16/05/2022  •  , , ,

Budget Friendly Kitchen Materials: How to Get the Look For Less

Estimated Read Time: 8 Minutes 


Whether you’re about to embark on a kitchen renovation or in the midst of building a new home, you’ve no doubt got certain aesthetic qualities in mind for your new kitchen.


However, sometimes the style or materials you desire might be out of your price range. After all, the cost of certain luxury kitchen materials can be extraordinary.


But not to worry! There are alternative methods to achieve the look, and feel, of what you want in your kitchen while working on a budget.


Take it from us. At Deslaurier Custom Cabinets, we specialize in helping our clients achieve their dream kitchen by finding affordable materials to fit their budget. In doing so, we incorporate a number of budget-conscious materials that provide the look of more expensive products.


From cabinets to flooring, this article will detail budget-friendly kitchen materials that will help you get the kitchen of your dreams, for less. 


Let’s get started!


Table of Contents

Budget-Friendly Kitchen Cabinets

Budget-Friendly Kitchen Countertops

Budget-Friendly Kitchen Flooring

Budget-Friendly Kitchen Sinks 

Discover Deslaurier Custom Cabinets 


Budget-Friendly Kitchen Cabinet Materials


We’ll start with the most expensive element of any kitchen: the cabinetry. 


High-quality natural wood cabinet options like maple or walnut, are beautiful and in demand for a reason. Needless to say, they’re also quite expensive. Outfitting a kitchen with walnut cabinets would cost tens of thousands of dollars.


That’s why it’s invaluable to find an alternative cabinet material that can achieve the desired aesthetic you want while saving you thousands of dollars in the process. 

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Melamine (TFL) Cabinets

Melamine boards, or Thermally Fused Laminate (TFL), consist of a raw particleboard substrate with resin-infused decorative paper permanently fused to both sides. Heat and pressure activate the resin to effectively seal the substrate and produce cabinet doors. 


Melamine cabinet doors are designed to reproduce the look and feel of realistic paint, wood grain, concrete, metals, or other material designs.


Standard melamine is significantly more cost-effective than premium selections like painted MDF or natural wood cabinets. For example, if a custom kitchen outfitted with maple cabinets were to cost $25,000, the same kitchen design in a faux maple grain melamine could come in roughly $7,000 to $12,000 cheaper. 


That’s a stark contrast in pricing, and why melamine is worth consideration if your main priority is the visual aesthetic of your cabinets. Melamine’s cost-effective pricing is one of the reasons why it is such a popular and budget-conscious choice for kitchen cabinets. 


Wood Veneer Cabinets

Wood veneer provides the look and texture of natural wood at a more affordable price. That’s because wood veneer cabinets are made of actual wood! 


To create wood veneer, a thin sheet of real wood is adhered onto an underlying substrate. While some manufacturers may use plywood for a substrate, wood veneer is most commonly applied to particleboard; the same material that cabinet boxes are made out of.   


Whether it be through purely wood veneer slab doors, or by using a wood veneer center panel on a 5-piece door, the cost of wood veneer will always be a cheaper alternative than solid wood cabinets. 


For this exercise, we’ll use Deslaurier’s pricing for two oak cabinets: one upper and one base, each with a standard stain. The cost of those two cabinets in solid oak would be roughly $1150. Exchanging the solid oak center panel with an oak veneer panel would lower the total cost to $920. 


Simply swapping the center panel with a wood veneer, with the stiles and rails remaining solid wood, can save roughly $50 per cabinet door! Depending on the size of your kitchen, that basic change can wind up saving you thousands of dollars on your kitchen cabinetry expenses.


For more, check out all there is to know about wood veneer cabinets, or, see how wood veneer cabinets compare to solid wood cabinets!


Thermofoil Cabinets

Thermofoil kitchen cabinets are a less-expensive way to achieve a painted look for your cabinets. 


Thermofoil (thermo) is a PVC vinyl material that is applied to MDF doors through heat and vacuum pressure, fusing the two together. Thermofoil offers a variety of colours or faux wood grain in textured, matte, high-gloss, and even metallic styles. 


