Kitchen Remodels: Where to Splurge and Where to Save – DezignSpace

Kitchen Remodels: Where to Splurge and Where to Save

If you’re considering a kitchen remodel (or you’re in the middle of one), you’ve likely made the discovery that everything from cabinets and flooring to appliances and countertops all come in a pretty wide variety of price points. The key to any kitchen remodel is knowing how to best allocate your resources while keeping your budget in check. So, how do you decide what’s worth the splurge and when it’s best to save? 💰


Ultimately, how you divide your budget should depend on what matters most to you, so it’s important to think about how you’ll use your kitchen. For example, a gourmet chef (or an aspiring one) can justify a larger budget for appliances and splurge on a pricey professional range. If you love to entertain, then a warming drawer and wine fridge may be seen as essentials. A growing family needs storage for days, so the extra spent on full-extension drawers and rollout shelves is a worthy investment.

Generally speaking, there are a few areas where you should definitely spend a more significant portion of the budget and others where it’s perfectly okay to cut back. 


Let’s dive in:



When it comes to budgeting for any space, you want to spend a bigger portion of your budget on the ‘wow’ items — the things you first notice in a space.

Consider large splurges for the types of things you’ll use daily, pieces that will hold their value or will increase the overall worth of your home.

Don’t feel guilty about splurging on the things that will “make” your room — just make sure they’re worth what you’re spending and will serve you well over time. Keep in mind that “splurging” doesn’t mean overspending; it simply means prioritizing where you put your funds. 


Here are a few examples:



Your kitchen likely gets used daily, so investing in well-made cabinets is a smart move. A place to splurge here is on functionality, so be sure to choose cabinetry with soft close doors/drawers and multi-function hinges, which is something that has evolved from being a luxury to a must-have for convenience and resale.

Also, high-quality cabinets can be refinished, and hardware can be replaced if you ever decide to give your kitchen a refresh. Remember: cheap cabinets will always look cheap, no matter how nice your hardware or countertops are.

PRO TIP: If you’re looking to maximize space, it’s worth the extra cost to have your wall cabinets built up to the ceiling, as it will give you much more storage. Another extra feature you don’t want to overlook: powered cabinets and drawers.





Countertops are among the most prominent visual elements in the kitchen, and funds should be allocated accordingly. Like cabinetry, they bear the brunt of daily use, from hot pans to sharp knives, and it’s generally considered a smart investment to spend a bit more on countertops that will hold up well over time. Word to the wise: more often than not, homeowners regret not spending more. That’s not to say that there aren’t ways to splurge while staying on budget.

Having flexibility in the type of stone or color ranges you’re interested in can help. Also, if you call around to a couple of stone yards, you’ll likely find one with a remnant they’re willing to let go of at a lower cost.

PRO TIP: SKIP the butcher block and actual concrete countertops! Concrete costs a fortune, stains, cracks, and requires some serious support systems, while butcher block presents significant maintenance issues, from splitting to the need for consistent oiling. Who really wants MORE on their to-do list? There are other less expensive materials that you can use as an alternative; for example, quartz is a fantastic and budget-conscious option. 



Cheaply-made, inexpensive faucets simply won’t hold up to typical everyday use without significant wear and tear, resulting in a short lifespan and the inevitability of needing to purchase a replacement.

You’ll likely end up saving money in the long run by investing in a top-quality faucet; plus, they really do look SO much nicer. 🤩


Bar/Counter Stools 

These are some of the most used and abused pieces in your home and should be able to withstand a lot of wear and tear.

If you want an upholstered style, look for durable, stain-resistant fabrics, which might cost a little more but will last much longer. If you want something that you can easily move in and out of, you should definitely get something with four legs or a sled base.

PRO TIP: Get stools with a back! You and your guests will thank us later.




Often, the first thing you notice in a room, lighting, has the power to elevate a space from average-looking to show-stopping.

Think of it like the jewelry of the home, a worthy investment that adds drama and excitement.

This is true whether we are talking about pendants over the island to recessed ambient lighting, and even under and over-cabinet lights- you’d be amazed at how well they add that extra special something.



Once you’ve earmarked the bigger portion of your budget for the most essential pieces, divvy up what’s left for the extras: items that are available at a broad spectrum of price points and are easily switched out or can be upgraded later. Also, instead of buying trendy finishes, follow trends in accessories. 

Here are a few areas where you can skimp:






Select Kitchen Appliances

As previously mentioned, unless you are a gourmet chef, you really don’t need to spend a ton of cash on appliances. You will, however, want to maximize your investment by selecting a reliable fridge. Still, you can cut back by choosing a less expensive range hood, particularly if it’s going to be concealed. Don’t be tempted to fall into the “brag buy” category: the focus here should be on finding well-reviewed appliances that accommodate your needs, nothing more, nothing less. 



You also don’t necessarily need to invest in a high-end, luxury sink, as many basic options will likely serve you just fine.

While a sink may see a lot of action, there are plenty of highly durable stainless steel options that look great and can be purchased for a few hundred dollars. 



Since you’ll be splurging on countertops, it’s okay to save by cutting back on its sidekick: the backsplash.

True, continuous stone running up from the countertop to the wall is stunning, but it certainly comes with an equally impressive price tag. Instead, use more economical options, like ceramic tile or glass, for your backsplash.

Keep in mind, regardless of what you choose, it needs to be able to stand the test of time and the occasional vigorous cleaning. You can also be mindful of where you truly need the backsplash and how high it needs to go on the wall.

No matter how expensive the material is, remember that the more area it covers, the higher the labor and material cost.




Replacing the hardware on every cabinet door and drawer can add up quickly, especially if you have a large kitchen. There’s no need to purchase the priciest options when you can easily elevate the look of your space with more affordable hardware, so this is a great place to help keep the budget in line. This doesn’t mean you should lurk over the clearance bins- you still need them to perform well.


Decor and Accessories

There’s no need to blow your budget when it comes to decorative accents, like vases, decorative bowls, and serving trays. Simply invest in a few special, unique pieces that you love. It’s all about the final overall look, and no one can really tell the difference between high and low-end.

This is a great place to buy whatever trend of the moment is appealing to you, and you won’t feel guilty about it when something you like better comes along.

Feel free to pour over local consignment/Facebook marketplace ads for really unique finds on the cheap.


Remember, when it comes to gaining clarity on allocating your funds, begin by considering cost vs. value- both in terms of how you use your kitchen and/or the ROI if the plan is to eventually sell your home.  


Be sure to check out the Kitchen Remodel Budget Worksheet in The Library to use as a guide for your own project. 

Happy Planning! 🙂

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