Woman replicates the £7,000 kitchen of her dreams for just £170

DIY novice replicates the £7,000 kitchen of her dreams for just £170 in two weeks by using leftover paint to upcycle the cabinet doors and worktop and stenciling the floor

  • Laura Baxter, 31, from Wickford, Essex, took on first DIY project during lockdown
  • She experimented with paint colours she had at home to keep the costs down  
  • Then stenciled patterns onto kitchen tiles and replaced the cupboard handles 

A DIY novice successfully replicated the £7,000 kitchen of her dreams on a shoestring £170 budget by painting the cabinet doors and spending less than £30 on flooring. 

Laura Baxter, 31, from Wickford, Essex, took on her first ever DIY project during the first lockdown, and got husband Cameron, 33, and children Robin, six, and Rose, three, involved.   

The family were forced to ‘get creative’ with materials they already had when pandemic hit and shelves were stripped of paint and materials in May 2020 as homeowners turned their attention to DIY. 

She posted snaps of her savvy revamp on Facebook – attracting 17,500 likes in the process – and was inundated with questions from admirers, desperate to know how she did it. 

She posted snaps of her savvy revamp on Facebook – attracting 17,500 likes in the process – and was inundated with questions from admirers, desperate to know how she did it


Laura said: ‘The units were brown and boring, which we felt didn’t reflect the personalities of Cameron and myself, as we like bright interiors and quirky design’. She used leftover garage floor paint for the work surface and covered it with the same matte sealant used on the floor (right)

Laura Baxter, 31, from Wickford, Essex, took on her first ever DIY project during the first lockdown in May 2020 

Laura said: ‘We moved in four years ago, but the previous occupants had been here since 2008 and had never changed the kitchen – so it had been in for at least 12 years. 

‘The units were brown and boring, which we felt didn’t reflect the personalities of Cameron and myself, because we like bright interiors and quirky design.

‘But getting our dream new look would have cost £7,000 which was out of our price range.

‘So, when the pandemic hit, with all the restrictions, it was the perfect time for a revamp – only everyone else had the same idea, so the shelves were bare and we had to get really creative.’    

When she could not get the colours she wanted to paint her worktop, Laura decided to experiment with what she had at home.

She said: ‘We had some white garage floor paint left over.

‘We didn’t like our black worktop and because the garage floor paint was heavy-duty and thick, I wondered if it would stick to it.

‘It was a real budget job, as was the whole project really, using leftovers as much as possible.’

Laura’s kitchen price list 

CUPBOARDS:

Wilko primer (two coats, but one tin) – £10

Wilko cupboard paint (two coats of Duck Egg Blue) x 2 = £20

FLOOR:

Johnson’s floor paint x 2 = £19.98

Matt laquer to seal x 2 = £48.90

FLOOR STENCIL:

Dizzy Ducks = £27.98 (prices vary dependent on tile size, Laura’s were 13 inch)

Johnson’s furniture chalky paint (Dusty Morning) x 2 = £7.99

CUPBOARD HANDLES:

Amazon = £20.98 

WORK TOP:

Left over garage flooring paint (two coats of paint and three coats of sealant) FREE

Sealant used was left over from the floor sealant FREE 

EXTRAS:

Sugar soap, sandpaper, rollers & paint tray = £15

TABLE AND CHAIRS:

Previously bought cheaply at a car boot sale

WALLS:

Dulux Silk Brilliant White – left over from the past FREE

 TOTAL: £170.83

 Laura’s kitchen makeover tips:

1. Always work with the cupboards off.

2. Look for door handles going cheap on the internet, maybe second-hand.

3. Use white or very light colours in a dark room with little natural light.

4. Plan the order of work carefully so everything dries thoroughly between coats.

5. Make sure you have something else to work on while waiting for things to dry.

6. Number the cupboard doors so you know exactly which one goes back where.

Laura said that despite using leftover paint, the worktops have held up well one year after their project.

She added: ‘Our worktop had a real shiny finish, so I thought it might work and, if it didn’t we decided to get a second-hand worktop. But it stuck really nicely.

‘Then we sealed it with the same matte sealant that we used on the floor.

‘We’re now heading towards its one-year anniversary and it’s all held up fine and everything still looks fab. You wouldn’t know what we’d used.’

Laura, who works in Marketing, said that the ‘trickiest job’ was the kitchen floor, and she started by painting the black slate tiles white.  

She added: ‘Then I got a stencil with grey paint to give the pattern – having to do each tile one at a time.

‘But, rather than feeling like hard work, I found it quite therapeutic and relaxing stencilling the floor of an evening.

‘It felt like therapy and ‘me time’ and our kitchen looks so much bigger and brighter now.’

While her policeman husband was still at work, Laura recruited her children to help, and gave them the job of sugar cleaning the unscrewed cupboard doors which were laid out in the garden.

Laura said: ‘Then we primed them with a really cheap undercoat from Wilko, and finally painted them blue.

‘We replaced the door handles with some cheap ones off Amazon, but the new ones only needed one hole, so we had to do some filling and painting where the old ones had two.

‘We also had to spruce the walls up with white emulsion that was left over from other painting, because they were grubby from children’s hands.’

The whole makeover took two weeks of incredibly hard work – and waiting 12 hours alone for the floor to dry.

Laura said: ‘I had a whole conveyor belt of kitchen doors in my garage. One got a coat, then was moved to the back to dry, before the next one started or some other job was done.

 

 


The whole makeover took two weeks of incredibly hard work. Laura painted over the black floor tiles with white paint, which took 12 hours to dry, before stencilling each one 

Laura got her policeman husband Cameron, 33, and children Robin, six, and Rose, three, involved in the project 


Laura said: ‘I had a whole conveyor belt of kitchen doors in my garage. One got a coat, then was moved to the back to dry, before the next one started or some other job was done’ (left). Her amazing transformation received the recognition it deserved when she finally shared pictures of all she had achieved on social media

‘In between things were drying before getting another coat. We had to get a move on, because it was very disruptive with the kitchen out of action.

Laura said that despite using leftover paint, the worktops have held up well one year after their project 

‘You don’t realise how much you go in and out of your kitchen until you can’t do it.’

Laura’s amazing transformation received the recognition it deserved when she finally shared pictures of all she had achieved on social media.

She said: ‘I was overwhelmed by the likes and inundated by questions from thousands of people on social media wanting advice.

‘I posted all the information on how we did it and the prices too.

‘In the end, it all turned out beautifully – and far from the £7,000 kitchen I hankered after, our version only cost £170! 

‘And when friends came over during that brief reopening in the middle of the lockdowns they were all really impressed.

‘They can’t believe I stencilled the floor, but I’m glad I did. I think changing the floor and worktop from black made the most drastic difference – it was really dramatic.’

With her fabulous new kitchen, Laura is more than happy to be chief cook and dish washer.

She said: ‘Because I’m the main cook, I regard the kitchen as my room. It is now my happy place, and I’m happy to be in there.’ 

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