My Thrifty 50s Kitchen Renovation: A low-cost worktop & upcycled cupboards

Some items have been gifted

Here’s how I refreshed my kitchen with just a few tins of spray paint and a sparkling new worktop…Let’s start at the beginning. In fact, let me show you what the kitchen looked like when we first got the keys to our house. We knew we had a bit of a project ahead of us, but we weren’t prepared for just how long it was going to take to get the kitchen in order.The first sticking point was the budget. I’d hoped to install a whole new kitchen but have you seen how much a kitchen costs these days?! That idea went out of the window after one shopping trip. You know how thrifty I am, so I just couldn’t bring myself to spend ££££s on a new kitchen when we had a functioning kitchen already fitted. Albeit a rather ugly one. I thought there must be a way to update the cupboards, even though they are smeary beige 80s melamine doors. I looked around for a paint that would work on this type of surface and thankfully I discovered Rust-Oluem’s MODE spray paint. I did some test coats on a couple of drawer fronts, using the primer and a bright aqua blue colour, and was delighted with the results. It wasn’t long before I’d removed all the cupboard doors and had them stacked on a pallet outdoors, ready for spraying. I started with gusto one sunny Saturday morning, but later that day the clouds rolled in and put a stop to my spray-painting efforts. Still, the doors had been primed and already had a first coat of colour, so it didn’t take long to finish off the spray painting on the second day.With the cupboard doors sorted, all I needed to invest in was a new worktop. Again, it’s easy to spend £££s on a worktop but I found that I could save money by shopping online. Also, after browsing DIY stores, I realised that there was no way that we were going to be able to get a length of worktop in/on our car, so it needed to be delivered anyway.I ordered some samples and held each quartz/marble/gloss surface against my test-painted aqua blue drawers. I was drawn to the more sparkly surfaces, and I eventually plumped for this fresh white quartz gloss worktop from HC Supplies with little iridescent flecks in the surface. When these glittery particles catch the light they reflect aqua and copper colours – perfect for my kitchen. To save money, I’m not planning to change the flooring in the kitchen, and I think that the existing chequerboard tiles lend a rather 50s style to the kitchen. Our home was built in 1950 so going for that ‘diner’ look was a natural choice. I think that the worktop we chose is a similarly glitzy diner-inspired surface. The aqua cupboards gave the tiles a lift – in fact, if I was going to replace the floor, I’d choose the same checkered tiles again.We cut the worktop to size and attached it to the existing cupboard frames with a few brackets. I bought metal ends for the worktop – again for that American diner look – rather than using the finishing strip that came with the worktop. A touch of silicon along the back sealed the worktop to the wall for the time being. I’m planning to add tiles when I find some that I like – and that are within budget! – so I’ll need to remove the silicon strip when it’s time to tile.What do you think of the finished look? So far, we’ve only done this section of the kitchen – but soon we’ll have a new sink, taps and lighting too, so watch this space for more renovation photos.

Some items in this blog post have been gifted to me and the pink links indicate a gifted product, affiliate link or information source. All thoughts and opinions in this post are based on my own experience and I am not responsible for your experience 🙂

8 Responses

  1. Hi Mimi, great to hear you’re planning a makeover. Our painted cabinets have been going strong for about two years and are only now starting to get a little scuffed on the edges. It’s no problem though as I can just repaint them again haha!

  2. Thank you for this post! I am doing a similar budget kitchen redo with existing cabinets. So good to know you can paint melamine! And does anyone ever think about the environmental aspects as well? Doesn’t ripping out kitchens like seem so wasteful? Sometimes I cringe when I watch those home shows…

  3. Thanks, I’m glad it helped! Thank goodness you hadn’t already demolished the kitchen, haha! Good luck if you try painting the cabinets etc – I figured I’d just give it a go and if it didn’t work I wasn’t really any worse-off than before 🙂

  4. It’s a huge saving compared to buying a new kitchen – even just replacing the cupboard doors would have been out of budget, so this is a great alternative 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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