Kitchen renovations: 5 tips to save you money

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Kitchen renovations can be daunting, often involving huge sums of money. However they have the potential to add significant value to a home. So how do you build your dream kitchen, while keeping an eye on the bottom line? We look at five tips.

In Australia, the average kitchen renovation costs around $17,226, although you can spend well over $75,000 depending on the scope of the project and materials usedi.

But money spent on a kitchen isn't lost: experts say kitchen renovations are one of the highest value-adding renovation types in Australia, and home owners might recover 75 to 100 per cent of project costs on selling the propertyi.

Kitchen renovations add value to your home.

Here are five ways to keep costs down.

1. Leave the floorplan in place where possible

It can cost thousands to move electrical cabling and plumbing, especially if the plumber has to work with a concrete floor. Consider leaving fixtures - especially the kitchen sink - in their existing positions to avoid the extra costsii.

The same goes for tearing down load-bearing walls, which may also have pipes or cabling running through them. If the kitchen is too cramped, consider a wall cut-out instead of removing the entire wall, or look for new, well-designed cabinets that could help free-up more room in the existing spaceii.

2. Consider cheaper alternatives to luxury materials

While a granite countertop looks luxurious, you may find that laminate or the more rustic-looking butcher block does the job just as welliii. Alternatively, consider tiles instead of a full stone slab; tiles are cheaper to buy, and somewhat easier to replace if damagediv.

Similarly, vinyl or laminate flooring may take the place of floor tiles for a fraction of the cost, and an acrylic splashback may be a cheaper alternative to glass or tiling the wallv.

3. Dress up what you've got

Take a good look at existing kitchen components: there are some great ways of giving old cabinets a whole new look at minimal cost.

Resurfacing and repainting cabinet doors or adding new knobs and handles is a great first step that doesn't require a great deal of DIY expertiseiii.

Adding little pieces of carpentry can also do wonders. A bun leg on each corner of a cabinet can make it appear freestanding while adding skirting along the base of furniture can make it look built-iniii.

Dress up what you've got. 4. Consider a flat-pack kitchen or components

Cabinets typically make up a third to half of kitchen remodelling costs and custom cabinetry tends to be the most expensivevi, at about three times the price of off-the-shelf cabinetsiii.

Consider pre-made components. A flat-pack kitchen can cost less than $3,000 (excluding appliances)vii for example, although you may have to hire professional tradespeople to help with installation.

5. Renovate in stages

If you're doing up your kitchen as an investment, it may be worth installing higher quality products and completing the project over several phases to keep the cost of each phase manageable.

To do this, consider keeping existing appliances in the new kitchen. Most appliances come in standard sizes, so you should be able to build around an existing fridge or dishwasher and upgrade laterviii.

i Punshon B 2016, How much does it cost to renovate a kitchen in Australia?, 12 January, viewed 12 January 2016,

ii Glave J, 21 ways to save on your remodel, viewed 12 January 2016,,,1186851,00.html

iii Better Homes and Gardens, Cost-saving tips from the kitchen pros, viewed 27 January 2016,

iv CounterTop Guides, Granite Tile vs Granite Slab, viewed 27 January 2016,

v Schneider R 2015, Where to spend your money on a kitchen renovation, 4 November, viewed 27 January 2016,

vi Dawson M, 5 ways to keep kitchen-remodelling costs down,

vii Ikea, Metod/Hittarp/Maximera Kitchen, viewed 27 January 2016,

viii Robinson A, Schwemmer A 2012, Doing a kitchen remodel in phases takes planning, 8 June, viewed 27 January 2016,