10 Kitchens That Are a Beautiful Mix of High and Low

So you’re designing a kitchen. Unless you’re a magician, or you are independently wealthy, you probably have a budget, which means you’ll need to compromise on a few things — save on some elements, splurge on some others. The good news for those trying not to blow their retirement savings on their kitchen remodel is that pricey and inexpensive materials can happily co-exist in the same space — and in fact, sometimes a mix of high and low can look even more beautiful and inventive than a straight-up luxury kitchen. Here are a few examples.

Above: This kitchen from Stadshem, via SF Girl by Bay, makes use of a very inexpensive material — subway tile — laid in an inventive way (stacked instead of staggered). The open shelving is made from wood and standard-issue shelving brackets like the ones you would find at the hardware store, which blend in with the white backsplash.

We tend to think of marble as a luxury material and plywood as only suitable for very rough, informal spaces, but when you bring them together, as in this kitchen from Made Architects , they can be surprisingly beautiful.

The cabinets in this kitchen from Entrance only look expensive — they’re IKEA cabinets, with stainless steel cover panels. The IKEA farmhouse sink and square tile backsplash are two other budget-friendly choices (albeit ones that look expensive). The one splurge in this kitchen is the marble countertop.

In this kitchen from Lieu-Dit via Elle France, a butcherblock countertop (and what looks like an IKEA farmhouse sink) pair beautifully with concrete floor tiles, black zellige backsplash tiles, a Rangemaster stove, and custom glass upper cabinets.

This kitchen design in a home featured on C Home tucks just a tiny bit of humble plywood under a marble-clad island.

In this kitchen from Superfront (via 30s Magazine), a marble countertop, paired with a brass sink and faucet, tops IKEA cabinets (with Superfront drawer fronts and pulls).

In this kitchen from WS Workshop (via A Beautiful Mess), luxurious, custom-made walnut cabinets get a touch of simplicity from the addition of a subway tile backsplash. Since the backsplash is more understated, the cabinets can remain the star of the show.

There are a lot of luxurious elements in this kitchen from Shoot Factory (via The D Pages), but wood paneling and subway tile (backing the glass cabinets) add a common touch.

If you’re in love with an expensive countertop material but can’t afford it for the whole kitchen, why not mix it up? In this kitchen from Nordic Design, all it takes is a touch of beautiful stone to really make the room.

This kitchen from A Couple Cooks, which includes IKEA butcherblock countertops and Aristokraft cabinets, was created from mostly budget-friendly pieces. One splurge? The Caesarstone countertop on the island, which becomes the center of the kitchen.

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