A new kitchen is both a huge upheaval and a big investment. If you’re not in the market for that right now, try to work with what you have. A few simple changes can work wonders.
The main items
Paint cabinets and drawer fronts with a specialist kitchen finish such as Crown’s Cupboard Makeover Paint (£14.99 for 750 mls), which has a super-tough satin finish. Depending on the finish of your cupboards, you may need to start with a specialist primer.
Alternatively, replace doors and drawer fronts – there are plenty of companies out there who do this, such as Kitchen Magic, at a fraction of the cost of replacing the whole kitchen.
Install new worktops. Laminate – which comes in a myriad finishes from matt to glossy to faux wood and granite – is the budget buy that never fails to please. www.laminatekitchenworktops.co.uk has a quality selection and delivers to your home.
Don’t forget the floor – you can lay new on top of old and run it underneath the plinths instead of wall to wall, which cuts the cost. Rhinofloor has a collection of tough, cushioned easy-to-clean vinyl that replicates wood, stone, mosaics and tiles.
Find out how to choose the right kitchen worktop
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Start by giving your kitchen a good old sort-out. Tidy cupboards and drawers, throw out anything that’s past its sell-by date, then organise them again sensibly, rethinking storage solutions that don’t work.
If you’re still short of storage and have the space, add a free-standing dresser – visit local junk shops, buy an orange pine one and paint it - or put up some shelves. Ikea’s stainless steel Limhamn, £11, are an eternal favourite as they’re easy to keep clean. Ikea also stocks more traditional-style shelving such as Stenstorp, from £20, in white painted fibreboard (www.ikea.com/gb)
Find out how to make the most of your space
Polish dull chrome taps with limescale remover or white vinegar, or replace.
Clean grout around tiles with a weak bleach solution and an old toothbrush. Touch up stained bits with a grout pen.
Replace outdated drawer and cupboard door handles but do ensure the screw holes are in the same place – you don’t want to be drilling more holes. Remember that in a narrow kitchen, handles that stick out may catch on clothing. Cup handles are a great solution – they cost peanuts, come in finishes from brushed steel to pewter, nickel, brass and bronze, and have a smooth edge facing downwards but are easy to grip. B&Q even has brightly painted ones (www.diy.com).
- Replace outdated lighting - take out fly-spotted overhead strip lights and replace with three matching, hanging pendants.
Add a new blind and make cushions for your dining chairs from the same fabric.
If things tend to get spilt on your kitchen table, opt for an oilcloth cover. John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com) has a wide selection from about £12 per m.
Read our tips for cleaning up stubborn stains
Add clean colour to your walls – zingy lime against white will bring instant freshness, but whatever your preferred colour scheme, choose a specialist kitchen paint that’s steam resistant. Clean the walls thoroughly with sugar soap before painting to remove embedded grease.
Add interest with a feature wall of wallpaper but it should be heat and steam resistant – Homebase has a selection from around £13.99 a roll.
Removing kickboards adds a feeling of space, but leave in place if there’s no floor covering behind your units.
Replace your accessories. Buy a matching kettle and toaster sets from places like Next, a new set of matching mugs or kitchen utensils, and display pretty crockery on open shelves.
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