How to give your kitchen a brand new look on a budget

You don’t need to remodel your kitchen to completely transform it – get inspired with these budget kitchen ideas and save yourself thousands

Kitchen makeover: 'I’ve combined old and new design elements for a vintage vibe'

The kitchen is the heart of the home. And with the kitchen being one of the hardest working rooms in the house, it soon becomes the focus of our attention for a makeover. It’s the place where we cook, eat, and congregate with friends and family, but it’s also the one place that can look especially tired as trends change.

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If you’ve been dreaming of giving your kitchen a well-deserved update, the good news is that you don’t have to plan an expensive remodel to achieve maximum impact. There are plenty of budget-friendly makeover ideas to give your kitchen a new lease of life. From a fresh coat of paint on the walls in the latest on-trend hue, to changing the look of the units with new doors, there are lots of ways to make a big impact with minimum spend.

Here’s how you can transform your kitchen, without spending thousands of pounds!

Budget kitchen makeover ideas

Cabinets

A simple, cost-effective way to transform a dated kitchen is to paint the cupboard doors. Even if you have old fashioned cabinets, you’ll be amazed at what a lick of paint can do to brighten up your space and hide scratches and scuffs.

Kitchen makeover: 'We saved money by using what we had'
Real home: Claire painted her kitchen units in Harley Green intelligent eggshell, £31 per litre, Little Greene, to save money

You don’t have to have real wood units to be able to refresh your kitchen with paint – simply use a laminate primer before you start painting to give it an instant update. If you’re looking to make big changes in a small amount of time, you can even try using paint that doesn’t require a primer – we love Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint as a no-prep, no-fuss option.

Let your creative side run wild and paint base units a different shade to wall-hung cupboards, while open-shelving can be given a lick of paint too. This kitchen project might take a couple of weekends, but it’s sure to be worth the effort – giving your kitchen that makeover without the price tag.

Expert tip!

If you really hate the cabinet doors in your kitchen and think painting them just won’t do, remember – you can easily change the doors without having to fit a whole new kitchen. Why not try sanding them down and adding new handles to give them a whole new look? 

 

Real home inspiration: 'Using a select palette gives our house continuity and flow'

Open shelving

Removing wall cupboards and replacing them with shelves will totally reinvent how your kitchen feels. Not only will removing bulky cupboards make your space appear bigger, but open shelving will allow you to update the overall look of the kitchen regularly, with stylish accessories, plants, glassware and crockery.

Real home: 'I made my own happy place'
Real home: Liz transformed her kitchen by adding open shelving and dressing them with her favourite books and trinkets

Open shelving will also give you the chance to add more pops of colour. Use recipe books, appliances and crockery to tie in with the rest of your kitchen’s colour scheme, or to add a splash of colour to white walls.

Expert tip!

Hang kitchen utensils like chopping boards on your kitchen walls to free up cupboard space and create a unique display 

Real home inspiration: 'We’re so thrilled we’ve kept it in the family'

Lighting

Kitchen lighting can transform your whole room with the flick of a switch. Whether it’s a pendant hung low over a breakfast bar, or task lighting directed to exactly where you need it, it’s important to bear in mind the size of your space when choosing your light fittings.

Large Soprano Pendant Light, £79, Pooky
Large Soprano Pendant Light, £79, Pooky

Take care not to overwhelm the space – consider three smaller pendants rather than one large solution near dining areas, like these pendant lights from Pooky, while under cabinet lights are a great way of illuminating workspaces – check out B&Q for a good selection.

Tiles

Grubby tiles can be completely rejuvenated by re-grouting. Simply run the sealant along the tiles and the back of the worktop to freshen it up, or use coloured grouting to create a new look completely. Using dark grey grouting around your subway-style tiles is an instant way to make your kitchen look modern, while light grouting will make it appear fresh and airy.

Kitchen makeover: 'I’ve combined old and new design elements for a vintage vibe'
Real home: Claire opted for marble-effect tiles with fresh grouting to add a high-end look to her kitchen scheme

Remember, if you don’t love the current colour of your tiles, you don’t have to replace them completely… simply re-paint them! You can buy a 250ml tin of tile paint from as little as £8 from B&Q, or if painting isn’t your thing, why not experiment with tile stickers? SirFace Graphics has some great Moroccan-style designs, and a pack of 24 is just £15.

Expert tip!

Don’t fancy the DIY approach? A grout pen, which brightens grout and removes mould, will provide a quick fix!

Marais burgundy, Porcelain Superstore

Taps

Kitchen taps often look worse for wear, getting clogged up with limescale that stops them working as efficiently as they used to. Swapping out the old and bringing in the new can be like a breath of fresh air, making your sink area feel like new.

Grohe Minta Black Kitchen Side Lever Tap, B&Q
Grohe Minta Black Kitchen Side Lever Tap, £187, B&Q

Matt black taps are hugely popular at the moment, and will give your kitchen an instant refresh. This matt black kitchen tap from B&Q is a great pick.

Keep your tap update as simple as possible by replacing like for like, so if your current tap is a single hole mixer tap look for the same but in a different style, colour or finish to see the changes. This will ensure installation is straightforward and easily done in an afternoon.

Flooring

Want a new look underfoot? Whether you’re after colour and pattern or something more natural, it doesn’t have to cost you the earth. Vinyl flooring is a quick and easy way to achieve a big change for a small outlay.

Home makeover: 'I’m inspired by boutique hotels’
Real home: Amy chose patterned vinyl flooring from Atrafloor for her kitchen

Fitting costs are much lower than having tiles laid, and the latest high definition printing technology can make vinyl replicate materials like wood, stone or cork if you’d like a natural look! If you’d like something a little more out there, why not try a terrazzo print like Amy has done above?

