Upcycle Your Kitchen

I used to own an independent kitchen showroom, we designed, partly manufactured and installed luxury kitchens. We also undertook any small building work that was required by the customer, our biggest job was in excess of £45,000 – so I know a bit about kitchens.

I didn’t really enjoy the project management, to be perfectly honest, I hated it but I absolutely loved the design aspect, it played to my strengths and I was very good at seeing a design, after designing kitchens for around ten years or so, I could walk into a kitchen and pretty much design it to the nearest 100mm in my head. of course, I would actually measure it. Kitchens are fun but the point of this blog is to prove that you don’t have to spend £45,000 to create a stunning kitchen design, you can, in fact, do it for a lot less.

Painting a Kitchen

There are plenty of “experts” waiting to tell you that, there’s no point painting an existing kitchen, to maybe replace worktops and give it an uplift. They will tell you that it isn’t worth it and you might as well just rip it out and start again ( to be fair, I’d have probably said the same a years back ) but this simply isn’t true. There are incredible products on the market now that make kitchen re-vamps a lot easier. There are upcyclers across the country that are ready to take your kitchen and transform it and at a fraction of the cost.

The most obvious answer and the only one I personally recommend is to get the kitchen doors painted, the range of chalk paints now are outstanding, Frenchic make one called Alfresco and it goes on like a dream and because it is designed for outside furniture, makes it perfect for kitchens as its washable. However, there are plenty of other really decent brands like Fairy Chic and Vintage with Grace.

The paint is usually water-based and eco-friendly but worth checking that with your painter as there are a lot of kitchen painting companies that spray doors with products like car paint, that wouldn’t be my choice but you can get some stunning glossy finishes. Personally, I prefer the matt look and chalk paints are great for this.

Here are two before and after images of a kitchen that’s been painted by Natalie Lafford of Furniture at Factory House, Kettering. It could be as simple as just wanting to change the colour like this, however, the impact can be incredible, especially when you transfer from dark wood to a light colour.  > Link to Natalies Facebook page <

kitchen before painting natalie lafford

It really can make for an incredible transition.

oak sideboard used as a kitchen island


The following image is where the upcycler has used a standard modern oak sideboard and added a kitchen worktop to the top to make a very inexpensive kitchen island, the saving here will be very significant.

Looks very similar to this style here

oak sidboard drawers in middle

Available to purchase from a store like this: https://www.roselandfurniture.com

You can often find them in secondhand stores and auctions across the country

If you really want to go full-on vintage then take a look at this 1950’s kitchen put together by Victoria at Victorias Vintage Inglebrook Farm, this has everything and it is all in keeping with the era, we had one of the 50’s larders in our workshop that I restored, it was one of the most satisfying upcycle projects that I’ve worked on, so many people commented that on it, usually saying that their nan or parents had one in their kitchen. Here is a link to Victoria’s barn where you can always find interesting vintage furniture – Victorias-vintage-inglenook-farm

1950s kitchen complete

Here is a link to the YouTube channel – Upcycle TV where I show how you can use various pieces of furniture in a kitchen and mix with conventional cabinets to make a stunning interior.


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