How to upgrade your own kitchen on a budget

When we moved into our new house back in 2014 the previous owners had recently refurbished and fitted a new kitchen.  So I thought great, one less job to do… But Victoria had other ideas.  Didn’t like the floor, the tiles or the Worktops! So it wasn’t long before I had my orders to make it look light, bright and white. Everything in my house seems to be turning white these days.

I’d never fitted a kitchen before but was well up for the challenge. First things first was to choose the worktops, sink, tap and tiles. Easy, I just let Victoria loose on eBay and soon enough we had some lovely solid oak worktops, tall brushed steel mixer tap, white ceramic double sink and white tiles and grout.

The first job was to treat the Worktops with some Danish oil.  This oil is best for treating wood found around water. Its very hard wearing and water resistant. What we hadn’t anticipated was how long this job was going to take. We had to put 4 layers of oil on and without a suitable indoor space to do this it had to be done outside.  And of course with this being England it rained every weekend for several weeks. We had 3 lengths of oak to treat, 4 layers on each side and had to wait at least 8 hours for each coat to dry. So basically 3 months later we were ready to get cracking. 😁

Now for my biggest learning point.  We bought a double ceramic sink and had it delivered to a local Argos for collection.  Big mistake, whilst carrying back to the car the cardboard box split and I dropped the sink.  It chipped one of the corners which at first didn’t look too bad but as I started to tap out the tap hole, another crack appeared. This only got worse as we moved the sink about.  There was no going back… new sink required!  Ouch.

Benmay16 (260)
My next challenge was to get the old kitchen out and the new one in within one weekend, which for a professional probably doesn’t seem like much of a task but this was my first, so had a fair few learning points along the way.  Job list included:

  1. Remove old tiles
  2. Remove old sink and worktops
  3. Measure and cut new worktops
  4. Measure and cut hole for sink
  5. Tap out ceramic hole for tap
  6. Fit worktops and sink with waste pipes
  7. Fix wall with plaster
  8. Tile and grout walls
  9. Clean and tidy

The most physically challenging of these tasks was to remove all the existing tiles.  I ended up taking most of the plaster with them.  I was hoping this didn’t happen as again, I’ve never plastered before and I know this is a skill that requires a fair bit of experience to get right.  Anyway, no way I’d be paying someone to do this so a couple of YouTube videos later and I was plastering.  The end result wasn’t amazing but it was good enough for a nice even wall base to tile onto.

Benmay16 (186)
Now for my second mistake.  I can’t emphasize this rule enough – Measure twice, cut once.  NOT! – Measure once, cut twice, stick back together and cut again.  Enough said on this one.

I’m not keen on tiling because I find it a very monotonous task.  I don’t make things easier by not having the right tools for the job.  An electric tile cutter would have saved time and so much effort.  I can’t count how many tiles I broke trying to cut right angles out for the electrical sockets.

I’ve taken away a lot of learning point from this job and could quite happily do it again… with the aim to get it perfect the second time round.  We’ll take a look at the finished article in a moment but first lets just take a look at the tools required to complete this job.

  1. Router
  2. Router jig
  3. Circular saw
  4. Orbital sander and sand paper of different grits
  5. Wood glue, Danish oil and bees wax
  6. 3″ wood Clamps
  7. Drill and bits
  8. Chisel, masonry chisel and hammer
  9. Trowel and bucket
  10. Tape measure, ruler, set square and pencil
  11. Spanner set and all the fixtures and fittings

So here is the before and after.  As always, any questions please drop me a line.



Why pay someone hundred of pounds when you can just do it yourself…  Check out my other articles on:

Bathroom sink unit upgrade

Fitting your own laminate flooring

Refurbish or up-cycle a farmhouse dining table

or get creative and:

Fit your own under stairs drawers

Make a wood store with a difference

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