Your House

I Need A New, And Affordable, Kitchen

10th August 2014

Zoe contacted Mad About The House to ask for help with choosing a new kitchen that wouldn’t cost the earth:

air kitchen by devol

air kitchen by devol

Q: We are trying to refurbish the house and I am desperately in need of some advice and inspiration. We are in need of a new kitchen and, having done the rounds, are staggered by the costs. Things seem to have doubled since we last did this about eight years ago. I was wondering about buying cheaper cupboards and  perhaps customising the details as you have done but would very much like some help with this.

plain english kitchen

plain english kitchen

A: I’m a big fan of customising the details so that you don’t end up spending a fortune to have a kitchen that looks exactly the same as the one next door. This will involve a little more effort on your part as you will need to shop around and hunt down what you want but it can be done. But you will end up with a kitchen that is exactly right for you and how you live/cook and not one that fulfills the designer’s/architect’s dreams. And I have seen a few of those.

rustic kitchen by paul massey

rustic kitchen by paul massey

I visited a friend’s new kitchen recently – shortly before it was finished – and she was annoyed that the cooker hood was set too low and banged her head every time she leant forward. She said that nothing could be done as it had been fitted at the required height between the two adjacent cupboards. I suggested that the chimney part could be cut down (as I did with my own) so that it could sit higher up. This was duly done. I make this point just to show that you can, usually, customise whatever you want. Don’t just assume something can’t be done.

white kitchen by paul massey

white kitchen by paul massey

So, the cupboards. Well frankly, why not go to Ikea, or Wickes, for your cupboards? The Ikea ones are guaranteed for 25 years, which is long enough for a kitchen I think. After that your options start. You can have their cupboard doors. An awful lot of people do. Or you can buy the plainest doors they have and ask your builder to spray paint them in any RAL colour of your choosing. Then you can change the colours as you wish. How about dark grey under the worktop and a paler grey on the wall cupboards? Or shades of green, or whatever colour you fancy?

british standard cupboards

british standard cupboards

Next the handles. I think you really should try and customise these as nothing gives away an Ikea kitchen like its handles. Now, as I have said many a time, I’m a huge fan of Ikea but this is about customising and personalising, so the handles must go. I have black leather handles on my doors but there are plenty of other styles to choose from. Try www.courtyard-accessories.co.uk. They have lots of choice at very reasonable prices as do www.hollowaysofludlow.com and this site has lots of choice for all sorts of useful things that aren’t just handles www.handles4doors.co.uk.

madaboutthehouse.com  kitchen with leather handles

madaboutthehouse.com kitchen with leather handles

When it comes to kitchen worktops, I have already written about this in detail here. I like the idea of mixing your material to suit the purpose. I didn’t though! My kitchen has stainless steel worktops because in the end we felt they were best placed to take the abuse of hot pans, sharp knives and spilt wine. They are becoming very scratched which adds a rather lovely patina to them. You might feel differently but just in case they came from here , were a very reasonable price and templated by extremely nice and efficient people. We chose the extra thick worktop, which didn’t cost any extra and gives a slightly more luxurious feel to the kitchen than the standard thin one would do. A thick wooden worktop also looks great but that probably will cost more. This company also supplied the kitchen sink. Franke  has really good quality sinks.

stainless steel worktops

stainless steel worktops

Taps. Always buy quality and don’t scrimp in this area. Mine came from here . There’s masses of choice. I wanted a pull out shower lever and I like the fact that it has two water settings – normal and spray. Just make sure you have already bought it before the worktop is templated.

Splashbacks. Glass is fabulously fashionable and equally expensive. But it does look great. Tiles are more usual and more affordable. I don’t have a splashback in my kitchen but I bought my bathroom tiles here. If you have bought cheaper cupboards then you can perhaps afford to have a bit of fun with the tiles. After all, this can really be a place to show off your style and personality. Rockett St George  have just started stocking some gorgeous floor tiles, although as I mentioned in a previous post I used floor tiles for the wall and it was totally fine. Check with your builder first though.

black and white splashback via travel-files.com

black and white splashback via travel-files.com

Finally when it comes to the inspiration bit then Pinterest is probably your friend. Make a board, have a look at other people’s. Browse about and work out what you like and what you don’t like. Also buy magazines for a couple of months and rip out the things you like to make a more physical moodboard. Even you feel overwhelmed by choice and end up asking a designer for help, he or she, will probably be able to spot a theme in the pictures you present even if you can’t.

And finally, finally, if you do ask a designer for help don’t be scared of disagreeing. Make sure it really is about what YOU want and like and if you are nervous about something or feel that it isn’t quite right for you then don’t be afraid to say so.

 

 

 

 

You Might Also Like

  • Kasia Bevan 7th December 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Hi Kate

    I’m a huge fan of your blog and have read this piece a while ago but I’m finally planning my kitchen so re-reading everything again 😉 I think in one of your previous kitchen planning articles you mentioned a high quality paint spraying service/company (using either Pantone or RAL colours) for matching/choosing any colours for the kitchen cupboards; the post had a photo of very colouful kitchen units to illustrate it. I now can’t find this piece anywhere in your old posts anymore. Would you be able to send me the link?

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 8th December 2014 at 1:14 pm

      Hi Kasia, I can remember the picture but sadly the search engine won’t find the post either. I can’t remember knowing the name of a specific company that would do that but I do know of various people whose builders have helped them on that front. Also some specific companies will help – my bifold doors came in a choice of RAL colours for example and some radiator companies do the same. Many companies do offer a spray service. Let me know if you need any further help – or what area you are in and we can try and find a local solution for you.

      • Kasia Bevan 9th December 2014 at 4:09 pm

        Hi Kate – thank you! If you happen to know of any recommended builders/companies in West/South London area that offer a spray service that would be very helpful.

  • New accessories for the kitchen 22nd August 2014 at 8:02 am

    […] edge with white subway tiles, wooden worktops and some non-Ikea cupboard and drawer handles. Great post here about customising affordable kitchen cabinets so they look […]

  • Liz Sparkes 13th August 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Really interesting to read you take on how to make an affordable kitchen unique.. and I agree with all of it, apart from just one thing.. glass splashbacks do NOT have to be expensive! We hand make unique, one off splashbacks which start at just £200.. (here http://glassification.co.uk/handmade-glass-splashbacks/clear-embossed-made-to-measure-glass-splashback/) and are much easier to fit than tiles, so you can also save on a tiler 🙂 We’ve recently made glass knobs to match a splash back too, which were going to be used to give new life to old (re-painted) cupboards.. again at a really affordable cost…

  • Deborah Richards 1st October 2012 at 8:16 am

    We are reclaiming our home office from having successfully sold our business and our large family sitting room (5×7 metres) from family life, all boys now gone to their own homes! These two rooms need furnishing together so when family or friends are here we can move things around to suit. TV in one room, 1000s of books to shelve. I’d like to know how to get the furniture in scale and not looking like a furniture show room, are there ‘rules’ about space around items, how to lay out according to window/fireplaces etc. 1930’s former rectory, with some reference to its past but not slavish, rooms have huge bay windows so are light. I use a lot of colour and pattern and generally have a good eye but this problem is baffling me! Any guidance, rule of thumb or even what to avoid would be so gratefully received!

    I’ve giggled to myself through your kids room posts recently thinking, it doesn’t last forever but they leave their mark on your home! Eventually they go taking all sorts of stuff with them enabling you the best excuse for a major refurb and fun time! Thanks for some great inspiration and writing!

  • %d bloggers like this: