Makeover | Budget Kitchen Refresh – Small changes that have a big impact on your kitchen design

September 4, 2017

Kitchen Farrow ball slipper satin, vintage Scandinavian rustic budget kitchen refresh, artisan design and styling, eucalyptus (1)

 

Image: Design Soda

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A lot of people will tell you that kitchens cost the earth to renovate and they’re not wrong. It seems that the choice for most people when buying or renting a home is to either live with a previous owners decisions (and possible mistakes) or if you are lucky enough to own a home to blow your entire renovation budget on that one space (well, unless you have a mega budget that is).  I am, in general, a girl who likes to both have my cake and eat it too, so I set to thinking about small changes that could transform our kitchen space.  Many budget refreshes involve replacement of doors or worktops and the like but I believe with some careful thought you can change the look and feel of your space without such drastic changes or investment. 

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The Kitchen Before: The Space We Inherited

 

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We were relatively lucky with the kitchen we inherited, none of the materials would have been my choice but they weren’t ghastly either. You can’t really complain when you inherit black granite work tops and white cupboards (albeit in a weird fake wood grain finish) so I won’t, we’ve definitely bought homes with kitchens that were less workable. But there’s something really personal about kitchen choices, I guess because they are such big investments, such high use areas and the finishes are so crucial to the feel. We haven’t quite finished yet, and I’d love to know your thoughts, our most recent change has made me wonder about a more drastic one, but more of that later. My kitchen has really evolved over the last two years, slow piece meal changes that have made all the difference, and I’ve been very luckily gifted some things including a brand new range oven and integrated washing machine from AO so I’m over the moon with the new look and functionality. This post has sat in draft for a while, I warn you it is long, documenting the various stages of revamp, so I hope you’ve got a good cup of tea and maybe a biscuit to get through this one!

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Kitchen Farrow ball slipper satin, vintage Scandinavian rustic budget kitchen refresh, artisan design and styling, eucalyptus (1)

 

Image: Design Soda

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Assessing The Space

Having an idea of the kind of style you want is paramount to changing a kitchen space, but so too is really thinking about the space practically. If you don’t have a refurb budget then it’s important to consider each element of the room before you embark on a refresh. What you like, what you hate, what you want to make more of a feature of, what jars next to something else, and I guess the most practical of all – what you can change and what you can’t. Take inspiration from far and wide, look at higher-end spaces to see what you may be able to adapt to your own, or what sensibilities within it speak to you – there’s a lot of kitchen-porn out there, so I’d recommend making a Pinterest board of favourites to help you narrow down which style fits your aesthetic and lifestyle best.  

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Kitchen Farrow ball slipper satin, vintage Scandinavian rustic budget kitchen refresh, artisan design and styling, eucalyptus (1)

Image: Design Soda

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Having An Idea of What Can be Changed

One of my biggest design bug bears are things pretending to be what they are not – step in kitchen laminate wood effect, faux wood grain texture doors and plastic handles stained to look like real hardware, you’re not fooling anybody! It’s honestly not me being a snob, I get that they are cheaper than the real material, but I think that these things feel like a sort of soulless trompe l’oil of home design and as you touch them all the time they have a real impact on the space, I’d much rather buy a cheaper material that isn’t pretending to be something else. Laminate wood effect doors are actually pretty easy to tackle, we had faux beech doors in both of our last apartments and simply painted them with floor paint (more hard-wearing than eggshell in this high traffic space). I was so happy when glancing at the estate agents pictures to see that we had a nice neutral white kitchen and very thrilled to find upon viewing that the kitchen had real granite worktops (though slightly shoddily installed) but my heart sank a little when I saw the texture of the cupboard doors, the colour was fine but no amount of paint was ever going to cover up that faux plastic wood! Also, the handles which are enormous and well, plastic, but stained so as to pretend they are chrome, were horrible. The handles I’ve tackled (see below) but the doors do still somewhat defeat me, I don’t want to spend money on new cupboard doors as I think we may eventually extend and replace the kitchen, but there’s not a lot that can be done with them. I’m not sure but I have a feeling that if I use filler on these and paint them the surface could look even worse. So this is my area of compromise, if you are doing a refresh and you don’t want costs to spiral then accepting what can and can’t be achieved in a space is the best advice I can think of. 

