How to transform your kitchen – without raiding your savings

As any estate agent will tell you, the most important room in any home is the kitchen. You need enough bedrooms, you need space in the living room - but the kitchen is where everything – cooking, laundry and often eating – gets done.

A kitchen that works hard can soon get worn and look dated. So it is only natural to want to turn a tired kitchen back into something special.

The trouble is a new kitchen will probably cost thousands even if you are keen DIYer and buy one to fit yourself or tens of thousands if you call in a specialist. But there are ways to transform your kitchen, without spending out a fortune.

Take a good look at what you have.

Start by taking stock of your existing kitchen. Make sure everything is safe.

Remember you need a registered fitter if you need gas pipes checked and a qualified electrician to do any electrical work in the kitchen.

Then you can start planning colours. Take a look at the latest kitchens on sale from Wren and others to see what colours and finishes are on trend. When you have found a look that you like it’s time to get busy, transforming your existing walls, worktops, cupboards and floors to look the same.

Walls and tiles

Kitchen walls are simple. Just give them a wash down to remove any grease build up. Sugar soap is the product decorators use – it mixes in water and just wipes on, but use gloves, it is strong stuff. Then use a kitchen paint. It is washable and tougher than ordinary emulsion but just as easy to use.

Tiles are more of a challenge. You can paint tiles if you really can’t stand the colour, but results don’t always look as good you might want. You may be able to transform the look of tiles by changing the colour of the grout between them.

Cupboards

If your cupboards are in good condition it is possible to update your kitchen by just replacing your existing doors. But if the doors themselves are sound, you don’t need to.

You can simply paint most kitchen doors to give them a good as new finish for a few pounds. You should probably take them off (remembering to number them so you know which door fits which cabinet) and lay them down flat. Remove the handles - most just unscrew from the back. Use a solution of sugar soap to remove grease and residues. Then give them a good rub over with fine sandpaper before applying paint.

You can buy special kitchen cabinet paint from Wilko and other DIY stores. It’s tough and goes on smoothly and comes in a variety of colours. You can test it – and your brushing skills – out on the back of a door where it won’t be seen before starting on the fronts.

You can complete the new look with some new handles – check out the range at Screwfix. You may even be able to use the existing holes – if not, you should carefully fill them before you paint.

Worktops

Worktops must take a bashing, so simply painting them is not really an option. You can get covers that fit on top, but these can work out almost as expensive as replacing the whole top. For a budget solution you can try a self adhesive vinyl. You can find a whole spectrum of colours and patterns that include stone and marble. Make sure the surfaces are clean and dry and pay particular attention to the edges where the worktops meet the wall.

When everything is perfectly smooth, use a bead of silicone to seal the edges.

Flooring

Floors are easiest of all. Self adhesive tiles, or a suitable length of vinyl flooring can go down over your existing floor and provide an instant life for any kitchen.

Take your time to get everything perfect, but you could probably get everything done in a long weekend.

Then comes the best bit of all. When you have finished, step back and admire your new kitchen – and enjoy the fact that it has cost tens of pounds, rather than thousands!

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