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Kitchen Renovation: A Simple Guide To Splurging and Saving


Establishing a realistic budget is the undisputed first step of a kitchen renovation. As a general rule, it makes sense to allocate 5 to 10% of your home’s value into renovating wet areas like the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry. So far, budgeting seems like a pretty straightforward business, right? 

But how do you actually spend your budget? That’s where the matter gets interesting. With so many products and finishes available across a very broad price range, achieving your dream kitchen while staying on budget can quickly become a frustrating game of whack-a-mole.    

Things are shiny. Things are beautiful. We’re all guilty of falling in love with stuff that doesn’t reflect our priorities and personality (I’m looking at you, expensive and bulky elliptical trainer I’ve used twice.)   

To avoid this type of regretful spending when renovating your kitchen, the key is to reflect on how you will use your space, who will use it, and what you want to experience from it. Reflecting on these areas should give you a pretty good idea of where your money is best spent.  

To help you with the process, we put together this spend/splurge guide based on our experience working with four very distinctive types of clients. While everyone is different, we hope you’ll find this guide relatable and that it helps you stay sane while budgeting for your upcoming kitchen renovation.  

The Trendy Type-A  

It took you years of trial and error, but by now, you know exactly how to care for yourself. Your go-to meals are fresh and simple, with smoothies and salads a permanent fixture in your menu. You love deco, but don’t buy into every trend.  Cookbooks and unique knick-knacks are the way you express your personality within your kitchen walls.   


Splurge on a great-sized fridge (integrated options are certainly the way to goFresh produce needs a lot of space to store and often has a shorter shelf life (because it is fresh!). Make sure nothing gets lost or forgotten at the back of the pantry with pull out solutions and inner drawers. You’ll also not regret including a stone/quartz man-made benchtop to get a sleek designer finish. It looks great, is easy to clean and comes in plenty of colours to suit any interior style.  


Save by picking Melamine cabinetry finishes. They are easy to clean and care for and come in a heap of stylish colours and finishes. Another clever way for you to save is to break in the cabinetry by using open shelves. It’s a great aesthetic detail and super practical for storing your go-to cookbooks and decor.  

The Busy Team   

Your kitchen is the very definition of ‘buzzing’. At any time of the day, you’ll find adults working or cooking, and kids doing their homework or sharing a snack. There’s never a dull moment in your kitchen, and you love it. And while your kitchen is BIG, so are your needs. Room for comfortable and effective food prepping while sharing quality family time tops your list of priorities.  


Definitely invest in a big island bench, as it’ll give you more room to spread out and work comfortably while preparing meals. Integrating seating within the island bench is a great way to get the kids involved and share more time together. A large pantry with drawers in customised heights can be a real life-changer, helping you keep all your cookware and benchtop appliances organised and out of sight.  


Save money by going for a ceramic subway tile splashbackCeramic tiles are affordable, easy to clean and will stand the test of time. Pair them with a dark grout to make maintenance even easier. For your benchtop, with little kids, avoid natural stone surfaces because as stunning as they are, they stain easier than man-made alternatives like reconstituted stone, so they will always require more maintenance.  

The Die-Hard Foodies  

You know how to properly use and store all different produce and love trying new and creative ways of combining your favourite flavours. Your passion for the organic transpires into your interiors, where you like to experience and appreciate raw materials. With ample space to work with and lots of cookware, spices, ingredients, and serve ware to organise, your challenge is to balance function and form without breaking the bank.  


Paying more to get a luxe cabinet finish such as timber veneer will give you the organic look you love. Consider splurging on a great piece of natural stone for your benchtop or splashback along the same lines, but keep in mind they need a bit more TLC than their engineered counterparts. Avid bakers and cooks may also consider designing a double oven into the kitchen, allowing you to cook at differing temperatures at the same time. Handy!  


Going for open shelving instead of overhead cabinets is a great way to reduce your cabinetry cost while making space to showcase beautiful art pieces or exotic ingredients. As we mentioned before, natural materials can be quite expensive! Products like Caesarstone’ Marble look’ benchtops or Polytec’s ‘ravine’ timber finish offer a similar look without the hefty price tag.  

The Soul of the Party  

After years of cooking in a massive kitchen for what feels like a battalion, you’re now ready for something petit and manageable, perfect for hosting and entertaining. You love bright and airy (think Hampton style) and are all about including smart technology to make your life a breeze.  


Consider spending a bit more on your cabinetry. Having a way to conceal everyday benchtop appliances like toaster and kettle makes for a real show-kitchen when entertaining, keeping the space looking clean and without-fuss. Include as many drawers as possible for easy access, and store heavy items in the top drawers to avoid bending down to reach. For a real luxurious look and feel, upgrade your cabinet finish to timber veneer, and if you’re a fan of ‘cabinetry jewellery’, consider including designer handles in luxe metals.   


If you are not too interested in cooking these days, then appliances are the place to save. There’s little point in having a professional kitchen worthy of a Michelin-starred Chef if you don’t plan to go near your cookbooks very often. Saying that, if you like the way these eye-catching appliances lookby all means, go for it! After all, it’s your kitchen, your rules. 

Once you begin to understand the breakdown of the costs, it’s a matter to familiarise yourself with the options and choosing the ones that work for you.

Working collaboratively with an interior designer is a surefire way to make your budget work for you. Interior Designers specialising in bathrooms and kitchens know every product, finish and fixture under the sun,  

Ready to collaborate with the Smarter Bathrooms team to make your kitchen renovation a reality? Call us today on 1300 662 838 to speak to one of our experts or book a FREE in-home consultation with our award-winning designers to start your renovation journey!

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