One of These Kitchens Cost $10K More Than the Other

“But they look exactly the same!” I hear you say.

Yes, they do!

These kitchens may look the same but their prices are very different. The number of cabinets is the same. The cabinet doors are the same. The cabinets are all the same size. They have all been constructed to the same high standard. So where was the money saved?

It is what is on the inside of these kitchens that determines the price. However, just because one costs less does not mean it is low quality, just that the budget of the owner was lower.

One kitchen includes many internal additions such as a lazy Susan in the corner cabinet, pull out pantry, hidden spice storage, secret cutlery drawer and corner access system. It also has a natural stone benchtop and high-end appliances.

As helpful and handy as these items are, they quickly increase the overall price of a kitchen.

These features are not necessarily expensive in themselves, but if every cupboard has a bespoke storage system, you will find your kitchen budget blown out of the water.

How do you avoid kitchen budget blowout? Here are some areas where overspending can creep up on you. Paring back or switching materials can save a lot of money.

Corner Access Systems and Pull-Out Pantries

Corner access systems are a marvellous invention. They allow better use of otherwise difficult to access corner cabinets, but they are not always necessary. A small change to your kitchen layout can remove the need for any corner cabinets in the first place. A galley layout instead of a U shaped kitchen may seem like it offers less storage space, but it increases the easily accessible storage space. In some cases, it can improve workflow in the kitchen also. Talk to your kitchen designer about the possibilities.

Pullout pantries are fantastic for small kitchens, but better storage systems can be created for far less per square meter in medium to large kitchens.

Hidden Storage

It is not expensive to hide storage, however, if every wall has a secret cabinet behind it with a fancy mechanism to reveal it, then you are going to find yourself spending more than you bargained for. Talk to your designer and make a plan regarding the main appliances you need quick access to and design the storage to fit them.

Natural and Reconstituted Stone Benchtops

Stone is a glorious product, but it comes at a price and these days it is possible to fake it quite effectively. If you have a length of benchtop between two tall cabinets it is particularly easy to gain a natural effect with high-pressure laminate that only gives itself away when the product is touched! The increase in the rendering power of computers is largely to thank for this breakthrough. Where the same stone pattern used to be repeated every 300mm or so, now huge areas are rendered making the final product appear as nuanced as the real thing. Texture is also added for a final trick to fool the eye.


A friend of mine was recently in an electrical goods showroom, he’d been talked into buying a fancy television with a curved screen and all sorts of other whizz-bang features. While he had been given a tremendous reduction in the price, it was still a hugely expensive purchase. Just as the credit card went through, the knot in his stomach created by spending so much got too large to ignore and he insisted the transaction be reversed.

He eventually walked out of the shop with a television that was one-third of the price of the one with fancy features – he and his family are delighted with the new television and do not miss the additional features the other model offered.

The moral of this story? There’s always going to be something better out there. A bigger reduction, nine more features, a slightly larger remote – but do you need it? Probably not. Decide what you need (in collaboration with your experienced designer), and which brand you trust to provide those needs, do your research and make your purchase.

Fittings – Handles and Tapware.

If you are shaking your head in disbelief it is clear that you haven’t done any research in this area yet. Prices quickly go from affordable to astronomical. As with appliances, it is imperative that you decide early on the look you want and research a workable budget to get that look and don’t allow yourself to be stretched beyond that.

How to Avoid Kitchen Budget Blowout

A great kitchen is a kitchen that is prepared for life as you live it. To avoid kitchen budget blowout, do your research into how you want your kitchen to work for you. A great place to start is to consider the kitchens you have lived with and the good and terrible aspects of those – what do you want to replicate, what do you want to avoid? Ask your friends what they appreciate in a kitchen and what they do not, this may help you navigate your own thoughts on kitchen design and features.

When in doubt, your kitchen designer is there to help. If you have done the research and prepared a file (electronic or paper) full of looks you like, your designer will help you pull the ideas together for a kitchen that fits your life and your style.