Before and after: This colourful kitchen makeover is inspired by Mexico

By bagging the biggest bargains and doing a lot of work themselves, this couple brought in their fabulous food hub bang on budget

kitchen with blue wall and green countertop
(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

'Moving to the seaside 11 years ago for my husband's job was the start of an enormous change for us,’ says the owner of this Edwardian semi in Dorset. ‘He works for the RNLI, so has to be near the sea. We came from a 1960s flat in London with concrete surfaces. But when we looked in Poole, we realised we could afford a period house – albeit one that needed some attention.'

'I was about to have our daughter,' she continues. 'We actually moved in the day she was born! Our son came along soon after, so it made sense to have a bigger property with a garden. Because we were on a budget, we had to think carefully about how and when we would renovate the house. The downstairs at the back was a mess, with a tiny galley kitchen and a conservatory, which hardly got used, plus a toilet next to the garden. So we had very little access to the outside.'

Looking to renovate? See all of our kitchen ideas

As the children were getting bigger and the family needed more space, by 2016, the time was right to go for a major project. They found a builder through recommendations, with the whole project taking six months. 'We extended out two metres into the garden,' says the owner. 'There was huge upheaval but we managed to live in the house for quite a bit of the time.'

tiled flooring white kitchen with dining table and cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Having created a large space with skylights, the couple needed to decide how they wanted it laid out. 'I didn’t want the kitchen to look conventional, says the owner. I’m a textile designer, and this was my chance to put my skills to good use and bring in some of the rich colour I adore.'

Bright blues and greens, funky tiles and mismatched furniture have created a relaxing space that doesn't feel too much like a kitchen. 'Sixties furniture really appeals and this original G Plan dining table was in a second-hand shop for just £40, so I grabbed it,' the owner adds.

Get the look
Buy now: Large glass industrial pendant lights in Pewter, £35 each, Wilko

blue walled kitchen with jars on wooden shelves

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Because there was a lot of building work, the couple had only £3,000 left to spend on the decor. They did a lot of labour ourselves, fitting units, painting and laying flooring. 'Our kitchen has only floor units – I didn’t want them above, and found some lovely shelves made from scaffold planks,' says the owner.

blue white walled kitchen with tiled flooring and dining table

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Keeping all the units and appliances in one long line helps to elongate the space. ‘Choosing a vibrant hue for my units helps with the Mexican theme and also makes them feel more like furniture,’ she adds. If you fancy updating old doors with a lick of bright paint, try Rust-Oleum for a range of great shades that will really pop. Sadly, these green Fladie units from Ikea are discontinued.

Get the look
Buy now: Hammarp oak worktop, £100 for a 186cm length, Ikea
Buy now: Maori Goroka Ceilo 200 x 200 splashback tiles, £34.75 per sq m, Tile Giant

yellow chair with tree texture on cushion and tiled flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

'Knowing we couldn’t afford real wood flooring, I was thrilled to see how laminate has improved – it's really convincing. It’s also hard wearing and the grey grain-effect pattern tied in well with my blues and greens.'

Get the look
Buy now: Similar Etna Dark Oak effect laminate flooring, £15.88 per sq m, B&Q
Buy now: Oak Tree cushion cover, £20, Tiny Bird Textiles

white kitchen counter top with green cabinet and dining table

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

The couple managed to keep part of the patio covered, so they have an indoor/outdoor eating area. 'My designs are inspired by nature and I use 
a lot of trees, leaves and animals, so it was important for us to be able to see out into, and connect with, the garden,' says the owner.

blue texture kitchen wall with gas cooktop and green cabinet

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

'I sourced the appliances from online outlets and eBay, comparing prices as I went,' says the owner. ‘This cooker, which I found on Gumtree, was my best deal. It had barely been used and was a bargain at £250.’

living space with red sofa with cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Enjoy another bright room: Be inspired by this colourful kitchen transformation

Get the look
Buy now: Walls painted in Dulux Pure Brilliant White matt emulsion, £10 for 10ltrs, Homebase
Buy now: Similar Milano Viti - Anthracite Vertical Diamond Double Panel Designer Radiator 1600mm x 560mm, £299.95, BestHeating 

‘A company I worked for years ago was getting rid of this sofa, so I snapped it up for a few pounds,’ says the owner, who is thrilled with her new kitchen. 'The bright colours make it so uplifting,' she says. 'It’s the perfect sociable family space.’

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.