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Kitchen Farrow ball slipper satin, vintage Scandinavian rustic budget kitchen refresh, artisan design and styling, monochrome colour base

Image: Design Soda

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Thinking About Colour

As I’ve already mentioned we didn’t inherit a bad kitchen, the bones were there, it just didn’t feel either very well thought out or very us. If you are a regular reader you will know that colour is very important to me, it has such a massive effect on how you feel within a space and the kitchen we inherited was painted in a very flat baby blue accented by cheerful(!) multi coloured tiles in the hearth. I hated both and knew that if I wanted to live with the space and not start again then I had to neutralise it with something pretty that didn’t jump out at you and helped the cupboards to recede back into the space. I chose Slipper Satin by Farrow & Ball which, as with all the paints I’ve used from Farrow & Ball, is  beautiful, a natural stone colour that works really well as a stylish neutral if you want a hint of colour palette but not too much of a statement. Once I’d started painting the walls I thought I’d temporarily paint out the tiles in the same colour whilst thinking about tile options just so I didn’t have to see the ones we’d inherited (and gung-ho, you know how it is, you have the paint brush in hand and so you go for it, or is that just me?!). Well my impulse turned into something more long term as I hadn’t anticipated how good it would look! It is only painted in standard emulsion and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’ve had to do touch up’s since, but, whited out, the tiles had the feel of miniature metro tiles or Victorian brickwork and I really liked the matt finish. 

 /scandinavian monochrome black white rustic modern kitchen makeover task light pattern and eucalyptus

Image: Design Soda

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Appliance Changes and more thoughts on Colour 

You can see how this looked above and I was so happy with it, until the lovely people at AO got in touch in June and offered me some new kitchen appliances. I asked as sweetly as I could for a new range oven, as we have been cooking with an oven that is largely broken for two years and the baking gods were listening as I scored a beautiful black Stoves range oven which fitted the monochrome vibe I’d begun making a play of perfectly and was so good to cook on. I was also very lucky to be given a swish new integrated Bosch washing machine (it even lights up in greeting when you switch it on!) which as someone who has only ever owned very cheap disposable machines and does untold quantities of washing with a messy toddler and an even messier husband (sorry Dan!) was like all my Christmas’s come at once. I’m going to have to work on my transformation into an actual domestic goddess soon just to justify them! But once we had our beautiful black Stoves oven installed the tiles looked all wrong. I’m going to come to what I did with this final stage of the revamp at the end but those of you that are beady eyed (OK, I know you all are!) have probably spotted what I did to the tiles and indeed the wall above already! 

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black kitchen tap

 

Image: Design Soda

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Replacing Fittings:

Coming back to where I started with my Slipper Satin paint, the next thing I thought about were the details. These are almost the most important thing to me, so once the room was painted out I started to look around the room and wonder why it didn’t feel at all co-hesive. I decided that now the walls were a shade of white the room was becoming monochrome, but with some glaring elements that jarred. First up the sink tap, which was a very odd shaped thin chrome contraption with hard lines, I replaced this with a super cheap matt black tap from ScrewFix for £49 (it’s no longer available but you can find similar here) and immediately the eyesore of the tap was gone, blending in with the black around it, but now I was wondering about the cupboards and more specifically their handles. 

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Kitchen Farrow ball slipper satin, vintage Scandinavian rustic budget kitchen refresh, artisan design and styling, monochrome colour base, diy painting kitchen door handles

Image: Design Soda

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Painting Handles

One of my very first thoughts with the kitchen was to replace the hardware, and I perused many stylish budget conscious solutions but a quick totting up (due to the size and quantity of handles) came in at around £800! I definitely couldn’t justify that chunk out of our decorating budget so I went back to the drawing board. We couldn’t paint them brass or copper as I’d just be perpetuating my own pet hate of goods poorly pretending to be something that they are not, I considered the colour scheme of the room and came upon the perfect shade. At this time I was painting the bedroom floors and on a bit of a whim decided to remove the handles and paint them with the Farrow & Ball Railings floor paint I was using. Oh my the difference! They really tie everything in creating the perfect link between the black worktop and  black floor via the white cupboards reflected in the wall colour, suddenly it felt like someone had designed the space and with a monochrome cohesion in mind. It was such a small change and yet for me it was a bit of a game changer moment, suddenly the kitchen felt like it had had some design thought to it.

