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How to make a kitchen feel high-end


There’s no denying that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. But you know what else they do?

Leave your bank account cowering in the corner, rocking itself back and forth curled up in the foetal position.

Kitchens, in particular, can be pricey to build, because, like a kid in a lolly shop, it’s hard to keep the budget in check. Hopefully, the tips below will allow you to have your dream kitchen without sending you bankrupt.

Chris shares tips on how to have your dream kitchen without it costing you the earth. Picture: Ikea

They key thing to remember is that this zone can look high-end while still being cost effective. It all comes down to compromise – and choosing products carefully.

Kitchen cabinets: Say no to vinyl

If you’re looking to channel a high-end look and feel in your kitchen, cheap, high-gloss cabinets will give you just that: A sense of cheapness. That’s not to say you shouldn’t go for affordable cabinetry, but opt for a matte finish or a faux wood grain to create a space that feels more sophisticated and refined.

Vinyl-wrapped MDF kitchen cabinets are affordable but prone to problems. Within a few years you might notice the vinyl peel off, which is less than ideal (and tough to repair).

For a stunning kitchen cabinet that’s reasonably priced, I can’t go past two-pack polyurethane. Pop on some chic cabinet handles and you’ve got a space that feels expensive.

Read more: Outdated kitchen trends to retire

Go for a timeless splashback

A splashback will differ in price dramatically depending on the type you want to install (tiles, a timber panel, laminate etc.,) and how big the splashback area is. One option that sits somewhere in the middle in terms of price – yet looks amazing – is tinted mirror.

When it comes to creating a kitchen that feels sophisticated, it’s best to look to timeless options, not of-the-moment fads (like herringbone marble tiles).

A tinted mirror is moody, gives a luxe feel and will last you years and years. It’ll cost a fortune, depending on the size of the splashback, and if cutouts are required for power points. The splashback takes up a lot of visual real estate in your kitchen, though, so it’s worth the spend.

A stone benchtop is out of the question

Sadly, a luxe-for-less approach does not allow your marble benchtop dreams to be realised. While natural stone is gorgeous, it’s also very, very expensive.

One of the best ways to get a benchtop that still looks impressive but is super-affordable is to veer toward laminate.

Don’t give me that look. Laminate has come a really long way in recent years and gives you an impression of a stone benchtop for a fraction of the price. Some varieties have a faux marble grain running through them and are as chic and on-trend as ever. The best bit: The price point sits around $150 per square metre.

Laminate in the kitchen has come a long way in recent years. Picture: Freedom Kitchens

Think outside the box with tapware

Tapware is like the icing on the cake when it comes to your kitchen. It’s a little addition that’s pretty affordable, but it makes such a difference.

To keep your kitchen looking high-end, ditch the common silver tap varieties that have been done to death over the years.

Two alternatives are matte black tapware (a personal fave) or an aged brass. Both are widely available across the country and will elevate the look of your sink area dramatically.

Black tapware is an affordable, classy addition. Picture: Meir Australia

Pendants: Cheap but chic

The finishing touch in making your kitchen feel high-end is to install a killer pendant over the benchtop or island. The thing to keep in mind here is that you don’t have to spend a lot. Opt for a black pendant in a structural, interesting form.

I love a pendant with a few bulbs, strewn across the roof and draping down from multiple cords. If that variety doesn’t take your fancy, just ensure it’s eye-catching and graphic.

This article was originally published as How to make a kitchen feel high end by and is written by Chris Carroll

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