When it’s time to remodel your kitchen you firstly need to decide where to start. There are many options for kitchen design and construction depending on your budget and what type of kitchen you want.

One of the cheapest options is to pop down to your local hardware store and buy some ready-made shelves and cupboards, a kitchen sink and tapware.

Then you and your friends need to invest some time and elbow grease assembling what will ultimately be a cheap and basic kitchen. Don’t expect this kitchen to last forever.

Proprietary cupboards are usually made of melamine-lined particleboard and aren’t designed for hard-wearing conditions or long-term use.

Ikea manufactures modular kitchens that you can also assemble yourself and these are generally more visually pleasing than your hardware store option.

Once again these aren’t designed with longevity in mind but they might be a good option for a cheap and stylish kitchen fit-out.

Another option is to source secondhand kitchen units on eBay or in The Trading Post or similar publications. You can get a really good bargain this way but beware.

Custom-made kitchen cupboards are designed to fit perfectly into a specific room of a specific house and are unlikely to be easily transposed into another home.

Expect to have to cut or extend benchtops and cupboards or build additional units to fill in gaps. This can be time-consuming and frustrating.

For a stress-free kitchen upgrade you’re probably best off speaking to a professional designer or fit-out company who will assist with the layout as well as the selection of finishes and appliances.

This will give you great freedom to purchase the kitchen you really want. It is still possible to purchase your appliances separately if you feel you could get a better deal or if you wish to reuse your existing oven or dishwasher.

The next thing to consider is materials and finishes. As with everything in design, the more money you have at your disposal the better your kitchen will perform over time.

Modern cupboards and shelving are almost always constructed of medium density fibreboard (MDF) with a laminate or veneer finish. Prone to peeling and chipping, this will always be a poor substitute for solid timber but the price difference means that, except for benchtops, timber is rarely used in joinery these days.

New innovations, such as polyurethane coatings, have improved the performance of laminated MDF. Polyurethane can be used to encase cupboard doors and drawer fronts with fewer joints so that peeling is less likely.

Benchtops can be anything from solid stone, reconstituted stone or plastics, laminated MDF or timber. The range of laminates available means that without spending a fortune you can select a finish that emulates stainless steel, timber or expensive stone.

Spend some time looking at kitchen design magazines and around showrooms to find out what is available before you make your final choices.

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