Renovation expert Cherie Barber reveals EXACTLY how much you should spend on a kitchen renovation

Renovation expert Cherie Barber reveals EXACTLY how much you should spend on a kitchen renovation


Leading Australian renovation expert Cherie Barber has revealed exactly how much you should spend on a kitchen renovation to avoid being out of pocket in the long run, and her decor tricks to transform your space, whatever the size. 

TV host Cherie is the brains behind Renovating for Profit, and while she knows that the kitchen is the most expensive room to update, she said all too often people go mad and spend cash they will never be able to recoup.

In order to prevent over-spending and over-capitalising, Cherie recommends you follow the guideline of a simple calculation.

Leading Australian renovation expert Cherie Barber (pictured) has revealed exactly how much you should spend on a kitchen renovation to avoid being out of pocket in the long run

Leading Australian renovation expert Cherie Barber (pictured) has revealed exactly how much you should spend on a kitchen renovation to avoid being out of pocket in the long run

Cherie said you shouldn't spend more than three per cent of the current value of your property if you want to avoid over-capitalising (one of Cherie's kitchen transformations pictured)

Cherie said you shouldn’t spend more than three per cent of the current value of your property if you want to avoid over-capitalising (one of Cherie’s kitchen transformations pictured)

‘If you’re renovating your kitchen and don’t want to risk over-capitalising, then aim to spend no more than three per cent of your current property value (not the original purchase price of your property),’ she wrote on her website.  

What is the calculator you should use for your kitchen?

( Cherie said you should never spend more than three per cent of your current property value on a kitchen renovation. 

* You should not use what you paid for the property as a guide.

* For example, if your current property is valued at $600,000, then you’ll want to spend around $18,000 total to make sure you get back what you put in.

Source: Renovating for Profit 

‘This formula is for a fully finished kitchen, materials and labour included, all said and done.’

Cherie said this rule of thumb is also good to use to avoid ‘under-capitalising’ – where you don’t invest enough money to do the room justice. 

For example, if your current property is valued at $600,000, then you’ll want to spend around $18,000 total to make sure you get back what you put in.

The expert added that if you know you’re going to want to make any structural changes like knocking down walls and altering the floors, then it’s worth knowing that you absolutely won’t be able to stick to a three per cent rule of thumb.

BEFORE: There are plenty of cosmetic changes you can make to a kitchen that make it look instantly better, including painting, laminating and changing the benchtops

BEFORE: There are plenty of cosmetic changes you can make to a kitchen that make it look instantly better, including painting, laminating and changing the benchtops

AFTER: Cherie describes paint as 'liquid gold' in its ability to transform a kitchen, and also said that lighting is another area to think about that can make a big difference

AFTER: Cherie describes paint as ‘liquid gold’ in its ability to transform a kitchen, and also said that lighting is another area to think about that can make a big difference

Once you have your ballpark renovation figure, the next thing Cherie said you need to do is assess your options with renovation.

What are the three tiers of spending?

1. DIY/FLATPACK: $10,000-$20,000 – You have 100 per cent of the project management to do and will buy flat-pack furniture that you will have to install or pay someone to install.

2. CABINETMAKER: $15,000-$30,000 – You will have 50 per cent of the project management control and traditionally a cabninetmaker or builder will look after the rest of it, installing the kitchen.

3. KITCHEN MANUFACTURER: $30,000-$60,000 – This is the most expensive approach and will let you completely out-source the job for full security. 

Cherie said there are three main price tiers for kitchen renovations, and they vary in budget from $10,000 to upwards of $60,000.

Those with a cheaper property might choose the ‘DIY/flat pack approach’, whereby you will have to project manage 100 per cent of the kitchen renovation and can expect to spend between $10,000 and $20,000.

Those with a slightly bigger figure to play with might opt for the cabinetmaker approach.

With this, you control 50 per cent of the project management and builders or cabinetmakers handle the other 50 per cent and generally the installation.

For this approach, you should expect to be spending somewhere between $15,000 and $30,000.

The most expensive approach is to fully out-source your kitchen project to a kitchen manufacturer, which will cost you $30,000 to $60,000. 

‘This is not a problem for a more expensive property but for a lower budget property, will be,’ Cherie said.

