How to update your kitchen on a budget

Redesign your kitchen without breaking the bank - simply follow our top tips and save money

Looking to update your kitchen on budget? With the credit crunch in full swing, it can be difficult to make your dreams a reality.

Fortunately, we’ve come up with some sure-fire ways to save money on your new kitchen. So read on for expert advice, DIY tips and the low-down on credit cards.

Do as much of the fitting yourself

The simplest way to save money on your new kitchen is to do as much of the fitting yourself as possible.

Cabinets: Fitting them yourself can save you hundreds of pounds in installation costs. Take a look at this guide to installing cabinets for advice, and use Ikea’s fantastic kitchen planner for help with the layout.

Worktops: You can install tile, laminate and wooden worktops yourself, but you’ll need a specialist fitter for granite, marble, stone and glass. Find out how to buy a kitchen worktop.

Flooring: This is one way to really save money. Vinyl tiles, ceramic tiles, wooden and laminate kitchen flooring are all relatively straightforward to lay.

Plumbing: If you’re a confident DIYer, you should be able to fit your sink and taps, especially if you haven’t needed to move any pipework from your old scheme. If the plumbing needs to be moved however, it’s best to get the professionals in.

Paint and Wallpaper: This is the simplest of tasks, and an easy way to save a couple of days’ labour costs. See our video on how to hang wallpaper.

Splashback: If you’re using tiles for your kitchen splashback, this is another way you can save money by doing the work yourself.

Re-use appliances

Kitchen appliances are often the most costly elements of designing a new kitchen. If your old ones are in good shape, consider re-installing them in the new design, or only replacing the ones that are on display, such as the hob.

If you do need to buy appliances, make sure you scour the internet and the high street for the best bargains. It’s often cheaper to source the appliances yourself, rather than let the kitchen design company do it for you.

And if you are buying new appliances, make sure you invest in energy-efficient models that will save you money on running costs in the future. The Energy Saving Trust has a full list of appliances and their energy ratings to help you choose.

Consider a facelift

If the basic layout of your kitchen is sound, you can make a dramatic difference to the look by updating a few key elements.

* Replacing an old laminate worktop for a new granite one, for example, will have a huge impact. You can also refresh tiled splashbacks by painting them with special tile paint.

* If you have solid-wood cabinets, sanding them down and repainting them is a quick and easy way of achieving a striking new look at a fraction of the cost. Even small touches, such as replacing old-fashioned cabinet handles with new ones will make a difference.

* If you don’t think there’s anything from your old kitchen worth saving, then make sure you spend your money in the right places. You can use budget cabinet carcasses with more expensive doors, and consider installing a budget sink and spending the cash on more luxurious worktop instead.

Research and haggling

The internet is a great place to find discounted kitchen appliances, cabinetry and fixtures and fittings, so make sure you spend time investigating all the options available.

Kitchen suppliers run sales several times a year so it’s always worth holding out for sale prices. Use sites such as Kelkoo and Pricerunner to track down the cheapest prices available on appliances.

Finally, remember that kitchen suppliers will be suffering with the downturn too, so it’s worth haggling. Getting two quotes from two separate suppliers and playing them off against one another is often a good way of getting money off the cost of your kitchen.

Looking for inspiration? Whether you love country kitchens, traditional kitchens or modern kitchens, our galleries are packed full of ideas.

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