Budget DIY 

In my dreams, my kitchen DOESN’T look like the one on the left, but rather is a serene green country cottage type affair, like the Flowerpot Cottage one.

Budget DIY

Our kitchen  looks ok at first glance, but when you live with it day to day you realise it was put together by a one eyed monkey who had lost his spirit level! I have made it a bit worse by splodging bits of paint testers here and there to see what might work. What would work would be to rip the whole darn thing out and start again, but sadly the Shoestring Cottage purse strings won’t run to that right now.

The one at Flower Pot Cottage is a beautiful kitchen – this is what I will have when I win the lottery….

If you have Instagram check out @flowerpotcottage on. She has the most fabulous house, the epitome of good taste. Hers is pretty much my dream kitchen.

Back in the real world, I am making plans for a frugal renovation of my kitchen that will involve some paint, repairs and a nice new blind. You can make a huge difference with a bit of budget DIY.


I will probably need to wait until after Christmas but in the meantime I will be collecting bargain accessories to get the look I want.

Any hints and tips? What is your advice for budget DIY on a shoestring?

13 thoughts on “Budget DIY 

  1. Butler sinks look good until you come to use them and then you realise how low they are – bad for backs.
    “staging” a kitchen is different to living in it so I shouldn’t worry too much

  2. I know just how you feel!! Our kitchen is very different to yours as we live in an old uncentrally heated cottage (was tied, now we pay rent), and I constantly look at the kitchen and think “What could I do that wouldn’t cost much?” I actually love our kitchen but there were/are certain things I knew we could do to improve it. I say “we” but it is very difficult to persuade my husband that anything needs doing as he simply doesn’t see it the way I do! (Plus he is very much the main earner so anything that requires money…..) However, I have made some small changes, that didn’t cost much at all – and my husband is always very complimentary about what I’ve done. I think he just needs to see improvement before he actually realizes it does look better! I’ll tell you what I’ve done (so far…) but as this might be too long to put into a comment, I’ll tell you the rest in an email.

  3. Do you have a scrapstore around? We have one in thus town and it not only has arts and crafts supplies but books,toys, furniture and DIY. When I was last in the had various tile (colours and patterns), not enough of any one to do a kitchen but they could have been combined into a one of a kind backsplash. They also had paint which might have been enough to cover everything or to have a feature wall in one colour and the rest in another. It is a bit hit or miss on finding a colour you like. I also found plain roller blinds which could be decorated to tie into the rest of the kitchen. I have also in the past sanded down my wooden cupboards/doors and repainted in a nice cream while replacing the hinges and handles with a nice antiqued look. It was still the same old cupboards from the mid-80s but they looked much nicer. If you want the wooden worktops but can’t splash to the typical cost look at IKEA as they have a nice wood worktop that is a reasonable cost.

  4. Just realized there is no email contact address – is it possible for you to put a contact on your blog? Or you could contact me through my own blog.

      • Oh well I’ll just try and summarise what I did! Basically I looked at the kitchen and thought “What can I improve without major amounts of work and money?” I am stuck with some things I can’t change e.g. the big 90s brown/cream cooker and the brown microwave (I’d do without a microwave but husband wouldn’t!). I knew that a change of colour scheme would make a big difference, so I started to make that change. The first thing I did was to sand down (I asked for a sander for Christmas) our ghastly-colour-but-very-practical varnished pine table, and after a mistake with a paint wash (but just using emulsion that we’d already got) I finally used a small tin of Osmo tinted wax and then more clear Osmo liquid wax (we already had some but I did have to buy more) which produced a finish that I really liked. Osmo stuff seems expensive but a little goes a very long way, it’s environmentally friendly and produces a lovely finish. I painted the legs with a sample pot of paint and then waxed those too. Cheap melamine white cupboards – I thought these weren’t even worth attempting to paint, but I did and they look soooo much better. I used a primer, then mixed up emulsion that we already had with a sample pot to get the colour I wanted, and then varnished over that. Oh and I found out that using Frogtape is definitely worth the extra expense. My husband made new kickboards out of old floorboard and I also rubbed down and waxed the wood effect trims. Vast improvement! I also primed, painted, distressed and waxed our shoe shelves by our back door – they had been a similar colour to the table but are now a lovely green. We have a lovely walk in larder; I was going to just recover the shelves in sticky backed plastic but once I started I decided I’d much rather paint the walls and shelves – again I used white emulsion that we already had, some new eggshell for the door and window, and mixed up sample pots of paint with the white emulsion to get a lovely pale blue for the shelves. We still need to get shelves up on the walls in the kitchen and then hopefully redecorate. I do have to take it slowly with my husband…… And I hate our blind, which is from 1991 and the wrong colour. I liked it at the time…..!! I have thought about painting it but I also hate the fact that it sits outside the recess and because it is rather wide it sags down in the middle so I’d rather scrap it! I’m trying hard to come up with some other window treatment that I can do on the cheap.

