There are two main decisions you will need to make with regard to finishing the kitchen in your small house: 1) deciding on the type of kitchen cabinets you would like, and 2) deciding on the types of appliances you will need. For both decisions, you should go for price as well as quality that will last for a long time.
When choosing kitchen cabinets, I would advise against going with the super cheap cabinets because they have a tendency to sag over time, and then you’re faced with entirely replacing them at that point or the next resident, anyway. If you get half way decent cabinets with a strong frame then only the doors would need replacing in the future if your tastes in decorating change. Personally, I love the look of rustic hickory, so that is what I got for my kitchen. They were actually the cheapest cabinets available at Home Depot, but their structure was very well built.
With that said, you will have basically three types of kitchen cabinets to choose from which are stock, semi-custom made, and custom made. Stock cabinets are along the line of what I found in Home Depot. They are cost effective and are pretty good quality. Your only drawback is stock cabinets are only made in a certain number of sizes and finishes.
Semi-custom made cabinets are cabinets that you can order from the manufacturer and are higher in price than stock cabinets. You will have more choices and possibilities and styles to choose from with semi-custom made cabinets. This type of kitchen cabinet is right in between the stock cabinets and custom made cabinets which have endless possibilities.
Choosing appliances will involve consideration of features, performance, and a style that suits your kitchen décor and your budget. You will need to choose a sink, refrigerator, oven, and dishwasher that will serve the needs of your lifestyle. I would recommend avoiding the cheaper made appliances simply because you will most likely end up replacing them within a short period of time. In the time you have two sets of cheap appliances you could invest in higher end appliances that will be reliable as well as durable.
When you choose a refrigerator make sure that you get a high quality appliance since it will be preventing your food from spoiling. You will want this appliance to serve your budget as well as your piece of mind when it comes to reliability.
The one recommendation I would make in setting up for a stove is to bring both electricity and gas into the wall behind the stove, that way you can go with either type of stove or even the newer “hybrid” stoves that are gas on top and electric in the oven.
Even if you’d decide not to put a dishwasher in right now, I would also recommend at least getting a spot wired into the wall where it could potentially go in the future. Then it would be a fairly easy project to take out the cabinet, add some plumbing for the supply and waste lines, and slide in a dishwasher into the existing outlet in the wall.
When choosing a sink, be sure to think about water purification, waste disposal, and different functions for which you will be using the sink. These factors will determine the size of the sink as well as the type of material it will be made from.
Appliances will make up about ten percent of the finishing budget for your kitchen. Try to budget for medium to high end appliances as they will be the most important function in your small house kitchen and you will want them to last you a good number of years. Having an eye for Energy Star appliances will also save your wallet in the long run.