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Salvage your way to an affordable new kitchen

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As summer approaches you’re likely to be spending a lot of time in the garden mingling with friends, relaxing to some music and enjoying a few drinks among friends and family as the amber sun sets. However, if you’re planning on hosting, you and your guests will probably also be spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

This is the time when a lot of us decide that it’s time to renovate our kitchens, but not everyone has the budget for a full-scale makeover.

Fortunately, you’d be astonished what you can do yourself if you heed some DIY kitchen tips and are realistic with yourself about what you are capable of doing and where you might need to call in some help from a professional or at least a skilled relative.

If you’re concerned about the price of materials, however, then rejoice! Because you have a new best friend and his name is salvage.

What is salvage? 

Salvage generally refers to the use of reclaimed materials (in the kitchen this can be worktops, cabinets, fixtures or even plumbing) from demolished or renovated properties.

Salvage can even apply to reusing or repurposing items from your existing kitchen.

What can be salvaged from my existing kitchen?

Some items will be easier to repurpose than others but the following are usually a safe bet:

  • Lighting
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Cabinet hardware
  • Flooring (especially wood which can be sanded down and re-finished)

The only thing to note with cabinets is that they’re only salvageable if they are constructed as self-contained, independent boxes.

Where can I salvage from?

There are companies all over the country that deal in reclaimed materials and architectural salvage so wherever you are there’s a good chance that you can access affordable salvage. However, if you’re determined to source everything by yourself then it’s worth poking your head around the door wherever you see a restaurant or cafe closed for renovations to try and pick up some useful scraps.  They may even have a skip you can rummage through!

Stone masons and timber merchants will usually be happy to let you sift through their remnants for anything useful like chopping boards or, if you’re extremely lucky you might see something big enough to be repurposed as a worktop. 

Needless to say that this approach has some logistical complications so it’s not recommended to use this approach if you’re on a time limit.  Or if you have no way of transporting a huge piece of wood!

When it comes to populating your new kitchen then there are a great many online stores that specialise in salvaged and repurposed furniture.

Anything else I need to know?

While the look and feel of the kitchen will be, at least partly defined by what materials you’re able to get your hands on it’s still a very good idea to plan ahead with a rough idea of the kind of look you want to achieve.

Otherwise you could find yourself investing time effort and your hard-earned money on materials that you’ll later have to dispose of (which can be costly) because they simply don’t fit in with your kitchen’s new look.