        None of what I did cost a lot, although obviously “a lot” is relative! But paint is fairly cheap and I managed to get the colours I wanted often by mixing in sample pots or even children’s poster paint. You can paint so many different surfaces these days with the right materials (primers etc.).

        Don’t rip out your kitchen!!!! It looks as if it is pretty good to me! It looks as if it has got some really good cupboards (much better than ours) which would definitely be worth painting. If there is anything in the kitchen you hate that you can’t afford to change then is it possible to change it in some way, perhaps by changing the colour of it, or by changing the colour of other things? I generally wanted to get rid of as much of the brownness in our kitchen as I could.

        Have you seen this blog http://paintedstyle.blogspot.co.uk/ ? Emma who writes is hugely talented at DIY on a budget and writes hilariously as well.

        Well, hope that lot is of some help – sorry if I’ve waffled on!

  5. Your present kitchen looks great! We’ve had the same kitchen for 26 years – the units were only cheap from B& Q – and we’ve changed the worktops once. We’ve always put this to the bottom of the to do list, probably as it’s in constant use. I would love a kitchen big enough for a table but as the family is shrinking with only the youngest left at home with us I think we’ll manage (eating off our knees usually despite a large dining table! ).

  6. My kitchen is all new, and I have a wonderful island. It is covered in granite. Because it is between the stove and the sink, it is sooooo handy. My daughter has a beautiful new home, but she has an old cutting board island, and it fits her decor beautifully.

  7. Your kitchen actually looks to have a very nice foundation in the lay out, counters, cabinets and tile back splash. I’m envious of your stove and oven! The biggest thing that could make you feel more soothed/peaceful in your kitchen is also one of the cheapest changes… storage and organization. About a year ago I started removing items I don’t use from the cupboards and drawers to make better space for what I DO use. Several boxes of small appliances, cookware, bake ware and utensils were donated to charity, but you could sell them at a boot sale? I also got rid of odds and ends glasses, cups, plates, bowls and platters, and threw out old (ugly or stained) cutting boards and so on. By clearing off your counter tops, giving the kitchen a good scrub, and then evaluating how you feel about the kitchen, you might decide a little paint to freshen the cabinets and airy curtains at the window are all you need. One downside of being frugal (I’ve found) is hanging onto things like towels or linens, cutting boards, canisters and other stuff that just have gotten too worn out or ratty looking with time. But I’ve also found picking up a few NEW towels or oven mitts on sale, or getting an inexpensive (yet nice) kitchen rug can freshen the whole room! A kitchen remodel or renovation can cost thousands. A kitchen re-fresh doesn’t cost much at all. Can you add some things to your Christmas gift list (birthday list, too) that will help you achieve the look you’re after?

  8. I forgot to mention that cabinet handles/pulls are also a mostly inexpensive way to change the look in your kitchen. Watch a few DIY cabinet painting ideas on You Tube where you simply freshen up the fronts of your cabinets–not having to remove the doors–then get a little paint, maybe some stencils to sponge on a few rooster accents here and there, and change out the white handles to a bronze, copper or other metal. Your daughters could go in together on new towels, oven mitts and a rug or two at Christmas… perhaps Mr. Shoestring could figure ways to get more organization from your existing space.

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