The most requests and questions I often get are around kitchen designs. And it’s easy to see why. We spend a lot of time in kitchens, we’re often hamstrung by the current kitchen (renting) and it’s a big investment when you change it that you don’t want to get wrong.

Good news is there are lots of things you can do to make your kitchen look better even on a shoestring of a budget.

Here are my 5 top tips to spruce up your kitchen:

#1 Keep panels consistent

This obviously applies if you’re buying a new kitchen and have that luxury of choice. Try to hide drawers inside drawers and keep the size of panels as consistent as possible. It creates symmetry and calm. There will always be a few items that will need different sized panels (e.g. fridge/freezer) but even things like dishwashers can be hidden behind double square panels, so try to pick in the most minimal amount of shapes and sizes.

Keep panels consistent. Hidden behind these 6 panels are 9 drawers allowing to stow away spices, spatulas, pots, food, plates and more.

#2 Paint it and change the hardware

Stuck with old kitchen doors that look awful? Paint them. Use paint such as lick to change your ugly wooden kitchen doors from 1980 with black chalk paint or similar. Just make sure that the paint you use adheres to the doors. Use a good primer where necessary. There are professionals that respray your doors, but that can work out pricey. Another must is change the hardware. Big ugly drawer handles from the 90s are an eye sore and are easily swapped out. If you’re painting the doors you can change the size by carefully putting it up and covering it, if you’re stuck with what you’ve got carefully measure the handle distance and find something funky on Etsy or eBay. Think brass, copper, leather to give it a bit of a modern edge. And if you shop around it can be a cheap upgrade with huge impact!

#3 Keep it neutral

The one thing I keep reminding my clients is that kitchens need to be timeless. It’s very easy to get caught up in the latest subway tile trend and who doesn’t love purple… Don’t. When it comes to kitchens stick to neutrals for splash back, countertops and doors. Have fun with handles, paint your walls bright yellow if you must and hang some funky pictures on walls to add colour. Remember, once you’ve done your kitchen, you (or whoever comes after you) will most likely bee stuck with it for years to come. So stick to greys, whites, off blacks, woods, marble and similar textures for a timeless classic look.

#4 Obsess about countertops and material choice⁠

This ones really important. Whilst we’d all like to buy expensive marble or quartz contertops, our wallets don’t always allow for it. So if you’re trying to make your kitchen look more expensive here’s how to: go wood. It’s relatively cheap, but it requires maintenance. Make sure to protect it from wet areas and keep it well oiled. Or use micro cement. Now it’s a big mess to do, and quite the process but micro cement when done well gets applied to a cheap wooden countertop and can look amazing. But it’s not for the faint hearted DIYers among you and often needs to seal for a long time (30days in some cases). If you’re going laminate here are a few tips: Be careful how much grain your fake marble design has, less is more, stay away from glitter or any kinnd, but if you’re faking stone then high gloss finish is the way to go. Matt fake stone just looks fake.

#5 Taps, sinks and appliances

Most dated kitchens need one urgent upgrade to begin with: new sink and tap. Out with the old stainless steel ugly beasts and hideous generic taps and your kitchen will look brand new. For less than £500 you can get yourself a stunning tap and gorgeous undermounted sink. Money well spent. If you’re doing an entire kitchen upgrade my advice is to shop around for high end appliances (look out for slightly dented, last year’s models, or ex display items for a bargain). You’re better off spending on brand appliances than expensive cupboards.

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