Kitchen Facelift Costs (Cheaper Than a Renovation)

A newly renovated kitchen

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October 9, 2023

Fed up staring at the same old scruffy kitchen cabinets and scratched worktops? Yet you can’t afford a complete replacement kitchen or renovation? Then there’s a less expensive way to give your kitchen a new, more updated look –a kitchen facelift.

Certainly, the kitchen is one of the most popular places to upgrade, especially since it’s used for all manner of activities, from cooking, eating, snacking, chatting, doing homework and just generally hanging out. Giving it a facelift rather than going down the road of an entire kitchen renovation means you’ll save money, there’ll be less mess and you’ll still feel like you have a new kitchen at the end of the day.

How much does a kitchen facelift cost UK?

As you might imagine, the cost of a kitchen facelift varies depending on the size of your existing kitchen, the materials you use, and how long your kitchen fitter spends on it. We’ll cover those points later in this article, but in the meantime, you may be wondering exactly what a kitchen facelift actually is.

What is a Kitchen Facelift?

A kitchen facelift involves adding small – but noticeable – touches to an existing kitchen. Little changes that can have a big impact, such as retaining the kitchen cabinets but replacing the doors. It could also mean simply respraying the cabinet doors a different colour, or changing the type of paint from gloss to matt.

Then again, a change of worktop, some new lighting and swapping the dinner table for a kitchen island can also make a big impact. These little changes can serve to make your old kitchen look better and, in many cases, make the existing kitchen feel like a new one.

Kitchen Facelift Vs Renovation

One big difference between a kitchen facelift and an entire kitchen renovation is that the former is far more cost-effective. A facelift usually involves doing up your kitchen on a budget to save money, whereas a renovation means splashing out thousands of pounds on new kitchen cabinets, an island, brand new appliances, lighting, flooring… you get the picture.

In other words, a kitchen facelift is about reusing and redoing whereas a kitchen renovation is buying new (or, at least introducing additional furniture or new appliances) and starting again from scratch, where you’re replacing the kitchen’s layout and perhaps even function. By the time you have replaced all the white goods too your average costs will hit the £10,000 to £20,000 mark.

With a kitchen facelift – as opposed to a renovation – you will also notice that there is far less disruption to your everyday routine. Unlike, with a kitchen renovation, the whole family won’t need to decamp and eat take-away while the work is being done. Nor will there be a mess being trailed through the rest of the house. No, the great thing about a kitchen makeover is that it can be done in stages so that life can continue as normal, with any disruption kept to a minimum.

A kitchen facelift is also easier to implement since it means you can keep an eye on every stage of the process, meaning you – rather than your kitchen fitters – retain overall control of the entire process. It also allows you to make changes as you work. For instance, you may decide, while you’re painting the walls, that you’d like blackboard paint or stencils instead of straightforward matt paint.

A brown kitchen

Average Cost Estimates

One of the bigger costs when it comes to replacing or remodelling an old kitchen, is the cabinets. New cabinetry can come in at anything from £5,000 to £7,000 for an average off-the-shelf version. The good news is that you will save a fortune on this when embarking on a kitchen facelift. That’s because, all you have to do is replace the cabinet doors, leaving the shells intact. This can provide enough of an alteration in itself to make your kitchen feel like new (the cabinet shells aren’t on display so aren’t noticeable anyway). At the same time, you can add new drawer fronts and handles. It’s a far more cost-effective way to bring your cabinets up-to-date.

Another big change for an old kitchen is to replace the worktops. These can be purchased cheaply enough and even fitted on top of the existing worktops in some cases.

To make sure the costs of your new kitchen facelift remain within budget it’s best to sit down and plan everything out from the beginning. That means what you’ll buy and what it will roughly cost. That way you’re less likely to go overboard with your spending, as well as make sure you prioritise certain aspects.

Factors Influencing the Cost of a Kitchen Facelift

Essential items, such as a new cooker or double fridge-freezer, should be planned and costed first. You can then take the rest of your budget and spend it on the remaining kitchen areas. That way you’ll know if you have enough for cabinet doors and new worktops after the important money has been allocated. Perhaps you can only afford the cabinets at this point, for instance, and the worktop replacements will have to wait until another time. This flexibility is actually another benefit of embarking on a kitchen facelift as opposed to a kitchen renovation.

