Top 10 Kitchen Splurges

By: Marissa Ponikowski

Kitchen remodels are notoriously expensive, so it just doesn't do to blow the renovation budget on senseless luxuries. However, there are certain areas in a kitchen where a splurge is definitely worth it. We've got the goods on those little lavish touches that will elevate your culinary space from hum drum to simply fabulous. So go ahead and indulge!

  1. A solid surface counter. Forget about laminate. Sure, it's cheap, but it doesn't stand up well to every day use and will look dated and tired long before its time.  Splurge on granite or sealed concrete, which will look gorgeous and last for years with the proper care. An added bonus: a good countertop is an excellent selling feature!

  2. 'Quiet close' or ‘soft close' drawers and cabinet doors. "These are wonderfully quiet - you can't possibly slam them, which means they make your kitchen space very serene," says Carolyn Bignell of Paris Kitchens near Toronto, Ontario. These types of drawers and cabinets are also good for families because they close slowly, so little hands and fingers won't tend to get caught and pinched. 

  3. Full-extension drawers.  "Get solid wood, dovetail, full extension drawers. They're an amazing addition to a well-appointed kitchen because they glide like butter," says Bignell. 

  4. A warming drawer. Warming drawers offer an attractive way to keep food piping hot until it's time to serve. "This is a wonderful splurge," says Bignell. "It means dinner can be kept warm for a household member who comes home late, and is also incredibly useful when it comes to entertaining." Look for stoves and ovens that come with a warming drawer, which is generally located at the bottom of the appliance where extra pots and pans are normally stored. You can still store pots and pans in the drawer - just be sure to take them out when you plan to use the drawer. Warming drawers can also be custom built into a kitchen, so ask your kitchen designer about your options.

  5. Beautiful hardware. "You won't regret splurging on hardware," says Bignell. "It adds class to your kitchen and when you buy good hardware, it's good quality so it lasts." Look for high quality knobs, hinges, handles and pulls in unique and attractive materials such as brushed nickel, solid nickel, stainless steel, bronze, rather than plastic or wood. If you can work it into your budget, go for the ultimate in hardware opulence by choosing hand-blown glass knobs. 

  6. A garbage and recycling system. These fit into cupboards and cabinets and provide an easy and discreet way to store and sort garbage, recycling and compost materials with all the clutter and unwanted odour. They can be custom built into a kitchen or purchased to fit standard cupboard and cabinet sizes. 

  7. Stainless appliances. Stainless steel appliances are available at a bit of a premium, but the extra expense is worth it. These appliances are stylish, sophisticated and versatile. The stainless steel look is versatile, too, lending itself well to both modern and traditionally styled kitchens.

  8. An entertainment system. The latest kitchen extravagance is home entertainment - which just seems to make sense since the kitchen is the most used room in the house. The modern kitchen is a hub of activity which lends itself well to CD, MP3 and DVD players and small televisions. These can be placed on a worktop, installed on the wall or purchased in compact, ‘flip-down' versions made especially for kitchens. 

  9. A quality range hood. "Invest in a commercial-style range hood and/or vent and you'll never have to deal with cooking fumes again," says Bignell. "GE, Jenn Air, Best, and Wolf all make great ones."

  10. A kitchen designer. Since designing and renovating a kitchen can be such an expensive project, people are often hesitant to spend extra money on a designer. But hiring a professional ensures you will get your ideal kitchen in the end?minus the stress, the guesswork and the unnecessary mistakes.