You know that sinking feeling when someone says they’ll pop round, or you have to do a last-minute video call, and the only free room is your slightly scruffy, outdated and embarrassingly “retro” kitchen?
Keeping up appearances and looking the part are woven into the everyday fabric of online life now. The online world demands that you have the latest fad kitchen ideas and gadgets in view; things like polished marble islands and gleaming chrome sinks with huge nozzle taps and plate sprayer washing extensions.
Does all this sound familiar?
The pressure is intense to play the game and fit in – but have you seen the price of this stuff? You need serious property finance for some of the more upmarket kitchen renovations.
Kitchen interior design style is a big business.
Sorting a budget-friendly kitchen remodel may not be such an impossible dream, though. Instead of spending a fortune on new cabinets and countertops, for example, you can save money by renovating the doors of the cupboards and kitchen cabinets by just using the existing carcass and layout.
This solution is perfect if you are happy with the basic plan of your kitchen and don’t want to add extra space or facilities or go for the full kitchen makeover.
Even jobs like changing cooker hobs and ovens needn’t involve major work – and there are an enormous variety of options out there that suit everything from a small kitchen to massive spaces with acres of backsplash and football pitch-sized surfaces.
As with any home improvement – from deck stain to hiring low loaders to move heavy white goods like fridges, cookers and washing machines – you have to do excellent research and look around for comparative prices.
Dealing with contractors and material costs can be expensive, so doing some of the easier and more costly jobs yourself is great for bringing together remodelling ideas and making sure it’s all within your budget.
Getting professional help in planning your “new” kitchen can command crazy prices if the project is upscale – interior designers in Sydney might seem like an expensive option, but if you really want to create your dream home, then it might be just the thing that you need to achieve your vision.
To find more budget-friendly options, you can check out kitchen designs on the internet or in magazines. There you’ll discover all the current ideas and trends along with tips and tricks to enhance your space.
Visiting the kitchen design showrooms and displays at the larger DIY stores can also give ideas. Many have a free planning service where you can map out your kitchen, and the software they use recreates your kitchen space in 3D and allows you to try different colour schemes and equipment combinations.
Just because you’re renting somewhere doesn’t mean you lose.
Many landlords would be happy to have you upgrade their kitchen space with quality and a well-put-together alternative to the one that’s there.
You’d be surprised at how many would welcome their kitchen being revamped, and you may find that they will contribute or allow you to rent in lieu of the work you do.
It is worth having the discussion with your rental property management team or dealing directly with the landlord – they can only say no.
A simple change of paint can hide a multitude of sins. Many colours become dated or associated with a particular era. A neutral white always looks clean and tidy, although some people find it too clinical in a kitchen environment where every splash and stain shows.
It’s a personal choice, but a matt finish will disguise imperfections on a wall or surface but be more difficult to clean if something gets spilt or splashed onto it. Conversely, a silk or gloss finish will show every mark and scratch but be much easier to clean and wipe down.
Enhancing flooring with ceramic tiles or laminate is a superb way of creating an entirely different mood in a tired kitchen.
Often stores will have an end-of-line sale where a manufacturer is no longer producing a particular design. These offers can be real money savers, and if you are in a large town or city which has several branches of the same store, it’s possible to get hold of a larger quantity of material.
Many of these DIY stores and supermarkets offer a fantastic range of kitchen equipment. From sinks and taps to work surfaces and cupboards, all at a very reasonable cost. The trick is to shop around and know your budget. With a little imagination and a lot of research, you can create an amazing look and feel.
Another effective but often forgotten way to enhance a room like a kitchen is to alter the lighting.
The simple choice between fluorescent and incandescent bulbs, and the harsh bright light they produce, has given way to LED lights and the ability to change the lighting effect with a hand-held remote control.
The bulb does this by altering the light spectrum so it can range from, say, a cool blue or white light for working to a soft yellow or orange glow for a relaxed, romantic candlelit dinner.
These types of bolts are extremely cost-effective and, most times, will simply fit into the existing light socket.
The other major advantage is that because they are low voltage, they consume far less electricity compared to the old 60 and 100-watt bulbs.
A final consideration, and one which is gaining popularity, is using real plants and herbs in the kitchen.
From a decorative point of view, flowers and floral displays give another dimension to the ambience of a kitchen.
Fresh herbs are always useful for cooking, and save that last-minute dash to the corner shop or supermarket when you’re trying out that new recipe.
The taste and smell of basil or parsley add an extra dimension to a dish, and using just-picked herbs and leaves in the cooking process is so much better than using dried ones.
We hope that we have inspired you to think of and try out some new ideas to upgrade your kitchen, make it a space you can be proud of again, and show it off to friends and family.