Design | Kitchens - Where to save and where to spend

A new kitchen is always a big expense, so you want to get it right, but where can you make your budget go further and where should you buy the best you can afford? In this blog post Kat Fulford, one of the kitchen designers at Sims Hilditch, shares her expert advice.

Where to save…

If appliances are going to be integrated don’t feel obliged to invest in top-of-the-range makes. Since they are not going to be on sight it is fine to choose any brand you like and trust.

At Sims Hilditch we favour natural stone worktops . However, if you are opting for quartz try an independent stonemasons, which will usually have its own range that is cheaper than well-known brands such as Corian. Another way to save money is by mixing materials. 

It is best to use stone around the sink, hob and oven, but in areas such as an island with no water or heat consider using solid timber, which is much less expensive and looks very smart. One of our favourite sources of wall tiles is Marlborough Tiles (, but there is so much choice for every budget. Just make sure whatever tiles you choose have a good layer of glaze otherwise they will be vulnerable to chips. It is the same with cupboard handles. Provided whatever you choose is made from a solid material such as brass or oak it should look good and last.

Where to spend...

Don’t try to save money on cabinetry . Budget melamine-lined cabinets are not robust and will fail over time. Well-made, solid timber cabinets are strong and if they do become damaged they are easy to repair. Also, you can repaint solid timber doors and change the handles to create a totally new look, giving the kitchen real longevity.

With taps you really do get what you pay for. A low-priced tap will soon start to drip or wobble cheapening the look of the kitchen. We like Lefroy Brooks and Quooker. It is worth spending a little more on lighting to create different levels of light and give the kitchen a more decorative, homely look. As well as spotlights try placing pendants over an island or adding wall lights.

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