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Kitchen Farrow ball slipper satin, vintage Scandinavian rustic budget kitchen refresh, artisan design and styling, monochrome colour base (1)

Image: Design Soda

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Using Space and Creating Atmosphere

Our kitchen isn’t a traditional galley style kitchen but it is long and fairly narrow, making it feel less sociable than most modern kitchen designs. One thing I really wanted in here was a table that we could eat around (since I’ve stolen the dining room to make an adult space that escapes the rest of the living space mayhem downstairs). I’m really pleased with this area, I’ve only shown one chair in shot above but we usually have five stacked in the gap between the table and the wall and the table can be pulled out and extended easily for eating around. 

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Kitchen Farrow ball slipper satin, vintage Scandinavian rustic budget kitchen refresh, artisan design and styling, Riess Enamelware ladles

Kitchen Farrow ball studio green, Scandinavian rustic artisan design and styling accessories, Another Country Terracotta jug styled with dry grasses

Images: Design Soda

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Choosing A Theme – Scandinavian Design Elements 

As I’m keen on the Scandinavian look in neutral spaces, I naturally started looking round for more accents of Scandi design to put into the scheme. I really love the black task lights you often find in unpolished Scandi kitchens so when I came across the Frosini task light at MADE.COM for only £49 I knew this was what the space really needed. As our kitchen is fairly narrow I decided one would be perfect, but if you have a wider kitchen I’ve seen examples of three on chimney breasts that look stunning. I had brought the Riess enamelware ladle set (pictured above) with me from our last kitchen and they’re perfectly at home here on the chimney breast. I love the design ethos of Scandinavia, they have a great way of investing in truly beautiful pieces that are practical & well thought out, so alongside artisan utensils and cleaning equipment, that make the most of wood and natural materials, I also have some beautiful kitchenwares that make the most of daily rituals like making tea, boiling a pan, or filling a beautifully turned out vase with flowers and foliage. I was sent the Terracotta Pitcher/Vase (above) by Another Country and it echoes the Scandinavian attention to simplicity of form and natural materials so beautifully. 

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Kitchen Farrow ball studio green, Scandinavian rustic artisan design and styling accessories, Stelton Collar Coffee Grinder brushed brass with ceramics stoneware and marble, styled with eucalyptus (1)Hollys House Nagasaki Pans splatter monochrome japanese scandi design with wood handles, artisan kitchenware (6)

 

Images: Design Soda

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Indulgent Items that bring Joy to the Everyday

These are all daily elements of the kitchen routine and as such they should be pleasing to both the touch and eye, you can’t fake the pleasure of holding something that has been well designed. It is truly one of the more pleasurable parts of design – a light switch with just the right click, the cool feel of marble, the way light plays on a natural surface, they are all essential parts of the DNA of design. I am in fact going to be doing two separate articles on some of the pieces I now mention so if you want to know more about them pop back over in the coming weeks. First up, and a true design hero, is the Emma Kettle from Danish brand Stelton which you can see dotted about the piece and which I first tweeted about two years ago, coveting it ever since. It sounds a little like I’ve plunged into the depths of strokey-beard-design-talk to describe a kettle as exquisite, but this one actually is! From its sleek black resin body to the ergonomic curved wooden handle and the clever way it hides the excess lead under its base, this item is for true pleasure seekers. Ditto the Collar coffee grinder from Stelton (pictured above) which has all the handsome good looks of a classic, and as with the kettle, the versatility to look great in pretty well any kitchen style. And then there’s the pots and pans, past functionality the design of pots don’t often get much thought, certainly little in relation to aesthetics. I love these Nagasaki pots from one of my favourite stores,  Holly’s House (also above) because not only do they heat really well but they are super good to look at, the speckled monochrome pattern of them echoes something artisan and if you eat with your eyes then these pots make food being cooked look very pretty! 

