Before & After: A Bland Kitchen Makes a Total Turnaround

We spotted Stacey and Adam’s kitchen on Instagram and just had to know more about it. While everything was ok functionality wise, it was kind of bland and not particularly toddler proof. They decided that by adding some darker colors and new flooring, they could solve both of those problems, creating an eye-catchingly stylish (and smudge friendly) space.

From Stacey and Adam: When we moved into our house the kitchen was completely magnolia. The units were a generic cream and the tiles were an off-white with a fine brown pattern running through them, which resulted in the tiles always looking dirty. Although it was perfectly livable it wasn’t to our taste and felt very dated.

We really like dark interiors and although our kitchen is quite dark we wanted to incorporate some deeper more modern shades. We have a toddler so the cupboards often had fingerprints on them and the floor would always show up every splat of food!

We took our time, mainly due to having a baby halfway through, so the process was gradually done over 2.5 years. We did all the aesthetics our self but called in professional help with the flooring. We decided to paint the units first and as they were made from melamine we needed to prime them first before we could paint. We chose Farrow&Ball Manor House Gray as this was a soft gray, which would tie in nicely with the rest of the house and also wouldn’t date. Next, we selected Moroccan inspired tiles as we felt the print would look homey but also the bold gray of the units needed to be broken up a little. The tiles were a blend of gray, blue and cream so we were confident it would fit with any future redecorating. We painted one of the walls an inky blue so that it would pick out the blue of the tiles and also frame the windows nicely, but the remainder of the kitchen walls we painted a fresh white. We still wanted the room to feel light and airy even though the walls and units were dark.

To add to the openness of the kitchen we removed three wall units and replaced them with shelves. We reused old scaffolding boards that we had stained for this and bought some rustic brackets to fix them with. We also fitted lighting along the underside of the shelves to add warmth in the evening.

We were dreading tackling the floor and didn’t really want the upheaval of ripping up tiles so we found an alternative. We opted for polyflor which is a vinyl laminate. It looks and feels exactly like wood, and the beauty of it is that it can be laid directly on top of your existing tiles. It’s hard wearing and because it is in a dark oak finish it masks all the general kitchen mess a 2-year-old creates!

We wanted to be able to eat in our kitchen and keep the dining room for special occasions, so we bought a small rustic table with two white chairs on one side and a bench seat on the other so that it could be pushed under the table and out of the way. To finish off, we used window film stickers in a Moroccan style print over the door windows at each end. This was so that the light would still filter in but you wouldn’t be able to see through to the next room. It makes the whole kitchen feel cozy and private. I would say the whole process of updating cost us around £1500 (¢1900).

I love how cosy it feels at night because of the dark feature wall, and the rustic edge from the shelving and Moroccan tiles. The under shelf lighting adds to this feel as it means you don’t always have to have the bright ceiling lights on all the time. We are completely happy with the result and there is no part we regret or would change.

Stacey and Adam’s words of wisdom: Do it in stages, live with it for a month and then move on to the next part. Once you have finished different areas you may then feel differently about your original tile choice so avoid expensive mistakes by finishing one part at a time.

Thank you Stacey and Adam! To see this project and more, follow End of the Row on Instagram.


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