If you’re curious about adding value to your house, you likely look at every room in your home as an avenue of opportunity.
Indeed, any renovation can add value to your home, no matter where it is carried out. Even if it doesn’t contribute directly to the monetary value of your house, it can add to its sellability and prevent it from languishing on the market for too long. Or, if nothing else, it adds value to the time you spend in your home, making it more enjoyable and fulfilling. And many would say that trumps monetary value.
Nonetheless, there are some rooms in which a little sprucing can add the most value.
One of these is the kitchen.
It’s easy to imagine why.
After all, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where food is prepared and enjoyed and the room in which memories are made. Unfortunately, with every meal cooked and every pair of feet or paws that to and fro through it, the years can take a toll on your kitchen. The good news, however, is that you don’t have to part with thousands of pounds to breathe new life into your kitchen. You don’t need to yank out your cupboards, lay down a cemetery’s worth of granite or install a steam oven or a fridge that orders your groceries online as soon as they start to run out (yup, they exist). There are numerous ways in which budget-conscious people and families can add value to their home by updating their kitchen and many of them involve a very modest spend.
Let’s take a look at 9 low budget updates to your kitchen that you can get started on right now:
Never Underestimate the Power of a Lick of Paint
Very often, the wear and tear that your kitchen amasses over the years are only skin deep. The kitchen functions exactly as it should, it’s just starting to show its age as a result of constant use and the coming and going of people throughout every day.
With that in mind, extensive kitchen renovations often mean throwing out a perfectly healthy baby with a few pints of bathwater. If you’re trying to breathe new life into your kitchen on a shoestring budget, a fresh coat of paint should be your first port of call.
One of the most visible surfaces in your kitchen is your cabinet doors, so these should be the first place to which you apply a new coat of paint. For a more dramatic transformation, try using bold or contrasting colours. You may be surprised at how dramatically different your kitchen may appear when you repaint or resurface your cabinets. The more your newly revivified cabinets draw the eye, the more transformed your kitchen will appear… even if the underlying infrastructure beneath the surface is exactly the same.
Even something as simple as replacing the cabinet door handles can be an effective but extremely cost-effective way of making your cabinets (and your kitchen) look good as new with very little expense.
For an even more dramatic change, consider refacing your cabinets with a laminate or wood veneer. With a fairly minimal amount of DIY skills, you can do this yourself. Veneer kits are affordable and readily available. These include the veneers themselves as well as the materials to apply them.
Make your Cabinets Feel Brand New with Hinges
Finally, a new kitchen isn’t just about the look, but the feel. Drawers and cabinets will look brand new but the familiar action (and noise) as they open and shut can break the illusion pretty quickly. Transforming your drawers cabinets by giving them a softer closing mechanism can help them feel brand new, with a softer smoother close without needing to replace them.
You can easily replace your existing door hinges and drawer slides with soft closing equivalents for around £20 per door and £35-£50 per drawer. Alternatively, if you’re really strapped for cash, you can get a similar feel just by adding a soft close adaptor. At a cost of just £2 each at B&Q, these are an incredibly cost-efficient way of breathing new life into your kitchen.
Save a Fortune with Kitchen Vinyl Flooring
Your flooring plays a huge part in how your kitchen looks and feels. And, as in most things, you can spend a fortune on your flooring if you have a mind to. However, there are a number of ways in which the budget-conscious can save on flooring.
You don’t necessarily have to fork out for expensive kitchen flooring tiles or expensive hardwood. In fact, vinyl can give you flooring that looks and feels almost exactly like hardwood yet costs as little as £7.99 per square meter. And because vinyl planks snap together so easily they are easy to install yourself, thus saving a small fortune on labour costs.
Or Consider Cork Flooring!
Not convinced by vinyl but still want something that gives a feel similar to wood at a much lower cost? What about cork? Cork is a less common option than vinyl but is similarly budget-friendly. Not only does it have a lovely natural look and feel at a price that won’t break the bank, but cork is also a natural thermal insulator. This means that even when winter rolls around, your kitchen flooring will always feel nice and warm underfoot.
But if you simply must have hardwood, engineered is the more cost-effective option!
Even if you’re absolutely convinced that hardwood is the only option for you, that still doesn’t mean that you can’t make savings.
Solid hardwood might have more prestige value, but engineered hardwood is by far the better choice for kitchen floors. Not only is it more cost-effective than solid hardwood, but it also offers better protection against stains and moisture retention. Absolutely essential for busy kitchens. Be advised, however, that engineered hardwood consists of a layer of hardwood on top of an MDF core, so when choosing a colour make sure it’s one you’ll love in the long term. While engineered hardwood can be sanded down and resurfaced, later on, you’ll only be able to do this once or twice before you wear down the outer layer. And an MDF floor isn’t a great look on anyone’s kitchen!
