Kitchen Renovation on a Tight Budget

This 1970s kitchen had peeling wallpaper on its walls, beige tiles, cheap brown units and tired lino on the floor. A false ceiling with industrial lighting and draughty single-glazed windows meant complete gutting was required.


The removal of the tiles and wallpaper revealed a damp problem in one wall, while the false ceiling hid a big hole. The budget for the transformation was just a few thousand pounds, which is quite low considering that stylish kitchen units only can cost ten of thousands of pounds.

Once the room was stripped back to a bare shell, a builder damp-proofed the affected wall with injections, then thin wooden battens were attached to this wall and a plasterboard was applied on top of the battens to create a new wall.

This reduces the size of the room slightly but it’s a cheaper alternative than repairing the whole wall. The hole in the original ceiling was fixed with plasterboard cut to size, the old windows and external door were replaced with double glazed units, then the room was plastered. The walls were painted with silk emulsion in Magnolia shade (this shade is one the cheapest alongside brilliant white). A DIYer with basic skills can do the painting and save even more money.

Wood effect vinyl tiles were applied on the floor. These inexpensive tiles are easy to cut (with a craft knife) and fit, so even a beginner could have a go. They are self adhesive but if in doubt you can buy floor glue to secure them.

Inexpensive Kitchen Fittings Can Be Stylish

This kitchen was devised as a mix of fitted and free-standing units. This reduced its cost, so it was possible to buy nicer units with antique finish brass handles.

A pine dresser and a pine butcher’s block gave it a country feel, which was accentuated by the accessories, purchased cheaply from a thrift shop. The pine dresser and the butcher’s block were gifted but similar ones can be bought second hand. The breakfast bar was made out of the remaining worktop (worktops are sold at standard sizes and it is a shame to throw away leftover pieces as you can also use them for shelving). The shelf above the doorway was fashioned from leftover material from the kitchen units.

The pine, unpainted shelves above the breakfast bar and the butcher’s trolley were cheaply bought from a DIY store, the appliances were competitively priced and came from John Lewis, a department store that offers free delivery and even recommends good tradesmen if you don’t know how to fit the appliances yourself.

The light fittings were bought from Argos, which sells through high-street shops and online. They imitate expensive task lighting designs at a fraction of their cost.

The pine stools for the breakfast bar were found in a charity shop. They were painted in cream shade, distressed with sandpaper and varnished. Cushions were made to match the gingham curtains. The curtains and cushions are very easy projects even for somebody with basic sewing skills.

Kitchen Revamp on The Cheap

Homeowners with an even smaller budget can paint the doors of kitchen units (special paint is sold at DIY stores), replace the doors while retaining the carcasses or even just replace the handles of the units. Great savings can be achieved by scouring thrift shops for accessories and pieces of furniture to complement a kitchen’s theme, while items already owned can be revamped with paint effects!

The inspiration for this renovation came from country and shaker-style kitchens. Homeowners can find a theme for their renovation by browsing home style books in a local library, then source the fittings and accessories from second-hand shops and/or buy during the sales.

Articles in the Tight Budget Series

Bathroom Renovation on a Tight Budget How to update an old bathroom for less money

Create a Garden Room on a Tight Budget How to build a conservatory for less cash

Christmas on a Tight Budget Eco-friendly tips on how to celebrate on the cheap

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