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Get a Champagne Kitchen on a Beer Budget

by Edvard Berlusconi

Alfred Hitchcock once said: “Happiness is a small house with a big kitchen”. Yours might not be big, but with some strategic improvements, it can certainly be big on style.

Whether you want to improve your kitchen to enhance your culinary life or give it a makeover to lift your potential selling price, you can get a lot of delight for minimal dosh if you embrace these ideas.


Get busy with some paint

Kitchens do a lot on mileage, especially family kitchens. They get beaten up, splashed and stained. But you can make it all go away fast with a coat of paint. Dial-up the wow factor by choosing a color that all the coolest interior designers are using. See 40 gorgeous kitchen colors. Walls and cabinets can be quickly recoated to bring your kitchen zooming back into style. If your budget allows, choose a paint that’s easy to clean. The Dulux Easycare range is a great example of stain-resistant paint.


Update cabinet fronts

Sad-looking or dated cabinet fronts are easy to remodel. The cheapest fix is paint. Start by cleaning cabinets with sugar soap, then rub them with sandpaper to create a surface the new paint can cling to. Always use a primer before you apply two topcoats. For a beautiful finish, use cabinet-grade paint, such as Benjamin Moor Advance. Applying topcoats with a mohair roller avoids brush marks.

For a guaranteed professional-looking finish, get a cabinet maker to make all the cupboard and drawer fronts away for re-coating with spray-on lacquer paint. It costs more than doing it yourself, but the results are spectacular.

Make cheap cabinets look expensive with new handles

Handles and knobs are like jewelry for your kitchen. As with jewelry, switching them out can make a dramatic difference. To ensure you choose new pieces that install easily, remove one of every type of handle in your kitchen and take them shopping with you.

Add extra storage

If every cupboard and drawer in your kitchen is full to the brim, assess the available wall space. There may be room for more cabinets or a set of open shelves. Check out your local home improvement store for ready-built cabinets that can be easily installed to expand your storage space. Paint the new cabinets to match the other cupboards and drawers in your kitchen and it’ll look like they’ve always been there.


Get an image glass splashback

If you have splashbacks behind your sink and cooktop, updating to colored or image glass will give your kitchen a groovy new look. Colored glass splashbacks come in the full rainbow spectrum or you can get really creative and have the glass printed with artwork or photograph of your choice. A scenic shot from your last vacation could become a glorious accent feature for your kitchen.


Switch out your countertop

While it’s a more expensive update, having a new countertop made for your kitchen is like waving a magical style wand. It’s also a practical improvement because today’s countertop materials are highly durable. They’re made by mixing natural materials, like quartz and stone chips, with resin. The result is called ‘engineered stone’ and it’s pretty much indomitable.

Having a new countertop installed in your kitchen can truly transform its appearance. While it may involve a higher upfront cost, the benefits are manifold. Today’s countertop materials, including engineered stone, offer not only stunning aesthetics but also exceptional durability. For instance, consider the elegance and modernity that glass splashbacks can bring to your kitchen. Glass countertops, made from toughened glass, are not only visually striking but also incredibly resilient. They resist stains, scratches, and heat, making them an excellent choice for a functional and stylish kitchen upgrade.

Glass countertops can create a sleek and glossy surface that complements various kitchen styles, from contemporary to minimalist, and their reflective properties can enhance the overall illumination in the space. So, like a magical style wand, a new countertop, such as glass splashbacks, can work wonders in elevating your kitchen’s aesthetics and functionality.

Hang some funky pendant lights

Kitchen lighting isn’t always about practicality. In addition to fittings that light up your work areas, hang some pendants above your breakfast bar or a centre island.  Or go the whole hog with a chandelier. Window shopping at the fanciest lighting shop in town will give you ideas, then do your shopping online to get sharper prices.


Add a floating shelf for collectibles

Do you have a beautiful collection of teapots, clocks, egg cups, or retro ceramics? Make them the star of your kitchen show by installing a floating display shelf. These shelves have no visible brackets, so they look cleaner and more stylish than traditional shelves.

Make an all-white kitchen more interesting with patterns

All-white kitchens look clean and crisp, but they can lack personality. To make yours more interesting, add patterns as splashbacks, light shades, rugs, and window dressings.


Update your tapware

There are a number of trends going on in the kitchen tapware world. These include mixed-metal finishes, such as a rose gold faucet with a chrome handle; matt black finishes; semi-professional faucets with stretchy hoses and nozzle sprays; and vintage-looking industrial faucets that are best described as ‘steampunk’. A super-trendy kitchen faucet won’t be cheap, but it will make you feel classy every time you use it.

Make sure your kitchen makeover plans are covered

If your kitchen is about to become a construction site, Mark from state.co.nz suggests checking with your insurance company before you pick up the tools. Depending on your plans, you might need something called contract works insurance.