Kitchen Size and Layout

Changing the layout will obviously have an effect on the cost of your new kitchen make-over, as will the size of the kitchen itself. Most large kitchens these days have an open-plan aspect, with the old ‘triangular’ design now consigned to the back cupboard, as it were. A small kitchen is often more suited to a galley or L-shaped design.

A very clean kitchen

Material Choices

You can keep within budget by purchasing materials that look like the real thing ie worktops that resemble marble, quartz or other quality materials, but that are produced from acrylic. These aren’t just cheaper to buy, but also easier to maintain.

Replacement vs. Refinishing

Spray painting cabinet doors, or adding a laminate finish to completely transform them, will always be far more economical than purchasing new cabinet units from scratch.

Labour Costs

Average costs when it comes to labour for your kitchen facelift depend, of course, of what you’ve having done. You can expect most tradespeople to charge per day or project size for this type of project.

Additional Features and Upgrades

Soft-closing doors and drawers are a nice touch for a contemporary kitchen facelift. And, because the doors and drawers won’t be slammed shut, means they’ll last for last. New handles can also make a much bigger difference than you may imagine.

Don’t always opt for wooden cabinet door units in neutral colours either. These days there are an amazing number of vibrant or dark laminate cabinet doors to choose from.

Cost of Cabinets

Replacement cabinet doors will be far less expensive than complete new cabinetry. But they’ll look just as good – the reason being they will be measured and built specially to fit the remaining cabinet unit shells. They’ll also be installed expertly.

Countertop Costs

Laminate worktops tend to be more long-lasting than other types. But they don’t exactly ‘sing out’ when you walk into the kitchen. Marble and granite worktops do – but they’re expensive, with the average cost of a single worktop easily exceeding £1,000.

What you could do though is invest in quartz (a hardwearing and less expensive marble alternative). Or, if you’ve set your heart on granite, then get a granite top with the remainder of the worktop being a less expensive material.

Then again, solid granite and quartz countertops can be recut, so if you buy these second-hand you may be able to save a fortune, but still get the glamour.

Flooring Expenses

Flooring expenses will take into account labour costs as well as the cost of the new vinyl floor tiles, sanded and varnished floorboards, tiles etc. This will normally be charged as a project rate.

Appliance and Fixture Upgrades

If your kitchen appliances are perfectly serviceable then just continue to use them. Why replace a fridge, cooker etc when it still has many years left it in?

Labour and Installation Costs

Doing some of the preparation work yourself, such as painting or scraping wallpaper, pulling off tiles and lifting flooring will save on labour costs.

DIY vs. Professional Facelift

It’s possible to do the tiling, painting, and even upgrade the worktops yourself. In doing so, you’ll save cash. But do you really have the expertise, not to mention the time? Often a botched job costs far more in the long-term to fix.

Timing and Project Duration

Again, the project involved will determine how long the job takes but whereas a kitchen renovation will be at least a week, a facelift can be achieved in a few days.

Design and Style Choices

Consider buying one fantastic item, such as an aga, kitchen island or beautiful worktops and work the rest of the kitchen around them. A mix of quality and budget buys usually works well.

Tips for Cost Savings

You may have good floorboards underneath that tired old vinyl. Sand and varnish them and you may have a beautiful new kitchen floor for a fraction of the price of new boards.

Instead of fitting doors on all cabinet shells, insert horizontal wood panels for a cost-effective and modern open-shelving look.

Consider buying ex-display counter tops or cabinets as you’ll get them reduced – most won’t even have a mark on them. By the same token, consider waiting for the sales to come around and nab a bargain.

Hiring Someone for a Kitchen Facelift

Let The Page curate you a free bespoke shortlist of tradespeople suited to you and your job.

Get quotes from several trusted and reliable kitchen fitters or tradesmen operating in your area. At The Page, we vet all our tradesmen face to face. This allows us to take a look at their previous work and check any reviews. We can also check if they are a member of a reputable trade association.

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