We live in a house that was built in 1980. There isn't a lovely big hallway, leading to the various rooms downstairs. Each room is a walk through to the next room. It has a semi open plan vibe and the kitchen is one of the rooms that gets a lot of traffic through to the study/music room. It's a galley kitchen (incidentally, one of my favourite types of kitchens), so everything is practical and in reach and pretty compact.
I had to really think about what I liked and didn't like about the kitchen, before I started coming up with ideas for the renovation, as there wasn't a lot of room to play with.
The thing with homes built in the 1980s is there isn't a huge amount of character. No original features, fireplaces, high ceilings or moulding. You have to work harder to create spaces that are interesting and homely. These restrictions definitely make you more creative!
Another thing that made us more creative was our budget. We didn't have much of one at all. I will talk more about the budget throughout the rest of this post...
We didn't have a proper bin and used a plastic bag, hanging on the door, for years! (One of the most exciting parts of doing our kitchen was installing a pull out bin in one of the lower cabinets!)
The walls hadn't been painted with kitchen paint, so every splash and spill stained straight away. No matter how much I scrubbed the walls, they looked dirty. The cabinets and worktops are laminate and were looking stained and worse for wear.
With the colour of the wood and the white walls, combined with the amount of natural light in the room, everything looked a little flat, style wise.
After a lot of time scouring Pinterest and Google for inspiration. I knew I needed to paint the walls dark.
When you have a small, dark room, people tend to think that they need to paint the walls white. The science is good - white reflects light particles and can make spaces seem brighter. But, this only works if the room in question already has a good amount of natural light (or is a period home, with lots of features and high ceilings). In a darker, more modern home, painting the whole room white can make the place feel a little dingy, flat and lacking in character.
Sometimes, it's better to actually embrace the darkness and go hell for leather with it.
I initially struggled to decide what kind of dark paint to go for... I have used many expensive paint brands in the past and even though their colours are stunning, the paint itself was difficult to apply and had a tendency to look uneven...
Having had these past experiences with certain brands, I decided to go with my old and trusty favourite - Dulux.
Honestly, I'm not currently collaborating with them, but I just want to say how easy it is to use their paints. They are so hard wearing too!
After a lot of changing my mind, I went with their kitchen paint in the colour Viridian Tide. I then decided to compliment (rather than contrast) with the walls, by painting the cabinets with Dulux satinwood in the colour Faded Indigo.
The best plan for us, was to use everything that was already there and just update it. Hence why the colour choice for the cabinets and walls was so important to us.
The week I was due to start work on the kitchen, we had a little set back, due to me having an accident and injuring my coccyx. Against advice (I know, I know), I started painting two weeks later, with Dan stepping in to help paint the awkward spots.
After scrubbing everything clean and repairing the ceilings and walls, we painted top to bottom - Dan painted the ceiling white and then I painted the walls.
Once everything was dry, I cleaned and prepped the cabinets, lightly sanded them and then coated them in a primer called Zinsser Bullseye 123. When painting laminate cupboards, it's so important to use the correct primer, otherwise the paint won't bond to the cabinets and will just peel off. Not what you want, after all that effort.
I then painted two coats of the Faded Indigo satinwood. I would recommend lightly sanding in between each coat of paint, to give a smoother and more professional finish.
I found our gold brass hexagon door knobs and cup pull handles from Pushka Home.
They kindly gave me a generous discount, but I would have paid full price. We had a fairly non-existent budget, but I was always willing to spend more on the hardware and save on everything else, because as I said before, it has a big impact on the space. It can make a cheap reno look expensive.
I am so in love with the door knobs. Everyone who has visited has complimented them! The gold colour adds a nice warmth to contrast with the colour scheme. It also adds some nice reflective details to the room, to help bounce around light and balance out the dark walls.
He found some brass penny washers to finish the tops off and make them look more complete.
The shelves are a mixture of stylish necessities, such jars to put tea bags in (the pink and grey ones pictured were gifted from Smallable Store and are made from bamboo) and some treasures collected over time - a wooden tray from Pakistan, given to us by a journalist friend, house plants in concrete pots from Etsy, a jug from an artisan in Wales and artwork from various places.
Taking the door off has made the kitchen feel more like it's a shared space with the dining room. It's now much more sociable - whoever's cooking can now easily see and chat to whoever is sitting at the table. It's a nice improvement to our daily routine.
We painted the door frames, the opposite door (which leads to the study/music room) and trims all with satinwood paint in Viridian Tide. In our case, painting the woodwork the same colour as the walls helped to create an illusion of larger/taller walls and therefore more space.
I was really impressed with it. It's basically a really thick paint, with a resin-like top coat, that is very hard wearing once fully cured. You paint it on with a roller and the whole process took me a couple of days. It was a very affordable option too, as the kit cost about £60. A much better option, when you have limited funds, than spending hundreds on a full replacement or paying someone to redo the laminate.
(Just a little warning to those of you wanting to try it - the instructions say that only two layers of base coat are needed... I ended up painting FOUR layers on, maybe due to my original worktops being an almost black colour.)
Not bad, considering kitchens are very expensive rooms to upgrade!
If you have any questions at all, please do email me or message me on Instagram.
I would be happy to answer any of your questions and natter about all things DIY!
The oven gloves, bamboo storage jars, dish rack, plant pot on the windowsill, gold tray and wooden chopping boards were kindly sent from Smallable Store.