If you have purchased an old property, chances are that it came with a tired and outdated kitchen. But there are ways homeowners can easily update the space on a budget – without having to rip it out and replace it with a new one costing thousands.
Cecilia Effa, 28, bought a 140-year-old home with her boyfriend last October. They inherited a kitchen with character, but they wanted to inject some personality, giving it a fresher and more stylish look.
The editor, from Liverpool, wanted to maintain its original features, so instead of completely modernizing the kitchen, they gave it a rustic look. She paid a decorator to paint the cupboards an on-trend sage green and used budget finds from Facebook Marketplace, Tesco and The Range to accessorise.
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She puts flowers from her garden in vases to give it a homely touch, and made shelves from old pieces of wood. “My boyfriend and I bought the house in October; it has six bedrooms which seems crazy but was a steal of a price,” Cecilia told money-saving Facebook group DIY On A Budget UK.
“It’s 140 years old, so we loved the older features such as the wooden kitchen, and didn’t want to change that much of it. We wanted to keep the old cottage style feel to the kitchen, but thought it could do with a more refreshing color – so we came up with the style of rustic meets modern.”
They first had the cupboards painted green, which was the one thing the couple didn’t do themselves. Due to how consuming the project would be, they paid £1,000 to have them professionally done.
Cecilia continued: “They are a lovely real wood and we didn’t want to take any of their original loveliness away besides the colour. We had to freshen up the walls which had a lot of cracks and peeling – so a couple of days was spent re-painting all the walls white, sanding to make them perfect also.
“Next, we thought it would be too much work to remove all the tiles, so we focused on the decorative tiles that were dotted around the kitchen, which we primed and painted the same green, they were originally brown. The edging of the tiles were faded, so we bought copper spray paint and had a tough job spray painting clean lines, but the copper made such a huge difference.”
They kept the real granite worktops but neatened everything with sealant. The pair then took to Facebook Marketplace to find accessories to complete the kitchen.
“We thought copper went great with green, so I found copper pans from a lovely lady in Leeds for a rustic statement piece – only £30 for four and she gave me a gorgeous big old jam pot for £10 also,” Cecilia added. “We found the Persian carpet for £15 on Facebook Marketplace also.
“Next we added some shelves – my boyfriend is super handy with wood and all sorts, so we cut up old pieces of a bed headboard, sanded, prepped and stained them, and used them for shelving. The staining was only about £5.
“He also made us a gorgeous huge chopping board and engraved our initials on them.” The decorative garlands around the aga oven were purchased from Amazon while the caddies for spaghetti and rice were from The Range.
The vase was £8 from Tesco and the hexagon shelves were £60 from Etsy. “I feel like I can breathe again because it’s a big project and none of the other rooms are finished yet,” the homeowner said.
“It will most likely take years! I love the style of the kitchen, and it makes me want to cook in it every night. It’s my favorite room in the house.
“The total cost was just over £1,200 was the total cost for the kitchen makeover, but £1,000 of that was the repainting of the cupboards, which would have been a huge job for us to do. We have saved a huge amount, not just with the kitchen but by having the tools and doing the rest of the house ourselves.
“I feel a huge sense of accomplishment knowing we’ve done it, there’s no feeling like it!”
Cecilia’s DIY tips
“Facebook Marketplace should be your first port of call for anything from carpets, decor, shelving – anything,” she said. “It’s great to take what someone else might throw away, and recycling is the way forward. Somebody somewhere has something that you want that they no longer want.
“Keep good wood around – you never know when you’ll want a lovely new shelf or anything. Lots of people throw away wood but it can be repurposed into some fantastic bits.
“If you like rustic, cottage-style chic, think of nature – that was the theme. My boyfriend makes fun of me for going to the garden and coming back with a stick of apple blossom that I found on the floor – but it looks so beautiful in a jar and is the prettiest, most natural decor you can find.
“When you get flowers from friends or loved ones, press them. You can buy a flower press or just put it in the back of a book you don’t mind getting a little dirty – they look beautiful in a frame and you’ve kept something that someone gave you out of love.”
Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, commented: “Cecilia has turned her kitchen into a really beautiful, personalized space that’s blooming with color and individual touches. I love her tips from ella: Facebook Marketplace has always been my go-to from ella when it comes to getting what I need for a hugely reduced price.
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