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Kitchen & Bath Mix Master: How to Mix High-End and Budget Buys in One Room


What is a great way to get a real designer look for a fraction of the price? Mixing high end items with budget buys is step number one. Here are my top tips:

  1.  Don’t skimp here. Remodeling a kitchen or bath is an investment, so you should buy the best you can afford for the “workhorse” items. For the kitchen, this means the appliances and cabinetry. For the bath, buying the best plumbing fixtures you can afford should be a priority.
  2. Prioritize what’s important to you. For some people, amazing appliances are a priority. For others, a frameless glass shower is a must have. Just because you go “high end” on appliances, doesn’t mean you have to spend at the same level for the rest of the materials.
  3. Not everything has to be special. Sometimes simple really is better…and less expensive. A great example is 3×6 white subway tile at a kitchen backsplash.  This is a timeless look. These tiles can be found for less than $5/square foot. An average backsplash will cost you less than $200 in materials.
  4. Repurpose. There are some great finds to be hand at antique stores, resale shops, etc. With a little elbow grease, you can turn an old dresser into a vanity or antique light fixture into a showstopper for minimal cost.
  5. Think like an artist, aka consider the big picture. This one is a little tricky, but when I design I think of rooms almost as 3D paintings, considering textures and relative locations of materials. This type of thinking can contribute more to the high end look of a space than the cost of materials being used.
  6. Designer inspired. Stores like Ikea, Cost Plus Market, even Home Depot are constantly updating their inventory with items that have been inspired by high end design. Keep an eye open for great design in unlikely places. This applies especially to decorative items such as light fixtures and hardware.
  7. Modern marvel. Consider going a little sleeker or more modern. Because these types of designs are inherently more simple, they are typically less expensive but can still have a very high end look.
  8. Biggest bang. Spend more for items with the most impact. A show stopping light fixture or extravagant backsplash in a kitchen, or the perfect modern faucet at a sink in the bath can transform the look of the space. The cost for these individual items will still represent a small fraction of the total cost. Consider it money well spent!

Using these tips should get you on your way to achieving a designer look while at the same time spending less.


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