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Get a new-look kitchen without the price tag with these clever tweaks

Few want to admit it, but the countdown to Christmas has begun. And after missing out last year, many of us are planning to welcome family and friends into our homes — and so come the inevitable thoughts of a kitchen revamp.

A new kitchen costs from £4,000, according to a survey by RatedPeople, but, of course, the options are endless, from bespoke, hand-crafted creations to High Street offerings. Or, with a few clever tweaks, you can create a new-look kitchen yourself, without the price tag.

‘The kitchen is the heart of the home,’ says Seb Bishop, chief executive of tableware store Summerill & Bishop.

Heart of the home: A new kitchen costs from £4,000, according to a survey by RatedPeople, but with a few clever tweaks, you can create a new-look, without the price tag

‘It’s a place where you can sit with loved ones, mull over decisions, share your day and put the world to rights. There has never been a more appropriate time to embrace this.’

Doors to the future 

Changing the doors on your kitchen units gives a quick yet dramatic update. A ream of cool new companies has sprung up to offer new cupboard fronts designed to fit existing carcasses, from Norfolk-based Naked Kitchens to South London company Pluck and Wood & Wire, based in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire.

A cheaper option is a lick of paint. If you have wooden doors, sanding them down to repaint is relatively easy; for acrylic cabinets, try Rust-Oleum spray paint.

Moody lighting

Installing the right lighting is crucial to designing a successful scheme. It is helpful to build in different elements — spotlights, pendants and side lamps all enable you to vary the mood.

‘In the kitchen, where you might need a little more direct and focused lighting, inbuilt cabinet lights are a practical solution. 

They avoid overbearing glares, and you can still see what you’re doing,’ says George Miller, home designer at Neptune Fulham.

For a statement piece above a table or an island, Ochre has recently launched its Drifter pendant, made from recycled cricket bats (from £5,850, while Neptune has a range of table lamps, such as its Dalston design (£130).

Floor upgrade

Ripping up old vinyl is one of the first things people do when they embark on an upgrade, but then what? 

Sanding and varnishing floorboards is an inexpensive option if the boards are in good nick. If not, opt for a few coats of floor paint.

For cosiness, add a rug. ‘You can layer up by opting for multiple rugs in different finishes that overlap, for instance a woven rug paired with sheepskin,’ says Wil Law, home design stylist at John Lewis.

Choose one that’s easy to clean, such as the range from Weaver Green (made from recycled plastic bottles), for peace of mind (from £45).

Mind the tap

Changing the sink taps sounds like a small update, but it can be a room-altering decision. 

A new sink tap can change the look of your kitchen, without costing the earth

A new sink tap can change the look of your kitchen, without costing the earth

‘If your kitchen is clean and minimalist, go for a high-quality tap with a tarnished look in brass or brushed steel to add warmth and depth,’ advises Niki Brantmark, founder of the blog My Scandinavian Home. ‘Always go for the highest quality you can afford, as you use it all the time.’

For vintage taps, try, or Samuel Heath has a range from industrial to modern.

It’s not just the taps — upgrading all hardware from light switches to handles can make a big difference. Try Crofts & Assinder Bioko Cabinet Pull Handle (£18.30) or Ikea does a range of leather ones (£10 for two).

Set the table

Danish researchers found that eating at a table with a cloth on made people enjoy their food more.

‘From our 27 years of professionally laying the table, we know that this not only heightens the enjoyment of your meal, but also extends the time spent at the table,’ Bishop says.

Add circus fun with Summerill & Bishop Le Cirque Linen Tablecloth (£275) or try a washed linen tablecloth from H&M (£39.99). Layer up the scene with coordinated napkins, plates and glassware.

What your home needs is a… pleated lampshade 

Next stocks the Laura Ashley Helmsley range (pictured), ( £40 to £50,

Next stocks the Laura Ashley Helmsley range (pictured), ( £40 to £50,

Sometimes the emergence of a trend can be puzzling. Pleated lampshades are a case in point. They may be pretty, but they do require a lot of dusting.

A pleated lampshade (also known as shirred or gathered) is an easy way to soften the décor of a room at little expense — which is the reason why your home needs one.

Wilko has a pink velvet shade for £20, for example. 

At The Range, you can find a grey lamp and shade for £27.99. 

Next stocks the Laura Ashley Helmsley range in blush pink, cream, crimson red, dove grey, ochre, sage green and silver (£40 to £50).

John Lewis offers the Lymington lampshade in blush, grey or navy (£40 to £45).

But this is also a chance to bring some print into your interior. Shades bearing the Indonesian ikat pattern cost from £29 to £138 at Pooky.  

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