The most common application of thermofoil is on solid colour slab (flat) door cabinets. White is an extremely popular choice, as matte and high-gloss options can replicate a painted aesthetic at a cheaper price point.  

Deslaurier Avondale 452 005

Thermofoil only comes in 1-piece doors, as opposed to 5-piece options available in natural wood or painted MDF. While slab doors are a popular choice, there are various detailed profiles that are available in thermofoil.


Whatever style thermofoil you select, it will always be a more affordable way to incorporate a painted aesthetic for your kitchen cabinets. 


Check out our article on Thermofoil vs. Painted Cabinets for an in-depth comparison of the two!


Planning to renovate your kitchen with a budget-conscious approach? Our downloadable comprehensive guide will prepare you for every step of the kitchen renovation journey! 

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Budget-Friendly Kitchen Countertop Materials


Selecting the best countertop for your kitchen can be one of the toughest decisions you make in your design process. 


Oftentimes, the countertop is the first thing that draws attention when you enter a kitchen. That’s why so many opt for expensive, luxury selections like stone countertops


While stone surfaces certainly are beautiful, they aren’t ideal for every budget. Making sure you pick the perfect style countertop for your kitchen, without breaking the bank, should be your main focus. 


Here are two affordable alternatives to high-priced kitchen countertops. 


Laminate Countertops 

The technology used to create laminate countertops has progressed quite far in recent years. 


Modern-day laminates can convincingly replicate granite, quartz, slate, and even marble patterning. Ultimately, such laminates can save you thousands of dollars on your desired aesthetic. 


Standard laminate countertops are made of several sheets of kraft paper pressed with heat and bonded to a substrate. These sheets will include one with the visual aesthetic of the countertop, as well as protective sheets that will result in a plastic-feeling finish. 


There are multiple different substrates that can be used for laminate countertops. The most popular options for laminate substrate cores are particleboard, plywood, MDF, moisture-resistant board (MR Board), and environmentally friendly options like NU Green. 


Laminate grades and thickness vary, resulting in a fluctuation of price points. The higher quality or thicker the laminate is, the more expensive it will be. 


Generally speaking, the average cost for custom laminate countertops is from $20 to $40 per sq. ft. Home improvement stores sell prefabricated 4-foot and 8-foot long sections for $50-$200 per section. 


What makes laminate such a popular surface is that even the most expensive laminate will be a cost-effective alternative to various stone options like quartz, granite, or marble. 


A fully installed kitchen with laminate countertops can cost roughly $1200 to $2500, depending on size, quality, and manufacturer. Whereas the same size kitchen outfitted with a marble countertop could cost over $10,000. 



Butcher Block Countertops

Butcher block countertops are perhaps a lesser-known option in kitchen design, but you shouldn’t let that deter you. Wood countertops bring a neutral, earthy vibe to home kitchens. They’re particularly great for cottagey, rustic aesthetics.


Butcher block counters in cherry, maple, and even teal provide varied, rich colours; both light and dark. What’s more, you can get even more artistic by selecting unusual grain patterns, like end grain, edge grain, or face grain.


Butcher block countertops can also be an environmentally-friendly option depending on the fabrication process. Many manufacturers can produce butcher block countertops solely through the use of reclaimed wood and local materials!


In terms of price, butcher block countertops are more expensive than laminate, but still, a cost-effective solution compared to stone surfaces. Butcher block countertops generally cost between $35 to $100 per sq. ft. 


Budget-Friendly Kitchen Flooring Materials


When it comes to kitchen flooring, there are plenty of budget-conscious solutions to achieve the look you want at an affordable price. 


Outfitting your kitchen with flooring can be an expensive task, especially when it comes to larger spaces. Hardwood floors can cost upwards of $10 per sq. ft. and finding a similar alternative at a much lower price is a worthwhile endeavour.

Thankfully, there are plenty of flooring materials that can provide the style you’re looking for, while still fitting into your budget. 

Light and open


Laminate Flooring 

In recent years, the laminate manufacturing process has made leaps and bounds. Today, manufacturers use high-resolution images to mimic the look of virtually any wood species to the point where even the most acute eye will have trouble deciphering the difference.  


