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

August 02, 2011 at 12:31 PM


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 3x6 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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Posted by Neil on
Lush cosmetics is a bit exvpsniee, but worth every penny!The bubble bars last a long time if you have jets in your tub. just use a quarter of one and puff them up with the jets for 4-5 minutes! i love big blue bath bomb! the seaweed is so detoxifying!Lush is such a good store as far as enviroment is concerned. They barley use packaging, and most products are vegan. If you use a solid shampoo bar it lasts longer then a bottle of shampoo and is better for the enviroment. and even if you do buy the shampoo there you can bring it back for recycling!Yay lush! =]
Posted by Ashok on
Maria I saw the "falling apart and decrepit", but it doesn't have to be that bad beorfe you repair or replace.My sister, a realtor and house-flipper and compulsive re-modeler with a contractor husband, has developed a routine for getting settled beorfe she starts remodeling.She always starts by having the place cleaned until it gleams. Replace bad caulk, adjust door hardware so everything opens and closes easily, repair or replace faucets that don't work smoothly, replace outlets that are so loose the plugs fall out, replace rusted or paint-caked registers the sum of all these minor annoyances can add up to a depressing place to live. Most of this is homeowner level maintenance.Anything so ugly she cringes when she walks in the room is removed and if it's essential, it is replaced with something inexpensive but attractive. Closets and cabinets immediately get more shelving and organizers and pullouts to maximize storage (they come from the previous house, of course). Functional but ugly is better than just plain ugly.If the carpet is gross or really ugly, she yanks it out. Bare wood or painted concrete is better than baby-poo brown shag.She initially paints the walls a certain pale yellow-cream because it goes with all of her Persian rugs and artwork. Spread the rugs, hang the art, move in the furniture.Infrastructure in place, then she's ready to get serious about remodeling and decorating. Some walls get repainted, baths and kitchens may be redone, flooring changed, whatever, but she never has that "half-done" feeling.
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