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How to make a budget kitchen look expensive

(97 Posts)
Kr1st1na Fri 01-Dec-17 14:24:47

DD has just bought her first flat and it needs a new kitchen. Limited budget means one from Ikea / Howdens etc. Any tips for making it look a little more stylish ?

I’ve looked on Pinterest etc and it’s full of helpful suggestions like

Install a marble workshop
Fit designer taps and appliances
Here’s this lovely custom made glass splash back at only £100m2
Buy handcrafted doors and hardware from superfront


Sadly she doesn’t have that kind of money. So low to moderate costs ideas please .

KatherinaMinola Fri 01-Dec-17 14:28:16

Honestly, I wouldn't bother. Does it need to look expensive? Who will care?

But low-ish cost tips would be a reasonably high-end kettle, toaster, coffee pot and other kitchen accessories. Fashionable pot plant, branded foodstuffs (posh olives etc) on show.

IceFall Fri 01-Dec-17 14:30:06

Good fitting will make it look nice and expensive.

TBH though a nice shiny new Ikea kitchen even with laminate if it is in 'modern' style will look lovely. Especially if it is kept clean and clutter free and she puts a fancy kettle and toaster out like PP says.

Gymntonic Fri 01-Dec-17 14:32:36

Ask around for decent fitter and tiler. Will make any budget look it's best.

whiskyowl Fri 01-Dec-17 14:35:47

You know what I think makes the biggest difference of all in terms of kitchens? The amount of thought and care that's gone into the design. A great kitchen is planned down to where every teaspoon will go!!

My BIL recently had a very high end kitchen fitted (he gets a discount through a friend). It looks good, but not superb - part of the reason is that they just ordered a bunch of drawers and cupboards, without thinking much about interior fittings, so they have loads of wasted space and it doesn't feel as "bespoke" as it could. I think a better-planned Ikea kitchen with a designed space for everything would actually feel more expensive.

oldestmumaintheworld Fri 01-Dec-17 14:39:48

Suggest you look at Gumtree for a used kitchen or kitchen shop sample. My daughter bought hers that way and got a high-end kitchen - granite worktops, oven, the lot - for £250. We paid a great fitter and it looks amazing.

Kr1st1na Fri 01-Dec-17 14:44:32

£250!!!! Seriously ?

That fits even her idea of budget grin .

Were you staking gumtree for years ?

Katherina - it’s the first home of her own, she just wants it to look stylish . She’s the Instagram generation .

Kr1st1na Fri 01-Dec-17 14:47:07

Owl - good point about the design. So many lovely kitchens spoiled by the three bags / boxes of recycling permanently in the corner.

LuxuryWoman2017 Fri 01-Dec-17 14:52:18

A shiny new kitchen will look great but flooring is vital, the flooring has to look good even if it's not expensive. In her shoes I'd be looking at that first. After that, hidden bin if possible, high shine on appliances (even if it's a cheapo kettle/toaster) the artfully displayed pots of herbs perhaps, a good looking radio (retro style perhaps) little touches. When I've sold houses I always put a couple of bottles of Cava in the wine racks to suggest a champagne lifestyle (you only see the gold foil tops) smile IMO dark floors always look more expensive that light, could just be my taste though. Oh, and Methid washing up liquid/nice hand soap on display (stunt soap!)

LuxuryWoman2017 Fri 01-Dec-17 14:53:35

Method, not methid!
Instagram has a lot to answer for hey?

moreismore Fri 01-Dec-17 14:56:08

We installed a howdens kitchen in my old house and I was thrilled with it. Looked great for the money imo. The one thing that let it down and which I wish we’d spent more on was the sink-we went for the cheapest one and it was a bit ‘bendy’ so something to watch out for!

OlennasWimple Fri 01-Dec-17 14:59:33

Good design

Good fitting

Nice handles

A couple of high end appliances

Decent floor

Kr1st1na Fri 01-Dec-17 15:44:35

Thanks all , I’m taking careful notes.

Ok, best tips for dark classy eats to clean kitchen floor please ?

It’s a flat, so timber sub floor.

ExConstance Fri 01-Dec-17 15:59:32

Having lights under the countertop, fitted in a little groove makes our kitchen look very good in the evenings if we are eating in there and feeling romantic! It cost £250. Apart from tht I always think my Dualit Toaster sets it off a bit.

LuxuryWoman2017 Fri 01-Dec-17 16:00:34

Ok, best tips for dark classy eats to clean kitchen floor please ?

Sorry not with you! you want flooring suggestions? is this a ground floor flat or higher? (Thinking about downstairs neighbours/noise issues)

PigletJohn Fri 01-Dec-17 16:00:36

for handles, take a look at Ironmongerydirect.

Economy kitchens don't always have matching décor panels on the sides and backs of cabinets where they can be seen. It particularly shows with wall cabs around the cooker. They can be ordered from the kitchen co (overpriced) but you haven't got to go to a kitchen co. There are online suppliers at less than half the price who will make whatever you want. It all comes from a factory anyway. There are no grey-haired cabinetmakers sawing and planning by hand.

trims and cornices bring the edges, tops and bottoms together.

To my eye, a gap between the top of the wall cabs and the ceiling looks unsightly. If your ceiling is not very high, 900mm tall wall cabs are available in most ranges and will look better. Otherwise have it boxed in.