The big draw to laminate is undoubtedly its realistic imitation of hardwood. Homeowners gain all the aesthetic excellence of real wood flooring without the hefty price tag attached. 


Laminate is all-around hardwearing too. Further, the protective topcoat will fend off scratches, discoloration, and stains with relative ease.


While laminate excels in the “looks” department, it lacks in the “feel” department. Laminate presents a twin copy of hardwood’s aesthetic, but simply can’t clone the natural feel of authentic wood under your feet. 


While the cost of hardwood flooring can range from $7-$10 per sq. ft. (and sometimes even up to $15), laminate will cost anywhere from $2 to $5 per sq. ft. 



Vinyl is an entirely synthetic flooring material. Similar to laminate, vinyl flooring has seen an increase in popularity thanks to its authentic look, design flexibility, and price point. 


Modern engraving techniques allow homeowners to source vinyl look-alikes of ceramics, stone, and hardwood. You can purchase vinyl as either a glue-down or a floating, click-together product.


Many vinyl products are 100% waterproof and fare well against stains and scratches. However, the material is surprisingly soft to the touch. Sharp or heavy objects dropped on vinyl flooring may puncture the surface and cause permanent damage. 


Expect the average price of vinyl flooring to range from $1.50 to $4 per sq. ft. Floating, click-together vinyl flooring products will be slightly more expensive than glue-down. 


Porcelain Tile 

As a budget-conscious selection for tile flooring, porcelain has seen an increase in residential use over recent years. 


Fired at high temperatures, porcelain offers formidable resistance against stains, water penetration, and other forms of inevitable kitchen catastrophes.


Where there’s porcelain, there’s boundless design potential. Porcelain tiles are available for purchase in endless colours and textures. Plus, you can get even more creative by laying tiles in patterns and designs.


Such brute strength doesn’t come from thin air. Porcelain partly gets its strength from its density. The dense tiles are weighty products that present a challenge to install. Since porcelain tiles are so hard, they are also brittle and susceptible to cracking. 


The average price range of porcelain tiles comes in around $3 to $5 per sq. ft. 


Budget-Friendly Kitchen Sink Materials 


There are a myriad of elements that go into the cost of a kitchen sink. That’s why prices can fluctuate from $100 to $3,500. 


A key influence on a kitchen sink’s cost that we will look at is the material you choose for it. When it comes to cost, no material compares to stainless steel. 


Stainless-Steel Sinks 

Stainless-steel kitchen sinks are an extremely popular kitchen sink material thanks to their durability, ease of cleaning, compact design, and affordable price point. 


Their style and design versatility mean that stainless steel is guaranteed to have the sink style you desire. You can choose from various finishes, such as a shiny mirror or lustrous stain. Moreover, your stainless steel sink may be manufactured in a number of different colours.


The best part about stainless steel sinks is that they provide an option for any budget. Be it a thin, single basin top mount sink, or a large double basin farmhouse sink, stainless steel sinks fit into any kitchen design. 


The cost of stainless steel kitchen sinks will vary depending on the size, style, installation method, and thickness of the material. All things considered, the rule of thumb when it comes to stainless steel is the thicker the gauge is, the more expensive the sink will be. 


It’s not uncommon to find a single-basin stainless-steel sink for under $100. Even a larger style like a farmhouse sink can be purchased for $500.


Discover Deslaurier Custom Cabinets 


As you can see, there are plenty of ways to achieve the kitchen you want without overspending on your budget. 


If you want to see how budget-friendly materials like melamine doors or laminate countertops look in your kitchen, you’ve come to the right place! Book a free consultation with a Deslaurier kitchen expert at our Ottawa showroom today!


If you have your eye on custom cabinetry, Deslaurier Custom Cabinets has everything you need. With over 40 years of experience to our name, we provide our clients with a fully customized design process with our talented team of designers


Interested in becoming an authorized Deslaurier dealer? Visit our Become a Dealer page to learn more! Live outside the area? Find a Dealer to connect with a Deslaurier dealer near you!

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