My Big Pink Budget Kitchen Makeover Reveal...from dingy and dated to bright and bang on trend.
First of all, let me just acknowledge that this has been possibly the longest makeover project in the history of the world EVER. I started it at around the same time as I started this blog back in April and I've been adding, tweaking and faffing for months. I also spent a considerable amount of time waiting for House of Hackney to restock their Artemis Blush fabric so I could use it in my window seat but after several months of waiting I gave up, and as far as I'm aware it's still out of stock. It's probably for the best though. The H&M cushions I bought instead have already had the felt tip pen and bolognese treatment.
Speaking of waiting, let's crack on shall we? Since several months have lapsed and because everyone loves a good Before and After, here's a reminder of what my kitchen used to look like...stay with me because it gets much better I promise. You can read more about the thought process behind this makeover here and here.
I know terracotta is making a comeback but these tiles are not included in that revival.
And this is what it looks like now...
I cannot tell you how much brighter and pleasant this space is now. We previously spent as little time as possible in here and more often than not we preferred to eat our dinner off our laps in the living room rather than sit surrounded by wall to wall orange laminate in a dingy poorly lit room. One of the main objectives in making over this room was to brighten it up. As you can see above, it's narrow and has low ceilings before opening up a bit at the end. The laminate cupboards seemed to soak up every bit of light that came into the room and so that was our starting point. Whatever colour I decided to paint it, it had to be light. I considered, and quickly discounted pale grey, pale green, pale blue and white...I just couldn't get excited about them. And dark colours were out. In the end, given that this is a temporary measure while we save for a side return extension and full kitchen refit, I decided I could afford to have a bit of fun with it. So my head turned to pink. Specifically Farrow & Ball's Calamine. Not too bright, not too pink and perfect with the brass handles which I knew I wanted. Why not? If I didn't like it, I could just paint it again. Luckily I love it. And the husband is quite partial to it too.
So how did we do it?
I did my research and everything seemed to suggest that Zinsser primer was the best for covering both cupboards and tiles. So I bought a big tin of Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 and got to work. First I removed the old chrome handles and filled the holes, before sanding and prepping the cupboards and scrubbing down the tiles ready for the primer to go on. Handily you can use the same primer on both the tiles and the cupboards. And I can't recommend Zinsser products enough. It's not the cheapest product on the market but the coverage is great and so in my opinion it's well worth the extra cash. Two coats later and I was already starting to feel optimistic. Next up was two coats of Zinsser's Perma-White Interior Paint as the final layer on the tiles. Once this was done, there was absolutely no sign of the horrors that lay underneath. This is not an ad, it's just a great product.
We used a combination of a paintbrush and a smooth mini-roller to add two coats of F&B's Estate Eggshell. This did take quite a while because there are lots of fiddly bits and nooks and crannies that needed covering off. Though I have to admit I'm lazy, so we only did the bits you can actually see. In between painting the cupboards and tiles, we set to work on the walls, woodwork and ceiling, which was in desperate need of some attention after suffering water damage from a leaky shower above. So more filling, sanding and priming before they were all ready to be painted Farrow & Ball's All White. I don't really do white but the pink cupboards called for me to keep it clean and simple elsewhere and All White is the closest thing to Brilliant White but without the cold, bluey undertones. It's lovely and warm and, well, white! I'm a big fan.
Brass handles were a must from the get-go and I flirted with the idea of splurging on Buster + Punch but I needed ALOT of handles and knobs and couldn't justify the expense given the fact it was supposed to be a budget kitchen makeover. I would have got them if I could have guaranteed I'd reuse them when it came to the big kitchen refurb but I couldn't honestly say that would be the case. So when I found the Heritage Brass selection here I was chuffed to bits. The handles are solid, weighty, sleek and bring the added touch of glam I was looking for. I particularly love the Art Deco-style stepped detail on the knobs.
