The kitchen is the heart and soul of any modern home, so when it comes to renovating it’s important to get it right. Here are our top 10 best tips for sticking to your kitchen reno budget

The kitchen is no longer simply a food preparation area – it’s the centre of life in the home, the place where people come together to mingle and eat, and in fact, it’s often physically more than just one room. It’s for all these reasons that form and function should be front of mind when it comes to designing any new kitchen, says interior designer Kirsty Murphy of Ivy Interiors.

“There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when it comes to a kitchen renovation,” she says. “You should start by engaging an interior designer, planning your budget, and thinking about the function and aesthetics of the kitchen”.

Small tweaks such as new kitchen handles and a benchtop could alone set you back $10,000. A budget kitchen renovation usually costs between $10,000 – $20,000 and a full luxury kitchen could cost anywhere from $45,000 and above.

  • Know where to save, spend and splurge

Materials play a big part in the cost of a kitchen and knowing when to spend more and when to tighten the purse strings is crucial to pulling off your dream kitchen, on your pre-planned budget. 

“At the end of the day, it’s quality finishes and an eye for detail which set good kitchens apart from great ones,” Kirsty says.

With that in mind, here are Kirsty Murphy’s top tips for where to save, spend and splurge when it comes to designing your new kitchen.

  • Save on your splashback

While your splashback should be a visually appealing addition, it doesn’t need to break the bank. In fact, going for simple and understated materials is an increasingly popular option. “I find a lot of people are designing with windows for natural light or classic subway tiles to save money,” says Kirsty.

Photo: Kristy Murphy, Ivy Interiors.

  • Splurge on your benchtop

Your benchtop, on the other hand, is a core element in the daily functioning of your kitchen and warrants a little more attention. Spend money on a quality finish, Kirsty encourages, keeping in mind how the surface will wear and what’s involved in up keep. A butcher’s block style benchtop looks fantastic, but is porous and will show signs of wear and tear easily.

“High-quality, man-made, engineered stone like Caesarstone or Essastone by Laminex is a great alternative to natural stone as it looks just as good, wears well and won’t break the bank, with costs starting from $5,000.”

  • Spend on your flooring

When it comes to flooring, practicality should be top of mind. “The floor needs to look good, but you need to consider how it will function in high traffic zones with things like water and spillage,” says Kirsty.

“Polished concrete is a popular option as it’s hardy and stylish – but not if you’re walking the budget tightrope. You can get a really nice looking floor without spending too much if you opt for something like engineered floorboards or natural timbers, which are affordable for many different budgets.”

  • Splurge on your lighting

Lighting is an area where Kirsty encourages a little splurging – and a lot of planning. “Lighting too often gets forgotten about but should always be factored in from the very beginning,” she adds.

Making the distinction between task lighting and accent lighting will ensure the various spaces within the kitchen are suited to their functions. For instance, if you’re designing a kitchen with pendants over an island bench, spend a decent amount of money to ensure they are providing enough quality light so you can use your bench to prepare food, but are also stylish enough to act as a feature.

  • Save on your sink

When it comes to your sink and tapware, it pays to shop around as you can often find quality options on a budget. It’s also good to consider the placement of the sink in the kitchen. The kitchen work triangle is a design concept used to ensure that the space between the sink, cooktop, oven and fridge works well, minimising unnecessary steps and obstacles. Also, your tapware, lighting and door hardware should all feature a similar style to keep continuity throughout the kitchen.

  • Splurge on your fridge

The fridge is a critical element to the overall design and function of the kitchen. “French door fridges with ice dispensers, sliding and moveable shelves and sleek finishes are not only extremely practical for families or home entertaining, but are also aesthetically beautiful,” Kirsty says.

“Second fridges are also becoming very popular, with many of us choosing to have a dedicated wine fridge or food preparation fridge. So, don’t be afraid to budget for more than one fridge, especially if you’ve got the luxury of space under your island bench, in the pantry or of course for the ultimate — a dedicated butler’s pantry. But don’t make the mistake of selecting the incorrect size fridge,” added Kirsty.

“Don’t be afraid to budget for more than one fridge, especially if you’ve got the luxury of space.”

  • Save on your pantry 

The butler’s pantry is a growing trend for those of us looking to hide the messier areas of the kitchen behind closed doors. “The other great thing about a butler’s pantry is that you can save a lot of money by paring things back to basics – after all, this is a space just for you,” says Kirsty.

Given we’re now designing and using our kitchen as an entertaining space, the butler’s pantry has become the practical working space, and home to additional or small appliances like a second fridge, kettle and toaster.

“So maybe look for affordable finishes, especially around benchtop and joinery, and splurge elsewhere.”

Photo: Kristy Murphy, Ivy Interiors.

  • Splurge on your island

An island bench provides a central meeting point in your kitchen. It can function as a workspace or entertainment area, and gives you the opportunity for hidden storage. The kitchen island is also one of Kirsty’s favourite splurges as it can be designed with aesthetic quality and function, to act as a focal point within the kitchen.

“When it comes to designing your kitchen island, think about how you can maximise the space, by incorporating great storage or a wine fridge alongside practical seating for family and guests. For the benchtop material, you’ll want something that is both hard wearing and good looking,” says Kirsty.

  • Spend on your joinery 

Quality, bespoke joinery can add real value to your home. Although quality joinery is key, there’s no need to spend an arm and a leg on high-end materials. Ask your joiner for what’s feasible within your budget. There are plenty of excellent quality, mid-range options which will leave you with a little bit in the wallet. You can always jazz up basic joinery with beautiful architectural hardware. Also, think about selecting something that will suit your lifestyle.

  • Splurge on your range hood and cooktop

The range hood, on the other hand, is one of the key elements Kirsty sees people getting wrong time and again as they select a low budget product that doesn’t ventilate properly and is noisy.

Likewise, the rise of clean and healthy eating is prompting people to select quality ovens and stovetops with additional features to suit personal taste. “It’s all about spending good money on an oven or cooktop for its functionality – such as an induction cooktop or a pyrolytic oven. Not to mention the fact that ovens, like all good quality appliances these days, are designed to be aesthetically pleasing,” Kirsty says.

“I definitely think the focus this year has come back to appliances because they are smarter and more beautiful than ever before.”

#HisenseHack: Spend time looking at magazines, websites, Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration before working with an expert to pull together a design with the style, function and budget that works for you.

Find out more about Hisense kitchen appliances here.

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