Five ways to refresh your kitchen in under Rs 3 lakh

Simple tips to help you design your kitchen on a budget while avoiding any structural changes.


Kitchens are the nucleus of daily household activity and familial warmth. With continuous heavy-duty usage typical of Indian-style cooking, our kitchens can use some sprucing up every few years.
We explore five simple design interventions that allow renters, new homeowners or end-users to freshen up their kitchens without structurally invasive changes, all while staying on a budget.
The size of homes in most metropolitan cities like Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Mumbai range from 1,000 to 2,500 square feet (carpet area), wherein kitchens can occupy 100-150 square feet of the floor plan on average. The focus of these design ideas is to strike a balance between aesthetics and functionality.
White or off-white paint makes the kitchen look bigger and brighter.
A fresh coat of paint
The simplest and most cost-effective way to start a budget-based kitchen renovation is to give it a fresh coat of paint. A dark or gloomy kitchen can be livened up with coats of bright white, ivory, or off-white across the walls and ceilings. This makes it appear spacious and brighter.
If the cabinetry is intact, homeowners can switch the finishes of cabinets and drawer fronts with a neutral palette, or conversely in a colour-driven theme. Paints like PU (Polyurethane) and Duco Paint make for fitting choices in terms of durability and finishes.
Older carpentry can be sanded down, primed, and coated with paint to achieve a renewed look. Painting millwork in the kitchen can cost anywhere between Rs.50,000-60,000, depending on the choice of paint and the number of units to be painted.
New hardware
A simple and practical choice, changing the hardware in a kitchen uplifts the space immediately! This is a task that can be carried out at home with minimal assistance from a carpenter. Residents can consider swapping obsolete hardware for more current choices.
One can choose from knobs and handles made of stainless steel (SS), brass (antique or gilded), ceramics and wood. These can be paired with cabinets and drawers. Hardware choices help define the design and style of the space – whether it is traditional kitchen or a modern contemporary one. Changing the hardware in a small to medium-sized kitchen can set you back by Rs25,000-30,000.
Choosing countertops
Choosing countertops for one’s kitchen needs to be driven by a pragmatic approach. Many of our recipes have pigmented spices, oil and other condiments that can pose as potential sources of staining. Commonly chosen countertops in most homes embrace a neutral palette; shades of black, dark grey and brown.
Homeowners can choose from an expansive spectrum of natural and artificial surface choices, depending on their culinary lifestyle and the overall design aesthetic of the kitchen. Granite (Rs150-700 per square foot), Quartz (Engineered Stone at Rs.400-1500 per square foot), and in some cases cast on-site concrete and marble (Rs.200-400 per square foot) countertops can make for viable options.
Granite, quartz, and in some cases, cast on-site concrete and marble, are popular choices for kitchen countertops in India.
Defining the backsplash
The tiles that line the backsplash in kitchens can truly impact the visual of the space. There is a gamut of design styles to choose from; solid subway tiles, geometric tiles, patterned tiles, or even large stretches of natural stones like marble.
The selection of the backsplash tiles must be done keeping in mind whether the tiles become the visual highlight in the space or if the cabinetry’s colours will assume the spotlight. The cost of tiles can be in per square foot (typically Rs100-500+), or even charged per box in some cases. Tiles shortlisted should be preferably minimally textured, stain-resistant, and heat-resistant to ensure minimum maintenance over prolonged periods.
Try to pick minimally textured, stain-resistant, and heat-resistant tiles to ensure minimum maintenance over prolonged periods.


Choose lighting that elevates
Lighting fixtures introduced in a kitchen can be a combination of task and mood lighting, ensuring that the space functions optimally while making it inviting. Consider focal ceiling pendant lights over kitchen islands, open-plan dining spots or breakfast counters to highlight a zone. Under-cabinet LED profile lights can also brighten up kitchen nooks. Lighting fixtures can be accessed in a range of Rs800-10,000 from popular e-retail stores.
Under-cabinet LED profile lights can brighten up kitchen nooks.
Key details to look for in a kitchen in a new rental or builder-grade property
Study the layout of the kitchen space, work out if the ‘Work Triangle’ can be formed: in other words, do you have easy access from the sink to the gas stove to the refrigerator. This needs to be ascertained based on the configuration of the kitchen (open, U-form, L-form, galley-style).
Ensure that the countertops are laid out in a way that maximum under-counter and overhead cabinet storage can be achieved. Additionally, built-in tall units and larders can be included to add to the storage capacity of smaller urban home kitchens.
Analyse if the floor plan affords essential natural lighting and ventilation in the kitchen. This is to establish a well-lit and aired out working environment.
Check if there is provision for cooking cylinders and IGL pipelines in the kitchen’s planning scheme. In case of gas pipelines, the network of pipes should be of the shortest length, leading to the location of the stove/hob. If the pipeline is exposed, it can be painted over in a colour that matches the cabinetry or wall so that it camouflages seamlessly against the surfaces it stretches across.
Locate positions of electrical points in the kitchen, ensure these are compatible with commonly used kitchen appliances like microwaves, ovens, dishwashers, toasters, blenders, etc.



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