Update Your Worktops
Along with your cabinets, your countertops are among the most noticeable parts of your kitchen, and their appearance can speak volumes. If your existing countertops are looking scratched, battered or worn, you can replace them with brand new high-quality stone countertops without breaking the bank.
Instead of sourcing them directly from kitchen suppliers (who build a healthy markup into their products to insulate their profits) cut out the middleman by sourcing your own. You may be surprised by how many options you have.
Contact local stonemasons directly or reach out to local architectural salvage companies. They can be an excellent source of affordable, unique stone that’s full of character. While you will likely need it to be cut to size by a mason, this is still much more cost-effective than buying ready-made units from kitchen suppliers.
Choose Materials Wisely for the Kitchen
Quartz and granite are the gold standards when it comes to prestige countertops, but they can be very pricey.
Composite stone worktops, however, can provide a look that’s virtually indistinguishable from granite or quartz at a much more budget-friendly cost.
Alternatively, if you want to make really huge savings, there are stone coat treatments available which use an impermeable epoxy resin to create a surface that looks and feels like stone. This can be applied to wooden countertops to provide a much more attractive and hard-wearing surface than your average laminate-coated MDF countertop.
Buy Reconditioned Appliances to Save a Fortune
While many low budget kitchen updates can be carried out with minimal upfront expense, if an appliance is on its last legs it’s prudent to replace it while updating your kitchen. But if you thought that you couldn’t make savings here, too… think again!
You can make even more savings by avoiding brand new appliances and opting for reconditioned appliance instead. These are appliances which have developed faults, been returned and repaired by experts. This makes them functionally good as new at a fraction of the cost of buying a brand new appliance.
With a bare minimum of searching, you will likely be able to find an appliance repair specialist who can do you a great deal on a reconditioned fridge/freezer/washing machine etc. Of course, that’s not to say that buying reconditioned doesn’t have its caveats.
When buying reconditioned appliances, shoppers must be discerning in whom they buy from. Be sure to carefully vet suppliers online and dive deep into their customer feedback. Check your social media platforms for any mention of them and see who’s saying what about them online. You should still be given a warranty on a reconditioned appliance, so you should be wary of any supplier who does not offer you one. While buying reconditioned is a great way to make savings be wary of any deals that seem too good to be true… because they probably are!
Ex-Display Kitchens = Full Update (on a Budget)
In the vast majority of cases, it’s easy to update your kitchen by addressing the surface level details and leaving the underlying infrastructure intact. However, if you’re determined to replace everything, you can still make savings. Especially if you have the DIY nouse to do everything yourself, thereby making huge savings on labour costs.
In most cases, you can buy a whole brand new kitchen at a massively reduced cost by opting for a recycled or ex-display kitchen. Take yourself round to a few local kitchen showrooms to see if they have any recycled or ex-display kitchens in stock. While it may require some legwork, the savings will be more than worth it! Ex-display kitchens are often virtually indistinguishable from their brand new counterparts, yet can come with savings of 50-70% when compared to the same models brand new. If your local showroom doesn’t have any, don’t give up hope.
Displays are constantly in rotation, so leave your contact details with them and they’ll get in touch with you the next time they rotate their displays. There are various services online that specialise in Ex-Display kitchens, and these are well worth a look before you lay down the full price elsewhere.
While buying an ex-display kitchen can result in increased labour (you may have to dismantle the kitchen yourself and reassemble it when you get it home), a little extra effort on your part can lead to huge monetary savings.
Don’t Go Overboard on Brand Names
A brand new Wren or Magnet kitchen has prestige value, but a little online searching reveals that in many cases you’re paying for the name.
There are many lesser-known brands that charge a lot less for similar kitchens which use the same parts and materials. As with buying reconditioned appliances, it’s a good idea to do your homework on a brand before buying a new kitchen from them. Today’s savings may turn out to be tomorrow’s expenses if you have to replace or repair what later turn out to be dodgy goods.
Do your research on the brand, see what customers are saying about them and, look closely at the materials they’re using. You should also make sure that your investment is covered by a warranty.
Get the Most Out of the Kitchen Storage
If your current cupboard space isn’t enough to store all the gadgets, utensils and crockery you’ve amassed over the years, you could be forgiven for thinking that replacing your existing cabinets with more spacious storage is your only mode of recourse.
But, very often, the problem isn’t that we need more space, it’s that we’re not making the most intelligent use of the space available to us. And you can do this at the tiniest fraction of the cost of replacing your cabinets.
Try inserting soft pull-out wire baskets. These will sit neatly within the cupboard unit and allow you to fit more in your cupboards while also pulling out for ease of access. These units cost less than £15 each and can revitalise your cabinets without the need to replace them!