How to Modernise a Kitchen on a Budget

How to Modernise a Kitchen on a Budget

Finding kitchen refurbishment ideas is one thing, but actually knowing how those kitchen refurbs fit into your own home is entirely another. After all, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Which is a rather fitting description, when we consider that the kitchen is also likely to be a bit of a mess. One which manages to work (against all odds). Not to mention how we don’t really pay attention to it, until it’s too late. However, if you’re looking for quick and easy ways to modernise a kitchen, then look no further. Below are some helpful tips to help modernise a kitchen on a budget.

How Much Does It Cost To Refurbish a Kitchen?

A kitchen refurb cost doesn’t have to put a significant dent in your bank account. Indeed, many people are able to give their kitchen a fresh look for the price of a tin of paint. Of course, this all depends on the size and scale of the work that needs to be completed. So, let’s look at the most common changes when modernising a kitchen. As such, these should give you a good idea of the average kitchen refurbishment cost.

  • The lower end of a full kitchen refurbish cost is around £5,700.
  • Changing the layout of your kitchen means you’ll need to up that minimum budget to around £12,000.
  • If you’re wanting that kitchen to have a full range of new appliances, then make your minimum budget around £18,000

How Do You Modernise a Small Kitchen?

Your kitchen refurbish doesn’t need to take weeks, or require a bank job. Simply put, if you’ve got the elbow grease and a vision, you can pretty much modernise any kitchen – small or big! Some of these handy hints, however, will help you on your mission.

Modernise Kitchen Cupboards

The quickest and easiest way to change up your kitchen is to swap out your kitchen cupboards. In fact, if you’re lucky enough, you might even find someone online who has a shorter lifespan in their furnishings. As such, they’ll be putting their old kitchen cupboards online. Provided they’re the right size and shape, snap these up. Most of the time, even the oldest cupboard doors have very little wrong with them. And they may even be easier to sand down and upcycle.

Refurbishing a Kitchen Sink

Usually, when you’re looking for kitchen refurbishment ideas, people tend to stay away from the sink. This is rather heartbreaking when you consider how much time we spend at the sink, looking into our lovely gardens. But most kitchen sinks can be easily refurbished if you’ve got the time to dedicate to them. While a porcelain sink is often marketed as being the hardest to maintain, there are some very simple steps you can employ. Indeed, if you’ve got an older, porcelain sink, then there are a couple of things you can do to reglaze it.

kitchen refurb before and after
Photo by Charlotte May from Pexels

Voila! Just like that, you’ve made a huge difference to your kitchen. In fact, if you’re feeling a little daring or want to add some American luxury to the heart of your home, you can even add a food waste disposal unit. Similarly, it’s incredibly easy to change up taps, if you’re looking for something a bit easier to get your teeth into.

Refurbish Kitchen Floors

With the kitchen seeing so much heavy traffic, it’s no wonder those floors get so scuffed. The first thing to do here would be to use a steam mop across the surface. Once this is dried (and you’ve made sure nobody else has stood on it), you can get to work. For vinyl floors, you can ignore these steps and/or replace with off-cuts of fresh vinyl from your local carpet store.

Tiles are one of the easiest materials to work with here, since they can easily be repainted. One great idea is to use stencils and create a new pattern on your floor. Just remember (again) to use your primer, first! Meanwhile, wooden floors will simply need a lick of floor paint. Although, you’ll need to be sure it’s the right type of paint, for wooden floors. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself back at square one.

Add New Appliances or Replace Old Appliances

This is probably going to be the most expensive aspect of a kitchen refurbish. That being said, it’s also the part that makes the biggest difference. Nobody wants to use an oven which has three settings that don’t work and cooks food unevenly.

You want your home baking to be as sweet as you and as light as your conscience (right?…Right.). If you’re generally happy with your kitchen, or know that these tips would make a massive difference to your kitchen… but it would still feel old. Well, my friend, it’s time to change out a few appliances.

Change the Lighting

Lighting certainly makes the mood. And a drab kitchen with little to no natural sunlight will automatically age your kitchen. Instead, try to swap out your old lighting for new, energy-efficient, lighting. These will be just dull enough to cater for late-night trips to the fridge, without hurting your eyes. Al under the guise of caring about the environment. I mean, we do… but it’s also nice to have a good excuse for late-night food-grabbing. Oh, also, it will make your kitchen look really, really good.

Add a Splash of Colour

We love to talk about adding colour to our homes, but never is this more important than in the kitchen. Because nobody wants to wake up in the morning, reach for their coffee and think “urgh” when they look at their walls. Think light, bright and clean, when choosing your colours.

modernise kitchen
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Too dark, and you’ll find the kitchen quickly feels dirty. Too bright, and you might hate yourself when you’re nursing a hangover. Neutrals that bounce light around the room, without being overpowering is ideal. BUT – when it comes to finding a feature wall or similar? Go for it, when it comes to adding colours.

Use Accessories

Finally, the easiest and quickest way to add some life into your kitchen is to use accessories. For those who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in, that could mean a colourful new backsplash. For the rest of us, I’m mostly discussing changing the blinds, and adding some furnishing.

However, I’m also talking about putting up some fresh storage, if you’re able. Regardless of how old a kitchen is, if it feels clean, it feels fresh and therefore modern. Add some shelving, score some additional cupboard storage and get a little imaginative! It’s time to tidy!

Bring Out the Paintbrush

The best way to modernise kitchen cupboards is with some good, old-fashioned paint. Grab yourself some sandpaper and remove the offending doors from their hinges. Then go to town, stripping those bad boys until they’re just right for priming. Sometimes, you can do without the primer. But, honestly, if they’re going to be up on your walls for the next 5-10 years (or longer), then you’re probably going to want to do it all properly.


What colours make a small kitchen look bigger?

Like everywhere in the home, using lighter colours will reflect more light across the room. When this happens, you give the illusion of a larger room. So, if you’re looking for the right colour to modernise an old kitchen and make a small kitchen look bigger, go light. Pale greens, blues, yellows and creams will give a small kitchen a much larger feel, as well as coming with the added benefit of being easier to spot any grease stains and dirt.

Should kitchen cabinets be lighter or darker than walls?

That depends entirely on your preference. If you’re looking to modernise kitchen cupboards, the key is finding a colour that speaks to you, personally. However, if you’re thinking of giving your kitchen a quick refurbish, in order to sell your home, then you should know that most buyers will go for kitchen cabinets that are lighter. For those seeking to make a statement, there’s no harm in going darker – just find the right complementary colour, so they really stand out against walls.

Should kitchen walls match cabinets?

Unless you’re the kind of person who loves to keep everything white (and I wish you all the luck in the world, if you live with anyone or anything else), walls and cabinets do not need to – and often should not – match. Much like clothing, when everything matches, nothing stands out. As such, having walls and cabinets fit perfectly together can make your kitchen feel drab and dull. Not to mention grease stains and the general mess of life will stand out like a sore thumb, against that monochrome colour scheme.

How do I choose a colour scheme for my kitchen?

While the answer to this should always begin and end with “whatever colour you want your kitchen to be”, there are a few hints and tips you can follow, to make it easier to decide. As always, your own opinion matters most, when it comes to your home. That being said, if you’re looking for inspiration, this article from The Spruce might be a big help.



Editor-in-chief, lover of UX/UI and copywriter by trade. Wendy can usually be found ranting to herself over on Twitter, educating herself about health and wellness, parenting or gaming. Luckily, she doesn't do all of these things at the same time - though you'd be surprised how often they cross over.

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