The worktop will be used and looked at every day. Again, it doesn't have to be bought from a kitchen showroom.

In-cabinet accessories by Blum or Hafele are usually marked up by the showroom, and are widely available elsewhere.

If you can afford it, don't get vinyl-wrap doors, which peel.

Never buy appliances from a kitchen co.

Ask around for personal recommendations of a local fitter, and look at their work first.

Have a plumber and an electrician do their bits before the kitchen fitter comes.

If you are hard up there are lots of ex-display and discontinued but new cabs and accessories on fleabay. Second-hand is very cheap because most people haven't got a van. Consider hiring a Man With Van to shift it and you may get a terrific bargain.

Ta1kinPeace Fri 01-Dec-17 16:04:29

I have a very basic ikea kitchen - no handles so none of that hassle
but I have
solid bamboo worktops
Neff appliances
mosaic tile splashbacks
solid bamboo floor
and a design / layout that makes the space work really well
(I'm still chuffed with it after 8 years)
its the layout and how the worktops are used that makes the real difference

LuxuryWoman2017 Fri 01-Dec-17 16:04:50

Oh yes, lighting, very important, the most expensive kitchen would be let down by a strip light. Lots of choice out there.

RapunzelsRealMom Fri 01-Dec-17 16:05:07

Ikea sell really inexpensive rope lights which can be hidden under the wall mounted cupboards and against foot level kick boards. They look fab in the evening with no other lights on. You can get colour changing ones or just white

ArbitraryName Fri 01-Dec-17 16:14:12

Kitchens themselves are quite generic really. So nice tiles and taps and handles really make all the difference. Nice need not be ludicrously expensive, but spending and extra £50 on a tap is a much more efficient way to make it feel nice than spending loads on a granite worktop.

You could make a handmade, solid wood kitchen feel cheap and nasty if you put in the cheapest taps and tiles you can find. We viewed a house where the foolish owners had bought a granite worktop but really basic contract tiles (the really cheap plain square ones you’d expect to find in a really gritty public loo at the beach). It completely undue any good an expensive worktop would have done. A laminate worktop and decent tiles would have felt much more luxurious.

orangina Fri 01-Dec-17 16:20:28

I agree with what has already been said:

Decent fitting
Upgrade appliances if necessary
Think carefully about the worktop (marble deeply impractical btw...)
Non-IKEA handles
Add side/end panels where possible
Decent tap (doesn't have to be expensive)
Take wall units up to ceiling level if possible.
Avoid cornice at top of wall units/full height units
If you can afford it, build bulkhead down over top of full height units
Allow for some open shelving for cookbooks, display items.

BubblesBuddy Fri 01-Dec-17 16:21:28

Laminate Work tops are really not very wow though. We have solid oak in a flat and that’s a total nightmare too! I can’t find anyone to sand it down and seal it. Granite is great. Once you’ve got it - it lasts. Good taps and a decent large sink, preferably a double an don’t bother with a draining board. Drain in the second sink and have a dishwasher.

Good flooring is essential and so are good appliances. I don’t have tiles. They are not used so much now unless you just have a section behind the hob. Can get greasy though so make sure it is cleanable.

Kr1st1na Fri 01-Dec-17 16:29:20

Re lighting - we have replaced the under / over cabinet lighting on our kitchen at home as it had given up the ghost after 10 years. We got flexible strips for a fiver each off eBay, which can be cut up to fit. They are supplied as plug in but DH has hard wired them .easy as they are 7v and can use the exisiting transformers. So we will do that for DD. Colour changing natch because she is young . We are cool white old fogeys.

Piglet John - now I’m all disillusioned about they grey haired cabinet makers at IKEA 😥😢

Fitting - I know you are all right about this trims, cornice and cutting worktop. I think we will do the basics ourselves and hire a joiner for a day to do all the skilled parts of the job.

Thanks for the top about matching decor panels.

I’m liking the idea of bamboo worktops . Off to google

Luxury- it was a typo Ok, best tips for dark classy eats to clean kitchen floor please ?. I meant EASY to clean flooring. It’s an upstairs flat so ceramic tiles not suitable. Also they crack easily without lots of screen and screwed down plywood etc.

We have wood on our kitchen floor but too expensive for her. Also you need to be careful with cleaning, she will have flat mates aka mortgage payers so low maintenance is key.

Ta1kinPeace Fri 01-Dec-17 16:36:17

The units (and all cupboard fittings) of the kitchen cost £5k (including the Utility room that is out of shot.
The worktops cost a few hundred
The appliances were all graded so cheaper than list
the flooring was 16 per square metre
the tiles were end of line

The door for the cupboard above the oven arrived late :-)

Kr1st1na Fri 01-Dec-17 16:45:59

Many thanks for the photo. The white and bamboo is a lovely combination with the mosaic tiles!

Can I ask about maintaining the bamboo worktops? We have elm and granite worktops at home and the elm is laquered so needs no maintenance at all. Still looks good after 10 years although has some small dents where babies banged wooden toys / cups / cutlery.

But I seem lots of posts on MN saying the same as bubbles - that unfinished wood is a nightmare. DD is fussy AND will have flat mates which is a bad combination .

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