When I bought my house, almost six years ago, there was a lot of redecorating to do and not much time or money to do it in. With the help of my awesome friends, I got rid of the more heinous paint colours (whoever lived here before me really liked puke-yellow) but the kitchen wasn't quite bad enough to do straight away, which I think was my mistake. After living here for a while I got lazy, and somehow the fact that the kitchen had disgusting, torn lino and dirty beige walls became something I looked past and put up with.
I'd made sprucing it up number one on my summer to-do list, but we had a strict budget. The Boy finishes his PhD next year and after that, who knows where we'll be moving to. It's possible we'll end up staying in Leicester - in which case, spending money on a new kitchen wouldn't be a big deal - but it's also very possible that this time next year we'll be upping sticks to a new city or even a new country. The thought of splashing a lot of cash on a fancy new kitchen, only to sell or rent the house less than 12 months later, did not appeal to us at all.
And so a budget makeover it was...
Before: dirty beige walls, torn lino and a major lack of storage space.
... and after. Not my dream kitchen but a million times better!
A new floor was non-negotiable, no matter the cost. The old one was beyond disgusting and there was no way a buyer or potential tenant would look kindly on it. So at an expense of £300, we had a new floor laid. It's the only thing in the new kitchen that isn't cheap and cheerful, but we'd put aside savings for it so it didn't bust our budget.
The beige walls disappeared under three coats of matte white kitchen paint (Wilko's finest) and the combination of new floor and clean walls instantly lifted the whole room. The kitchen had always felt dark and gloomy, but now it's a bright and light-filled space despite the darker floors.
Our kitchen doesn't have any top cupboards so storage space is lacking; these shelves (the timber and brackets came from B&Q) are brilliant for storing jars of dried goods together with my vintage crockery collection and some other random bits and pieces. Stretching across the back wall, the two shelves look fantastic and it makes it really easy to grab what I need while cooking or baking.
I used basic Ikea frames for a couple of prints we already had: a graphic Glasgow print (in honour of The Boy's hometown) and a Bikini Kill/Sleater-Kinney gig poster, because why wouldn't you have Riot Grrrl memorabilia in your kitchen?!
Finally, I think my favourite purchase was the blackboard paint from Wilko's. This was super easy to paint onto the back door, with just a little prepping, and makes it a real feature of the room (it's also a handy place to leave each other notes & to keep a shopping list).
Apart from the expense of the floor, we spent less than £80 on the new look. Yes, the list of what I'd still like to change is long - new oak worktops in place of the grey laminate, and pendant lights instead of the fluorescent strip light being the priorities - but until we know whether we'll be staying here there's just no point doing the work. Our budget kitchen redesign isn't going to win any awards, but I'm so happy with how much we were able to do with so little money.