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Here’s how to revamp your kitchen without keeping your bank manager up


Redoing or adding to your kitchen is one of the most popular home improvements. It is also up there with one of the top ways to add value to your property.

The amount of work to be carried out will determine the materials you need and whether or not you will also need to purchase new appliances.

This means the cost of renovating a normal, family-sized kitchen currently starts at around R40,000 and – if not kept in check – can run to well over R140,000.

Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of bond originator BetterLife Home Loans, says that while homeowners may not want to cut corners or skimp on some of the best modern kitchen fittings and finishes, it’s worth considering a few tips to get more bang for your buck.

Don’t move the kitchen sinkkitchen-sink

Avoid relocating doors and windows and try to also keep your appliances and wash-up sink in the same positions. This will help you avoid expensive plumbing and electrical work.

Hold off on a new toaster

If your appliances work, consider not buying new ones until later, when you can afford to buy them “in bulk” or all from one maker so that they all match and give your kitchen that streamlined, high-end look.

Shop around

Before you make a definite decision, browse through a wide variety of cupboard and drawer options online and in DIY and décor stores. This will help you plan the best use of the available space.

Choose what to customisekitchen-handles

Avoid having things custom made if possible. Buy standard units instead, and standard-width countertops that don’t need extensive fitting. Customise them with your own choice of drawer and door handles.

A space to work on

Consider modern, durable laminates for work surfaces instead of granite or marble as they are much cheaper and less difficult to install or replace.

One for the record

Consider modern vinyl options for floors instead of ceramic tiles. They are easy to lay and clean, less slippery than tiles, and usually less costly.

The writing’s on the wallskitchen-backsplash

If you are tiling the walls, choose a neutral, easy-to-match colour without patterned inserts, and liven things up with a different colour or material for the backsplashes.

Shaun Rademeyer, BetterLife Home Loans.

Shaun Rademeyer, BetterLife Home Loans.

“Do some relentless comparative shopping before you start any work, and make sure to go through every item with your contractor and nail it down so you are not tempted to make impulsive and potentially costly changes along the way,” says Rademeyer. “And finally, if you are really short on funds, you might want to consider some cosmetic changes that can make a huge difference – and inexpensively.

“These include sanding and repainting your cabinets in a classic neutral shade; repainting the walls in a toning shade; hanging new curtains or blinds; installing bright new lights, retiling or refinishing the backsplashes and removing the countertop clutter.


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