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Kitchen with black taps and black chairs accompanied by stonetop
Refresh your kitchen with a clever makeover that won’t break the bank.

 

Fabulous for less

Restoring, refreshing and reorganising your existing kitchen can be a lot less expensive than you might think. A full kitchen renovation can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but these savvy and stylish interior updates and design tips can produce an instant impact for much, much less.

Spruce up kitchen surfaces

Whether you’re looking for a cosy farmhouse-style kitchen update or a sleek modern look for your home, vertical-join lining is a fantastic way to D.I.Y. some character into a plain space. It’s easy to install over existing walls and it is hard-wearing, with pre-primed and moisture-resistant panels available.

For changing up tired flooring, self-stick vinyl tiles are an easy go-to solution. All you need to do is peel and stick these tiles over shabby areas for an instant and budget-friendly refresh at a fraction of the cost of retiling. They are available in a variety of styles and are designed for high-traffic areas like kitchens.

Update your space with paint

One quick way to upgrade your kitchen is with paint, and not just on walls – specialist paints such as the Dulux Renovation Range can be used to transform cabinets and tiled splashbacks, with great ‘bang for your buck’ impact. To up the ambience, Dulux colour expert Davina Harper recommends using darker tones on feature walls and cabinetry in the kitchen.

“This can result in a striking focal point for your home,” she says. “If it is already fairly minimalistic and sleek, choose a bright Scandinavian-inspired look by blending soft, neutral hues to ensure your space stays warm and inviting.”

For a more dramatic effect, select two distinct tones. “To create a striking contrast, consider bolder colours such as blues and greens for cabinetry and trims, while sticking to neutrals and whites for the walls and benchtops,” she adds.

Blue cabinet with MDF attached

Replace kitchen drawer and door handles

Handles and drawer pulls are vital décor details in kitchen design; they are also one of the easiest and most cost-effective elements to replace if you’re renovating on a budget. John Harrison of Kaboodle Kitchen says handles are like jewellery for your kitchen. “They are a small piece but can make a huge impact on the overall aesthetic,” he explains. “Swapping out polished chrome handles for a streamlined matt-black option or a brushed-brass finish will instantly elevate the space.”

Before making a final decision, pop in-store and see what designs, materials and finishes you like the look and feel of. If you’re unsure how they will match with existing kitchen cupboard and drawer colours, create a moodboard to get a better impression.

Another easy update is the kitchen tap. A new and modern mixer will give your space a huge lift for little cost. In addition, you can match it to your new hardware, with an on-trend brass, black or white finish.

Floating timber shelves with gold brackets and kitchen benchtop

Improve your kitchen storage

Blank wall space presents a chance to install open shelving – a chic addition (and handy storage solution) to any kitchen. “Floating shelves will add dimension and give you an opportunity to style them with decorative objects or use the area for more storage,” says John. “Benchtop offcuts work really well, if you’re thinking about updating your benchtops at the same time.”

If your benchtop surfaces are cluttered with appliances, utensils and cookbooks, they can impair the way you work in your kitchen. Make a practical update to the heart of your home by improving storage options. “Retrofitting wireware systems, such as pull-out pantries and rotating corner baskets, will help improve the functionality of your space without committing to an entire renovation,” says John.

Rotating corner baskets in cabinet under benchtop

Consider painting kitchen benchtops

The layout and size of your kitchen space might be just fine but – if a benchtop is looking worse for wear – it can bring down the overall impression of your home. For a budget-friendly remodel idea, transform kitchen surfaces with benchtop-specific specialist paint.

“Adding an interesting lighter colour to benchtops can immediately brighten up the area and make it appear lighter and more airy,” says Davina. She suggests a shade of paint such as Dulux ‘Te Kaha’, a pale neutral with more warmth and interest than plain white.

If granite is on your kitchen refresh wish list but perhaps out of your budget, Rust-Oleum has a granite-look D.I.Y. paint kit in white or black, which will transform dated or worn benchtops in a weekend.

If the surface is truly beyond repair, replacing it does require moderate D.I.Y. skills, but not extensive work or outlay, says John. “A timber or timber-look benchtop will instantly add warmth and texture, whereas a stone-look option will brighten your space and give it a sense of luxury,” he explains.

Close up of kitchen handles in brushed-brass with lemon on countertop

Choose the best lighting for your kitchen

The right kind of lighting will enhance both the functionality and ambience of a space. A few stylish tweaks or additions can make a big difference, and they don’t need to cost a lot.

“Lighting adds the perfect accessory to your décor, much like adding shoes to an outfit,” says Brilliant Lighting’s Debbie Paice. Pendants, for example, are available in a wide range of styles and can bring interior design flair, brightening dark islands and helping to define kitchen and dining zones.

Tip: D.I.Y. pendants have the added advantage of not requiring an electrician for installation.

Under-cabinet LED bars lend an upmarket feel, says Debbie, while colour-changing lighting can switch the vibe of the space, turning it from a functional family area to an entertaining zone in an instant.

Keep in mind…

  • Safety tip: Always wear the appropriate safety equipment (safety glasses, gloves, ear muffs and a mask, for example) and always follow the instructions for the product or equipment. Always store products out of the reach of children and pets.
  • All hardwired electrical work and most plumbing work must be carried out by licensed tradespeople.
  • If drilling into walls, use a stud finder to check for wiring or pipework, and turn off the power before working. If unsure, call a professional.

About to undertake a kitchen reno?

Check out our 10 factors to consider when designing the perfect kitchen.

Some products are not available at all Bunnings stores, but may be ordered.
 

Photo Credit: James Moffatt, Michelle Holden, Jonno Rodd.

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
Please note: Our range of engineered stone products is no longer available. Our team members can help you with our wide range of alternatives to suit your project, and we're working closely with our suppliers to introduce new options soon.