For many families, the kitchen is the heart of the home, and it's often the room where you spend the majority of your time. But if your kitchen is looking a little tired, splashing out for a new one can be a pricey business. Here's how to get a sparkling new look without digging too deep into the bank account.
You might not be up to fitting your new kitchen, but DIY stores offer some of the best prices on mix and match carcasses, doors, handles and worktops. If you're opting for a complete overhaul though, it's worth shopping around for the best deals. As well as the big DIY stores and kitchen specialists, online sites such as discountkitchenfactory.co.uk or 121tradedirect.co.uk can often beat the high street prices, so do your research.
Don't rule out trade stores either. They generally offer excellent value, quality, and some even a design service, and they'll be only too happy to supply you with the names and numbers of kitchen fitters that will probably provide a cheaper and better service than those you'll get from the sales companies and DIY stores. Don't accept the price shown on brochures. There is a huge amount of competition amongst kitchen suppliers, so always try to negotiate them down. Howdens show a price that's less for trade in their brochures (your kitchen fitter will need an account to buy from them) but there is usually room to negotiate that down further still. Whoever you're negotiating with, it can help to get a cheaper quote from another supplier. You can then tell the salesperson that you prefer to go with their company, but only if they can match the cheaper quote.
Ex-display kitchens are another option. Although you may have to wait a while to find what you want, firms such as The Used Kitchen Company stock ex-display kitchens at up to 70 per cent less than the original price. Just be prepared to dismantle and collect the units yourself.
If you're on a tight budget, take a good look at your existing kitchen and see what might be worth saving. If your existing carcasses are still in good shape, for example, updating with shiny new doors, handles and kick boards may be all you need to get that fresh new look you're after, although do be aware that if you plan to change the worktop, it may damage the units below.
If you want a more individual look, shop around for unusual handles and door knobs for cabinets. A quick search on eBay will reveal some unique designs. Little touches can make all the difference.
Similarly, new flooring, lighting and tiles can make the world of difference without costing the earth, so think practically about your budget before you rush off to the kitchen designer!
As expensive as units, worktops and tiles may be, it is often the appliances that really push the limits of your budget. But bargain ovens, fridges and washing machines are available if you know where to look. The likes of Currys, John Lewis and even Argos all offer clearance stock that may be end of line or have minor cosmetic damage, so a quick search of their clearance websites or outlet stores is a good idea. Others, Littlewoods, Ultimate Graded Appliances and Miele, feature their clearance products on eBay. Again, these may be superficially damaged, but the prices are often greatly reduced and most come with a full 12-month warranty for your peace of mind.
With a little research and some creative thought, you can save a fortune and still get a whole new look.
Did you manage to save money on a new kitchen? What advice would you give to others? Leave your comments below...