Monday, 23 May 2016

A Tiny Kitchen Makeover: Before & After

It's been just over a year since Tom and I got the keys to our first home. Luckily the previous owners had good taste so most of the rooms haven't needed much decorating, but the kitchen was high on our list. Although it wasn't terribly out of date, being a Victorian terrace, the kitchen is quite small and dark so we wanted to create a lighter airier looking room with more surface space.

Removing old tiles / the joy of grouting...

We originally looked into the 'easy' solution of getting it done for us, but were put off by the quote we were given by a well known kitchen company, at almost £4000 just to replace the units and for new flooring. (This didn't include replacing the tiling or painting the walls which would have added even more costs on.) So we decided our best option was to DIY! 

The hob area before...

...And after

Tom did a lot of the research and measured out the walls & floor. In the end we had to enlist the help of 3 different workmen to do the jobs we couldn't do ourselves; a plumber to replace the sink and remove the radiator while we tiled, a joiner who installed the new worktop (using a fancy machine to join two pieces together) and finally a plasterer who we needed to smooth off the walls for us once we had removed the tiles. 

An 'in progress' shot, to show you the full chaos...

To save money we decided to keep the cupboards, but replaced one with a shelf to move the microwave on to, so that we had more surface space below it. We painted them white (after first prepping them with ESP primer. In the end we had to paint three layers though so it was quite time consuming!)


And after

Our biggest bargain was the shelving which cost only £7 for two long ex-scaffolding planks, which Tom measured and sawed before applying woodstain and varnish. (Bought from East Midlands Recycling Centre)

Mugs from Ikea/Sainsburys!

 Close up of the 'scaffolding' shelves

The most grueling bits were the tiling (mostly done by Tom who I had to keep reminding to eat and take a break!), the grouting (ugh, messy and not fun) and finally applying the sealant around the edges (inhaling this is not good for anyone...). We also had to spend several weeks with our dining room a real mess, kettle upstairs and eating takeaways and microwave meals. But it was worth it! 

I'm really proud of what we've achieved with this room and it's a great feeling when you know you've done most of the work yourselves. It's hard to estimate the final costs as numerous trips to B&Q, Wickes & Ikea et al were needed, but I'm sure we spent less than half of what we would have if we'd had the work done by a kitchen company. Now I'm off to put the kettle on...



  1. It looks great! I love all the personal touches and those awesome shelves :)

  2. Oh gosh the kitchen looks amazing! You two should be so so so so proud of your work!

  3. It looks AMAZING! Since we put our (white) shelves up I've seen so many kitchens with wooden shelves and now I'm well jealous! Ah well, we would be even more kitchen twins if we had the same shelves, I suppose. Out of interest, what oil or varnish did you use on your worktops?

    1. Thank you! We replaced the old worktop with a new one we bought from Wickes (kind of a wood effect material) so that part wasn't all us ;)

  4. It looks great! I love the idea of painting the cupboard doors, I wish I'd thought of that!

  5. Well done! The result looks awesome!


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