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How to renovate your kitchen on a $5000 budget

By Rachel Wallace

Do you have a plethora of Pinterest boards with carefully curated images of your dream kitchen? You’re definitely not alone.

A kitchen sets the tone for the entire house, so it’s a natural focal point for renovation plans and projects. And if you’re looking to sell, a stylish kitchen is right up there in terms of features that add to your home’s resale value.

What if your kitchen really needs attention and you’re itching to renovate, but your budget is tight?

Matthew Menichelli at Elevate Building Group (also a regular on The Block and a Hipages tradie member), and Laura Pittaway, interior designer at The Build by Temple & Webster, give us their expert tips on transforming an old, tired or worn-out kitchen for $5000 or less.

Choose a low-cost way to replace or refresh your cabinetry

Giving existing cabinetry a fresh lick of paint can really have a dramatic impact on the space. Photo: The Build By Temple & Webster

With a bit of research and planning, it’s possible to replace your cabinets without breaking the bank, according to Menichelli. “Brainstorm with a builder, kitchen designer or cabinet maker and be honest about what you can spend,” he says. “They’re the experts and can advise how to best achieve your goal while still ticking the budget box.

“IKEA, for example, has a good selection of affordable kitchen combinations and their tradie partnership connects you with accredited installers offering fixed-price planning services and up to three installation quotes so you can make the best call for what you need.

“Alternatively, consider a paint or cosmetic spruce up of the cupboard doors,or drawer faces. This is less disruptive than a full-blown strip out, and also more cost-effective,” Menichelli adds.

Pittaway agrees and says, “Giving existing cabinetry a fresh lick of paint can really have a dramatic impact on the space. Choosing a renovation-specific product simplifies the process and can completely transform your existing cabinetry.”

Pittway says: If you decide to repaint rather than replace your kitchen cabinets, be sure to do your research and follow all of the necessary steps for prepping your surfaces properly.

Switch to more stylish cabinet hardware

Updating taps, mixers, spouts, doorknobs and handles can deliver a transformative look for less. Photo: iStock

Chic new hardware will give your kitchen an immediate lift at an affordable price and creates a cohesive look without the trouble and expense of replacing the entire kitchen cabinetry.

“You’d be surprised at the impact new hardware can have if you choose, say, a sleek brass or a matt black and incorporate it across taps, mixers, spouts, doorknobs and handles,” Pittaway says. “An entire kitchen’s worth of hardware can cost you anywhere upwards of $1000 – the choice is yours when it comes to price.”

Pittway says: If you’re really trying to stick to a budget, limit the amount of work and cost involved by selecting handles that fit into existing holes.

Add a few ‘statement’ elements

A large statement light over an island bench or kitchen table makes a huge difference for a small investment. Photo: Unsplash

Sinks, countertops and cabinets get the lion’s share of attention when it comes to kitchen renovations. With a bit of imagination, there are many other ways to make an impact and save money.

While many of us dream of marble benchtops, the price point puts them beyond the average budget renovation. “Opting for a marble-tiled backsplash is a great way to bring in the elegance of marble without the hefty price tag,” Pittaway says.

“A large statement light over an island bench or kitchen table creates a focal point and makes a huge difference for a small investment. You can find some great pendant lights for a few hundred dollars and still stay within a $5000 budget, taking your other expenses into account,” she adds.

A beautiful rug or runner, a set of funky stools or a decorative mirror are other creative ways to make your kitchen look amazing without spending a fortune. “Even the simple step of adding new blinds can really freshen up your kitchen, especially if you have dated or discoloured verticals or Venetians,” Pittaway says.

Menichelli believes that a set of new appliances can often be enough to transform your kitchen without a comprehensive renovation or remodel. “Many retailers also collect old appliances for free while installing new ones. So you could save money and time there.”

DIY where possible, call the experts when necessary

Be realistic about what it’s possible (and safe) to do on your own. Photo: iStock

Menichelli suggests that trying to do it all yourself when the situation calls for a professional can lead to costly problems down the track. Be prepared to have a go but be realistic about what it’s possible (and safe) to do on your own.

He also cautions not to skimp on trickier jobs. For example, “while measuring might seem like an ‘easy’ task, it goes wrong too often and homeowners lose money when cabinets and worktops don’t fit – this is usually a small cost and can save in the long run”.


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