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10 budget-friendly kitchen updates

Kitchens and bathrooms are the most renovated rooms in Aussie homes – they also happen to be the most expensive areas to update, especially when it comes to buying and installing new appliances or replacing flooring, cabinet space or benchtops.

The good news for those among us who can’t afford to rip out our kitchens and install a completely modern design is that you don’t have to take such drastic measures to bring your cooking space back into fashion.

Here are our top ten tips to update your kitchen without breaking the bank:

 

1.   Rearrange decorative items

We humans are predictable creatures – we tend to stick to what’s familiar and feel little motivation to change unless there is a problem with the existing system.

But the easiest way to refresh your kitchen without spending a cent is to simply rearrange some small appliances and decorative items around the space. Swap your toaster and kettle around, place a nice vase and some cookbooks on a high shelf, or place a large bowl filled with colourful fruit on a benchtop.

2.   Add a coat of paint

Nothing freshens up a room more than a lick of paint on the walls. Especially if you trade an out-dated colour for a more neutral and natural hue that complements all interior styles and makes the space feel bigger and lighter.

Even the floor can benefit from a coat of paint – that is, if you have an old timber floor that looks a bit worse for wear. Simply coat lightly in light grey or off white paint, and sand back lightly by hand for a worn-in look.

 

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3.   Replace lighting fixtures

Lighting is a fantastic focal point for any interior space, and can completely change the entire look of your kitchen when replaced with a truly unique fixture.

The options here are endless – you can find stylish pendant lighting, industrial style globes, modern downlights, or dramatic chandelier style lighting in any homewares store or lighting specialist.

4.   Get creative with knobs/handles

Are the handles on your kitchen cupboards and/or drawers looking a bit old, boring or worse for wear? Head to your local kitchen and bathroom specialist to check out their selection, or even find some funky vintage knobs at a market.

Be careful to count the amount of new handles you will need before buying, because these small items can add up in cost quite quickly when there you need lots of them!

5.   Add some open shelving

Create visual interest and free up cupboard space by installing some open shelving. DIY shelving is easily installed on a weekend (if you are game enough to attempt nailing some holes into your kitchen wall), and can become an ideal spot for cookbooks, ornamental plates and bowls, and fancy crockery and glasses.

6.   Cover the fridge in chalkboard/beadboard

An old and rusty fridge is never a good look, unless perhaps you really like that old industrial style. Constructing a covering for the fridge door is an easy solution to improve the aesthetics – plus it is a fun DIY project for the whole family to get involved in.

A chalkboard covering is particularly useful because it can provide entertainment for children while you cook or clean, and a place for grocery lists, to-do lists or even recipe ideas. It can also look quite retro, while a beadboard style covering is a little more classic.

 

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7.   Mix up your furniture choices 

Something as simple as changing the furniture arrangements around the kitchen can transform the space immeasurably.

And they don’t even have to be brand new – have you got some stools or chairs in storage? Pull them out and reshuffle a few items around your living and kitchen areas. You would be surprised at the huge difference some new seating can make to a space!

8.   Remove doors on upper cabinets

One of the most fashion forward things in kitchen design at the moment is open cabinetry – get the look by removing the doors on your higher cabinets, or by replacing the solid doors with clear glass.

Note that the inside of these cabinets now have to remain clutter free and tidy now that they are open for all to see! This keeps the kitchen looking visually appealing while everything is on display.

9.   Think of small appliances as decorative items

It really is time you traded that plastic kettle for something a little nicer – it will make a huge difference to the appearance of your kitchen to have a slick new stainless steel toaster, or even a bold retro style kettle or teapot. These items can become a focal point of the kitchen when carefully chosen and placed within the space.

10. Search for second-hand building materials

If you really have your heart set on a proper renovation, but still want to stay within budget, think outside the box when it comes to materials. There are lots of suppliers that provide discounted materials that are second hand or repurposed.

Using recycled timber and tiles is fantastic ways to cut a huge chunk out of your budget and keep your kitchen makeover environmentally friendly.

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Katie Adema

Katie previously worked as a journalist across print and radio before making the switch to PR. Her work has appeared in Green Lifestyle Magazine and online publication The Kids Are Alright, and more recently she has written myriad articles for newsletters, magazines, websites and online publications.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.