'The wooden shelf is actually from our old bed!' - genius design hacks transformed this narrow kitchen

It's a great example of how being unable to change your room layout can inspire you to work with what you've got

painted kitchen with green cabinets and tiled floor
(Image credit: Hannah Isichei / The Pheasant Lodge)

How many of you have inherited a room with an awkward layout where you've wondered what on earth you can do with it? Well, this dramatic narrow kitchen makeover completely changed how the owner felt about her kitchen – and the transformation is incredible.

When it comes to other rooms in the home, it can be easy to space furniture out and create 'zones' to work with a small or awkward layout, but this can be trickier when it comes to narrow kitchen ideas, where you need your cooking area, basin and storage all at your fingertips. So, what should you do when you're on the hunt for small kitchen ideas?

Narrow kitchen makeover

Hannah Isichei, who owns Pheasant Lodge, a self-catering period property in the heart of the Lake District, took on the challenge to turn her dated galley kitchen into a space that she'd enjoy spending time in.

'We knew we couldn't really change the layout of the kitchen because the house is Georgian, with very thick walls, but we wanted to make it brighter, and lighter and add a seating area as the views out to the gardens and hills are beautiful,' she says.

Let's take a look at Hannah's kitchen before the makeover…


before shot of old white kitchen

(Image credit: Hannah Isichei / The Pheasant Lodge)

An uninspiring, narrow room meant Hannah didn't have a lot of space to play with when it came to changing things round. Dated cabinetry, carpet tiles and wallpaper that had seen better days all needed to change in order to bring this kitchen up to date.

before shot of old white kitchen

(Image credit: Hannah Isichei / The Pheasant Lodge)

At the other end of the room you can see one wall is taken up with shelves, while some large cupboards up high provide handy storage. It all looks rather plain and uninspiring and, along with a lone fridge in the corner of the room, it was definitely time for a change.


painted kitchen with green cabinets and tiled floor

(Image credit: Hannah Isichei / The Pheasant Lodge)

Voila! The new-look kitchen has been given some pizazz with a few coats of paint and some fun design details, including a paint effect on one wall, new period-look flooring and green-painted cabinets.

'The biggest saving we made was keeping the carcasses of the kitchen cupboards and revamping the doors,' says Hannah. 'The doors were actually covered in an old plastic, so we peeled this off, primed the wood and then used a kitchen cupboard paint in a beautiful sage colour.'

A great way to make your kitchen look expensive on a budget is to pay attention to the details. 'We updated the cabinet handles to something more modern and gold for a really small cost,' says Hannah.

painted kitchen with shelf and tiled floor

(Image credit: Hannah Isichei / The Pheasant Lodge)

With so much wall space, Hannah was keen to use a low-cost way to give the room interest without using wallpaper. 'The kitchen has a really high ceiling and the walls were a little lost previously, so we reused paint from around the house to create a mural and focal point on the wall,' she says.

'We also removed some of the kitchen cabinets at the end of the kitchen as they weren’t needed and added a wooden bench next to the window, which we painted the same colour as the cabinets, too. 

'The long wooden shelf that runs across one side of the kitchen is actually a piece of our old bed! The wood was so lovely I couldn’t throw it, so it splits up the wall and meant I could add some plants and more accessories to this side of the kitchen.'

round paint effect with artwork in kitchen

(Image credit: Hannah Isichei / The Pheasant Lodge)

Next to the painted circle design, Hannah has hung artwork, with the frames and art all in the same colour scheme as the cabinetry. 'We added old pictures frames and jazzed them up with paint – again, the paint was leftover from other rooms in the house – so that everything flowed,' she says.

green painted kitchen with tiled floor

(Image credit: Hannah Isichei / The Pheasant Lodge)

The existing bespoke shelving was kept, but now the walls behind are painted in a peachy-pink colour, which helps the accessories and utensils on display stand out against them. 

With the fridge gone and wooden worktops added to the cupboards, the kitchen has been completely transformed at a fantastically low-cost. 

Has this inspired you to change the look of your awkward-shaped kitchen?

Laurie Davidson

Laurie Davidson is a professional stylist, writer and content creator, who lives and breathes interiors. Having worked for some of the UK’s leading interior magazines, styled homes up and down the country and produced sets for TV shows, adverts and top brands, it’s safe to say Laurie has had a pretty exciting career. Find her on Instagram at @lifeofaninteriorstylist or over at lauriedavidson.co.uk