Kitchens have fast become the buzzing social centre of the home. As lively sites of friendly chit-chat and entertainment, they no longer serve a solely practical purpose. Today, this is a sleek, stylish, statement room that evokes a sense of pride, requires design attention and warrants investment. Of course, there are significant financial barriers to extensive updates, especially during tough economical times. The need to preserve the pocket can often be as strong as the desire to refresh a ‘tired’ kitchen. But this does not have to be an insurmountable obstacle: the good news is that, with some careful planning, there are ways to spruce up this space and stay on trend without breaking the bank. Here are a few handy practical tips to bear in mind:
- Set your budget before beginning renovations and try to stick to it.
- Plan for the future: consider your needs and try to predict potential lifestyle or family changes. This will save on having to do further updates down the line.
- Work around existing electrical and plumbing points to reduce costs associated with major reconstruction.
- Re-tile the floor. This in itself can change the whole look of the room. Tiles are hard-wearing and low-maintenance and hence are good investments. Just make sure you purchase durable products with the correct wear rating (i.e., tiles with a Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) rating of 3).
- Replace existing countertops with tiles or local granite, both of which are more economical options.
- Put in new cupboard doors with Blum lifetime-guaranteed hinges. Melamine impact doors, in particular, have a timeless, contemporary appeal and are cheaper than wrap doors and veneers.
- If new doors are too costly, simply revamp the handles. You can get really creative at second-hand and gift stores.
- Drawer units are more expensive than hinged cupboards, so use these sparingly.
- Updating the taps, sink and mixer set can have a significant aesthetic impact without the expense of a full-scale makeover. Alternatively, the existing sink and prep bowl can be revamped using Franke Inox cream.
- Replace outdated appliances and gadgets with contemporary versions from trusted brands. Old appliances in working order can be sold online.
- Add counterspace in the form of a central island if possible as this will also allow for additional storage below.
- Install tiled kick plates below cupboards – these are practical and far less expensive than aluminium alternatives.
- Select colourful glass mosaic tiles to create a decorative splashback behind the stove, sink or work surface. While these tiles are more costly than regular ones, used sparingly as a feature, they add visual interest to an otherwise neutral room.
- Create a striking horizontal border above the existing wall tiles by cutting larger glass mosaic sheets into thin strips that can be lined up end-on-end. One sheet can produce a border of approximately one running metre. In this way, you can be truly creative without blowing the budget.
- REMEMBER: Unless you are a true DIY expert, don’t attempt renovations yourself. Enlist the help of a reputable, registered kitchen company.
- Also REMEMBER: Putting aside an amount for kitchen renovations will add value to the home, which will ultimately yield larger returns. Consider all spendings an investment for the future.
The above advice was supplied by John Dammermann, Marketing Director of Easylife Kitchens, and Kate van Niekerk, Marketing Manager for Tile Africa. For more information visit easylifekitchens.co.za or tileafrica.co.za.