How To Get Style In Your Kitchen
As a very rough guide, it is sensible to spend a maximum of five per cent of the overall value of your house on a new kitchen, to avoid losing money if you sell. Fitting a cheap and cheerful kitchen can have a negative impact on value, which makes your choice of cabinets and finishes so vital. You will have to invest carefully to get a beautiful finish on a limited budget.
On any budget it is wise to first factor in the cost of any known quantities. These include appliances, decorative finishes and necessary electrical works to add extra sockets and lights etc; deduct these from your total budget before choosing how much to spend on the units and fitting. You could save over £1,000 by installing the kitchen yourself, but you will compromise the finish if your DIY skills are not up to scratch.
If you have a total budget of between £5,000-10,000, you may be surprised at the quality of cabinets you can afford. The majority of kitchens within this price bracket will consist of flat-pack carcasses with doors mounted on to the front using hinges screwed into the chipboard. The units are generally all the same on the inside – although some are made sturdier than others with an 18mm frame – with the look dictated by the style and colour of doors and decor panels.
The cheapest way of getting a kitchen with a solid wood finish is to buy affordable off-the-shelf carcasses, such as from Ikea, and then get a joiner to make solid wood door fronts. You can even order them online – try diyluxurykitchens.co.uk.
The beauty of this type of kitchen is that it can recreate the look of a more expensive in-frame design for less, which can then be dressed up with luxurious fixtures and finishes, such as a beautiful Belfast sink and bridge tap. Smart storage solutions, such as pull-out carousels, can also be installed into the units at a fairly low cost.
It is possible to purchase a bespoke solid wood, traditionally jointed in-frame kitchen, where the doors sit within the frame, for about £5,000. The style of sink you choose will be dictated by how much space you have available and what will work with the look of your kitchen. Most sinks are inset into a hole cut in the worktop, so they are easier to fit and tend to be cheaper. Sinks can also be under-mounted (fixed to the underside of the worktop) which creates a cleaner finish and works well if you choose to have draining channels cut into the adjoining work surface.
Also look at British Standard Cupboards from Plain English (which sells bespoke kitchens with an average price of £50,000-60,000), launched in recent years to offer a more affordable range of quality cabinets – from £5,000 for a complete setup. These have solid wood doors and carcasses made from white melamine faced European birch ply, with beech shelf lippings and traditionally dovetailed drawers.
When it comes to finishes, premium worktops will lift the look of the whole kitchen. Granite and quartz surfaces are a real investment, at several hundred pounds per 3m run, but durable composites, which replicate their intrinsic character and sparkle, are much more cost-effective.
Solid oak work surfaces can be ordered online for as little as £100-120 per 3m run. If opting for a high-quality laminate, choose a good depth with a squared edge, and overhang it slightly at the end of unit runs.
Mix and match worktop materials, for example a granite island against timber topped units, for a bespoke finish. This also allows you to use a cheaper and more durable material where you do most of your work and prep, then inject a bit of luxury with a breakfast bar or plinth in something more high-end such as quartz.