How to Update a Kitchen on a Budget

If your kitchen is looking tired and the thought of a new kitchen is making you anxious, rather than purchasing an entirely new kitchen, update the kitchen you already have. There are many ways to do this on a budget. With so many products out there to choose from it’s sometimes hard to decide which area to give ‘a new look’.

Cindy Fuller, founder of Designs Direct, gives her seven tips to help you through the maze of information. It’s actually a lot easier and less expensive than you would think.

Replacing handles


Without a doubt this is by far the most cost-effective way to update your kitchen. All you need is a screwdriver, places such as Homebase and B&Q offer chrome door handles for as little as a £1, so there really is no excuse.

Painting the doors and drawers

It’s incredible what a tin of paint can do, if I have a client that wants a change of colour and they are not used to painting furniture, I suggest they use chalk paint. The great thing about chalk paint is there is absolutely no prep work involved at all. All you have to do is paint straight on top of what you have. Unless of course, you are painting over high gloss in which case you would have to sand them first. You can purchase a good range of chalk paint colours and again these are available from places such as Homebase and B&Q. Remember to wax them after the paint has dried to keep them protected from everyday wear and looking good. It’s also fun to do paint effects with chalk paint such as sponging, dragging or you could try a stippling effect. The finish would depend on the brush you use.

Replacing doors and drawers

If your kitchen doors and drawers have had their day, there is no need to throw out the existing carcass. It’s possible to save around 50% when you do this. I always suggest this to my clients as it’s a terrific way to keep the costs down. You can buy these online at companies such as Kitchen and Bedroom Doors or Dream Doors UK. These companies also sell worktops and handles. Some companies offer to send a sample of the door to ensure you are completely happy. The majority of these companies provide doors and drawers to fit most standard kitchens, but you could also get them made. Either way, it’s going to bring down the cost considerably.

Opt for a different splashback

This is a great way to add some colour if you have a black and white kitchen. You can find inexpensive tiles if you shop around, try places like Topps Tiles. If you give them your measurements, they will tell you how many tiles you will need. Don’t forget the grouting, I often suggest adding a contrast colour for the grouting, so for example, white subway tiles with a dark grey grouting, it’s a lovely effect. If you want to really save, you could cover your tiles with removable tiles or peel and stick as they are known. These can be purchased from companies such as Wayfair and depending on which ones you chose, range from £14.99 for a panel of 15 cm x 15 cm. They offer a beautiful Sea Glass peel and stick panel which is 25.4 cm square for £18.99. This is a great way to update your kitchen without having to get a tiler in.

Adding an island

If you are fortunate enough to have space, add a kitchen island. This will not only give you more counter space, but it will also give you a lot more storage. It doesn’t even have to be the same finish as the rest of the kitchen, it can be something entirely different as long as it blends, by this I mean; if you have chrome handles, don’t opt for gold fittings on the island. Kitchen islands don’t even need to be fitted. Clients have occasional opted to go for one on casters. This makes it that much easier to push aside if you have guests eating in your kitchen. 

Change the window dressing

It helps to remember when purchasing curtains or blinds for kitchens, that there is a lot of humidity, so only buy fabrics that are made from vinyl or PVC or with a protective coating, as these will be mould resistant and waterproof. Companies such as Blinds 2 Go offer a 30 cm x 30 cm blind for under £30 making it a great option. They also offer you samples and are delivered within 7-10 working days. Here at Designs Direct, we offer a Window Treatment Package which is perfect for this. We have designers trained just in soft furnishings, and they will source your blind or curtain fabric for you at a discount.



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