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Kitchen Farrow ball slipper satin, vintage Scandinavian rustic budget kitchen refresh, artisan design and styling accessories mette Ditmer, vintage terracotta pots, amber glass

Studio Green Kitchen Farrow ball, Scandinavian rustic budget kitchen refresh, artisan design and styling, monochrome colour base, marble pestle mortar, cork chopping boards

Image: Design Soda

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Styling The Space

I have made a conscious effort with kitchenwares to invest in items that I believe to be timeless, as such I’ve spent a bit more on some of them from wooden dust pan and brushes to marble pestle & mortars, and earthenware ceramics to hand painted crockery (though some of this came from the very budget friendly Ikea). One of my stand out investment pieces has been the Freud tea & coffee wares that I blogged about back in 2015. They sit behind the tap (above, top) by the kitchen window and although that means they need polishing more regularly, I really enjoy seeing them whilst doing the washing up. The pink soap dispenser is by Danish company Mette Ditmer and the amber glass washing up liquid dispenser is from T&Shop. 

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Kitchen makeover, diy marble shelves vintage Scandinavian rustic budget kitchen refresh, artisan design and styling, earthenware, broste, hand painted ceramics

Image: Design Soda

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Revamping and Updating

So I reckon when looking round your kitchen you are likely to find one or two things that could do with a little uplift to bring new life to them, one of the things I really disliked in our kitchen were the glass display cupboards which had faux wood interiors that really jarred with the white doors (a design decision I will never understand, as all the other cupboards are white inside this was a conscious choice). I painted them out with white eggshell and bought some marble tacking paper from Amazon which I have attached to the shelves. I have already mentioned how I hate these faux effects in kitchens but this one is behind a glass door so only I can feel that it’s not cool like marble and I reckon it would fool most casual glancers so I’ve allowed myself this little hypocrisy.

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Kitchen Farrow ball slipper satin, vintage Scandinavian rustic budget kitchen refresh, artisan design and styling, monochrome colour base

Image: Design Soda

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Working With What You Have

For me vintage never fails in a space, it has a patina and charm which bring a unique element to your room and the kitchen is no exception. I have brought some vintage into the space with a few accessories (old weighing scales for example) and my much-loved grandma’s old breakfast table complimented by a set of sixties plywood dining chairs. The chairs I bought on eBay super cheap, they had brown velvet seat pads and that awful orange tinge of old varnish. I sanded them back and applied a tiny amount of Danish oil for preservation, reupholstering the seat pads in a design from The Swedish Fabric Company. We’ve had my grandmas breakfast table for a decade and I’ve always been terrified of touching it, but it was too dark and heavy. After thinking about the table for a really long time (three whole years!), I decided to paint out the bottom half in white and sand back the top. Once it was sanded I added a geometric wall sticker which I think looks like a constellation and gives me the freedom to easily change it in the future. I really like this area of the room, it brings some history back into our modern kitchen and softens the hard lines. 

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Kitchen Farrow ball slipper satin, vintage Scandinavian rustic budget kitchen refresh, artisan design and styling, monochrome colour base, terrarium bowl cacti succulents mid century dish (2)

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Adding a Natural Element – Greenery

Such a small thing to add but I find greenery in the kitchen really calming and conversely it brightens up a neutral space. I love my Mid-Century bowl terrarium on the kitchen table and the ubiquitous Eucalyptus spray hanging from the hearth (again a Scandi inspired element), but one of the plants I’m most loving at the moment is Fittonia which I have both pink and green varieties of on the window ledge (you can see them in the shot higher up of the ledge behind the sink).  

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Kitchen Farrow ball slipper satin, vintage Scandinavian rustic budget kitchen refresh, artisan design and styling, eucalyptus (1)

Image: Design Soda

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The final flourish – An Impulse Move

