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Most people would readily admit that they would love to have one of the designer kitchens which they see in a magazine. Who wouldn't? They are sleek and shiny and have all the mod cons. The trouble is that most of us could never afford such an expensive style of kitchen and feel that we must settle for second best.

The fact is that it is possible to get a designer look kitchen even on a tight budget. It takes a little creativity and some hard work, but anything is possible. You can turn your old boring kitchen into a designer one in just five easy steps.

Replace rather than rip out

You will save more than half the cost of a new kitchen by simply reusing your old kitchen carcasses and replacing the doors. Adding the right doors will make your kitchen look sparkling new and you won't have the expense of replacing all of those expensive cabinets. In addition to those savings, you can replace your kitchen doors as a DIY project, saving you at least £1,000 on tradesman costs.

Be shiny and bold

Designer kitchens catch your eye because they are different to what you might normally consider. They make you utter the famous “wow!” when you see them. The “wow” effect is achieved through the use of two simple devices: colour and light.

Choose new kitchen doors which are bold in colour and even consider using two different colours which compliment each other. The next step is to opt for unusual materials such as high shine gloss kitchen cupboard doors. These will throw the light around and will instantly lift even the darkest of rooms. The combination of colour and gloss will bring about that elusive “wow” factor with very little effort and expense.

Let there be light

Lighting in a kitchen is often left as an afterthought. However it can be as important as the kitchen doors themselves. While you are doing the job of removing your old doors, you should think about adding strip lighting underneath your cabinets – top and bottom. Fluorescent or LED strip lighting comes in a number of colours and can add a certain ambience to your kitchen. Put it down by your lower plinth to shine off the floor and under your upper cabinets to cast light on the work surface. These types of light systems can be very inexpensive and will highlight your lovely new kitchen doors.

Splash out on worktops

You may not have thought of replacing your worktop when you decided to redo your kitchen. You may have thought that the expense was not worth it, but it absolutely is if a designer look is what you want. Of course, high gloss is a must and black will always be the perfect accompaniment to any type of door. However, you do not necessarily need to use granite or other stone counters. There are a number of man-made materials available which give a high gloss finish and they are half the price of granite. Try glass, melamine or composite materials.

Accessorise

So you have saved a fortune by using the tips above and now you have more money left over from your budget than you thought. It is now time to think about the extras which you would not have been able to have if your entire kitchen was replaced.

Try to buy good quality handles for your doors. These will be show-pieces to your doors and must set them off perfectly. Go for stainless steel, glass or something ornate. Next, make sure the insides of your cupboards are equally well dressed. This may mean baskets, glass shelving and wire mesh pullout units.

Finally dress your kitchen with stainless steel or pastel accessories. Paint the walls, hang a great blind and kept it super clean and tidy. Designer kitchens are never actually used – of course!

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