Decorating on a tight budget, Gemma Berlyn used clever painting techniques and stick-on tiles to transform her once dated room into a warm and welcoming space.


Here, she tells YourHomeStyle all about her makeover experience...

Gemma's makeover story

When we bought the house two years ago, we had plans to extend the kitchen-diner and rip out all the old units. However, after living with it for a few months with two young children running around, we decided that it wasn’t the best time to renovate.

Kitchen makeover: 'We revamped our kitchen-diner for under £1,000'
Gemma's kitchen diner before the makeover

Plus, we didn’t actually need extra space as the room was quite long, so we decided to save our money and start on a quick makeover instead.

The old kitchen had a country-style feel and I was keen to update it with a bolder, trendier look. I’ve always loved dramatic, dark colours so we decided to paint the units – that the previous owner hand-built – black and add new handles.

Welcome to my home

A bit about me I’m Gemma Berlyn @gemmaberlyn. I live with my husband, Piet, our kids, Reyer and Emmylou, and our dog, Stax. We live in a Victorian terrace in Bournville, West Midlands.

My problem kitchen The old room had a pale blue and white colour scheme, which wasn’t very practical for a young family with a dog. It also lacked storage; there just weren’t enough cupboards or shelves to store kitchen equipment, crockery and food, let alone all my vintage knick-knacks and plants.

Kitchen makeover: 'We revamped our kitchen-diner for under £1,000'

We also gave the walls a fresh new look with white paint in the kitchen and a two-tone dark green and white effect in the dining area.

We desperately needed more storage space, so we installed some white wall cupboards from IKEA on the right-hand side of the kitchen.

Kitchen makeover: 'We revamped our kitchen-diner for under £1,000'
The reclaimed wooden table and bench were made by a craftsperson on eBay, and Gemma has paired them with another bench that she bought in France. ‘We holiday there every year, and I love visiting the flea markets for vintage bargains,’ she says

I also wanted shelving to display my vintage finds and many houseplants, so we made some from a pair of old scaffolding boards, which we had kept from a previous extension.

A bit more about my home

How I made it work We added a large wall unit to provide some much-needed extra storage and gave the existing unit doors a lick of black cupboard paint. We painted the walls in the kitchen white and created a two-tone white and dark green effect in the dining area. We also put up scaffolding board shelving and some vintage hooks to display all my plants and collectibles. Finally, the old green tiles and window sills were given a quick makeover with tile stickers.

My favourite part I love the dining area; it’s so cosy now with the dark walls, rustic furniture and plants. It’s a great space for having friends and family round for dinner.

Kitchen makeover: 'We revamped our kitchen-diner for under £1,000'

We kept the original tiled and wooden flooring as we liked the rustic feel of them, but laid down some rugs to add pattern and colour.

Kitchen makeover: 'We revamped our kitchen-diner for under £1,000'
By painting the kitchen walls and units and filling the space with a mix of second-hand and high-street buys, Gemma has revamped her kitchen-diner on a tight budget, creating an on-trend room that’s now the hub of family life

I’m really pleased with the finished look, but there are still a few things to do, including boxing in the boiler. For now though, I’ve covered it up with lots of hanging houseplants so it’s not too much of an eyesore!

Style advice

Create clear zones

Separate the dining area from the kitchen by painting the walls in different colours, like Gemma. The two-tone wall colour not only adds interest, but it’s a good indicator of where the kitchen ends and the dining area begins.

Kitchen makeover: 'We revamped our kitchen-diner for under £1,000'

‘It was really easy to create the look, with the help of masking tape and a spirit level,’ Gemma explains. Different flooring is another useful way of zoning different spaces, or you could use large rugs as a quick and easy alternative.

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Mix old and new accessories

To create a homely, eclectic vibe, Gemma combines traditional pieces with retro-style macramé and modern framed prints.

Kitchen makeover: 'We revamped our kitchen-diner for under £1,000'

She finds vintage items in charity and second-hand shops and rummaging through antique markets in France, and buys new items from high-street stores – her favourites are H&M Home and Zara Home. Instead of hiding them away, display finds on open shelving or hang them up to make them part of your scheme.

Transform old accessories with paint

Gemma used leftover paint from the kitchen units to give an old pine chest of drawers a quick makeover. She painted the top and sides in black and used a tester pot of Farrow & Ball Sulking Room Pink paint to paint the drawers and feet.

Kitchen makeover: 'We revamped our kitchen-diner for under £1,000'

To finish the look, Gemma replaced the handles with a new set of hexagon designs that she found on eBay. ‘I wanted to try a hint of pink in the room, and the second-hand chest was the perfect piece to experiment on.’

Shop the look

● Cupboards painted in Ronseal One Coat Black Satin cupboard paint, £12 for 750ml, B&Q ● Walls painted in Dulux Palm Night wall paint, £32.34 for 2.5l, Brewers ● Chest of drawers painted in Farrow & Ball Sulking Room Pink paint, £5 for 100ml, B&Q ● Grey Moroccan retro mosaic tile stickers, £6.99 for 24, eBay ● METOD white wall cabinet, from £17; Burhult / Sandshult wall shelf, from £8; Mosslanda white picture ledge, £5; Kattrup woven rug, £60, all IKEA ● Aftas round jute rug, from £60, La Redoute ● For similar vase, try the small glass vase in Dark Brown, £6.99, H&M Home ● Flat Scandi Lena pendant lampshade, £68, Enamel Shades. 
This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in Home Style magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?