Managing the cost of a kitchen extension

Find out how good organisation, shopping around for the best deal and being clever about choices will help you keep track of your kitchen extension budget, says Sian Astley

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Whether you’re planning a large or small kitchen extension, a project’s budget needs good management from the beginning to ensure costs don’t escalate due to unforeseen or unplanned occurrences. Follow these tips for good organisation from start to finish…

How to organise your kitchen extension

Firstly, start a good spreadsheet system, inputting estimated costs and kitchen extension quotes, then add in all labour and materials receipts as the job progresses. Save everything in date order and pay out of one account to keep things clear. The running total allows you to keep track of costs and make savings decisions if required.


Related articles: The ultimate guide to extending your home | How to plan your kitchen extension | How to cost your kitchen extension | 5 things to ask your kitchen designer

Often, budgeting problems arise because of a lack of organisation and all kitchen extension costs not being factored in initially. Always budget for your entire project and think about how much you’ll spend on the extension as well as the kitchen at the same time.

Allocate costs wisely

Think carefully and seriously about what you want to achieve through building a new kitchen extension. Do you want a spacious living area or lots of room for a professional-style kitchen? Once you have a clear idea of what you want from the space, you can decide a budget for each area and where you can make savings and investments.

For example, if a designer kitchen is your dream, you could save on materials, or you could go for a more affordable kitchen if your extension design ideas require bespoke, highly finished materials.

Add a 10 per cent contingency

Let’s assume you have set a budget of around £18,000 for an extension measuring 4×3 metres at £1,500 per square metre, plus a new kitchen at £10,000, always add in at least another £2,800 as a 10 per cent contingency should anything unforeseen occur.

Think about costs early

Price up the amount of materials, fixtures, labour and all fittings, such as doors and windows, at the planning stages, right down to the number of units required for everything, and add this to your spreadsheet tracker.

Generally speaking, the costs for a straightforward brick extension go up if three main things are added: bi-fold or sliding doors, glazing to the roof and underfloor heating. If having all of them means there’s no budget left for a kitchen – go back to the drawing board and see where savings can be made, either by compromising on having feature included or opting for a cheaper design.

Consult a designer

Take your preliminary extension plans to a good design showroom and get advice on where your new kitchen would be best positioned, which could be in a totally different place to where you’d thought.

Alternatively, if you have the time and patience, CLICK HERE to find out how to design your own kitchen

An architect, interior designer or kitchen specialist should be able to offer their expertise and help you to make decisions on where you can save and where you should invest to ensure your brief is met. Always make sure your architect or designer knows your overall budget, so you’ll be presented with realistic and achievable solutions.

10 ways to save money on your kitchen extension

1. Project manage

Can you project manage the extension and installation yourself, rather than paying someone to do it? This takes time and good organisation skills, so don’t attempt it if you work full time or are not confident at DIY.

2. Pick the right season

Try and avoid winter months when bad weather can cause delays.

3. Shop around

Weigh up everything specified. Even bricks or roof tiles vary widely on price, so check this with your builder and play off suppliers against each other to get a better deal. Shopping around is very savvy and the more you save on basic materials, the more you can splurge on the final finishes.

4. Know your budget cap

Costs can rocket for bespoke and high-end kitchen installations but shouldn’t do if you know your budget cap and aren’t tempted to add features you won’t really need. Research prices from a high-end showrooms, more affordable builders ranges and even a DIY flatpack option to see the difference in overall costs before committing to a choice.

5. Keep a detailed spreadsheet

List every last detail if you’re project managing yourself – units numbers for doors, inserts, handles, worktops, and appliances – and keep track of any extras or savings on your spreadsheet breakdown.

6. Invest in worktops

Spend on worktops, which I think can make or break a kitchen design. Mix and match expensive surfaces with less costly ones to create not only a unique design, but room in your budget to spend on other areas. There are some great laminate worktops available designed to look like real wood or stone, which are a great, more affordable option compared to the real deal. Find good, local suppliers and buy direct rather than through the showroom, who’ll add a mark up.

7. Get at least three quotes

Find the best builder you can afford, but remember that the best is not always the cheapest. Draw up a list of the work you need carried out and ask at least three separate tradesmen to provide a quote based on your list, rather than asking them to let you know what needs doing.

8. Don’t skimp on glazing

Good quality bi-fold doors are worth the investment, so don’t skimp but do shop around. Look for customer reviews and, if possible, visit properties where styles have been installed for a first-hand look.

9. Pick the right taps

Decent taps are worth spending money on as you get what you pay for. Consider whether a hot or filtered water surface-mounted tap would be a good investment for your family.

10. Little touches make a big difference

Stylish handles can change the whole look of a kitchen, so take your time when making a selection. Experiment with different shapes, styles and colours, or if you feel the look is too fussy, think about opting for a handleless kitchen design.



Sian Astley is a self builder, interior designer, landlord and blogger at With 20 years’ experience working in property, she’s passionate about DIY, crafts and renovating. She also regularly takes on clients’ projects to transform their homes into beautiful living spaces. Follow her on Twitter @Moregeous