When we purchased an older property we totally underestimated how much everything would cost to update. My husband and I purchased our first home together almost five years ago and we’ve been busily updating it ever since. We kept back a few thousand thinking it would be enough to do-up our new home, but our savings disappeared in only a few weeks and we hadn’t even tackled the kitchen which was not to my taste at all.
It was time to revamp our kitchen on a budget as we could not afford for a brand new kitchen or for any labour. In this blog post I will share some of the ways you can update your kitchen on the cheap, just as we have managed to do.
Photos of our revamped kitchen
Firstly here are some of our kitchen update before and after photos. The before photo is the kitchen when we viewed the property. It’s a north facing room and very small so although the picture looks quite light, it isn’t a very light room at all. It’s a compact room and I felt the dark floor and dark worktops made the room feel heavy and more enclosed. The tiles were also a peach colour, as were the painted parts of the walls, and this is not a colour I’d ever choose.
My plan was to brighten up the kitchen with lighter real oak worktops, an oak floor, white walls and tiles. Luckily the kitchen cabinets were in great condition and so we decided to keep the cabinets which saved us a small fortune. We were able to make them look brand new by changing everything around them, but without replacing them.
This photo is at night-time, but you can imagine how much brighter and lighter it is with the new lighter worktops, floor and tiles.
Top design ideas to update your kitchen
There are so many ways you can update a kitchen and even some clever tricks to make a cheap kitchen look more expensive. Below I will share some of the ways from our own personal experience and a few extra tips that can suit all budgets.
Do it yourself
If you or your partner are pretty handy with DIY then the best advice is to do it yourself. Sure it might take longer if you’re trying to fit it in around other commitments such as a full-time job, but it will save your hundreds of pounds or even thousands compared to hiring labour each day. We are very lucky that Ben likes to give everything a go himself and will take time to research how to do it all properly. This has saved us a small fortune when doing up our kitchen as we’ve not had to pay for any professionals so far.
Keep the cabinets
If you can keep the kitchen cabinets then this will save a lot of money. If you really don’t like the doors then see if they’re made of a material you can paint or spray to a new colour. Or if your budget allows then change the doors completely. We kept our cabinets and changed pretty much everything else. It made our kitchen look brand new and many people didn’t even notice we hadn’t changed the actual cabinets.
Update the floor
Before we changed anything else in the kitchen we updated the floor and this alone made a huge difference to the overall feel of the room. It’s a small space and the black floor tiles made it feel even smaller, so we added an oak effect laminate floor instead. The new floor brings warmth into the room instead of darkness and it was also to match our new future worktops making the whole room blend together seamlessly.
There are lots of affordable solutions to update a floor and they don’t have to break the bank. Check out your local DIY shop to find ideas such as stick on vinyl flooring which can look very realistic.
Change the sink
I really wanted a farmhouse sink, but as the kitchen is so small we couldn’t sacrifice any cupboard space under the sink. Instead we changed the stainless steel sink to a white ceramic sink. This was quite costly as I wanted a specific sink, but it doesn’t have to be. When looking originally for a farmhouse sink there were lots available locally on various marketplaces. This is a great tip when updating a kitchen as you may be able to find your perfect sink at a fraction of the cost if you choose second-hand. This is also true for the cabinets, doors and even worktops. I really believe a farmhouse sink can transform the look of a kitchen, especially if you’re opting for a more rustic feel.
Replace the fixtures and fittings
A statement tap can make a big difference!
If changing big items like worktops and doors is out of the question with regards to your budget, then look into replacing the fixtures and fittings instead. New handles on doors, a new tap and new lights are all things that aren’t too expensive and can totally makeover the space.
Paint the walls
The walls in our kitchen were peach and not a colour that I liked at all. A tin of paint doesn’t cost much and one of the first things we did was to repaint the whole room white. It lightened the whole space up and was really easy to do.
Choose new tiles
We changed our tiles from small square peach tiles to white brick style tiles with white grout which looked instantly more modern, airy and fresh. Ben has learnt to tile himself which is a lot cheaper than hiring a tiler, so we are lucky he can do this himself, but there are other options such as self-adhesive vinyl tiles that are a quick and cheap way to change the look of tiles that anyone can do.
Add a rug
Ben constantly thought I was barmy for wanting a rug in the kitchen, but we’ve added a small black and white rug in front of the sink which has so many purposes. It catches any spills when washing up and gives me somewhere warm to stand as I was up by hand. Our kitchen is very minimal, white and wooden, so I chose a patterned monochrome rug to add some interest to the room.
Extend the worktops
Being inventive has given us lots of extra worktop space to create a breakfast bar and homework station for the kids!
If, like ours, your kitchen is very small then see if there’s a way to extend the worktops. We decided to sacrifice our tall fridge-freezer and instead choose under counter versions instead when our fridge-freezer needed replacing. We also had a side door on the kitchen that we never used. By using this space more effectively we’ve been able to extend our kitchen worktop space by around 50% and have created space for the children to sit in the kitchen for breakfast and homework. We purchased a worktop off eBay, created a windowsill shelf using an off-cut and used left over kitchen tiles in our attic. We also found stools in the sale on eBay. This recent worktop update has totally transformed our kitchen for around £150.
Hopefully this blog post will inspire you to think outside the box when it comes to updating your kitchen on a budget. You don’t always have to replace the entire thing or hire expensive kitchen fitters to create the kitchen of your dreams.
Written in collaboration with C & W Berry
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