Saturday, 25 April 2020 09:05

Kitchen makeover for $250

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When you don't have a lot of money to spare on a renovation, you have no choice other than to be creative and resourceful when you do the job or not do it at all. Doing it yourself also means you will need to use various tools to complete the job. If I needed any additional tools, I just went and bought the cheapest ones I could find.

In 1999 I attempted a very simple kitchen makeover in an average 3 bedroom house.  Overall it only cost around $250 which also included the various tools I had to buy to get the job done. I spent the bare minimum to update the kitchen and give it a new look. 

The original kitchen was built in 1981 with bright orange benchtops and brown woodgrain laminated doors with antique copper handles.

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Here are the things I did to give the kitchen a new look: 

  •  Benchtops - replaced the orange benchtop with a modern laminated benchtop. After I visited a few kitchen manufacturers, I discovered that I could buy "benchtop seconds" which were incorrectly cut or cancelled orders for next to nothing. At the time, quotes for new benchtops (x3) were over $700, but I was able to pick what I needed from the secondhand pile for $50 cash, including the strips I needed for the edges. Now you can get better value with large benchtops from Bunnings for around $200, but you don't get the edge strips if you need to cut them. 

    Materials/tools - $150 (Benchtops $50; Circular Saw $80; Blades $10; Clamps $10)

  •  Cupboards - removed and painted all the doors because new doors were too expensive. After removing the doors I repaired any chips/scratches and imperfections with regular wall plaster and sanded back where required. I then sealed the doors with sealer so that the final paint would have something to stick to. I used a short hair roller suitable for oil based paints. I sealed the doors with one coat and applied 2 coats of oil based gloss white paint. I rested the doors on boxes so that I could paint one side and the edges, waited 24 hours and painted the other side, then did it again for the second coat. Using a roller gave that orange peel effect. I covered the inside of the cupboard shelves with white contact. I also painted the front of the cupboard frames and exposed sides with a short hair roller. 

    Materials/tools - $50 (Sealer $15; Paint $20; Brush roller/tray $5; Turps $5)

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    Cupboard Handles - the replaced the old handles with modern looking white plastic handles. I don't remember why I picked such a basic handle - I think these were the cheapest. Overall they matched the white gloss doors perfectly for a basic look. 

    Handles - $5

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    Tiles - replaced the broken tiles that were visible. This is where I discovered there are many colour variations of "white" tiles at the tile stores. I could find the right size but I couldn't find the exact same white colour, so I removed the tiles from behind stove area that were out of sight and replaced the removed ones with the new tiles. It was very hard removing the tiles - I had to sacrifice a few in the process. I also removed the grout and replaced it with new grout. This made the tiles look new again. Re-grouting is time consuming and messy work, but cheap. 

    Materials/tools - $10 (Grout $5; Tiles $5)

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    Taps - replaced the tap handles with basic white gloss handles.

    Tap handles - $10

  •  Blinds - replaced the old curtains with wood slim line venetian blinds. They look good, but not a good idea in the kitchen, as these warped due to the hot and cold temperatures and moisture present in the kitchen when cooking. I later replaced these with white slimline metal venetian blinds. 

    Blinds - $10

  •  Exhaust fan - removed and replaced just the plastic cover. The original cover was extremely dirty and cleaning it would have been a too much effort. 

    Fan cover $5

This was my first attempt of renovating a kitchen at a very basic level. After this attempt I was hooked with renovating. I realised I was good at getting the desired look without spending a lot of money. I understand that this makeover was very basic and that a lot of people would not have accepted the final finish and demanded a new kitchen, but for $250 I think it was worth the effort to give an outdated kitchen a new lease of life.

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