Small Splurges—Big Style
Susan Serra
Small Splurges—Big Style
Photo Credit: Susan Serra
Pin It

Once you step foot into the Alice In Wonderland world of kitchen renovation, there are seemingly a million pieces to the project AND a million things that you have to buy!  No worries—follow these insider tips to make a small splurge or two that will make your kitchen look like a designer kitchen. You don’t need to buy “the best of everything”. Design your kitchen to include both high and low budget items and those small splurges will communicate style and quality.


Always a pivotal question in a kitchen design, a range vs. a cooktop and single oven; if space allowance does not drive the choice, I prefer the custom built-in look that a single oven provides. Yes, the two pieces are more costly than a single range, but the visual flow that you get with two built-in pieces often elevates the design and is a great choice for a splurge.

Two separate appliances allow design flexibility and a built-in look. Photo Credit: Susan Serra


SUCH an easy accessory to buy, design into the design and change at a whim, the kitchen rug is both decorative and functional. Create a collection. Choose bright, fresh spring colors for spring and summer, toned down elegant shades for that cozy feeling, rugs with holiday colors or rugs that otherwise just tweak your look when you need a change. A kitchen rug can also be the ideal accessory to show off as an investment piece to upgrade the whole kitchen. Pick your splurge!

This vintage Swedish rug adds color, texture, and comfort to the kitchen. Photo Credit: Susan Serra


Stacked crown moldings at the top of your wall cabinets add an impressive look to your kitchen. It’s the look that can be designed into kitchen cabinetry of any budget. For even more savings, don’t buy the cabinet manufacturer’s moldings—purchase your own moldings and paint them to match the ceiling color for a more “architectural” built in look.

Moldings are easy to combine and add a look of elegance to the kitchen. Photo Credit: Susan Serra


Cabinet hardware is truly the “jewelry” of the kitchen. Any kitchen design of any budget is enhanced by beautiful hardware. It’s a finishing touch that is always noticed and can communicate a message of style and quality. The good news is that you don’t need to do a complete kitchen renovation to enjoy new hardware—like a kitchen rug, change is good, and if your existing hardware has been on your cabinetry for 10 years, new hardware could be a welcome, and fun, change to your life in the kitchen. If you are renovating the kitchen and have kept tight control of the budget in all of your products, hardware is the perfect reason to splurge a little and enjoy the use of beautiful hardware every day.

Use a few different types of hardware in the kitchen rather than just one to feature special spots in the overall design. Photo Credit: Susan Serra


Do you have a hutch that is under used or unnoticed in another room in your home? Bring it into the kitchen or breakfast room for a strong visual punch. Adding a furniture piece into the kitchen work area will enable you to enjoy this alternative yet functional look. You can also seek out an amoire that offers more modern features in its construction yet which has an antique reproduction finish. For modern kitchens, look for armoires or hutches with clean lines. Designing a furniture piece into your kitchen gives you big bang for the buck!

Express your personality with a furniture piece that is both useful and tells a story. Photo Credit: Susan Serra


Cookware hung on pot racks just gives that warm, home-y feeling in an instant. Wall hung pot racks are affordable and say, “This is a cook’s kitchen!” Creating an interesting mix of shapes, perhaps in a variety of finishes, is truly an artful display of useful pieces. That artful display adds beauty and texture to the design and is easy on the budget.

Such a simple element in a kitchen, the items on the pot rack can nudge the design in any direction and is perfect for every style kitchen. Photo Credit: Susan Serra

Be selective as to where you think the style splurge will be most effective. I’m a believer in mixing  great quality pieces with other middle or budget priced products. In other words, small splurges carry their weight in a well designed kitchen, lifting it to the next aesthetic level. What do you think is a great idea for a stylish splurge?

- Susan

Finder's Keepers
favorite product
favorite product
favorite product
favorite product
favorite product
Leave Your Thoughts (1 Comment)

  1. cynthia at the daily basics ·

    Fantastic article! These tips are what make a kitchen special. Love the potracks against the wall. Great idea!