5 Low-Budget Ideas to Get Your Dream Kitchen


Vicky’s story on how she designed and installed a beautiful kitchen on a budget

I’m having coffee with my friend Vicky in her new kitchen. The coffee is great and so is her kitchen.  I must admit, she has done well, it’s very stylish, new and practical.  I’m waiting for her to announce that she has won the lottery to get such a beautiful kitchen.  Whilst she is comfortable and regularly saves money, I am wondering where she found the required capital to get such a beautiful kitchen. 

No, she hasn’t won the lottery or any incredible prize, she was simply resourceful with her new kitchen, she says.

Please share your secrets with me, I want to know!  Well, at first, she says…

Plan, plan and plan

Vicky realised that by not moving any appliances, sink or general layout, then she would minimise the workmen’s time.  Therefore Vicky started the planning with the sink remaining in the same place. 

The shape of her kitchen is a bit awkward.  Therefore the fridge could only go in one place, which is on the right once you enter the kitchen.  So that didn’t move.  Vicky did mention that a fridge is fairly easy to move, if you have the space.  All that is required is a power socket.  If you have a fridge with a water dispenser, make sure that you can install a water line to the water input.

Because she wanted to minimise the plumber’s time, she also kept the dishwasher and washing machine at their original place.  No point in changing, as the original layout was quite good.

Make the most of what is free and available

The next step in the planning stage, was to look through catalogues, online brochures, Instagram, Facebook and visit showrooms if she had the time.  She visualised how her kitchen would look with the colours in the catalogue. If she had any questions, she could ask the experts in the showrooms or on forums. 

Vicky wanted an old style ceramic kitchen sink.  The online forums did not have great reviews and the general consensus was to not buy it.  She eventually decided to go for a stainless steel sink with a stylish faucet.  This was cheaper than the ceramic sink and looks just as good.

She also was able to see the types of doors that she liked.  Vicky opted for chrome brushed handles, but also considered handle less doors.  Handle less are beautiful, give a modern look, but it would not fit with the look of her flat.  She wanted a style that would fit with the more classic look of her flat.

The current kitchen styles is grey/charcoal or blue.  These styles are absolutely beautiful and she told me she was happy to go to the showrooms to be able to see how they actually looked.  She went for the grey- whilst the blue looked great, she wasn’t sure how long the style would remain fashionable.

The hardest decision as her worktop.  Granite is expensive and looks great.  It also lasts forever.  But as the salesman said, it is not the best product.  Turns out granite can be permeable, meaning that if you spill a coloured liquid on your worktop, the liquid can impregnate the granite and discolour your worktop.  As it is also natural and cut in stone, granite may have natural imperfections, such as pattern in the stone, or worst, a weakness in the stone.  Quartz seems to be the ideal replacement to granite.  It is fabricated and most colours are available.  It is extremely durable, hard wearing and hygienic.  She always wanted to be able to have a worktop that would require mimimm maintenance and keep its look. 

Vicky’s original kitchen had oak worktops, but she had to stain the top every two years or they would lose their lustre.  She also cut some pastries on her kitchen top and that marked it. 

Laminate, whilst being the cheaper option, was not what she wanted. 

Wait for Sales

As Vicky wanted all new appliances, she searched online for the brand that she liked best and that had good reviews.  She wanted her appliances to be reliable.  She read about horror stories from people that had finished installing their kitchen when the washing machine burst and ruined all the doors and cabinets.  The floors can also easily be damaged by water ingress.

She checked all the major suppliers and appliances online (ao.com) had good offers.  Currys was also pretty good.  Vicky said if you can afford to wait for the right time and if you have the space, you can save a substantial amount.  She also received an additional discount by purchasing the 5 appliances together.

Vicky also noticed that showrooms have regular offers.  Therefore she was able to purchase the doors at a very competitive price.

Speak to your friends and go online

Vicky told some of her friends that she was looking at upgrading her kitchen.  She also asked for kitchen designer recommendations online. 

And whilst she did not find what she was looking for, there were excellent quality products available.  She simply thought it didn’t fit her style.  With time her project also evolved and styles that she initially liked didn’t fit with the new look.

She did see appliances that were slightly used at a much cheaper price than brand new.  For this, Vicky was able to get a good deal as she bought all 5 appliances from the same shop.

But if you are only looking for one appliance or for something specific, friend and online forums are fantastic.

Vicky did recall that she found the shop that had tiles she liked and bought from one of the online recommendation.  Satisfied, as she couldn’t remember how she found that little shop.

Keep what you can

Her previous kitchen was in good condition, looked good, but it was dated.  The quality was really good.  In actual facts, her cabinets still looked brand new.  The worktop looked out of a 1990s magazine, the doors from my gran’s oak trees. 

Again it was fantastic quality.  As Vicky kept the same layout as her previous kitchen, she told me “perhaps I can keep the cabinets and cupboards- they’re perfectly fine”. 

She called around and found a kitchen design company that did exactly that.  They only changed what was required.  It usually meant changing the worktop, the doors and any tiling or splashback.  That allowed her to save a substantial amount of money.

She used kitchenrefacing.co.uk.  They were very thorough and patient with all her questions. 

As she saved on the cabinets and cupboards.  She good afford quartz worktop and got the best doors possible.

Would I do it?

100% I would do the same thing.  But not everyone has the time, dedication and imagination to create a whole new kitchen.  I feel that I wouldn’t want to go through all that effort and be disappointed with the result.

As a matter of facts, there are other companies such as https://www.clearwaterkb.com/ that will come, design, measure and install the whole kitchen in a couple of days.

As Vicky said it’s horses for courses.  She’s made a success of the design of her new kitchen.  She had the time and wanted to research the best options. 

If she didn’t have the time, she would simply deal with a kitchen designing company that would take care of everything.


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