The Final part of our kitchen makeover involved something of a moment of madness (or a flash of inspiration as I like to call it!) the moment when you go with your gut and do something. I think all spaces need this, something which provides an element of surprise and breaks up the conventional. Mine came in the form of paint (well, of course!) I had been eyeing up both Setting Plaster and Studio Green by Farrow & Ball for a while, and when our lovely new oven arrived I knew that I wanted to make something of a feature of the chimney breast. I wanted to paint the tiles in something dark and jewel like, something which would help the oven to blend into its space and also a colour that would make the objects oh my hearth shelf pop out. I plumped for Studio Green since it is such a dark charcoal shade of green and it has elements of infinite blue to it. I also wanted to make a bit of a statement by adding contrast to the area above so I painted the lower section of the chimney in Setting Plaster. Based on the colour of just-dried plaster (as the name suggests) this pretty colour contains a hint of brown and natural tones which really work in this space, think of a pastel pink with added depth. The choice of pink and green was inspired in part by the look of a kitchen design I saw at the Devol showroom during Clerkenwell Design Week which combined a bold pink with emerald green tiles, bringing me back to my earlier point of looking around for inspiration and adapting elements from higher-end spaces in your own design. Eh, voila my kitchen is refreshed! If you’ve stayed this far, well done, I’ll put the (beautiful) Stelton kettle back on for you. It’s not quite over for me as I’ve fallen a little in love with that Setting Plaster shade and almost certain I want to paint the rest of the kitchen in it, what do you think?

I was very kindly gifted a number of the products you see in shots and would like to thank all of the following companies who produce some of my very favourite wares. This is not a sponsored post, but as ever, thank you for supporting the brands that support me. Scroll down for more shots of the kitchen, before and after.

Stoves Range Oven and Bosch Integrated Washing Machine from AO

Emma Kettle & Collar Coffee Grinder from Stelton

Nagasaki Cooking Pot, Frying Pan & Saucepan from Holly’s House 

Terracotta Pitcher from Another Country

Estate Emulsion & Eggshell in various shades from Farrow & Ball 

Frosini Black Task light from MADE

 

The Before:

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The After:

 

Kitchen Farrow ball slipper satin, vintage Scandinavian rustic budget kitchen refresh, artisan design and styling, eucalyptus (1) Kitchen textiles

Scandinavian rustic budget kitchen refresh, artisan design and styling, monochrome colour base, terrazzo splttered paint design cookware Hollys House

Kitchen Farrow ball slipper satin, vintage Scandinavian rustic budget kitchen refresh, artisan design and styling, eucalyptus (1)

Kitchen makeover, diy marble shelves vintage Scandinavian rustic budget kitchen refresh, artisan design and styling, earthenware, broste, hand painted ceramics

Bosch Integrated Washing Machine

Scandinavian rustic budget kitchen refresh, artisan design and styling, monochrome colour base, terrazzo splttered paint design cookware Hollys House (2)

Images: Design Soda

 

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7 thoughts on “Makeover | Budget Kitchen Refresh – Small changes that have a big impact on your kitchen design

  1. Kay Prestney

    Wow! Epic blog post. Kitchen looks fab Ruthie, wish I could easily pop over for a cuppa this morning 😉🌿💚

    Reply
  2. Jessie

    I love a long post, something to really read! Here’s a long comment! I enjoyed hearing about your gradual changes and thinking processes. The changes you made might have been small and gradual but the overall effect in the ‘after’ shots is a huge contrast to the ‘before’ shots, it looks fab. I really love the tiles painted charcoal, I agree they look like miniature bricks and have a great vintage/slightly industrial look. As to your question about whether to paint all the walls in Setting Plaster (hope it wasn’t rhetorical!), I think I’d do the rest of the chimney breast up to the ceiling (if that works logistically, can’t see where all the corners/joins are) but leave the rest of the walls as they are.

    I’ve just spent half the day cleaning my kitchen, and it could do with a shake up…now you’ve got me thinking 🙂

    Reply
    1. Design_Soda_Ruthie Post author

      Hi Jessie

      Thanks so much for dropping by and such a fantastic response. I’m glad you liked the piece and the kitchen, its feels new again now I’ve added the pink and green, it’s been slow change but so nice to feel near the end. Yes, my husband thinks up to the top as well with the pink, but it would mean going round a corner so not sure where to end…
      Cleaning the kitchen is a much less fun prospect, I sometimes feel it’s all I do!! Xx

      Reply
  3. Jessie

    Oh a pain about the corner! I’m about to head off to bed, I’ll probably dream about painting around endless corners… 😴

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Brilliant Scandinavian design pieces from Homesense, styling your hygge

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