Kitchen on a Budget: How to Have a Functional Kitchen at a Low Cost
Updated: Sep 7
Like many of you know, it's already hard enough to find a flat in cities like Berlin and Hamburg, and to the surprise of some of us, flats here don't always come with a kitchen...
If you're flat hunting, you've probably already weighed up the cost of buying a new kitchen and found out they're quite expensive. After the plumbing, electrical work, mechanical requirements as well as the other extra costs you're left with the feeling that you have to break the bank to get a new one.
Designing a kitchen on a budget does take some skill but it's not impossible and it's easier than what you think. You can still have a high-end feel but with a low-end cost if you follow a few tips I've listed below.
1) Buy the most economic kitchen based and wall units
First things first, you need to take some measurements and understand the space you have.
A great kitchen will not only look aesthetically nice, but it should also include all the storage space you need - and more.
If you have any doubts about the standard dimensions of units or appliances, you can always find this information online but know that the depth of a kitchen is 60cm on average.
Now if you are finding it extremely difficult to do this all on your own, don't panic. IKEA has a kitchen planner service online which helps you to design a plan for your future kitchen as long as you have the measurements of the room. It’s free and easy to use, and it will allow you to understand how much space you have and what you can fit in.
The second thing to remember is that when you're buying your kitchen units is to pay attention to the finishes, (doors, drawers, handles) as this is where the price can easily go up.
You can massively reduce the cost of your kitchen by getting a basic white matt finish and then customising it yourself to achieve the look you want.
Kitchens storages are mainly a combination of base and wall units, that are made up of a carcass and a door, or drawer fronts.
Your carcass is the cheapest part, the one you don't see when the door is shut, comprising the sides, shelves, back and base panels and so on.
Now, if you really want to lower the cost you can leave the wall units exposed or just purchase shelves instead.
I’ve gathered some inspiration pictures of exposed wall units which I hope will help you to see the potential.
So now you’re probably wondering: where do I get my base and wall units from?
Well, IKEA offers a really good ready-made combination which only requires you to purchase separately a kitchen mixer tap and appliances.
It's not only a time saver but also a very cost-effective option if all you need is the strict minimum for your kitchen.
You can check their range, KNOXHULT (2) which starts from 200€.
A ready-made combination can also be a great starting point to create your own solution by combining modules on your own. Most kitchens work on a modules system basis which means you can add as many units as you want to fit your space/needs. But remember to purchase modules from the same range or aesthetically it might not look nice.
The range METOD (3) from IKEA is also a good one to look at if you are interested in making your own combination with your own finishes. It will allow you to purchase the carcass of your units and you can then upgrade the doors from a different range, such as:
VEDDINGE (4) (from 13€/door)
AXSTAD (5) (from 35€/door)
BODARP (6) (from 35€/door)
ASKERSUND (7) (from 13€/door) and more.
Not to mention that you can also upgrade your kitchen handles.
2) Get a laminate worktop and vinyl splashback
Worktops and splashbacks can account for around 20 to 30 per cent of the visual area of your kitchen so I think it is safe to say that they can make or break a look.
Choose the wrong worktop for the cabinets and your kitchen can lose its style but having a small budget doesn't mean your kitchen can’t still look nice.
Again, worktops and splashbacks can be extremely expensive depending on the quality of the materials you pick.
Laminate worktops have become one of the most popular options on the market as they offer the best value for money.
Easy to clean and maintain, laminate can mimic natural materials such as wood or any composite. However bear in mind that it isn't resistant to heat or steam, nor it can be used as a cutting surface.
SALJAN (11) (from 40€), and EKBACKEN (12) (from 40€) are two of IKEA’s ranges that you can look at if you wish to add a little extra without going off-budget. You can also go for a classic white matt finish with their range LILLTRASK (13) (from 30€).
Bauhaus (14) also offers a various range of laminate worktops. So it can be a good idea to compare the cheapest options between the two.
Another part that is crying out to be added or at least changed when designing your new kitchen is the tiles. Now while you can buy gorgeous cheap tiles and grout, but it can be a pain to install or even remove without damaging the walls.
A vinyl roll or stickers can be the perfect way to cover your ugly splashback or get a stylish brand new one at a lower price. They are usually waterproof, heat resistant and an easy way to change the look of a kitchen without having to call the builders in.
A great website to look at is BEIJA FLOR (15), which is not the cheapest option on the market but they do have beautiful products, from mosaic tiles to concrete and terrazzo effect.
LIKE A COLOR (16) is another website for adhesive coating and decorative stickers, that can also be used to customise your kitchen doors with a touch of colour.
3) Reuse your old furniture
Recycling your old furniture can also be a cost-effective option for your kitchen. Of course, this will vary depending on what you have with you and what you need but it can be a little DIY project.
For instance, instead of buying a brand new freestanding island, you can transform an old table or shelf unit into one by sanding and repainting it.
To get this sort of inspiration, Pinterest is an amazing portal whether it's for a DIY project or mood board, you can always find lots of hacks and ideas on there.
4) Buy cheap kitchen appliances and kitchen tap/sink
Don’t settle on those that can be included or suggested in a ready-made combination kitchen because it is rarely the cheapest option. Despite it being easier, shopping around and comparing prices can be in your favour to save money. Here is a list of few places where you can purchase at a reduced price:
Victorian plumbing is an online UK based company offering a variety of products to match your design style, and they deliver across Europe.
Wayfair is an American company based in Boston. They have many home products, from the kitchen to the bathroom, for all styles and budgets. They’ve got their own German website which makes it easier to order from.
Saturn.de has some good online deals for kitchen appliances from fridges, to oven, stoves and so much more.
Quelle is another place where you can shop your kitchen appliances.
The last but not least option is buying second-hand appliances. The prices will always be cheaper than buying new, and it can be a more eco-friendly way of creating your kitchen, but again it does require some time and patience.
Now, can you fit your own new kitchen?
It can be a fairly simple job to fit your new kitchen on a DIY basis but it can be worth calling in a professional when it comes to fitting your worktop or anything that requires electric, plumbing or mechanical manoeuvres as doing it yourself can result in some costly mistakes.
If you are unsure what to do and how much it will cost you, Co-Tasker is here to help and guide you.
On Co-Tasker you simply need to post a free task ad describing what you need help with (you can also add pictures too), set a date/time and add a budget. Or, if you're unsure how much to charge you can also leave it up to the professional Co-Taskers to send you a quote based on your task.
The nice thing about Co-Tasker is that once you've posted your task ad, Co-Taskers will send you offers to choose from. After you've compared reviews and profiles, and selected a Co-Tasker to work with your payment is reserved.
Once the Co-Tasker has completed your task to your satisfaction, you release the payment before giving them a rating.
And there you have it, a fully functioning kitchen that doesn't break the bank!
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Laurine Lalande is an Interior Designer with much experience in commercial projects. Previously, Laurine worked as a visual merchandiser for many retail brands in the United Kingdom. She graduated with honours from Middlesex University in London with a Degree in Interior Design & Architecture.