A luxury kitchen equals expensive, right? And there’s no way that you’re going to spend all your hard-earned cash on a kitchen when you’ve got other rooms in your new home to decorate, yes? Well that’s what I always thought, and when you’re working to a strict budget it can be hard to imagine a kitchen with anything other than the basics. True, you only really need a sink, some cupboards and worktops to create a perfectly livable kitchen, but why not add a bit of style too? Especially if you can do it for a bargain price!
With the right pre-planning and a little bit of effort you can create a luxurious-feeling space at a fraction of the cost. The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house; a place where great food is prepared, a place for entertaining friends and somewhere for the family to gather and relax at the end of a hard day. So I think that creating a kitchen that is both functional and comfortable is important. Not only will adding a few design features to your kitchen add value to your home but you’ll also enjoy living there so much more. So let’s start with the basics:
A popular layout is the L-shaped kitchen. It’s great when you’re lacking in space (in a small apartment, for example) because it opens out the kitchen into the living area and makes you feel less ‘hemmed-in’ to a small U-shaped kitchen. The L-shape makes it easier to include a dining area within your kitchen – either against the non-kitchen wall or between the kitchen and the living area if you’re living in an open plan space. It also maximises the floor space for families and couples to cook together without getting into each other’s way.
If the kitchen is in a separate room but is on the small side, you could take down the dividing wall (depending on the structure of the building and planning permission, of course!) which creates an open-plan space. Combining the L-shaped kitchen with an island can create a great space for entertaining, whilst keeping the cooking area contained. Providing a seating and eating area on the island creates a social hub for the whole family to gather round, along with extra storage in the island units.
If you need more work space, this is where a U-shaped kitchen comes into its own; this type of design can maximise the cabinet and worktop space in the room without compromising on design or style. U-shaped kitchen designs usually have the extra worktop space to tuck integrated appliances underneath, which is great for keeping a uniform style. Then again, if you choose a cool or retro style, then standalone appliances can be used to provide a touch of colour or design feature to the room.
With a vast array of colours, materials and finishes to choose from when designing a kitchen, it can be a bit daunting when planning the perfect space. It can be hard to know what finish is going to look the best for the least cost, and I find it difficult to visualise what the overall space will look like with the different combinations of worktop, unit and tiles. Any classic combination will look more luxurious than an on trend colour of the moment. Luxury kitchens tend to be made from high quality woods such as cherry, mahogany or walnut which are stained to bring out the natural beauty of the wood grain, so you can replicate this with a lower-grade kitchen that you can stain darker yourself. Painted cabinets in muted hues help make a kitchen look higher quality and glazed doors on the wall cabinets add a feeling of luxury.
Natural stone worktops and traditional timber cabinets will look classy for years to come, so investing in a granite worktop and sturdy wooden cabinets may actually be a money-saving solution. Okay, the initial investment may be a little more but it won’t need replacing when interior design trends change and the craftsmanship means that the kitchen will be more robust and will last longer. In fact, traditional materials such as granite, quartz and marble are really durable and are a low maintenance option that will last a lifetime.
Lighting is a relatively easy –and low-cost! – way to inject a feeling of luxury into a space. It’s also important to consider lighting in order to create the right balance of functionality and ambience in the kitchen. Kitchens in apartments tend to be tucked away and may not have much natural light but there are lots of options out there that can help make the space feel bigger and provide enough light for any task.
Pendant lights, especially those that can be pulled down over the dining table or over the kitchen island, add that wow factor to the kitchen and can create a relaxing ambience for meals in the open place space. Under-cabinet lighting is perfect for food preparation in low light situations and you can buy LED strips relatively cheaply. These can sometimes be battery-powered or simply plug-in, so you won’t need to pay for an electrician to install them; just attach them to the underside of the cabinets and turn them on.
Creating the perfect kitchen is all about planning and shopping around for the finishes, colours and features that you feel is right for your kitchen. You’ve got to live with it, after all! And when your dream kitchen is finally finished you’ll have a functional and comfortable space to enjoy, which will last for many years and can add thousands to the value of your home. Let me know if you have any ideas or tips for adding luxury touches to your kitchen by leaving me a comment below. Thanks to Mayfair Granite for collaborating with me.
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