Design your perfect kitchen on a tight budget

I have a confession.. My kitchen is a copy cat. But aren’t they all?

When designing my kitchen, I wanted to ensure that the ideas in my head were understood. So I went searching for a picture that replicated what I wanted to do in my own space and found the following picture on Pinterest (posted by originally by PIRRELLO DESIGN ASSOCIATES).

Found on ‘Hipages’ at

The layout and colours were already similar to what I had in mind.  I liked the lights, drawer handles and shape of the canopy in this photo, and it meant I had a visual that I could refer back to.

This is my kitchen:

My kitchen #1

My kitchen

Obviously it’s  not exactly the same. My oven is in the wall, I chose different tap ware and I have the waterfall edge on my breakfast bar .

I opted for a double sink without a fixed draining board because I think draining boards are ugly. This is an Abey undermount double sink package which came with the tap ware, a removable draining board and chopping board which can both slot in to cover one side of the sink which I love. I pile all the dirty stuff in one side of the extra deep sinks or put it straight into the dishwasher. It’s nice not to have to look at dirty dishes.

The splashback is from Reflections. It is a DIY alternative to glass so can be installed behind a gas cook top. You have to cut it down to size yourself. We used the cardboard that it came packaged in to make a template. They offer free delivery to most of Australia. It cost us approx. $700 delivered. We chose ‘nomad metallic’.

Most of my kitchen is drawers except the pantry, above the bench and underneath the sink. It makes plates, pots and pans easy to get to when you can pull a draw out and makes everything a little more tidier.

I opted for smaller handles on the cupboard doors. I don’t think they need to be big and they look less intrusive. I put the larger handles on all of the drawers.

We saved thousands of dollars on our kitchen by going straight to the companies that supply the kitchen companies.

We drew up a basic plan on a piece of paper (with the heights, depths and widths of the cupboards and drawers, and the height of the kicks along the bottom and the bulkheads along the top) and took it to our local ply and wood store who cut the boards and doors and sold it to us in a flat pack. My husband installed the kitchen himself. It cost approximately $3400 for all the panels, shelves, doors, drawers and hinges. However, it doesn’t come with instructions so you do need a bit of DIY skill to put it together.

We got our stone top from a stone mason/Granite supply business near us who supplies the kitchen companies. We chose our colour from his samples and showed him our plan so that he could order the correct number of slabs. We required 3- the bench along the wall (1), the breakfast bar (2) and the two waterfalls on the sides of the breakfast bar (3). He ordered the three slabs and once our cupboards were installed he came back and checked measurements. A week later he came back to install them. It took 5 guys to carry the stone in (it was that heavy). They buffed and polished it all on site and glued our sink in. For the three slabs including installation it cost us $3740. We chose Quantum Quartz Designer Stone in ‘Tornado’ with a 40mm pencil round edge.

Total cost of our kitchen without the appliances was just over $7,000. Iv been told to have the equivalent installed by a kitchen company it would have cost us well over $10,000.

I got the new fridge, range hood, cook top and double wall oven all from The Good Guys for $5000- all Westinghouse. I went and had a look at their display and worked out which brand and models that I wanted, then I went home and searched for the best prices. I went back to the Good Guys and showed them the prices that I could get elsewhere. They could only knock a further $5 off each appliance to get the sale but overall I got them all for a couple of hundred dollars cheaper than their ticket prices.

My tips and advice:

  • Get quiet/soft closing hinges.
  • If you get a shiny finish on your cupboards and drawers and you have children, expect to be constantly wiping their fingerprints.
  • Put your bin in a cupboard next to the dishwasher.
  • A double oven will allow you to cook dinner and dessert at the same time without smells mixing.
  • Don’t make the benches next to your cooktop too small.
  • Steer clear of glass pendant lights. Flies love them and leave their ‘marks’ behind which you will also be forever cleaning.

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