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The average custom kitchen can cost upwards of $20,000, but in this poor economy not many people can afford to spend that much. If you’re willing to put in some sweat equity, you can have the designer kitchen you want without blowing your budget.
Add a Splash of Color
Bold, bright colors are everywhere; candy-apple reds, sunny yellows, and rich, warm tones are very popular in appliances. Electrical stores and kitchen specialists offer a huge range of products to suit all budgets, look for established brands Neff, Zanussi and Caple and do your research to find top of the line products. Buying your appliances from a discount outlet will give you the high end look you want at a much lower price.
As an alternative to spending thousands on an appliance that will have a permanent place in your kitchen, consider buying changeable panels for your dishwasher, stove and refrigerator. Other less expensive options include freestanding appliances in bright colors, changing lighting fixtures, adding a bright splashback, or re-facing cabinetry and changing hardware. These smaller projects can cost less than $100, but make a big impact.
Refurbish Vintage Pieces
Today’s less structured looks can be achieved at a lower cost by taking some styling cues from your family room. Get the look by using different finishes on furniture-style cabinetry; a cheap way to do it is to refurbish old pieces like dressers, armoires, and even rolling carts to create additional storage. For even more personalization, incorporate architectural pieces from the salvage yard.
Buy Floor Models
Manufacturers such as General Electric, Frigidaire and Caple frequently have stock that’s been slightly damaged; in most cases, the “damage” is a slight scratch that you won’t even see once the appliance is in place. Buying from scratch-and-dent stores or getting a floor or demo model can give you the kitchen you want without breaking the bank.
Other kitchen necessities can be bought on the cheap as well. Caple sinks, custom cabinets, granite countertops and flooring made of bamboo and other materials are all widely available from discounters both in-store and online. With all the options available, it can be hard to find the look you want at a cost you can afford–online comparison-shopping tools make the process much easier.
Do the Work Yourself
Some of you may be reluctant to get your hands dirty, but going the DIY route can help you get a designer-look kitchen without the designer price tag. Installing your own countertops and splashbacks will give you a tremendous sense of accomplishment (and a fatter wallet). Of course, your pricing will vary depending on the products you choose, but you’ll definitely save on labor.
Written by James Harper on behalf of the Kitchen Appliance Centre