As well as this, the expert said you must keep back some cash to allow for unforeseen errors and costs that come up – which happen in every renovation.

‘You should always allow a contingency fund for unknowns/surprises that happen during the construction process, [but] in real life however, very few people have the luxury of doing so,’ Cherie said.

Cherie explained there are three key tiers for kitchen renovations (pictured), which all depend on your budget

Cherie explained there are three key tiers for kitchen renovations (pictured), which all depend on your budget

The expert (pictured) recommends glossy splashbacks as these help to 'bounce the light around' in a kitchen and make it look a little bigger

The expert (pictured) recommends glossy splashbacks as these help to ‘bounce the light around’ in a kitchen and make it look a little bigger

When it comes to decor, the expert said it’s possible to make several tiny cosmetic tweaks that won’t cost you much money, but will make your space look far more expensive.

What are Cherie’s favourite cheap kitchen stores?

* Bunnings – this is great for kitchen additions and decorations. Cherie said it’s also good for first-time renovators, as you can take things back if you change your mind.

* Secondhandkitchens.com.au – This is fantastic for lower-budget properties, according to Cherie.

* Go Flatpacks – also great for kitchen cabinetry.

* Kmart – this one is great for the decorative touches that really pull a kitchen together.

* IKEA – also great for furniture items and modern decorative pieces.

The first is to change your splashbacks and choose a glossy surface, as Cherie said this move will go a long way to ‘bouncing around the light’.

‘When in doubt with paint colours, take your cue from popular Hamptons kitchens, which favour blonde timbers and a pale colour scheme,’ the expert previously told FEMAIL.

Colours like white and pale blue or green will make a small space seem instantly bigger.

Cherie also recommends you get rid of any clutter you have in your kitchen to make it look more streamlined and choosing appliances that are slightly on the smaller side if you need to replace:

‘Just as there are plenty of inventive storage ideas out there, appliance manufacturers have come up compact solutions for just about everything, from single-drawer dishwashers to 300mm wide cooktops and 550mm wide fridges,’ she said. 

Cherie’s favourite haunts for kitchen items include Bunnings Warehouse – which she said is great for additions and decorations and first-time renovators – as well as Kmart and IKEA, which both have the ‘little things’ that can often pull a space together. 

‘Laminate and tile paints are great for refreshing a kitchen without spending much money,’ Cherie said.

‘Bench-top re-surfacing can also help lots too.’

Cherie (pictured) also recommends buying your appliances in bulk to save yourself some money, as there are 'great package deals' around

Cherie (pictured) also recommends buying your appliances in bulk to save yourself some money, as there are ‘great package deals’ around

What are Cherie Barber’s tips for your kitchen? 

1. Change your splashbacks to be glossy as this will help to bounce the light around.

2. Opt for pale colours as they instantly make a small space seem bigger.

3. Get rid of any clutter for a more streamlined look.

4. Go for smaller appliances as these will always look better in a kitchen and bigger is not always better.

5. Bench-top resurfacing, laminating and painting are all cheap ways of improving your kitchen.

6. Buy appliances in bulk to save money and don’t think you need to buy brand names.

7. Think about lighting as this can make or break a kitchen.

8. Negotiate tradies’ pricing before agreeing to their work at an hourly rate. 

Finally, Cherie revealed it’s easier and cheaper to buy your appliances in bulk as you’ll save a lot of cash off the bat and there are ‘great package deals around’. 

She also said you don’t need to buy brand-named appliances, and should be visiting factories and wholesalers rather than convenience stores like Bunnings:

‘I buy my bench tops at a bench top factory for $150. At Bunnings, the same amount would cost me $500,’ Cherie said.

‘You wouldn’t not go direct to the specialist with something else. Why would you do it for your kitchen?’

Similarly, Cherie said you need to ‘shop around’ for flooring and tiles, where factory buying can save you massive sums:

‘Lighting is so important in a kitchen,’ she said.

‘I buy all my LED downlights from an electrical wholesaler for $8.50, and the same thing would cost me $35 in Bunnings.’

Once you actually begin the renovation, it’s important to negotiate a ‘full-package deal with your tradies to avoid paying them hourly rates’.  

‘This sort of thing will often make your budget spiral out of control,’ she said.

To read more from Cherie Barber, you can visit her website here



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