When You Can’t Afford a New Kitchen: Ten Tips

Having just put my flat on the market I’m super aware of how it appears to others.  The kitchen has always been the room that lets down the rest of my home but I’m reluctant to spend thousands on a new one when I could be moving in a few short months.  Instead, I decided to try to breathe new life into the space and create a fresh look on a minimal budget.  Here are a few quick tips if you fancy doing the same.

1.Paint the existing units

Painting your cabinets is a great way to re-vamp the overall appearance of your kitchen.  You can pick up paint designed specifically for this purpose (we used Jasmine White by Dulux) and it only takes one coat. Our cabinets had a slight sheen to them and I was worried the paint wouldn’t ‘take’ but a light sand was all it took to avoid this and ensure the perfect finish.

2. Add elements of interest

vintage chair 3

As a huge fan of country and vintage interiors, I couldn’t resist adding a little rustic charm to help create a new look and prevent the space looking too clinical.  I found an old plate rack at a carboot sale and painted it pink. This made for a great place to display my crockery and meant I saved on cupboard space. I also installed some MDF pannelling and painted it in Parma Grey by Farrow & Ball (a couple of tester pots did the job). These touches added some character and personality to the space which is always helpful when potential buyers are trying to imagine themselves living in a property.

And the floor tiles? Vinyl.  I initially wanted these but instead I went for the soft vinyl option and saved a fortune.  The same effect at a fraction of the cost and much less chance that I’ll have to be peeled off them and dragged away come moving day.

3. Replace the work surfaces

Our old work surfaces were made from black formica and were a very sorry sight.  They were chipped in places, the colour made the tiny space feel even smaller and the finish meant every water stain stood out like Donald Trump at a pro-choice rally.  We replaced them with laminate beech effect worktops.  Obviously nowhere near as luxe as solid oak but perfect as a quick and dirty solution.

4. Spend more where it matters

Kitchen images

We replaced our old stainless steel sink with a round one. I was angling for a ceramic sink but lost confidence when everyone insisted they were ugly and overpriced; a choice I regret. We also bought a fancy tap that was a bit more expensive than I’d have liked but it really made a difference to the overall appearance of the space.  Additionally, we replaced two of the cabinet doors as they were literally hanging off and far beyond refurbishment.

5. Update the drawer knobs

kitchen kettle and toaster

Our kitchen drawers were adorned with ugly white plastic knobs circa your mum’s house, 1985. We swapped them for vintage style cup pulls and the drawers were immediately transformed into something straight out of an interiors magazine (if you tilt your head sideways and squint a little).

6. Refresh the tiles

We replaced the old, square tiles with white subway tiles and used grey grout to help them stand out. This resulted in a more subtle look than we would have achieved with black grout and immediately created a modern feel.

7. Emulsion the walls

An obvious tip but essential nonetheless. The transformative effect of a lick of paint cannot be overstated.  We went for Dulux Kitchen+Matt in Timeless as it’s a durable paint that can be wiped clean. Absolutely essential in a space where lots of takeaways will be consumed lots of cooking from scratch will take place.

8. De-clutter

Have a clear out.  Get rid of all the crap on your work surfaces.  That pasta-filled jar that’s been languishing untouched beside the bread bin since your IKEA trip last April?  Chuck it. Chuck the bread bin as well while you’re at it; that’s what cupboards are for.  And the dusty jars of herbs that aunt Sylvia gave to you for Christmas 2009? Be gone! Seriously, don’t hold back.  If you haven’t used it in the last year you won’t use it in the next.

9. Fake it till you make it

We didn’t want to shell out on a new oven but we did buy a stainless steel oven hood and splashback. Confession time…The oven hood isn’t actually wired up and doesn’t do anything but it immediately added a modern touch and makes the space feel so much more stylish. We’ll let potential buyers know about this so they’ll have the option of making it functional if they want to.

10. Finishing touches

But First Tea BlueBayStar Etsy

Image: BlueBabyStar Etsy

Ah, the fun bit.  In addition to the plate rack and vinyl flooring, other touches that cheered up the space included some really cheap downloadable wall art from Etsy and a copper dish drainer from Habitat. I also splashed out on a Roberts Radio (second hand on EBay) and a De’Longhi toaster. You can take such items with you when you move so it’s worth spending that little bit more when you’re selling a lifestyle as well as a home. With this in mind I’m suddenly fantasizing about Smeg fridges.  Time to hit ‘publish’ and step away from the credit card…

Have you updated a space on a budget? How did it go?

 

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