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5 ways to update your kitchen for under $1000

With a kitchen renovation costing anywhere between $15,0000 to $50,0000, the dream of a full-fledged reno doesn’t come cheap. Still, there are ways to work with what you’ve got.

Is there any greater culinary turn off than a tired, dated kitchen? If you’ve ever co-existed with one, you’ll know what we’re talking about: drawers that won’t close, less bench space than a caravan and a sink straight of Orange Is The New Black. It’s enough to turn even the most enthusiastic Bake Off wannabe into an Uber Eats VIP.

While shelling out for a completely new fit-out can be costly, Naomi Findlay, founder of the Rapid Reno Mate app, says a few simple freshen-ups can keep you sane. “I recommend choosing one or two upgrades in the kitchen to spend more on and the rest you can shop around for a bargain!” says Naomi. Here are five solid ways to transform your kitchen without taking out a second mortgage.

Update #1: A new splashback

It may not be the number one complaint in your current kitchen, but replacing your splashback offers serious impact for minimal cost. “A new splashback can be one of the most affordable ways to create a fresh feel on a budget in your kitchen,” says Naomi. “I like to use tiles for my splashbacks to add texture and interest to the room. Just remember it’s there for a safety function so make sure you meet any requirements from the Building Code of Australia.”

Estimated cost: $50 - $300 a square metre for tiles plus tiling labour and grout ($500 - $1000)

Update #2: Replacing the fronts on your cabinetry

One of the fastest facelifts you can dish up is replacing the fronts of your cabinetry. “Depending on the condition of the cabinetry, you can just update the doors rather than the entire cabinet to create a completely new look,” says Naomi. This is a great solution for '90s and early '00s kitchens that look dated but still have structurally sound cabinetry. Hardware stores and kitchen suppliers sell doors and fronts, just make sure you have your measurements spot on before you buy.

Estimated cost: Melamine doors start at around $30, while glass costs start at around $90 per door from your local hardware store.

Update #3: Replacing bench tops

If your cabinetry is in good nick, replacing bench tops is another great way to work with what you’ve got. “Your kitchen bench top is the most used surface in the house, so I recommend using sturdy, durable materials that can handle plenty of wear and tear,” says Naomi. “Factor into your budget additional costs for splash back repairs and any electrical work to reconnect your stovetops.”

Estimated cost: A basic laminate bench top start from around $150 per square metre while installation will cost between $200 - $500.

Update #4: New tapware

Renovation shows have given us a taste for statement tapware, but don’t forget to think about how it flows with the rest of your interior style, not just your kitchen. “Like your bench top, sinks and tapware should match the level of your property. For example, if you have installed a beautiful stone bench top, you should consider installing an under-mount sink,” says Naomi. “Think about matching the finishes to what you’re using in your laundry and shop around – there are so many amazing options on the market at all price ranges.

Estimated cost: A budget mixer starts at around $149 from your local hardware store plus labour costs for plumbing between $250 - $500.

Update #5: Upgrade your electrical

Statement lights, especially pendants, are a modern kitchen must-have. “Lighting can make all the difference in the world to your kitchen, whether it’s a feature pendant light to add character and beauty or warm tones to make your space more inviting,” says Naomi. And while you have the sparky booked for a call out, ask them if they can update your electricals too. “Adding more power points or even a tech hub in your kitchen can allow the space to become more than somewhere to cook and clean in – it becomes a family room and allows for so much more function!”

Estimated cost: A decent-sized pendant light starts from around $150, while the electrician labour will likely start at around $250 for installation.

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