Expert tip!

Bear in mind that you’ll need a smooth and even floor to lay vinyl, and remember that it can be prone to tearing if heavy appliances are dragged over it. Try companies like Zazous and Burts to find striking designs!

Real home inspiration: 'It took me nearly two decades, but now I finally have my dream home'

Plus, laminate and vinyl flooring can easily be laid in a weekend – transforming the look of your kitchen from the ground up!

Splashbacks

Splashbacks can be the perfect way to introduce style and colour to a lifeless kitchen. If tiles are in good condition give them a quick and stylish makeover by going over the top with your choice of on-trend self-adhesive tiles.

4 Dunelm Shell Blue Self Adhesive Backsplash Tiles V2
Shell blue self-adhesive backsplash tiles, £18 for 25.4 x 25.4 cm sheet, Dunelm

Simply cut them to shape around any plug sockets and adhere them to a clean, dry surface. It’s an easy afternoon update that can save pennies, but looks like you’ve really splashed out (pardon the pun)!

Worktops

Replacing your worktops can dramatically alter the look of your kitchen. If your worktops have seen better days and you fancy a new finish to lift the space then check out the latest looks in self-adhesive vinyl.

Real home inspiration: 'We’re so thrilled we’ve kept it in the family'
Real home: Sarah chose white worktops to enhance the feeling of space in her new kitchen

From marble and wood-effect, to bold statement colours, it’s an afternoon project that will transform your kitchen in an instant. Installing laminate is another cost-effective method, and you can also look for companies that fit overlay worktops on top of your existing ones. This way, you can even achieve a marble or quartz effect for a fraction of the price!

Expert tip!

Looking to save money by installing your own worktops? Here’s how to fit a kitchen worktop in 8 easy steps!

Home makeover: 'I’m anything but minimalist'

Refresh windows

Windows can often get forgotten about when it comes to styling up your kitchen, but they can play a big part in your room’s decorative scheme. Functional as well as stylish, choose a roller blind for an affordable solution that’s easy to install too.

Elements Lena Floral Ochre Blackout Roller Blind, Dunelm
Elements Lena Floral Ochre Blackout Roller Blind, £18-£42, Dunelm

From statement patterns to plain designs, the choices are endless when it comes to selecting a finish that’s just perfect for you. For a cheerful spring refresh, try these daisy design blinds from Dunelm. They tie in perfectly with Pantone’s colours of 2021; Illuminating Yellow and Ultimate Grey!

Walls

It’s surprising what a difference a new coat of paint can make on the walls, whether you’re simply refreshing the current hue or going all out with a different colour scheme.

Rocket Fire, Ballerina Dance and Tranquil Dawn matt emulsion, Dulux
Rocket Fire, Ballerina Dance and Tranquil Dawn matt emulsion, from £16.42 per 2.5l, Dulux

A crisp white can be the perfect backdrop to colourful kitchen units or a striking splashback, while choosing a statement shade for the walls is ideal if cupboards are neutral. You could even plump for an eye-catching wallpaper to give walls that ‘wow’ factor; either way, you won’t even have to empty out your cupboards to take on this task!

Expert tip!

Look for specialist kitchen paint or wallpaper when taking on this weekend update. Kitchen paint is formulated to withstand the temperatures, moisture and grease this space is susceptible to, as well as tackling many household germs – so check the tin before you buy. Many brands offer a kitchen wallpaper that can be easily wiped clean, making light work of cooking splashes. 

Matt emulsion paint in Spruce Things Up, £49.99, Dowsing & Reynolds

Storage

Investing in smart storage will make your kitchen into a better functioning space, ultimately ridding it of clutter for the long run and keeping it looking fresh. You’ll be amazed at how different a kitchen can look when there’s nothing cluttering the surfaces.

Real home: 'It was the ideal doer-upper for us'
Real home: Sophie chose clever storage in her kitchen, concealing her washing machine with a secret door to ensuring there’s more room for drawers and cupboards, and using wall space to hang chopping boards which also creates a striking display

Why not try putting a lazy susan in your cupboards for easy access to spices and essentials? Or, choose a trolley that can be neatly tucked away or become an extension of your kitchen worktop, so it doesn’t impose on the space. Use baskets on the shelves to store smaller items neatly while keeping frequently used items to hand.

Expert tip!

Hang kitchen utensils like chopping boards on your kitchen walls to free up cupboard space and create a unique display 

Kitchen makeover: 'We saved money by using what we had'

Accessorise

When it comes to accessorising your kitchen on a budget, it’s worth thinking outside the box. You never know what you can find at charity shops, car boot sales and vintage fairs – they’re the perfect place to find beautifully coloured glassware, or retro storage tins!

Kitchen makeover: Mustard colour pops set the tone
Real home: Jemma displays a mixture of old and new accessories to create a unique, authentic look in her kitchen

Look out for vintage crockery and tea sets that could inspire your entire colour scheme… you can even find some extra storage in the form of a wall-mounted fruit crate!

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Raising the style stakes with a few carefully chosen small appliances is another easy update with no DIY necessary! Sleek, matching accessories destined for the worktop can bring your kitchen bang up-to-date. Whether it’s a bold colourful collection or an elegant finish like this marble and rose gold Tower Bottega kettle, £55, Wilko, you’re bound to find something to suit your style and bring personality to the space.

Expert tip!

Existing accessories can be instantly transformed with a can of spray paint. Click here to find out how to upcycle bargain buys into chic accessories!

 

Home makeover: 'We discovered our unique decorating style'