Kitchen Design Tips on a Budget

You’re the Project Manager!
The key to reworking an old kitchen into a more efficient and modern space is in the planning. Thinking ahead ensures you’ve covered all bases to help save on the final bill.

Design It to Be Compact
Keeping the work area compact, no matter what size the room, saves on cabinetry and makes the ergonomic working triangle of sink, stove and fridge more efficient.

Visit showrooms for inspiration and measure the area you have to work with down to the centimeter.

Order a Kitchen in a Box
Buy flat-packed cabinetry and benches and have them delivered so you can DIY the installation or project manage it with a builder.

For an average L-shaped kitchen it costs up to $5,000 for cabinets, countertops and backsplashes and takes two DIYers about four days to install.

A comparable custom-built kitchen starts at about $7,500, including labor at $50 an hour for installation.

To place an order use the supplier’s grid system or website to draw your kitchen to scale, working out which components fit into the space.

TIP: Visit to print grid paper for free.

Choose Faux Flooring
Avoid the cost of expensive wood or tiles by going with engineered composite floorboards or new-look vinyl that replicates the look of wood, tiles, stone, marble or slate with printed surfaces for a fraction of the price.

Quality vinyl can be laid as wood-look planks or square-format tiles, costing from $60 a square foot. They’re easy to install DIY by simply cutting to fit and positioning.

Track the Light
Rather than having different types of lights, from under-cabinet lights to dimmers, choose a track lighting system positioned over the center of the room with just one installation.

Move the sockets to direct the light where it’s needed, using different bulb wattages to adjust the lighting with brighter lights angled to work areas and softer ones towards dining and entertaining spaces.

TIP: Cleaning the bulbs preserves the life span and quality of light.

See also: How to Maximize Your Home’s Natural Light

Be Appliance Savvy
Source appliances before the kitchen is built to ensure they’re installed with the correct clearances to avoid any expensive refitting.

Order them all from the same supplier to work out a discounted package deal for bulk delivery and installation, and ensure that the supplier removes the packaging.

Don’t Move the Utilities
Design the kitchen to work with the existing wiring and plumbing to minimize time spent moving the fittings.

Shifting power sources by small increments or installing a new sink and faucet is part of the renovation but relocating pipes and wires within the wall framing adds to the bill.

See also: The Cheapskate’s Guide to Kitchen Remodeling

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