Where to Splurge and Where to Save in Your Kitchen Reno
Who doesn't want to stay on budget when renovating, and still have a an amazing kitchen?
The trinity of refrigerator, stove and cooker hood are the minimum every kitchen needs whether you cook three meals a day or only two times a year. The oven, microwave, dishwasher, standing mixer and espresso machine are the extras that separate the cooks from the takeaway devotees. Then there’s the sous vide machine, warming drawer, wine fridge and anything that’s black stainless steel to further distance the gourmands from home cooks.
Apart from looking at the capacity, functions and aesthetic you want, you should also consider the long-term cost of using the appliance year after year. Investing in energy-efficient appliances puts less strain on energy usage which will help bring down your utility bills.
Quality carpentry should follow an “efficiently planned layout and be fitted with good quality ironmongery” advises Yong. As a multi-use place, the kitchen isn’t just for food prep and cooking; it also serves as a spot for casual meals, a place for homework and home admin and a magnet for family and guests. Good planning takes into account functionality, flexibility, smart storage and ease of maintenance.
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Yong recommends Zip taps which are surface-mounted taps that give boiling, chilled and room-temperature drinking water whenever you want it. Having instant access to boiling water is great for making hot beverages, baby formula, blanching vegetables and filling up pots quickly for boiling pasta or soups (many hawkers have a simpler version of this).
Cabinets will take up a big chunk of your reno budget so how can you keep this cost down? One easy way, says Yong, is to ditch upper cabinets. Plenty of homeowners already do this for the airiness and openness especially if their kitchen is small and dark. Open shelving is inexpensive and can be bought off-the-shelf. Keep the items on open shelves uniform and neatly displayed.
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Laminate is still one of your cheapest countertop options but new technology means this oldie (they’ve been around for more than 100 years!) is no longer cheap-looking. Today’s high-pressure laminates come in many different colours, patterns, and textures, and new printing technology brings depth and realism.
It’s a simple equation: larger tiles require less time to lay which equates to lower labour cost. These larger format tiles (up to 1200mm in length) will result in fewer grout lines which translate into fewer maintenance chores for you. Another bonus is that your kitchen will look larger as too many grout lines make a room look busy and small.
Think colour. Yong is no stranger to being bold in colours for the cookspace, having done several bright blue ones and even one in a British racing green.
“I think blue is going strong but will fatigue soon,” he says. “Muted pastel tones will take over.”
In terms of style, expect to see more of the simplified Shaker style which he describes as “country chic rustic minus all the mouldings”.
What have you splurged or save on in your kitchen reno? Comment below. And don’t forget to save your favourite images, save the story, and join in the conversation.
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