Before and after: from cramped Seventies kitchen to family-friendly mid century inspired kitchen diner

This homeowner stripped everything out to make way for her mid-century style kitchen-diner, while keeping to a tight budget

kitchen with kitchen retro style wood slab door units and dining table with chairs from cramped seventies kitchen
(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

'We bought our home for the sea views and its potential, but it needed extensive renovations as it hadn’t been touched since the Seventies,’ says the homeowner. 'We were excited to transform it into our forever family home, though the existing kitchen was beyond salvaging with an unsafe boiler and limited worktop space.'

Find inspiration for your own transformation with our kitchen ideas

Before they moved in, their builders tackled all the big jobs, including removing the asbestos floor tiles, rewiring, replacing 
the boiler and all the plumbing.

They maximised the space by knocking down the wall of an old adjacent bathroom, removing a chimney breast and relocating the boiler. They kept the sink in the same position but moved the cooker which gave them more worktop space either side.

kitchen with kitchen retro style wood slab door units and dining table with chairs from cramped seventies kitchen

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

'I love mid-century modern design and wanted our new kitchen to have retro elements,' says the owner. 'I had to be creative to get the look I wanted within our tight budget. 
On the high street I could only find units that were either high-gloss or Shaker style, which wasn’t the look I was after.

'Finally, we found a local company who supplied wood-effect slab door units.' That was the starting point for the new kitchen's retro style.

kitchen with torgerd fabric on chairs and paco medium black and white cotton flat weave rug wood door slab units

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

The owner spent ages choosing the right grain that would create a warm, retro-inspired vibe, deciding that Natural Pacific Walnut felt the most realistic. She found some unfinished oak handles online to enhance the retro feel.

Taking pride of place is the vintage dining table, which the owner picked up from the Danish Homestore for £60 10 years ago. The G Plan chairs were a charity shop find that the owner reupholstered in Ikea fabric.

Get the look
Buy now: Torgerd fabric (on chairs), £5m per m, Ikea
Buy now: Paco medium black and white cotton flat weave rug (L200xW140cm), £80, Habitat

kitchen with open shelves using wall cabinets with a half height top hung door

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

'We created open shelves using wall cabinets with a half-height top hung door, which was an affordable way of copying the bespoke mid-century modern kitchens I’d seen on Pinterest,' says the owner.

The open shelves mean all the crockery they use every day is within easy reach. And 
it makes a great way to display the owner's growing collection of ceramics, too.

kitchen with walls painted soft sage green wood door slab units kitchen sink and window

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

'The biggest challenge we had was finding a paint colour to go with the kitchen,' says the owner. 'At first I went for navy blue as 
I thought it would make the units really pop, but it was too dark so swapped it for a soft sage green, which makes the whole room warm, even on a gloomy day.'

Buy now: Walls painted in Mizzle estate eggshell, £46.50 for 2.5ltrs, Farrow & Ball

kitchen with hexagon nature patterned tiles open shelves wall cabinets with a half height top hung door chopping boards and flower vase

(Image credit: Future PLC)

The owner’s crisp, white worktops and light walls and floors ensure this kitchen-dining space still 
feels fresh 
and modern. 'A feature splashback was high on my wish list, but we couldn’t justify the expensive handmade retro tiles I’d spotted online,' says the owner.

'I found these ones at 
Tons of Tiles, which had a vintage flavour, but being grey they don’t overpower 
the room, and I mixed in white hexagon mosaic tiles on the other walls.'

Get the look
Buy now: Hexagon Nature patterned tiles, £48.82sq m, Tons of Tiles

kitchen with gamlesjon dual control kitchen mixer tap and hexagon white matt tiles

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

The owner chose a gorgeous black tap from Ikea. '
I love it because it matches the range cooker. My husband likes it because it reminds him of TIE Fighters from Star Wars!' she says.

Get the look
Buy now: Gamlesjön dual-control kitchen mixer tap, £95, Ikea
Buy now: Hexagon white matt tiles, £4.99 per sheet, Tiles Direct

'I love having vintage pieces in my home,' says the owner. 'In fact, I was so inspired I started an Instagram account @cedarlily to chart my home’s mix of charity shop finds and pieces that I’ve inherited or been given by my family.'

'They have such character and evoke so many memories.'

Heather Young

Heather Young has been Ideal Home’s Editor since late 2020, and Editor-In-Chief since 2023. She is an interiors journalist and editor who’s been working for some of the UK’s leading interiors magazines for over 20 years, both in-house and as a freelancer.