A Smarter Kitchen For Less

Finances have been the topic at the top of the press headlines for several months now and it’s not surprising that many people are thinking carefully before any major outlay. This cautious attitude to spending is due to uncertainty rather than any real lack of money for most people, but it is making people assess the value and potential future value of their purchases, especially when spending money on home improvements.

For many people who want to improve their living environment, the alternative to moving house completely is some kind of expansion or renovation project. These can range in scale from minor makeovers like decorating a room to full scale home extensions. Somewhere in between lie a whole host of improvement options from fitting new bathroom suites to kitchen makeovers.

Replacing a whole bathroom, especially a kitchen, can result in significant cost but in the case of the kitchen much of the expense is largely unnecessary due to the fact that most kitchens don’t wear out, they just look dated or tastes change.

A few years ago there was a trend for natural oak kitchens and then came the trend for limed oak. People’s preferences are influenced by the many coffee table lifestyle magazines and once someone has decided that they think their kitchen looks out of date then not much stands in the way of getting it changed.

But how do you achieve that new look without breaking the bank. Kitchen refits are notoriously expensive. The cost of new units make seem reasonable but once you factor in new appliances, new worktops, new plumbing and electrics and then repairing all the damages to nearby finishes you quickly arrive at a tidy sum.

Arriving at the new look you desire by simply replacing the kitchen doors and worktops is a much more cost effective approach. You change the areas that are visible while leaving everything else untouched. A specialist company will be able to supply everything you need to do exactly that, even down to the extra surface finishes you may need to tie in any carcass edges with the new colours. Most of the work can be done by a reasonably proficient DIY hobbyist although complicated worktop surfaces, especially granite varieties, are best fitted by an expert.

So how much would this approach cost? Well here’s the good news. Depending on the size and quality of kitchen required, a full refit can cost anything from 5000 pounds to 30,000 for a high-end large kitchen. Simply opting for replacement kitchen doors can cost as little as a few hundred pounds and no need to call in additional workers. Suppliers are able to manufacture doors to order of any size, style and finish. They can also supply handles and even extra matching carcasses if you want to extend the original kitchen slightly. Just measure up your existing units carefully and order what you need over the internet. The suppliers that offer this service will guide you through the information you need to provide including things like measuring the location of hinge holes and how much space needs to taken into account between drawers for example.

For an extra special makeover consider a combination of new doors and drawer fronts together with granite work surfaces if you don’t already have them. Granite worktops are commonly seen in the most luxurious kitchens and home builders will only fit them to the larger properties where they are an expected feature for buyers, but there’s no reason why your home shouldn’t use them. If you are saving money elsewhere you are more likely to be able to afford them. The results of this combination will be amazing in terms of effect and cost. Get the look of whole new kitchen for a tenth of the cost of a full refit.

If you really don’t feel able to do the measuring up yourself and get it correct you could call in your own local tradesman to do it for you. The end result is still likely to be significantly cheaper than getting the whole kitchen replaced.

So while money is tight and moving home is not a comfortable choice, give your home a new look by spending a little money on a new look kitchen using replacement doors. A similar approach can be applied to your bedrooms and your study if you have one.

James Brooks is a journalist covering domestic design and project management issues. His articles on home and garden design are widely read. He can help homemakers by using options like replacement kitchen doors and other money saving ideas.

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