By Cherie Barber
Last month, I highlighted two bathrooms I’d renovated for prices that probably drew disbelief from some who might have forked out treble the amount for half the impact. Those two case studies hopefully did demonstrate what highly targeted cosmetic renovating is all about.
This month, I’m shifting the focus to kitchens. The trick, as always, is to zoom in on the obvious flaws, without delving into expensive and largely invisible or unnecessary updates. For example, updating things like old tapware, handles, lighting and power point covers are cheap fixes compared with moving your sink from one end of the kitchen to the other.
If your kitchen layout is perfectly okay, then don’t mess with it, short of maybe adding a few additional cupboards or shelves, which won’t require plumbing or electrical trades – that always bumps up the price.
If you really do need to install a new kitchen, there are a couple of cost savings worth considering. While I’d consider it design suicide to try and install your own flatpack kitchen and get it looking professional (hire a carpenter or installer for this), there’s no reason why any handy DIYer can’t assemble the cupboards themselves. If you’ve successfully pulled off an IKEA brain teaser, then you should be fine with this assembly task.
And if you’ve decided to project manage the kitchen renovation yourself, be sure you’re across the all-important “order of works”, which dictates which trades are needed for what stage of the renovation (eg, carpenter, sparkie, plumber, tiler, benchtop installer, etc); otherwise you’ll either be waiting on trades that aren’t available or paying for endless callouts when a couple would have covered it.
A couple of useful free tools are:
Here are two kitchens I’ve done that highlight what you can be achieved on tiny budgets if all they need is a few decades stripped away.
The $2300 kitchen
- Paint existing kitchen cabinets and rangehood with specialty paints
- Paint benchtops, tinted to Taubmans “Viking Gray”, finishing with White Knight Bench Top Clear
- Install new feature tiles for splashback
- Remove old oven and reformat the space to incorporate microwave
- Install on underside of the breakfast bar
- Install feature light over breakfast bar
- Install new slimline venetian blinds
The $4000 kitchen
- Reshuffle existing kitchen cabinetry for a more functional layout
- Add corner shelving
- Create a new large pantry (not pictured)
- Install new benchtop in missing sections
- Replace handles
- Install new kitchen appliances
- Install new splashback wallpaper
- Install glass panel over wallpaper
- Install white tiles around window
- Repaint existing kitchen cabinets
- Resurface benchtops using
- Install micro venetian blind
Cherie Barber is the director of , a company that teaches everyday people how to buy and renovate properties for a profit.