Big plans! How I’m going to do my kitchen up on the cheap

Who fancies a nose at my kitchen?! Come take a look and give me your thoughts on my plans to do it up. I have ordered a ton of stuff to do it up, and I’m hoping I can transform it for under £350. Oh, I’m also going to do it all myself with no skill-set or DIY knowledge! What could go wrong?

I moved into my house about four years ago. It was a million times nicer than anything else we could afford (which doesn’t say a lot) but found out, after moving in, the place was pretty much falling down.

LITERALLY the first day we owned the flat, the ceiling came through. Then, a couple of weeks in, the bath started leaking into the downstairs flat. The place was rotten.

My boyfriend now is a pretty decent carpenter/general builder thanks to the fact he’s had to learn how to replace walls and windows which had rotted away due to years of neglect, while owners painted over waiting for the next owner to deal with it.

Well anyway, the reason I tell you this is because the kitchen was OK… sort of. You know when something isn’t what you’d choose, but it’s not bad enough to actually spend money on – well that.

The windows needed painting and some TLC (again, rotten!) but everything else WORKS. I just don’t think there’s any style to it.

The big plan

SO! I have a few hundred pounds spare (now I can’t go on holiday anymore for obvious reasons) and MONTHS stuck in the house, so I thought a bit of DIY is in order.

What’s that about the Devil finding work for idle hands, again?

I’ve written a mega-blog on how much the average kitchen costs if you want to do things like change cupboards/do a ‘whole thing’, but I’m just sprucing up, not completely changing.

Ok, so I decided to start off on Pinterest and see what kind of kitchens I like – and this jumped out at me.

I like BOLD colour, plants and it to be rustic(ish).

So then I thought – how do I take what I have, and make it like the above? To me, it’s all about the shelving and tiles. So that’s where all the money is going.

The Tiles

Something you have to understand about me, is that when it comes to making decisions about my house… I can’t make them.

I don’t really have ‘style’. I like really pretty things, but I don’t understand how you put a whole room together. Which I don’t mind, my house is a mish-mash of things I think are pretty, but it’s not ‘stylish’.

So asked my old mate Bronni for tips as she completely transformed her kitchen with a tile update earlier in the year.

She hates absolutely everything I like in general! BUT – I took away that:

  • smooth tiles look modern, ones with texture look rustic (which she hates and I like)
  • you have to get samples because they look different on the website
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And oh my, she was very right about that.

Porcelain Superstore

I asked on Twitter if there were tile store recommendations and Porcelain Superstore was suggested and ooofff, couldn’t recommend them enough.

What was really good is that you can order six tiles for free, delivered to your house to see in real life. I ordered mine in a literal global pandemic and they came within three days.

In fact, I ended up ordering two lots of samples because I couldn’t decide. It wasn’t an issue at all.

TO me – the tiles look so different in your hand, than in the nice pictures of them on the website. Not that they weren’t nice – it’s just they didn’t look how I expected them to.

So I did what I always do – I asked Twitter to choose for me (and I mostly ignored everyone’s opinion!):

Click on the image to see all the tiles I could choose from

What I also found really helpful was Porcelain Superstore’s Instagram Stories. I could see what normal people were doing with them, and I fell in love with some bottle green ones.

Of course, they were some of the most expensive ones on the site! That’s TYPICAL when it comes to me, but all in all, came in at around £120 for the tiles (I also have to buy grouting and adhesive to actually stick them on).

A little tip for you. When you order some tiles from Porcelain Superstore, you’ll be asked to leave a review in a couple of days via email. If you do, you’ll get 5% off your order, but if you also share it on social media – you get 7.5% off, which isn’t a discount to be sniffed at.

Oh, I’m also going to tile it myself. I have no idea how you do it, but there have to be some good videos on YouTube which tell you what to do!

Wooden shelves

Again – followers to the rescue. I asked what kind of shelves they are and someone knowledgable on Facebook said they are reclaimed scaffold boards.

I found some scaffold boards on Etsy, and they were pretty pricey – about £100 for one after delivery.

I then had the idea of going to a wood yard and trying to buy them from where tradespeople go. Turned up at the local one full of builders, felt like an idiot, and came home empty-handed!

THEN – tried to find some used ones from Gumtree. In my head, I could find a scaffolder who wanted to sell them off for a couple of quid each.

There were some, but no-where was selling them close to me (I’m stuck in lockdown with no car/van – so it had to be local).

It was a shame because there were really cheap ones on Gumtree. Ah well.

Rugged London

I ended up just Googling and coming up with a company called Rugged London. After spending a couple of days researching/email and not getting anywhere, I was a bit over it.

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I liked that the website was nice (I’m a simple woman!), and it just made it easier.

You could choose the size and whether you want them sanded down or not.

There’s a massive price difference between sanded and unsanded, but again, live in a one-bed flat with no outdoor space, so thought I’d be hating myself for not spending the extra cash getting the one room we live in covered in sawdust for weeks.

I’ve decided on two giant wooden shelves across the bare wall, and one smaller one by the sink.

Absolutely annoying, going to have to keep the bike in the kitchen. There’s nowhere else it can go.

I thought the three planks of sanded wood were a super bargain until I saw it was £50 for delivery – ouch! In the end, my order came to £129 for all the shelves, and iron brackets.

Not too bad I reckon. I think I got quite a lot for the money – custom made shelves for a delivered.

Some other things

Here are some things I’m doing, not doing, and maybe doing. What do you think?

Window boxes

First off, can you please feel sorry for me because these bloody window boxes and compost bags have been sat in my house FOR NEARLY TWO MONTHS.

I ordered a load of flowers ages ago, but they still haven’t arrived. I’ve also ordered some plants from there that will sit on the wooden shelves.

I’ve spent ages finding the right window boxes because I didn’t want plastic ones – and they had to fit my window sills, so was pretty pleased when I found these because they can be HUNDREDS OF POUNDS. Madness.

The small ones were £10, the medium £15 and the large £20. I haven’t *quite* decided what is going in there yet. The kitchen window doesn’t get a lot of sun, so thinking just herbs. Do you have a good idea?

Worktops

I thought about buying new work surfaces – actually, I might. Thing is, it’s another £150ish and at this point, don’t *see* if changing them will make a big enough difference.

I had a look to see if I could buy some second-hand ones from Gumtree, and saw some brilliant marble worktops for a decent price – but you have to be careful because if your cupboards aren’t particularly fancy, they probably aren’t able to hold up heavy stone.

Then someone suggested I buy a wrap for the surfaces. I looked into it, seemed cheap, stressed me out so I’m holding off for now.

If when the shelves and tiles are up I feel like the worktops need changing, I’ll look into options then.

Paint

I *might* paint the walls a light green, or some of the walls. I don’t know. Have to get the tiles and shelves up first and then I’ll decide.

A plate wall

I like the idea of a wall with colourful and mismatched plates. I just need to wait until charity shops open again so I can see what’s about.


So yeah – those are my big kitchen plans. If you have any thoughts – let me know!

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