‘Clever’ tips to make kitchens look 10 times more expensive

Mark Millar shares his tips for minimalist kitchens

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A luxurious kitchen can often feel like a pipe dream, something many wistfully long for but don’t see as an attainable reality. Households have probably brainstormed ideas around how to make a kitchen look expensive before, but given up at the prospect of having to break the bank in order to achieve the dreamy aesthetic they want. The wonderful news is that homeowners can learn how to make their kitchen look expensive on a budget, and create the illusion of a rich designer kitchen without spending loads of cash. Experts have shared the best – and most affordable – ways to make your kitchen look more lavish. Whether you want Scandinavian inspired decor or an eclectic mix of decor styles, keep reading to learn how to make your kitchen look expensive even when on a budget.

Ruth Lavender, Design Expert, Benchmarx Kitchens and Joinery said: “Working to a budget does not mean you have to forgo thoughts of a designer kitchen. 

“Simply choosing clever combinations of cabinetry, worktops, lighting and appliances make it possible to create an expensive feel without overstepping on costs.”

Ben Burbidge, Managing Director at Kitchen Makers, agreed: “You don’t have to spend a lot of money on making your kitchen look more expensive. It’s all about choosing the right touches in the right areas.”

Hang curtains high

Expensive kitchens will typically have high ceilings and large windows, but there’s a simple trick to emulate this if your kitchen doesn’t have these. 

Hanging your curtains or blinds up high will instantly give your kitchen a more grandiose appearance.  Gareth Coxall, Creative and Marketing Director of Terrys, said: “Simply hang your curtains up high, as close to the ceiling as you can to create a spacious effect. Doing this will draw the eye upwards, making the room appear both larger and taller, increasing the value of the space.”

Update the taps

Upgrading taps is an easy hack for how to make kitchens look expensive. Taps can make a surprising difference to a space, and stylish designs provide an opportunity to turn the functional into decorative. 

Gold taps add a splash of opulence, whereas brass fixtures bring a touch of vintage charm. Sleek black matte taps are a great choice for modern kitchens. 

Add luxurious lighting 

It’s no secret that lighting can transform a room, and a well-lit kitchen looks a lot more expensive than a poorly lit one. There are plenty of kitchen lighting features to choose from, but linear pendants and chandeliers are perfect for hanging above the dining table, and wall lights can flood the room and help open up the space.

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Mike Head, Director, Atlas Ceramics, advised: “Adhesive strip LED lights are perfect for creating a sophisticated atmosphere in your kitchen when you are hosting. You can place them above your hob, or under your cupboards for a cheap alternative to installing downlighters.”

Paint kitchen cabinets

For those who have tired looking cabinets, learn how to make a kitchen look expensive by refreshing them with a lick of paint. Mike said: “You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes. The cabinets are a big chunk of the kitchen’s overall look and feel, and if you’re not ready to install replacement kitchen doors, re-painting them is a cost-friendly alternative.

“Soft pinks and sage greens pair gorgeously with white countertops. Or if you’re looking to be more experimental try a sleek black or earthy terracotta.”

Bring in artwork 

Artwork can make any room look more expensive, but it’s often neglected in kitchen decor ideas. Don’t get hung up on the price either; there’s lots of beautiful artwork out there that doesn’t cost the earth. A framed painting of a favourite place would bring a nice personal touch to the kitchen.

Alternatively, why not bring some family photos into the kitchen for an extra special touch. Households could have these printed in black and white so they feel a little more design-savvy. 

Lucy Henderson, Head of Design, My Bespoke Room noted: “Using your own photography will not only save you money but make your kitchen truly unique and personal. A great little hack is to use leftover paint samples to paint the frame mount, which will make it look 10 times more expensive.”

Consider glass cupboards

Mike advised: “If you have a small kitchen, we’d recommend glass cupboards rather than closed cupboards. Glass cupboards can maximise the natural flow of light in your kitchen, as well as add depth and dimension to add space to a smaller room.”

Households don’t have to switch out all their kitchen doors to glass ones, just consider adding one or two and placing them symmetrically to each other. Use the cupboards with glass doors to store your nicest glasses and dinnerware, and consider installing lights on the inside of the cupboard if the budget can stretch. 

Realise the power of wallpaper

Avalana Simpson, Interior Designer, Avalana Design, said: “Kitchen wallpaper can go way beyond what can be done with paint. Colour, patterns and hand-drawn scenes can add interest and the notion of expense to a small kitchen, delighting the home owner and wowing guests.”

Covering one of your kitchen walls in wallpaper is a go-to solution for how to make your kitchen look expensive and can even create the illusion of more space. Opt for open patterns in light colours or ombre walls to make a space feel bigger and add depth, or rich, dark, large patterns to make a large room feel more intimate.

Use vinyl 

Vinyl is an easy, cost-effective way to update kitchen worktops, but it can also be used on drawers, cupboards, tiles, and floors. It’s a great option if any areas in the kitchen are in need of an upgrade, and it’s a material easy to maintain and keep looking fresh. 

James Mellan-Matulewicz, CEO, Bobbi Beck said: “Vinyl flooring is a reliable choice if you’re looking for an option that is lavish in design but not in price. You can rest easy knowing that you’ve chosen a material that won’t cost you a fortune.”

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