Owning a home

How to style on a budget: The kitchen

3 min read


Often referred to as the hub of the home, the kitchen is where friends and family gather to cook, eat and entertain, it’s also the room that’s likely to get the most foot traffic. We demand a lot from our kitchens, but creating a bigger and better one can be a daunting project, often involving a new design and rebuild. For those of you who are not in a financial position to bring your dream kitchen to life right now, I have some short-term solutions that will help you maximise space, functionality and style without blowing the budget.

Colour and cabinetry

Freshen up a tired or lack-lustre kitchen with a new coat of paint. White is always a winner and will make a small space feel bigger. For a cohesive look we painted our walls, ceiling and cabinetry in one colour, and added texture and warmth with marble and wood elements. If necessary, look at replacing your current cabinet doors with some simple, soft close ones. There are some great budget options out there. Alternatively, you could just replace the handles, which will give a more modern look.

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Simple styling

Maximise bench space and help make your cooking zone more functional by taking a pared-back approach and getting rid of clutter. Only keep items that you use on display, and inject colour and graphic elements through kitchen accessories, such as your chopping boards, tea towels and fruit bowl. Bring some nature indoors with herbs, a plant or fresh flowers. Even small decorative touches will make a big impact against a kitchen that has minimalist lines and an understated palette.

Let the light in

Light will enhance any home, especially a small space. Let as much natural light in as possible and think carefully about your window treatments. Blinds that can be fully drawn are a great option, or if you’re happy to do so, leave the windows bare.

Extend without rebuilding

For a kitchen that’s particularly cramped, creating more of an open plan flow will make it feel more airy and spacious. Taking into account your budget, floor plan and adjacent room, removing all or even part of a bordering wall is worth considering, as it will transform the space.

Smart storage

With a smaller kitchen, you need to make the most of every inch of your benchtops. Utilise unused vertical space by installing wall-mounted storage such as slimline cupboards, simple open shelving and magnetic knife racks.

I’m always on the lookout for areas to install handy hooks, like inside the pantry door and under the sink. They also provide the perfect place for hanging dish brushes, teal towels and aprons.

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Replace the benchtops

Replacing dated benchtops can transform a kitchen. To make the room feel larger, choose a lighter colour, and if your kitchen palette is white, look at creating a subtle contrast. There are many high-tech engineered quartz options around these days which blend seamlessly with white, but also add texture to help to avoid a clinical feel. Black or timber can look amazing against a white palette, and new technologies have given life to laminates. Now available in virtually any colour, pattern or texture, you can achieve imitation stone or timber looks that are both practical and well-priced.


Install a splashback

If your kitchen doesn’t have a splashback, use this opportunity to add some character. Whether you choose a classic subway tile or have fun with texture and colour, the size of the area requires only a small amount of tiles, which will help keep costs down. Mirrored splashbacks are great for creating space and light.


Home loan top-ups

Pay for home renovations, big purchases, and/or events and if it's insulation or heating you need, you could be eligible for a special home loan top up.

Find out more, or Apply for a top-up loan today.