A designer kitchen is often at the top of the list when it comes to home improvement projects. It is likely the project that will add the most value to your home and a redesign could positively affect the way that you use your space. However, redesigning your kitchen space can be an intimidating prospect. It may seem like an expensive investment, and requires a lot of commitment, upheaval and work.

Managing the cost of your new kitchen doesn’t have to be a daunting task, and it doesn’t necessarily have to cost you as much as it may seem. Follow this advice to manage your kitchen budget, cut costs and ultimately, create the perfect kitchen.

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Related articles: How to design your kitchen | 11 contemporary kitchen ideas | How to create your dream kitchen without extending | Adding personality to your kitchen


Plan your kitchen budget

Before visiting a showroom, have a clear idea of how much you want to spend. Even if you don’t want to use a kitchen designer, having a consultation and getting a list of all the things you need to consider is a good first step.

If you are using a designer, be upfront about the amount you want to spend. They should advise on which areas to invest in and where to save money. Another good idea is to take along with you a list of the things you want to include in your design – don’t deviate from it or be persuaded to include additional items.

Keep a spreadsheet of your budget, and list all of the costs as the project progresses. This way, you can priorities aspects worth spending money on, whilst also seeing areas where you can cut back to keep within your budget.

Masterclass-Mistral-Ivory-Nutmeg

The smooth lines of this Mistral design, shown in Nutmeg and Ivory, give the space a contemporary, minimalist feel. Prices start from £5,000, for the cabinetry only,
at Masterclass Kitchens


How to manage your kitchen cost

Stephen Samuel, chartered architect at Samuel Kendall Associates, says that you should budget the following for your kitchen redesign:

  • 40% structure and build (if extending)
  • 20% for VAT
  • 12% kitchen units
  • 6% appliances
  • 6% heating and ventilation
  • 2% flooring
  • 2% decoration
  • 2% fittings including sinks and taps
  • PLUS a 10% contingency budget should unexpected costs arise

How to save money on your kitchen

Purchasing your kitchen through a local tradesperson or fitter could substantially reduce the costs compared to buying direct from a high-street retailer. Designer kitchen suppliers with warehouse showrooms have huge overheads, which can add to the price of the product.

Terry Brown
Commercial director at Benchmarx Kitchens

3 steps to getting the best deal

  • Take your time: Don’t feel pressured to accept the first good quote you receive — shop around different stores and online providers.
  • Look out for discounts: Stores will often sell off last season’s look for less, but that doesn’t mean it is any less stylish. Designs change so rapidly that a style popular a year ago will still look great now.
  • Always haggle: A discretional manager’s deduction is usually available to those who are brave enough to ask. A 5-10 per cent saving on a kitchen purchase can make a big difference.

Concentrate your spending on features that are in use and are visible all the time. These are the aspects that will elevate the perceived quality of your kitchen without you having to break the bank.

  • Invest in top quality handles for cupboards and drawers to make standard units look much more expensive.
  • Save money by buying a standard worktop, then invest in a high quality tap and sink combination.
  • Mix worktop materials to save money. Rather than opting for expensive granite throughout, only use it on your island, then opt for a cheaper material around the rest of the kitchen.
  • Invest money in top quality white goods. Not only will this make a cost effective kitchen look better, you can take them with you when you move.
  • If solid-wood cabinetry is high on your wish list, but is out of your price range, find man-made doors that closely resemble the real thing.
  • High-quality flooring will improve the look of a budget kitchen and will also add value to your home.
  • If your kitchen layout already works and you can simply upgrade the quality of materials and appliances, refrain from altering it. Moving appliances will mean rewiring and the relocation of plumbing, which will increase costs.
Crown-Rialto-Blackberry-Lilac-White

This Rialto kitchen by Crown Imperial, shown in Blackberry. Prices start from £222 for a 60cm base unit.

Working with a designer to create the kitchen, and then getting the right people to make and install it, will give you the best, and most cost-effective result.

Kitchen showrooms are expensive to run, which can significantly inflate the prices of the products being sold. They also have to cover the cost of materials and production before the order is even placed, further raising prices. Approaching a joiner with plans directly may take more time, but it will usually be bespoke, much cheaper and of a far higher quality.

‘For example, one of my clients took our design to five different companies — the prices he came back with ranged from £28,000 to £42,000. We then did a detailed design and asked a joinery firm to make it by hand, which cost £11,000.’

Hugo Tugman
co-founder of Architect Your Home

Take advantage of the relaxed planning rules

You can save money on planning applications, which cost £172 in England, by finding out what can be achieved under permitted development rights. From 30 May 2013 to 30 May 2019, the government has increased the size of extension you can build without the need to formally apply for permission from the local planning authority. Single-storey rear extensions must not extend more than six metres beyond the rear wall of an attached house, or eight metres if detached, and within a maximum height of four metres.


Make sure the space is right

Spending as much of your budget as possible on creating the highest quality walls, ceilings and flooring is essential if you’re undertaking a large-scale renovation. From a structural perspective, it is difficult and expensive to change the layout and structure of these elements once the cabinets have been installed.

However, if your budget doesn’t allow for your dream kitchen now, you could fit cheaper units and accessories and upgrade them in the future, when you do have the money. Cabinets are easier to change than the structure of the kitchen, which is why it’s vital to get the space right in the first place.’

Dan Davidson
Design director at Build Team

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