Stay on budget when renovating your kitchen
Kitchen renovations can be costly so how do you keep within your budget?
Clever design and savvy shopping will ensure you achieve renovating your new kitchen while staying on budget. To anyone who hasn’t planned to renovate a kitchen recently, renovation costs can seem steep. Not only is there outlay for the furniture and appliances, but also fitting, services and building work for even the most basic project.
All of which can make budgeting tricky, especially when it comes to working out what you can afford, how much professional help you can use and the final design.
Setting a budget
The key to working out the budget of renovating the kitchen is to know how much you can spend realistically. As your project unfolds, there will probably be appliances or extras that you’d like, so setting this maximum budget should help you to say no to non-essential additions.
Consider the value of your property, too, as kitchens are an influencing factor for buyers. There’s little point fitting a low-cost kitchen in an expensive home.
Start by researching the style you want and measure how much space you’ll be filling. Visiting showrooms will give you an idea of the ranges that are available and their cost.
Cabinetry usually takes up about 50 per cent of a budget, with delivery and installation; appliances and worktops/splashbacks account for about 15 per cent each, and five per cent for fixtures, fittings and flooring (material and brand will affect these costs), plus don’t forget VAT. Allow another 10 per cent of the total as contingency.
‘Decide on the items that are must-haves and what you’re prepared to compromise on,’ advises Charlie Flemons, designer at Sustainable Kitchens. ‘If you are a keen cook, investing in good appliances will be key to enjoying your kitchen rather than having beautiful worktops.’
Keeping on track
Once you have a budget to renovate your kitchen, avoid the temptation to creep over it. A spreadsheet to keep tabs on your spending will help you to manage your project. It’s best to resolve as many issues as possible at the design stage, rather than risking pricey fixes in the middle of the job.
‘Always state your budget at the start so the designer can stick as closely to this as possible,’ says Paul O’Brien, business development director at Kitchens International. ‘A reputable kitchen retailer and designer will give you a complete quote up front so you know from the beginning what payments you need to make and when.’
Being efficient is key as delays can have cost implications. Most kitchen companies will plan a schedule of works, but if you’re co-ordinating the project yourself, you’ll need to be organised. Missed fitting dates, cancelled contractors and fees to store appliances or cabinetry can eat into your budget.
‘It’s essential to choose the right team who will adhere to the schedule,’ explains Daniele Brutto, co-founder of Hub Kitchens. ‘Trades need to be able to work together on site to avoid duplication of work, the risk of errors being made and potential overspending. Communication should be clear so that any unforeseen expenditures can be discussed prior to works.’
In smaller kitchens, it may be necessary to choose bespoke cabinetry. This can cost around 20 per cent more than off-the-peg units, but you can save by using bespoke elements only where necessary or asking a carpenter to make cabinets to your own specification. If you do choose a wholly bespoke kitchen, design it around how you use the space, which will allow you to make the most of every inch and include some special features or finishes.
What to spend on
Costs for cabinets vary, so buy good quality. If you’re shopping at the more affordable end of the market, check that the hinges are robust to prevent the doors sagging and avoid anything that looks cheap. Choose hi-gloss and painted doors as these tend to have fewer details that make them stand out as inexpensive.
It’s worth spending on durable carcases and dovetailed drawers as these are the kitchen’s skeleton. ‘It is better to invest in quality units than to replace flimsy ones every few years,’ says Jayne Coleman, designer at John Lewis of Hungerford.
Worktops can help a bargain kitchen appear pricier, so buy the best you can afford. Similarly, don’t skimp on the parts of a kitchen that will be disruptive if they need replacing or servicing. This includes appliances, but also elements with moving parts, such as taps.
What to save on
Saving often comes down to minimising extras, opting for inexpensive lookalikes and shopping around. For example, many manufacturers offer ranges of appliances at different price points; choosing a lower spec model can equate to substantial savings, as can buying discontinued products online. Suppliers will also offer finishes in different price groups, allowing you to get a similar look at a lower cost.
Internal mechanisms, such as pull-out racks, are costly, so you can reduce your spend by not including these. Your layout may also affect your budget – complex configurations are more expensive than a simple linear run and larger cabinets cheaper than multiple smaller ones.
Surfaces can be a good place to save, so think about pairing a show-stopping splashback with affordable flooring or vice versa. If your floor material is pricey, there’s no need to continue it beneath cabinets where it won’t be seen. For worktops, look for pre-made surfaces in long lengths to avoid costly templating and fabrication.