Five quick ways to transform your kitchen on a budget

We dish out our best budget-friendly kitchen style advice including lighting tips and storage solutions

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Did you know that the average Briton will spend an estimated three years’ worth of time in their kitchen, according to a survey from AGA cookshop? When we spend so much time in one room, it’s easy to get a bit fed-up with the decor and crave something new.

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However, a full-on kitchen renovation is a very rare opportunity for most of us. Luckily, there are far quicker and cheaper ways to bring a new lease of life to your kitchen decor. Read on for five simple and budget-friendly ideas!

Add wall art

Brunch Club Diamond Dust Wall Art, £39.50, Oliver Bonas

Treat your kitchen walls just like you do the rest of the house and use wall art to add interest. Unexpected pieces such as antique or vintage paintings to bring weight to a kitchen setting.

Artist, designer and curator Jon Harvey, says he has seen an upturn in people looking for vintage artwork for their kitchen. ‘Vintage works of art can be surprisingly robust, they have after all been around for decades, so it’ll take more than a splash of bolognese to stop them bringing joy to your everyday.’

At the other end of the spectrum, a neon light is a clever way of creating an instantly sociable, convivial atmosphere and a great talking point.

Get creative with shelves

Rustic kitchen with wooden worktops, shelving and pretty flowers
Image credit: @mysimplehome

Displaying your prettiest crockery and glassware on open shelving rather than hiding everything in cabinets is one of the central tenets of the cottagecore aesthetic that’s set to take over 2021. It’s also a great way to add instant character to the space.

Interior designer and colour lover Sophie Robinson wants to see more personality in kitchens. ‘Too many kitchens look like they’ve jumped out of the catalogue in my view. Think about creating some areas of display in order to personalise your kitchen.’

Interior blogger and Instagram pro Lisa Dawson is also a big fan of styling out your shelves. ‘Kitchen shelves are the ideal place to show off your shelfie skills. Style them as you would in your living room, adding height with cookery books, using plants with abandon and mixing softer textures such as wood and china with luxe marble and metallics, to give a layered effect,’ she says.

Think about placement – above the sink is a good spot for shelving displays, as is beside the cooker.

Refresh the details

Kitchen from Buster + Punch/Canadaköket collaboration
Kitchen from Buster + Punch/Canadaköket collaboration

There’s no need to splash out on all-new cabinetry – instead, try swapping out tired, old fashioned handles for new hardware. This really can transform the overall look and feel of your kitchen, at a fraction of the cost. Satin brass, gold or bronze will bring in that extra wow factor.

Sophie says: ‘The devil is in the detail when it comes to picking out handles and hardware. I’d avoid going for the kitchen manufacturers set handles and think about making the kitchen look more individual with something different. You can pick a handle that ties in with your overall scheme, be it industrial, country or something a little more glam.’

Go green

Bring the outdoors in and help improve the air quality with a few leafy house plants. Present Time Small Coy ceramic plant pot, £9, Cult Furniture
Bring the outdoors in and help improve the air quality with a few leafy house plants. Present Time Small Coy ceramic plant pot, £9, Cult Furniture

As functional spaces, kitchens can lack softness, which is one of the reasons why houseplants have become the go-to Instagram trick for adding instant interest and texture to a scheme. Try clustering together or find ones that trail over the edge of shelving.

Blogger and interior design consultant Cate St Hill is a big fan of plants in her kitchen. ‘They are a great way to add colour and texture, whether it’s a sculptural cactus or sprawling monstera to add wow factor, a big bunch of welcoming flowers on the kitchen island or simply a few herbs on the windowsill.

‘Not only will they look beautiful and brighten up a space, they’ll also help purify the air,’ she says. ‘Try easy-to-grow varieties that you can also cook with, such as mint, thyme and basil in areas with lots of light.’

If you don’t have a windowsill, you could try displaying greens on shelves or hanging them from hooks in places that are easy to reach, such as under kitchen units. You could also tie together herbs and hang with twine, creating your own bunches of dried herbs.

Trick of the light

Screenshot 2020-11-12 at 07.38.30

One of the easiest ways to add a touch of missing atmosphere to your kitchen is to rethink your lighting, using layering techniques to avoid it looking too stark and bright. A statement chandelier, pendant over an island or central area will have an instant impact, and plug in wall sconces are another easy and super stylish way to introduce an additional light source.

Jenna and Mariana from online styling business Interior Fox say: ‘Quantity and scale of lighting is really important. If you have a small island, don’t use five pendant lights or a super large light, maybe use just three. If you have a large kitchen island or dining room table don’t just have one small pendant light. You always want to fill the space and make it feel generous and balanced.

‘You can find some great affordable lighting online but when you know it’s a main focal or feature of the space we recommend you splurge a little – you can save in other areas.

‘We will always love a sputnik light, whether a mid-century replica or a modern industrial spin on one. The multiple arms really point light in all directions and it just looks so good!’

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Words by Jess Hurrell