But what do you cut back on when it comes to your kitchen? I’m going to tell you the bits and pieces I like to skimp on when I work with my design clients – and I suggest you do the same. Because mixing the cheap with the chic is what I’m all about.

Cutlery

The days of expensive cutlery sets are over. Sorry Vera Wang! With a move toward more informal dinner parties and celebrations, the need to spend more than $300 on cutlery is an outdated concept.

brass cutlery

You can get the luxe look for cheap with matte gold cutlery. Picture: freedom

And when it comes to gold, matte black or copper cutlery, I’ve found one commonality: They are fab. So embrace the idea of affordable, easy-to-replace cutlery and put your money into something more worthwhile, like food.

Microwave

While I’m all for forking out on a sublime oven and stove top, there are some areas you can easily cut back on, and a microwave is one of them. You’re using this dream machine to blast popcorn and bring last night’s pizza back to life, but it’s not worth investing hundreds of dollars on.

With so many kitchen designs hiding the microwave out of sight in a cupboard or butler’s pantry, I advise you pull back on spending much money here. As long as if functions well, don’t worry too much about appearances.

This contemporary home boasts all the best lifestyle features you’d hope for:

eurofit kitchen

Save on what cannot be seen: Modern kitchen designs, such as this one at 12 Bostock Avenue, Barwon Heads, are moving microwaves out of sight and placing them inside cabinetry, the pantry or the ‘prep kitchen’. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy

Stools

Kitchens are often made up of hard materials and can easily feel cold and clinical. Many people counteract this by bringing in some upholstered bar stools. Word of warning from me to you though; think before you buy.

Forking out $500 on a bar stool in a soft fabric that you’re going to spill all sorts of sauces and drinks over is a flawed idea. I suggest going with a hard-wearing leather or timber option here, and advise against investing anything more than around $250 on each one.

adairs bar stool

Wooden bar stools are practical, stylish and don’t have to cost a bomb. Picture: Adairs

Cabinetry handles

Sure, there are loads of trends for kitchens landing all the time, and unique cabinetry handles are one of them. Leather and timber options are becoming popular, but I can’t go past a simple silver or black handle if you need to keep costs down.

They clean easily and and don’t dominate your space (meaning they won’t date quickly either). And the added bonus is that you can pop into places like Bunnings and get them for a steal.

ikea cabinets

Simple silver cabinetry handles are a modern classic. Picture: Ikea

Pendant lights

You have to cut back somewhere, and in a kitchen, the pendants are a good place to do it. By all means, invest in pieces like your bench top, splashback, oven and fridge. But there’s no need to go crazy with pendant lights.

In fact, if you make your splashback or bench top the focal point in the space, your pendant lights can still work in with the kitchen design, but they don’t need to steal the show. Opt for a simple style that speaks to the other elements in the room and save yourself some money in the process.

8 concrete items styling

Pendant lights just keep trending, and there’s a great array of beautiful, affordable options out there. Picture: Bunnings