By Tamara Wrigley
The kitchen is the heart and soul of a home. It’s where families and friends come together to talk about the day, cook meals for the family and is generally the centrepiece for entertaining friends – so it’s no surprise that a kitchen is the most renovated space in Australia.
In most cases, kitchens and bathrooms are also the most expensive part of a new build or renovation – costing the average Australian around $20,000. The thing is, you can do a beautiful kitchen overhaul for as a little as $10,000 or less. Done well, an updated kitchen adds even more value to your home when it comes time to sell.
If you have champagne taste but are on a beer income, here are some 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.
2. The triangle
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.
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 they break 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 junk yard to collect their old kitchens rather than paying for the cost to remove and dump them. You know what they say – “one 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 landfill.
4. 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 powerpoint covers, light switches, handles, and tapware makes. Mix that with new lights and you have just transformed your kitchen space for as little as $1,000 or less. While it’s inexpensive, making 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.
Get some graphite paper and 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, take advantage of their knowledge too. Once you know your design and measurements, then order away and wait for those boxes to arrive. I’ve been told wine may help the building process… just saying.
All that’s left to do now is get creating your new or revamped kitchen space.
-Media personality Tamara Wrigley has been a property developer for more than 23 years. Tam purchased her first property at the age of 21 and now has an empire of 30+ properties worth millions. To keep up to date with Tamara’s renovations, follow her on Instagram