With all the painting it was time to start thinking about the rest of the room. We had bought a slimline table from Ikea when we first moved to this house as a temporary solution while we decided what to do with the extension. It was very uninspiring but the size is perfect for the narrow room and after looking around I couldn't find anything else suitable for the space. It also made no sense to buy yet another table. So I decided to give it a bit of a spruce instead. I covered it with a marble printed vinyl and painted the legs black to tie in with the worktops and other pieces that we were planning to add to the room to tone down the effect of the pink. It's by no means high end but given it's where the kids do all their eating, painting and play doh, it does the job and I don't need to worry about stains and scratches.
I also bought a cheap and cheerful Persian rug from Wayfair. It's one of the tricks I recommended in my blogpost here on the best ways to add instant impact to your kitchen and it really does just that. And after giving up on the House of Hackney fabric I went to H&M Home and picked up a pile of cheap velvet cushions and cotton seat pads in pink, yellow and blue to coordinate with the rug. They are ideal because I can stick them in the washing machine and I won't be too upset if they fall prey to spilled spoonful of baked beans or Weetabix. The same goes for the rug.
Two of the other things I recommend in that blogpost is to add plenty of art and greenery. We had several pieces that I hadn't managed to find a permanent home for elsewhere in the house and they just so happened to sit perfectly alongside the pink and brass. Putting art on the walls gives the room an instant upgrade and there's no reason you shouldn't treat the kitchen the same as any other room in the house.
The same goes for the plants and flowers. Plants always liven up any room so think about having herbs and cactuses on shelves etc. The window to the side of the kitchen felt a bit bare but I was reluctant to have a blind of any description as I wanted to let in as much light as possible. So instead I bought the gorgeous brass hanging planter you can see above and took a chance on a trailing String of Pearls to make the window area a bit more interesting. A couple of weeks on and the plant is already looking a bit worse for wear so I'll almost certainly end up replacing it with a faux one. But real or faux, it doesn't matter because it brightens up that corner no end.
The final two things I recommended to jazz up your kitchen was statement lighting and upping your Shelfie game. I had spotted this Tangle pendant on Made.com early on in the makeover process and loved the combo of matt black, brass and the softer smoke grey glass. It pulls the room together and also brings a tougher, cooler edge to the girly pink and brass. It's also ideal because it hangs low enough to be seen from the other end of the kitchen.
We also took down a stainless steel commercial kitchen shelf and replaced it with two cheap as chips floating shelves from B&Q. One thing to remember is that these shelves are not designed to take the weight of all your family crockery so be careful not to overload them like I did. The sight and sound of them crashing to the ground was not something I wish to repeat. Raf cried. I may have had a little sob as well. Now I use them mostly to display my pretty things. Style over substance perhaps yes. But not everything in your kitchen needs to be designed around functionality. I leave my Smeg mixer out at all times. Not because I'm always baking (obvs) but because it's just too lovely to stow away in a cupboard.
But perhaps my favourite thing out of everything we have done is the new black sink and sexy new tap. Our previous stainless steel sink had definitely had its day and we both agreed that was definitely something that had to be replaced. I didn't want a steel sink to be clashing with the brass hardware and I'm also in the midst of a full blown obsession with matt black accessories as written about here so my mind was quickly made up.
I bought the tap on Ebay and the sink from B&Q and we decided to fit it ourselves. How hard could it be? Anyone who watched my Insta Stories around that time will know that this was far from plain sailing. David did very well and almost managed to pull it off, but in the end we had to get a friend's dad to come and finish it off. But doesn't it look brilliant? Suddenly washing up doesn't seem like such a chore.
So I think we're finally finished. It took a while. But it's a total transformation and I'm so happy with the results. We've created a space that we all actually want to hang out in as a family and it's also where I tend to make my desk most days. Yes we still want to extend, but in the meantime, this will do very nicely indeed.
What do you think? Are you tempted to take on your own laminated kitchen cupboards? I'd say go for it and let me know if you have any questions.