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Gorgeous Kitchens on a Budget

By Christine Cooney, The House Designers Staff Writer

Our designers and architects have found great ways to be frugal when selecting products for a new kitchen design, without sacrificing quality and style.

The three biggest expenses in a kitchen design are cabinets, countertops and appliances. If costs are a concern and you’re willing to spend some time bargain hunting online, or visiting scratch and dent warehouses and discount kitchen products stores, you’ll find that you CAN afford a high-end kitchen.

For example, you may think that granite countertops are out of reach, but as the demand for this highly desirable material has increased, manufacturers have found creative solutions in order to satisfy homeowners craving this beautiful, durable product.

granite kitchen countertops

Granite countertops don't have to be a luxury if you purchase from They sell high-quality building materials direct to the consumer for less than retail. This kitchen was designed with a Black Galaxy granite countertop by Centaur®, which averages around $400 for a 78" x 26" slab.

Most suppliers group granite into tiers based on quality. Discount granite countertops belong to the lower tiers, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get a high quality product. Granite placed in a ‘discount’ tier typically indicates that the stone may be harder, have softer minerals and/or be cut thinner than premium granite, but still possesses the beauty and functionality of premium granite without going over budget.

kitchen cabinetry

This beatiful rustic kitchen was designed using the Homecrest® Cabinetry Heartland Collection in oak wood with a sable finish. Unlike most manufacturers that restrict you to stock cabinets out of the box, they allow you to mix and match their stock cabinetry products to create a unique, one-of-a-kind design.

One of the most important ingredients in a successful kitchen design is the cabinetry. It is key in creating the overall look and style of your kitchen design, and in keeping you organized. There are many considerations when it comes to choosing your cabinetry, such as whether you want stock, semi-custom or custom, type of storage solutions and decorative enhancements.

Many manufacturers allow you to mix and match stock cabinetry so you can create a custom design at an affordable price. Once your cabinetry, countertops and appliances are installed it is virtually impossible to tell whether your cabinets were stock or custom.

Homecrest® Cabinetry by MasterBrand® Cabinets offers an extensive selection of over 300 cabinetry styles, wood species, finishes, decorative glazes and hardware, making it easy complement your personal taste and style.

Understanding that everyone has different needs and tastes for their kitchen design, they offer Custom Choice™, an in-house modification service that allows you to mix and match stock doors and drawer fronts to create a unique, one-of-a-kind cabinet without the high cost of custom cabinets.

GE appliances featuring ENERGY STAR rated appliances

The Ice Collection from Whirlpool® is a new streamlined collection of kitchen appliances that includes refrigerators, wall ovens, ranges and dishwashers. It's available in a White Ice and Black Ice finish.

Since your appliances are a big investment you’ll want to take into consideration performance, quality, energy-efficiency and initial cost. You can keep your costs down by selecting appliances with only the features you want, since today’s appliances may come with extras that you may not want or need.

Take some time to read product reviews and consumer reports before you commit to a particular brand and model. If you love to cook you may be tempted to splurge for luxury appliances by Wolf®, Bosch®, Miele® or Viking®, but keep in mind that manufacturers like LG®, Whirlpool® and GE® offer great quality and style at a price point that you may find more appealing.

Once you’ve selected your appliances, it’s time to shop. There are plenty of companies that sell discounted high-end appliances like US Appliance or discount outlets from companies like Sears® (which offer scratch and dent appliances at deep discounts) and GE®. Don’t forget to search for available product discounts and rebates.

Design Tip
Appliances can easily contribute up to 20 percent of overall energy usage and operational costs to your home budget, which is why you should consider ENERGY STAR rated appliances. Whether it's a small appliance like a mixer or microwave or large appliances like refrigerators, washers, and dryers, energy-efficient appliances deliver long-term cost savings.