Our Budget Kitchen Makeover

Dan and I have always been into our cooking in a big way, and so when we moved into our home last year, we knew that the worn-out 80’s throwback of a kitchen needed to go as soon as was humanly possible. The cabinets were a mess of moisture-damaged MDF, and those yellow tiles had been painted over countless times!

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The trouble was, we had just purchased our first home. We had spent all of our savings on purchasing said first home. Therefore, we had no money to buy a brand new kitchen! So, we had to put our heads together and try and make the best improvement to our space that we could, for the smallest amount of money possible. We decided that the actual layout of the kitchen wasn’t an issue, and the cabinet carcasses would be salvageable. This meant that we could replace the cabinet doors and handles only, instead of replacing the entire units. This could cost a few hundred pounds, instead of a few thousand blown on new units! We found a brilliant website called Kitchen Door Workshop that enables you to input your door sizes, choose a style and colour, and they send you custom-cut replacements. We were very impressed with their quality, and they fitted onto the original brackets for the old doors very easily- another money saver!

As well as the new cabinet doors, we replaced the worktops, sink and wall tiles. These were all purchased on special offers, and I really recommend shopping around if you know there’s a specific style or item you’d like. You never know where you’ll find a bargain, don’t just buy the first item you see. The worktops are solid beech, and were purchased from B&Q while on a half price deal. The sink and fittings were from a local DIY store, and after a lot of haggling due to them being the last unit, we managed to get them for less than half the original price! And finally, the tiles were purchased at trade price from Topps Tiles, as we are lucky enough to have a friend who works there.

After replacing the main components of the kitchen, we carried out a few more little tweaks to make the space more usable. One of these involved removing the door that originally led to our dining space. We felt this was an unnecessary waste of space, seeing as though there is another door to the kitchen from our hallway. I’m so glad we made this small change. It has allowed so much more light into the kitchen, and makes the dining and kitchen areas a much more social space to be in. It also meant we could add some handy rails to the wall that was behind the door, giving us somewhere to store bulky pots and pans and freeing up essential space in our cupboards.

Since the above photographs were taken, we have also given the walls a lick of white paint, and replaced the worn out vinyl that covered the floor with a heavy duty vinyl planks from B&Q. These have been great so far, and if you damage a plank, you can just remove it and replace it with another! We have also upgraded our appliances- the gas oven that was left in the house when we moved in was an accident waiting to happen.

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I think it’s safe to say that you wouldn’t recognize the kitchen now, compared to 18 months ago. We are so pleased with how everything has turned out and how much more usable the kitchen feels. And the best part is, we didn’t spend thousands of pounds in the process. My tips for keeping kitchen renovation costs down would be:

  1. Don’t feel pressured to replace everything. Think outside the box. Yes, the cabinet fronts are a little dated and worn out, but could you just replace the doors and create the same effect as a whole new cabinet?
  2. Shop around. Can you find a similar item cheaper elsewhere? Have you tried looking on selling sites or in second hand stores?
  3. If you aren’t in a hurry, can you stagger the work? Not only will this break down the financial blow of your project, but working in small stages may also mean less mess and less stress!
  4. If you feel brave enough, do the work yourself. Of course some things are best left to a professional, such as gas and electrical work. But others are easy enough to do yourself, as long as you are up for a little DIY. And, you’ll save yourself a little money too.
  5. It’s amazing what a good cleaning session and a lick of paint can do.

Kim.

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