend when it comes to purchasing a new kitchen. Whilst you should leave the gas appliances to a professional, you could get rid of electrical appliances in preparation for a refit. If they are in working order, you may even be able to sell these on, or see if you can find a repair company willing to take them for free, which will save on disposal fee costs.

You can also remove your old kitchen yourself if you’re prepared for some DIY, as this is a guaranteed way of saving money. Taking out all the cabinets yourself will save you paying someone to do this, and you could even try selling these on all well.

However, make sure any DIY ends when it come s to re-wiring, as you definitely need a qualified electrician to do this. Since 2008 all electricians have to ensure kitchens have a residual current device (RCD), which will increase the costs if you don’t already have one of these. Consider the appliances you purchase, however, as some electrical ovens are plug-in, saving you money on installation costs.

Consider finding a local fitter to install your new kitchen rather than the ones offered by the supplier, which can often be more costly. However, if you are considering extending your kitchen before you refit it, then read my top tips on renovating your home.

Top tip 4) Choose cheaper materials

A new kitchen costs thousands of pounds, but this cost can spiral out of control if you opt for expensive materials. It’s vital that you set a budget before you start looking at kitchen options. There’s nothing worse than setting your heart on expensive cabinets only to find they are totally out of your price range. If you know your budget at the start if will focus you to only look at items which you can afford, dismissing anything more expensive before you have a chance to fall in love with it.

Prices for different aspects of a kitchen can vary considerably, so consider which materials you can afford. Laminate worktops for an averaged sized kitchen could cost between £2,000 and £3,000, whereas wood, granite or marble could be more than £5,000.

Look out for hidden costs, which kitchen suppliers might be keen to slip into your new design to push up the overall price tag. Gadgets, soft-close drawers or a designer tap could blow your budget without you even realising.

When it comes to flooring, you might be tempted by wood or tiles, but this will come at a huge price and one which can be avoided if you consider cheaper alternatives such as laminate or vinyl. This type of cheaper flooring has come a long way and can look very realistic in emulating the more expensive options. Adding a colourful mat to a kitchen floor is a great way to brighten the room and cover any old flooring you can’t afford to replace.

Top tip 5) Save on kitchen furniture

When it comes to kitchen furniture, there are ways you can save if you think creatively. A large wooden kitchen table looks great in a spacious kitchen-diner, but if you have a small kitchen then it might swamp it and leave little space to walk around, as well as costing a lot of money. Consider instead buying a bar table with stools, which takes up less space, looks modern and stylish, and doesn’t cost as much money.

You can even buy bar tables with shelves underneath for storage, which could save you money on buying other storage furniture. For more help on buying a dining table read my top tips here.

The more kitchen cabinets you buy, the more expensive your overall kitchen will cost. For example, a kitchen island complete with storage cabinets underneath could set you back hundreds, if not thousands of pounds. So, consider other ways of adding in storage which is cheaper, and which takes up less space if you have a small kitchen. Shelves on the walls can be a great way of storing kitchen items, particularly if you have pretty china you want to display. Read my top tips on buying tableware here and here are 5 Top tips for Small Space Kitchens by Maisons du Monde.

So updating your kitchen and achieving your dream home style can be achieved on a budget. It’s all about being a savvy shopper and looking for deals. The harder you look, the luckier you get. I hope this article helps you with your kitchen project. For more top tips and inspiration click here and to shop kitchen furniture on Kuldea, here, and start your shopping journey.